A federal grand jury has indicted Hudson County political fixer, and former ally of Mayor Steven Fulop, Tom Bertoli on tax charges earlier today, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Thomas Bertoli, 62, of Matawan and a North Bergen native, was indicted on three counts of tax evasion, one count of corrupt interference with the administration of the Internal Revenue laws, and four counts of failure to file tax returns.
He will be arraigned at a later date, Carpenito announced this evening.
He was charged by complaint earlier this month on two counts of tax evasion, one count of corrupt interference with the administration of the Internal Revenue laws, and one count of failure to file a tax return.
Bertoli is a political operative who has worked in Hudson County for decades, credited with getting Steven Fulop elected to the city council in 2005 and then mayor in 2013.
Bertoli operated the following businesses: The Doormen Inc., City Street Associates LLC, a/k/a CSA LLC, and Urban Logistics LLC.
Individually and through his companies, Bertoli obtained payments from clients for services provided, including payments from developers and construction firms for expediting services on real estate development and construction projects, primarily in Jersey City – as well as payments from New Jersey political campaigns for consulting services.
Expediting in the construction industry typically refers to facilitating the acquisition of building permits and other government agency approvals required for the completion of real estate projects.
Bertoli obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars in gross receipts for calendar years 2009 to 2016.
Bertoli had not, as of April 18, 2017, filed federal tax returns or paid any of the taxes due, other than a $5,000 nominal payment in September 2014, for those years, despite receiving substantial gross receipts and having a substantial tax due and owing.
He concealed and attempted to conceal from the IRS his income and assets through various means, authorities said.
Bertoli allegedly cashed at check cashers payments from his clients, made false and fraudulent statements to the IRS, and used the Urban Logistics bank account for personal expenditures.
According to filings with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, Urban Logistics made $7,500 in political contributions between May 2014 and February 2014, as HCV previously reported.
A former political advisor to ex-West New York Mayor Sal Vega, Bertoli’s company made a $1,000 donation to then-Mayor Felix Roque’s slate on May 13th, 2014.
During that aforementioned time frame, he also contributed $3,000 to Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s team.
The only other contribution from Urban Logistics identified by NJ ELEC is an $11,400 check to Fulop’s council slate on March 31st, 2013.
Bertoli is charged with evasion of payment of taxes for calendar years 2009 to 2013 and evasion of assessment of taxes for calendar years 2014 and 2015.
Additionally, he is charged with corrupt interference with the administration of the Internal Revenue laws and failing to file tax returns for calendar years 2013 to 2016.
Counsel for Bertoli exclusively told HCV that Bertoli did not evade taxes and interfere with IRS law. Today, attorney Jack Arseneault said he found the timing of the indictment curious.
“Today’s indictment avoids a preliminary hearing that was scheduled for June 29. That hearing would have forced the government to disclose critical information,” he said.
“That information would have shed light on facts critical to Mr. Bertoli’s defense. It makes one wonder why they indicted today.”
Each charge of tax evasion carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine, while the charge of corrupt interference with the administration of the Internal Revenue laws carries a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Finally, each charge of failing to file a tax return carries a maximum potential penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.