Former NJ state senator indicted

Joseph Coniglio faces nine counts of mail fraud, extortion
February 14, 2008 4:29:19 PM PST
A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted former state Senator Joseph Coniglio on nine counts of mail fraud and extortion in connection an influence-peddling scheme connected to a $66,000-a-year consulting arrangement with Hackensack University Medical Center, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced today. Coniglio, 55, of Paramus, a plumber by trade, allegedly set up the consulting arrangement with Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) to purportedly perform "hospital relations," an area in which he had no prior experience. In fact, according to the Indictment, the arrangement was a way for him to receive $5,000 monthly from the hospital in exchange for his official support for funding requests for so-called "Christmas Tree" budget items from the state Legislature and funding from other state agencies.

As a direct result of his corrupt consulting arrangement and influence as a state Senator, the hospital received millions of dollars from the State of New Jersey.

The Indictment also alleges that he concealed this arrangement with HUMC in several ways: by failing to completely disclose it on his publicly filed financial disclosure statement; by misleading the news media when specifically questioned about the arrangement; and by failing to disclose material information regarding the arrangement to a state legislative ethics committee, which subsequently dismissed its own investigation regarding Coniglio's services to the hospital, for insufficient evidence of an ethics violation.