FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. – A federal grand jury in Newark indicted Michael Arpaio today for allegedly extorting a New York-based nonprofit company that sold used clothing and donated the net profits to charity, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Arpaio, 57, of Belleville, N.J., was arrested on a criminal Complaint November 8, 2010, and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Esther Salas, who ordered Arpaio released on a $100,000 bail. Arpaio will be expected for an initial appearance and arraignment on the Indictment in Newark on a date to be determined.
According to documents filed in this case:
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 Kearney.
Beginning in July 2010 after the bins were stolen, Arpaio met an individual from Company One, referred to as the “Individual” in the Indictment. Arpaio, who falsely represented himself as a police officer who had a family member associated with organized crime, told the Individual that his permission was needed to place clothing bins in northern New Jersey, which Arpaio referred to as his territory. Arpaio also demanded payment for the stolen bins before they would be returned.
To carry out his extortion plot, Arpaio met the Individual on September 29 and October 29, 2010. The meetings were recorded.
During the September meeting, the Individual gave Arpaio approximately $1,000 in cash. Arpaio stated, among other things:
“This thousand dollars is gonna return some of your boxes to you and it’s gonna make sure none of your other [expletive]’s gone.”
At the October meeting, Arpaio demanded money from the Individual for the privilege of keeping Company One’s bins on the property of a retail store in Belleville, N.J., with which Arpaio had no connection. Arpaio lied to the Individual, saying he had paid the store $400 to permit Company One to place a bin on the store’s property. After the Individual requested a receipt from the store, Arpaio said, among other things:
“You’re lucky I’m on the [expletive] job cause I’d break every bone in your [expletive] body right now. You don’t think I’m capable? I’d break every [expletive] bone in your body. . . . Let me tell you something . . . take this to the [expletive] bank . . . within ten weeks, I’m gonna have at least ten of your [expletive] boxes, and I’m gonna tell you I got’em. I’m gonna tell you I got’em. And know what? Every, every box you want back, you’re gonna pay me a thousand dollars [expletive] cash to get it back.”
The extortion count with which Arpaio is charged carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
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 today’s Indictment.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Moscato of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Chester Keller, Esq., First Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark