Bribery: By hook…

A Belleville man who was a Jersey City fire inspector pleaded guilty last week to accepting bribes from brothels, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman reported.

Authorities said Phillip Procaccino, 56, took money from two Jersey City massage parlors that were fronts for prostitution. In one of the cases, his cut was a percentage of the profits. A

ccording to prosecutors, Procaccino admitted that, in October 2013, he accepted $2,500 in exchange for his official assistance in obtaining a certificate of occupancy for one of the businesses. He also agreed to provide notice of impending inspections by Jersey City authorities so the owner and employees could hide evidence of their other, oldest, profession.

Dealing with a separate prostitution operation, Procaccino agreed to provide a certificate and one day’s notice of any police plans to target the parlor, this in exchange for 10% of its future profits.

Appearing before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court last Wednesday, Procaccino pleaded guilty to one count of extortion.

He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced in February.

– Karen Zautyk 

…Or by crook

An Essex County corrections officer from Belleville was arrested last week by special agents of the FBI for allegedly taking bribes to smuggle contraband, including cell phones and cigarettes, into the county jail in Newark, authorities reported.

John Grosso, 41, was taken into custody Thursday morning at the jail, a federal pretrial detention facility. He was arraigned that afternoon in Newark federal court on one count of conspiring to commit extortion and was released on $100,000 bail.

According to the complaint filed by U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman, on multiple occasions between November and December 2013, Grosso accepted cash bribes of approximately $1,000 in return for smuggling phones and cigarettes to an inmate. The officer reportedly met with the inmate’s associate in the parking lot of the Best Buy store in Secaucus to accept the contraband and bribes, before delivering the packages to the prisoner.

If convicted, Grosso faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Fishman credited the FBI and the Internal Affairs Division of the Essex County Correctional Facility, under the leadership of Warden Roy Hendricks, with the investigation leading to the arrest.

– Karen Zautyk 




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