– Attorney General Anne Milgram announced
that the Division of Criminal Justice has
extradited a man from Columbia on charges
he assisted suspended Department of Corrections
administrator Gerald T. Kennedy in a bid rigging
and kickback scheme involving hundreds of
thousands of dollars in state contracts.
to Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni,
Jasher Guerrero, 49, a Colombian national
who formerly lived in Elizabeth, was charged
in an Aug. 29, 2007 state grand jury indictment
which remained sealed until today. He is charged
with bribery in official matters, official
misconduct and misconduct by a corporate official,
all second degree crimes.
fled the U.S. prior to being indicted. He
was arrested in June 2008 in Colombia on a
warrant obtained by the Division of Criminal
Justice. He was extradited to the U.S. earlier
this month, and turned over to DCJ detectives
yesterday by federal authorities. He is being
held in the Monmouth County Jail.
U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S.
Marshals Service and the Government of Colombia
assisted the Division of Criminal Justice
in Guerrero’s capture and extradition
to the United States.
Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau
obtained an indictment on April 2, 2008, charging
Kennedy, 47, of Red Bank, with steering $678,000
in state contracts between 2003 and 2005 to
three companies that were owned by friends.
As Assistant Director of the DOC Division
of Operations, in charge of the Capital Planning
& Construction Unit, Kennedy had control
over soliciting bids and selecting contractors
for small capital projects costing under $41,100.
allegedly steered 18 state contracts totaling
approximately $348,000 to Pro General Contracting
Inc., aka Pro Painting & General Contracting
Inc. Guerrero was listed in corporate records
as owner of Pro Painting. However, the state’s
investigation revealed that Kennedy actually
controlled the company. Kennedy allegedly
received more than $45,000 in kickbacks on
those contracts with the help of Guerrero
and another man, Ronald Hayes, who has pleaded
guilty in the scheme.
allegedly funneled cash back to Kennedy through
Hayes by writing checks to Hayes as if Hayes
performed work for Pro Painting, when he did
not actually perform any work for the company.
The state’s investigation revealed that
Hayes received checks totaling approximately
$50,000 from Pro Painting. In pleading guilty,
Hayes admitted he would keep just 5 to 10
percent of the amount of each check and give
the rest of the money directly to Kennedy.
allegedly received more than $35,000 in kickbacks
on eight contracts totaling $170,000 that
he awarded to SBC Construction Inc., the company
of another friend, Alfred “Buddy”
Canale. Canale has also pleaded guilty.
addition, Kennedy allegedly steered $160,000
in contracts to a third company SteelGrey
LLC, which was owned by his friend Mark Stermer,
42, of Red Bank, who was indicted with him.
charges against Kennedy and Stermer are pending.
A full list of charges can be found with the
April 3, 2008 press release on the indictment
Kennedy was required to seek bids from at
least three pre-qualified contractors, he
frequently solicited bids exclusively from
the companies he and his friends controlled,
and he often allegedly dictated the amount
of each bid so he could award the contract
as he desired. The contracts were for masonry,
painting, "skirting" of a trailer,
and roofing repairs.
crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years
in state prison and a criminal fine of $150,000.
are merely accusations and the defendants
are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
General Milgram thanked the U.S. Department
of Justice, the FBI, U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service
and the Government of Colombia for their assistance
in capturing Guerrero and extraditing him
to the United States. She thanked Michael
Heineman, Trial Attorney, U.S. Department
of Justice, Criminal Division, Office of International
Affairs, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harvey
Bartle and Shana Chen, U.S. Department of
Justice, Criminal Division.
Department of Corrections reported suspected
irregularities in the bidding process on small
capital projects to the Division of Criminal
Justice in early 2006.
investigation was conducted and coordinated
by Lt. Keith Lerner, Detective Paul Marfino
and Deputy Attorney General Steven J. Zweig
of the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption
Bureau, assisted by Senior Investigator Manuel
Alfonso of the Department of Corrections,
Special Investigations Division, who was sworn
in as a special investigator for the Division
of Criminal Justice.
Attorney General Anthony A. Picione, deputy
chief of the DCJ Corruption Bureau, had the
indictment unsealed today by Superior Court
Judge Ira E. Kreizman in Monmouth County.
General Milgram noted that the Division of
Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau has established
a toll-free Corruption Tipline for the public
to report corruption, financial crime and
other illegal activities. The statewide Corruption
Tipline is 1-866-TIPS-4CJ.
Additionally, the public can log on to the
Division of Criminal Justice Web site at www.njdcj.org
to report suspected wrongdoing. All information
received through the Division of Criminal
Justice Corruption Tipline or Web page will