– Attorney General Anne Milgram announced
that New Jersey Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone
and his wife were indicted today on charges
they conspired to funnel more than $8,000
in state-issued paychecks for a legislative
aide and a purported aide into their own personal
bank accounts and Chiappone’s 2005 Assembly
allegedly had $7,532 in paychecks issued to
one legislative aide, who donated all of his
checks to the campaign. The defendants allegedly
diverted $4,299 of those checks into their
bank accounts for personal use, as well as
a $629 paycheck issued to a woman they claimed
was another legislative aide.
the remaining checks from the male aide did
get deposited into the campaign’s bank
account, the defendants allegedly failed to
include those contributions in reports filed
with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement
Commission (ELEC). Chiappone, who was first
elected to the Assembly in 2003, lost the
Democratic primary in June 2005, but was elected
to the Assembly again in November 2007. He
is running for re-election in November.
charge that Assemblyman Chiappone and his
wife conspired to have the state issue more
than $8,000 in paychecks for legislative aides,
knowing that the money was really destined
for the couple's own pockets or his re-election
campaign,” said Attorney General Milgram.
“This indictment chronicles a betrayal
of the public trust by this elected official.”
to Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni,
Assemblyman Chiappone, 51, of Bayonne, who
represents the 31st Legislative District,
and his wife, Diane Chiappone, 54, were charged
in a seven-count state grand jury indictment
with conspiracy (2nd degree), two counts of
official misconduct (2nd degree), theft by
deception (3rd degree), tampering with public
records or information (3rd degree), falsifying
or tampering with records (4th degree), and
concealment or misrepresentation of contributions
or expenditures (4th degree).
charges stem from an investigation by the
Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.
indictment alleges that in 2005, Anthony and
Diane Chiappone conspired to have 13 state
paychecks totaling $7,532.96 issued to a man
who was a legislative aide to Assemblyman
Chiappone, knowing that the checks would actually
be deposited into the personal bank accounts
of the couple or the 2005 Chiappone for Assembly
aide, who is not named in the indictment,
donated all of the paychecks he received to
the 2005 Chiappone for Assembly campaign.
However, instead of depositing all of the
checks into the campaign’s bank account,
Anthony and Diane Chiappone allegedly deposited
eight of the checks totaling $4,299.32 into
their own bank accounts for their personal
defendants did deposit the other five paychecks
totaling 3,233.64 into the 2005 Chiappone
for Assembly campaign account. However, those
checks were not reported in the campaign contribution
and expenditure reports they filed with ELEC.
Moreover, it is alleged the defendants falsely
certified that contributions to the campaign
did not exceed ELEC limits, even though the
aide’s checks exceeded the limit of
$2,600 for contributions from a single individual.
indictment further alleges that in April 2004,
Anthony and Diane Chiappone conspired to have
a state paycheck in the amount of $629.47
issued to a woman who they claimed was a legislative
aide to Chiappone. In fact, the woman, who
is not named in the indictment, did not work
as his aide. The woman endorsed the check,
and the defendants allegedly deposited it
into their own joint bank account.
investigation started with a lead from a member
of the public, which was diligently pursued
by our detectives,” said Director Gramiccioni.
“We will continue to thoroughly investigate
all allegations of official corruption and
aggressively prosecute those found to have
broken the law. We encourage anyone with information
about suspected wrongdoing to call our confidential
tip line at 1-866-TIPS-4CJ.”
investigation was led by Deputy Attorney General
Susan Kase, Detective Melissa Calkin and Sgt.
Joseph Caloiaro of the Division of Criminal
Justice Corruption Bureau. Deputy Attorney
General Kase presented the matter to the state
crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years
in state prison and a $150,000 fine, while
third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence
of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
Fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence
of 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
indictment is merely an accusation and the
defendants are presumed innocent until proven
indictment was handed up to Superior Court
Judge Pedro J. Jimenez Jr. in Mercer County,
who assigned the case to Mercer County, where
the defendants will be ordered to appear in
court at a later date to answer the charges.
copy of the indictment is linked to this release