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Police & Fire

Ronald Manzo gets supervised release, home confinement in Hudson corruption case

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Ronald Manzo was sentenced today in federal court in Newark to three years of supervised release for being the go-between in a bribe to former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell from the central figure in New Jersey’s largest public corruption case ever.

He was also sentenced separately to one year of supervised release, five months of which will be served as home confinement, for violating the terms of his probation from a 2004 conviction for securities fraud and perjury.

And he was fined $30,000 by U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares.

Manzo pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and agreed to testify against Elwell in the disgraced mayor’s corruption trial last year, which ended with the former mayor convicted of accepting the $10,000 cash bribe.

A federal judge sentenced Elwell to 30 months in prison three weeks ago.

Also charged in the 2009 “Operation Bid Rig II” roundup was Manzo’s brother, former assemblyman Louis Manzo. At the time, Lou Manzo was running for mayor of Jersey City and Ron was his campaign manager. However, that case was thrown out — twice — by a judge in Newark.

Elwell (l.), Dwek

For the full history of “Operation Bid Rig II” stories, CLICK HERE

Ronald Manzo pleaded guilty last May to the first count of an indictment charging him with conspiring with Elwell and another man to collect $10,000 from a crooked developer-turned-government informant, Solomon Dwek,  in exchange for help from the former mayor in securing project approvals.

A convicted felon from the Jersey Shore, Dwek worked as an operative for the government in an attempt to reduce his sentence for embezzling more than $50 million. The swindler-turned-snitch portrayed a developer looking to gain project approvals, wearing a hidden camera that recorded conversations with a number of people.

Dwek was later jailed after he tried to cover up an arrest in Baltimore when he was supposed to be under house arrest in New Jersey. He was looking at nine to 12 years in federal prison for his cooperation after pleading guilty to fraud and other charges in September 2009.

Some of the cases were either thrown out or ended in acquittals. The vast majority of those charged accepted plea bargains.

Federal prosecutors said Elwell met with Ronald Manzo (a businessman and friend of his), Dwek and  then-Jersey City official Edward Cheatam at La Reggia Restaurant at the Meadowlands Plaza Hotel in Secaucus
on May 28, 2009.

During that meeting, they said, Dwek purported to be a developer interested in building a large-scale real estate development in Secaucus. He offered to pay Elwell $10,000 “green” in exchange for the mayor’s future assistance, action and influence in favor of his development projects.

At the end of the meeting, Dwek gave $10,000 in cash to Manzo, which was intended for Elwell, in the parking lot of the hotel restaurant.

Elwell was convicted of accpeiting the $10,000 in cash from Manzo, knowing that it was being made in exchange for his future official assistance.

On July 17, 2009, Elwell met with Cheatam, Manzo and Dwek at Secaucus Town Hall. During that meeting, prosecutors said, Elwell confirmed that he had received the $10,000 in cash from Manzo, and that he was happy with it.

Cheatam is still awaiting sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman credited special agents of the FBI and IRS with making the case against Manzo, which is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley Harsch of Fishman’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

ALSO SEE (click on headlines to read):

Bribe-taking Secaucus mayor gets prison

Thursday, 12 April 2012 12:29 Jerry DeMarco

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A judge today sent former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell to federal prison for 30 months for taking a $10,000 bribe from the key figure in New Jersey’s largest-ever public corruption bust.

Manzo: New Jersey corruption sweep meant to sweep Christie, friends into office

Monday, 11 July 2011 12:34 Jerry DeMarco

EXCLUSIVE: Government crime fighters illegally brought charges against him in order to further their careers and that of Gov. Christie, who, as New Jersey’s chief U.S. prosecutor, oversaw a massive public corruption sweep that overwhelmingly targeted Democrats, former state Assemblyman and Jersey City mayoral candidate Louis Manzo tells CLIFFVIEW PILOT, in an explosive series of emails.

New federal charges against former Jersey City mayoral candidate Manzo

Friday, 08 July 2011 21:22 Jerry DeMarco

The other shoe in New Jersey’s largest public corruption case ever dropped Friday for former Jersey City mayoral candidate Louis Manzo when a federal grand jury returned a second indictment against him on bribery-related charges.

Former Secaucus mayor guilty of taking bribes

Wednesday, 06 July 2011 17:05 Jerry DeMarco

A federal jury on Wednesday convicted former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell of taking a $10,000 cash bribe from the key figure in New Jersey’s largest public corruption ever.

What now after judge revokes bail of FBI operative in NJ corruption sting?

Tuesday, 28 June 2011 21:51 Jerry DeMarco

THE UPSHOT: The cases against nine defendants are in question now that a federal judge has revoked bail for the crook-turned-government informant who helped authorities pull off New Jersey’s largest public-corruption bust in history. They include former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, whose trial is continuing.

Former Hudson elections investigator admits role in bribing Secaucus mayor

Tuesday, 07 June 2011 21:59 Jerry DeMarco

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former investigator for the Hudson County Board of Elections admitted today that he agreed to provide a $10,000 bribe to Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, as part of what became the largest public corruption sting in New Jersey history. However, with the government’s consent, more serious extortion conspiracy charges that he already had pleaded guilty to were dismissed. What this means for Elwell can’t be considered good.

Does Manzo guilty plea hurt former Secaucus mayor in corruption case?

Thursday, 12 May 2011 17:13 Jerry DeMarco

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: The prospects for former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell of acquittal at a federal trial may have taken a hit today when Ronald Manzo admitted in U.S. District Court in Newark that he conspired to funnel $10,000 in bribe money to him, as part of the largest corruption sting in New Jersey history.

Ex-Secaucus mayor indicted in corruption sweep

Tuesday, 17 November 2009 21:42 Jerry DeMarco

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell muscled cash payments from a corrupt developer in return for promised favors through political associate Ronald Manzo, a federal grand jury indictment charges.

Guilty pleas in bribery sting point feds toward public officials

Wednesday, 09 September 2009 17:52 Jerry DeMarco

Federal prosecutors are laying a major piece of New Jersey’s biggest corruption case ever, as two “smaller” players caught in a sting against dozens of public officials plead guilty in Newark. An oversimplified analogy: Think of how investigators in “The Sopranos” used the Adriana character to amass info on ranking members of the crime family while promising to keep her boyfriend out of prison.

Secaucus mayor quits

Tuesday, 28 July 2009 17:52 Jerry DeMarco

Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell became the first of three mayors arrested last week on bribery charges to resign. Like his counterparts Anthony Suarez of Ridgefield and Peter Cammarano of Hoboken, Elwell is accused of taking thousands in cash from Solomon Dwek, a federal defendant who agreed to pose as a corrupt developer in an FBI sting.

EXCLUSIVE: Meet the cooperator behind N.J.’s biggest corruption bust ever

Thursday, 23 July 2009 13:12 Jerry DeMarco

Call it “Rabscam”: A key witness in a federal corruption probe against several North Jersey mayors and a group of Sephardic rabbis is a multi-million-dollar Jersey Shore developer gone bust, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned this morning, through extensive reviews of tapes and transcripts.  “At least I bet on the right horse this time,” Solomon Dwek said, during one of several secretly recorded conversations he produced in the FBI sting. That horse would be the U.S. government.


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