Union City CDA worker, 5th man in probe, admits causing up to $95k in losses

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A former employee of the Union City Community Development Agency (CDA) has pleaded guilty to causing up to $95,000 in losses by rigging the agency’s contractor selection process, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced. Union City CDA

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Washington Borgono, 65, of North Bergen, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court to obtaining by fraud, converting and misapplying government funds provided by the Union City CDA, officials said.

Borgono was indicted back in October for allegedly causing the agency up to $250,000 in losses.

Between April 2007 through February 2013, Borgono was a compliance officer at the Union City CDA, a local government agency that receives grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for home improvement projects, sidewalk replacement and other projects.

Also from 2007 through 2013, Borgono conspired with Johnny Garces, a Union City CDA inspector, and contractors Joseph Lado, Leovaldo Fundora and others to use false and misleading bids to rig the selection process for HUD-funded projects, according to the indictment.

Garces, also a former Union City Board of Education trustee, Lado, Fundora and Jersey City contractor Stanley Parzych have all previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the scandal and are awaiting sentencing.

In addition to instructing Lado, Fundora and other contractors to submit phony higher bids from competitors or their own companies, Borgono and Garces used fabricated higher bids or threw out lower bids in order to secure certain Union City CDA projects for Lado, Fundora and others, officials said.

The charge of obtaining by fraud, converting and misapplying government funds carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

Additionally, the conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

Hudson County View exclusively reported in June that the CDA was being reorganized “for efficiency and operating purposes.”

The charge of obtaining by fraud, converting and misapplying government funds carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss associated with the offense, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for July 19, 2016.