FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2011
NEWARK – James P. King, a former candidate for Jersey City, N.J., City Council, admitted today to defrauding his campaign committees in connection with money provided to him by government cooperating witness Solomon Dwek in exchange for his future official assistance, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
James P. King, 69, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty to a superseding Information charging him with one count of mail fraud. He entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From March to May 2009, King ran an ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the Ward C city council seat. The ticket included a slate of other candidates for public office who joined together to raise funds for and defray the costs of their campaigns. King also established a separate campaign committee called “Friends of Jimmy King for Council 2009.”
King admitted that during this time, he agreed to accept a total of approximately $10,000 and actually accepted approximately $7,500 in contributions from Dwek. The contributions were paid to King through Edward Cheatam – who served at various times as the affirmative action officer for Hudson County, a Commissioner on the Jersey City Housing Authority, and the Vice President of the Jersey City Board of Education – and a consultant, in exchange for King’s future official assistance, action and influence in obtaining development approvals for Dwek for a purported property on Garfield Avenue in Jersey City.
King intentionally concealed his receipt of the contributions from the campaign committees and their treasurers, and $5,000 of the funds were never deposited in the campaign bank accounts or accounted for in the committees’ records. King diverted that $5,000, using some of the money to pay his campaign expenses and keeping the rest for his personal use. King then signed and caused to be mailed a false report, which intentionally failed to disclose the diverted money, to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
In light of the Third Circuit’s appellate decision in United States v. Manzo, a previous Information charging King with extortion conspiracy was dismissed today, and his plea to that charge was withdrawn by the consent of the parties.
Sentencing is currently scheduled for November 17, 2011.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, and IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maureen Nakly and Brian Howe, Deputy Chief, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Arthur J. Abrams Esq., Jersey City, N.J.