A sixth Jersey City cop ensnared in a federal corruption probe pleaded guilty today to paying off another officer nearly $40,000 so he could get paid for no-show jobs, acting U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick announced.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Michael O’Leary, 35, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez in Newark federal court earlier today.
Private contractors and utility companies sometimes needed the services of off-duty Jersey City police officers for certain projects, including work in Jersey City that could obstruct the flow of traffic and O’Leary was an officer who was eligible to perform off-duty work.
From November 2013 through April 2016, O’Leary engaged in a conspiracy in which he made bribe payments to another Jersey City officer who was authorized to assign off-duty work, in exchange for that officer’s official assistance in submitting phony vouchers to Jersey City, according to court documents.
The fraudulent vouchers indicated that O’Leary had completed certain off-duty assignments. As a result, he was compensated for work he never performed, authorities said.
O’Leary faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
Pursuant to the plea agreement, he must also forfeit $39,587 he made as part of the conspiracy. His sentencing is set for January 3, 2018.
O’Leary, who most recently earned a $104,307 salary according to public records, is the sixth Jersey City police officer to plead guilty to a corrupt off-duty security detail scheme since September 2016.
In September 2016, Juan Romaniello, the Jersey City Police Department’s former “pick coordinator” for the North District pleaded guilty to accepting $230,000 in corrupt payments.
Romaniello passed away this summer after a long battle with cancer.
Then in June, Anthony Iannicco, another former Jersey City cop, admitted to stealing roughly $55,000 as the result of an illegal off-duty job scheme.
Additionally, three officers pleaded guilty in July to getting paid thousands for no-show off-duty jobs: James Cardinali, 38, of Jersey City, Victor Sanchez, 37, of Hasbrouck Heights, and Christopher Ortega, 29, of Brick.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office also noted that the Jersey City Police Department is cooperating with the investigation.