Prison term for protecting prostitution

A township man who was employed as a Jersey City fire inspector has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for accepting bribes in return for providing certificates of occupancy to two Hudson County prostitution operations.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said Phillip Procaccino, 56, of Belleville, had admitted that, in October 2013, he accepted $2,500 in exchange for his official assistance in obtaining an occupancy certificate for a massage parlor that was a cover for prostitution.

In addition, Procaccino offered to provide advance notice of inspections so the owner and employees could hide evidence of illegal activity, Fishman’s office reported. Procaccino also agreed to take 10% of future profits from a separate prostitution business in return for both a certificate of occupancy and “one day’s advance notice of any police activity targeting the business.” Both businesses were located in Jersey City.

Procaccino, who had pleaded guilty to one count of extortion, was sentenced April 7 by U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden in Newark federal court.

Following the prison term, he is to serve one year of supervised release.

– Karen Zautyk 

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