Former Jersey City Health & Human Services Assistant Director And Zoning Official Sentenced To 30 Months In Prison
Previously Pleaded Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Attempted Extortion
NEWARK, N.J. – Former Jersey City Health & Human Services Assistant Director and zoning official Maher A. Khalil was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for conspiring to commit extortion.
Khalil, 42, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in Newark federal court to an Information charging him with conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. Khalil admitted he accepted bribes from a government cooperating witness in return for attempting to obtain real estate development approvals for the cooperating witness, and for facilitating bribe payments to other municipal officials.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Between March 2008 and July 2009, Khalil accepted a total of $72,500 in corrupt payments from the cooperating witness, Solomon Dwek, in exchange for his official influence as a Jersey City official in favor of Dwek and for facilitating introductions and corrupt payments to other municipal officials willing to accept corrupt payments for helping Dwek obtain development approvals. Khalil accepted cash bribe payments on numerous occasions in exchange for assistance in obtaining approvals for a property on Garfield Avenue in Jersey City.
Khalil also said he accepted bribe payments from Dwek after arranging meetings between Dwek and various Jersey City municipal officials who, in exchange for corrupt payments, would help Dwek get approvals.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Linares sentenced Khalil to one year of supervised release and ordered him to forfeit $72,500.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge David Velazquez; and IRS - Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen, for the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccion, for its role in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark McCarren of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division.
Defense counsel: Michael F. Pedicini Esq., Morristown, N.J.