contractor admits agreeing to give corrupt payments to union city, n.J., official for construction approvals
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2012
TRENTON, N.J. – A Union City, N.J., contractor admitted today that he agreed to give corrupt payments in connection with a Union City Zoning Board matter, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Bryant Venegas, 26, of Clifton, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano to an Indictment charging him with knowingly and corruptly agreeing to give corrupt payments to individuals, including a Union City employee. On March 16, 2012, Venegas was charged by Complaint and surrendered to the FBI. On August 29, 2012, a federal grand jury indicted Venegas.
According to documents filed in this case and statements in court:
Between October 2007 and June of 2011, Venegas had several meetings and telephone calls, recorded by law enforcement, with a cooperating witness to discuss the cooperating witnesses’ relative’s purported interest in developing a property in Union City. Venegas agreed with the cooperating witness to help arrange the payment of $15,000 to $20,000 from the cooperating witness to individuals, including at least one Union City government employee, as a reward for the employee’s official assistance in helping to obtain zoning approval for the purported real estate project.
During the course of several meetings between the cooperating witness and Venegas, Venegas accepted approximately $14,000 in cash payments from the cooperating witness pursuant to Venegas’ agreement with the cooperating witness.
The count to which Venegas pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 7, 2013.
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 today’s guilty plea
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Llanes of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Howard Brownstein Esq., Union City