TRENTON, N.J. – A Bayonne, New Jersey, man was sentenced on November 3 to 15 months in prison for paying $65,000 in bribes to a Bayonne public official in return for the public official’s assistance in securing projects funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Joseph Arrigo, 47, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to an information charging him with one count of paying bribes totaling approximately $65,000 to Anselmo Crisonino, 56, also of Bayonne, who served as the senior accountant of the City of Bayonne Department of Community Development (CBDCD). Arrigo had also pleaded guilty to one count of theft and conversion of government funds in the amount of $40,000, and one count of submitting a false tax return for tax year 2011. Judge Sheridan imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Arrigo was the owner of Shadow Contracting LLC, a general contracting company in Bayonne. The CBDCD was a government agency that received funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under a federal program that provided grants of up to $20,000 to low-income families to rehabilitate their homes and to repair conditions affecting health and safety, accessibility, energy efficiency or code compliance. The CBDCD also provided these HUD funds under the same federal program to nonprofit organizations. Crisonino was responsible for reviewing applications and awarding such funds to qualified applicants.
In September 2010, Crisonino solicited cash payments from Arrigo in exchange for Crisonino’s help in attaining HUD grant funds. From September 2010 to February 2013, Arrigo made approximately $65,000 in cash payments to Crisonino in exchange for Crisonino’s assistance in awarding approximately $426,000 in HUD grant funds to Arrigo from the CBDCD.
In September 2011, Arrigo assisted another contractor by supplying a bid on behalf of Shadow Contracting that was higher than the contractor’s bid to enable the other contractor to obtain HUD grant funds from Bayonne. The contractor then submitted the two bids to the CBDCD and, as a result of his collusion with Arrigo, the contractor fraudulently obtained $20,000 in HUD grant funds from the CBDCD. In December 2011, Arrigo caused the same contractor to provide Arrigo with a bid that was higher than Arrigo’s bid for the purpose of obtaining HUD grant funds. Arrigo submitted the contractor’s bid along with his own to the CBDCD and, as a result, fraudulently obtained another $20,000 in HUD grant funds from the CBDCD.
Arrigo also admitted that he failed to report $151,993 in income on his U.S. Individual Tax Return, Form 1040, for tax year 2011.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Arrigo to three years of supervised release.
Crisonino previously pleaded guilty to his role in the bribery scheme and other charges in February 2014 and awaits sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; special agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christina Scaringi; and special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen in Newark, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacques S. Pierre of the U.S. Attorney’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Charles J. Uliano Esq., West Long Branch, New Jersey