TRENTON – Attorney
General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice
Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that
former Morris County Tax Commissioner Anthony
Crecco pleaded guilty today to official
misconduct for unlawfully voting to award
a county contract to a software company
with which he had personal dealings. He
also admitted to fraudulently underpaying
sales tax on a Mercedes he bought from the
CEO of that company.
According to Director Taylor,
Crecco, 64, of East Hanover, pleaded guilty
before Superior Court Judge Thomas V. Manahan
in Morris County to second-degree official
misconduct in connection with the vote on
the county contract. He also pleaded guilty
to third-degree failure to pay sales tax.
Under the plea agreement, the state will
recommend that Crecco be sentenced to three
years in state prison. He will be permanently
barred from public employment.
Crecco is scheduled to be
sentenced on Jan. 13 by Superior Court Judge
David H. Ironson in Morris County.
Crecco also agreed under
the plea agreement to pay full restitution
to the Florham Park-Fairfield Elks Lodge
for funds that he and co-defendant Konstantin
Belenky, 43, of East Hanover, misappropriated
from the Elks Lodge to pay personal gambling
debts. The state’s investigation revealed
that they diverted $278,650 from the Elks
Lodge to gamble in Atlantic City. Both men
were members of the lodge, and Belenky was
treasurer at the time.
Belenky pleaded guilty on
June 24, 2009 to a charge of theft by unlawful
taking, admitting that he conspired with
Crecco to steal from the Elks. Crecco did
not admit to stealing from the Elks, but
agreed to be held jointly and severally
liable with Belenky for paying back $35,460
that the two men have not yet repaid.
Deputy Attorney General
Paul Salvatoriello represented the Division
of Criminal Justice at the plea hearing.
Deputy Attorney General Robert Czepiel Jr.
prosecuted the case. The charges were contained
in an April 29, 2009 indictment that stemmed
from an investigation by the New Jersey
State Police Official Corruption Bureau
and the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption
In pleading guilty to official
misconduct, Crecco admitted that he improperly
voted to award a contract to software vendor
Vital Communications, despite personal connections
to the company and its chief executive officer.
A committee appointed by the county tax
administrator to evaluate contractors voted
in December 2004 to recommend that the county
accept a bid by Vital to supply software
to the tax board for $118,560. The county
freeholders approved the bid.
As a member of the evaluation
committee, Crecco had a duty to recuse himself
from that request for proposals because
he was in the process of negotiating with
Vital’s CEO to buy a Mercedes from
him. Crecco was a friend of the CEO and
had previously golfed with him and attended
his wedding in Las Vegas. Crecco, who was
president of the Tax Board at the time,
admitted that he violated his duty by participating
in the recommendation. He voted for Vital,
giving its bid a perfect score.
In pleading guilty to failure
to pay sales tax, Crecco admitted that he
deliberately failed to pay the full sales
tax due on his purchase of a car from Vital’s
CEO. Crecco paid the CEO $28,700 in January
2005 to purchase a 1998 Mercedes Benz SL
600. However, in registering the car with
the Motor Vehicle Commission, Crecco reported
that he purchased the car for $14,000. As
a result, Crecco paid $840 in sales tax
to the state when he actually owed $1,722.
He thereby unlawfully evaded $882 in sales
The remaining counts in
the indictment were dismissed. Crecco served
on the Tax Board until May 2009. He was
not reappointed to the board following his
The investigation was conducted
and coordinated by Detective Deniele DeBoer,
Detective Sgt. 1st Class Bryant C. Hoar,
Detective Sgt. Geoffrey P. Forker and Detective
Sgt. Myles Cappiello of the New Jersey State
Police Official Corruption Bureau, and Analyst
Allison Callery and Deputy Attorney General
Czepiel of the Division of Criminal Justice
General Dow noted that the Division of Criminal
Justice Corruption Bureau has established
a toll-free Corruption Tipline 1-866-TIPS-4CJ
for the public to report corruption,
financial crime and other illegal activities.
Additionally, the public can log on to the
Division of Criminal Justice Web page at
to report suspected wrongdoing. All information
received through the Tipline or Web page
will remain confidential.