FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. – A Belleville, N.J., man admitted today to extorting a New York-based non-profit company that collected and sold used clothing and donated the net profits to a charity, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Michael Arpaio, 57, entered his guilty plea to an Indictment charging him with one count of extortion before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Arpaio caused clothing bins to be stolen that belonged to a New York-based nonprofit company referred to in court documents as “Company One.” The bins were provided for members of the public to donate their used clothing, which Company One would sell and then give the net proceeds to a charity. Company One placed the bins in New York and northern New Jersey – including in Belleville, Bloomfield, and Kearny.
Arpaio admitted that beginning in July 2010, he stole or directed another person to steal a clothing bin belonging to Company One and requested money from a representative of the company in exchange for the bin’s return.
Specifically, Arpaio admitted that on October 29, 2010, he demanded money from Company One’s representative to allow the company to keep its bin on the property of a retail store in Belleville. Arpaio acknowledged that he did not have any authority to act on behalf of the retail store. Arpaio also admitted that after the representative refused to pay Arpaio the money, he made the following extortionate statements, among others, to the individual:
“I can tell you, your boxes are gonna be gone. You tell [your boss] I took ‘em, he
can come see me because I got . . . people that will put a . . . foot up his ass.”
“...within ten weeks, I’m gonna have at least ten of your . . . boxes, and I’m gonna
tell you I got’em. . . . Every, every box you want back, you’re gonna pay me a
thousand dollars . . . cash to get it back.”
At sentencing, Arpaio faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled for January 17, 2012.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, for the investigation leading to the guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Moscato of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Chester Keller Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark