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Press Release

Former Bergen County, New Jersey, Democratic Chairman Sentenced To 35 Months In Prison On Racketeering Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – The former chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Organization (BCDO), was sentenced today to 35 months in prison for his role in a racketeering scheme involving fraud and soliciting and accepting bribes as a party official, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Joseph A. Ferriero, 58, was found guilty in April 2015 following an eight-week trial before U.S. District Judge Esther B. Salas in Newark federal court. The jury deliberated four days before finding Ferriero guilty of conducting the BCDO’s affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity (Count One), using the mail and facilities in interstate commerce to promote bribery and distribute bribe proceeds (Count Three) and wire fraud (Count Five).

“The sentence handed down today to Joseph Ferriero is the final result of his running a local political organization as a criminal enterprise,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “He used his power and position to enrich himself through a racketeering operation fueled by influence peddling, bribes and kickbacks. Punishing this kind of political corruption has been – and continues to be – a priority for this office.”

“Today’s sentencing of Joseph A. Ferriero reaffirms the FBI’s commitment to combat public corruption in New Jersey and serves as a reminder that those individuals who violate the public’s trust will be held accountable,” Richard M. Frankel, FBI Special Agent in Charge, of the Newark Division, said.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

Ferriero served as the chairman of the BCDO from 1998 until January 2009 and was the sole member of SJC Consulting LLC.  The jury found Ferriero accepted bribes in his capacity as BCDO chairman in the course of a scheme involving SJC. Ferriero agreed with John Carrino, a Nutley, New Jersey-based attorney and software developer, that Ferriero would recommend and provide a favorable opinion of the software developer and his companies to various public officials in Bergen County with whom Ferriero had influence. The software developer agreed to pay Ferriero one-quarter to one-third of the gross receipts from any contract obtained as a result of Ferriero’s efforts. Ferriero’s financial interest in the software developer’s public contracts was completely hidden using two shell companies, one of which was created and incorporated in Nevada for the sole purpose of contracting with and accepting payments from another shell company controlled by the software developer.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Salas sentenced Ferriero to three years of supervised release, ordered him to pay restitution of $11,875 and entered an order of forfeiture for $11,875.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Frankel, and investigators from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Supervisory Criminal Investigator Thomas Mahoney, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Counsel to the U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig and Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Llanes of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

Defense counsel: Michael Baldassare, Jennifer Mara and Dillon Malar Esqs., Newark

Updated December 4, 2015

Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 15-445