Former N.J. Turnpike Authority Manager Charged With Stealing More Than $120,000
NEWARK, N.J. – A former claims manager for the N.J. Turnpike Authority was arrested today for allegedly stealing more than $120,000 from the authority, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Gerardo Blasi, 54, of Clifton, N.J., was arrested by special agents of the FBI and charged by complaint with mail fraud and defrauding a state agency that receives federal funds. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.
According to the complaint:
Blasi was a claims manager at the N.J. Turnpike Authority, responsible for negotiating and collecting payments from insurance companies whose insured drivers caused damage to the Turnpike. From April 2011 to June 2013, Blasi allegedly stole more than $120,000 from the authority in several ways, including instructing insurance companies to issue checks payable to fraudulent repair companies. When the checks were mailed to Blasi at the authority, he would arrange to have them cashed and keep a portion of the money for himself.
The fraud count with which Blasi is charged carries a maximum potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The theft from a state agency count is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of up to 10 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 Aaron T. Ford, with the investigation leading to today’s charges. He also thanked the N.J. Turnpike Authority for its cooperation in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Foster of the office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.