Sunday, August 30, 2015

South Jersey man accused of bribing official

Anthony J. Christaldi, 69.
Anthony J. Christaldi, 69. New Jersey Office of the Attorney General

A South Jersey man is accused of bribing a Casino Reinvestment Development Authority official in a bid to get the agency to pay a higher purchase price for the man’s Atlantic City home. 

A state grand jury on Thursday indicted 69-year-old Anthony J. Christaldi, of Cape May Court House, on a charge of second-degree bribery.

Investigators said Christaldi contacted an unnamed CRDA official in January and expressed a desire to sell an Atlantic Avenue property to the agency. 

But the official rejected Christaldi’s paperwork proposing a $157,500 purchase price, according to the state attorney general’s office. 

Authorities said Christaldi told the official he’d submit new paperwork seeking a reduced price and an expedited sale. Along with the documents, Christaldi allegedly slipped the official an envelope containing $1,000 cash. Investigators said he also included a note indicating he’d pay the official between $9,000 and $15,000 more if the agency approved a higher sales price for the lot.

The official immediately reported the incident to law enforcement. 

“This defendant allegedly assumed that the official he encountered would shell out more public funds for his benefit, as long as she got a cut,” acting Attorney General John Hoffman said in a statement. “But the official did the right thing by helping us to ensure that the alleged bribe-payer will face justice.”

During a subsequent investigation launched by the attorney general’s Division of Criminal Justice, Christaldi allegedly delivered $9,000 to an undercover detective posing as the brother of a CRDA official. 

Detectives stopped Christaldi’s car and arrested him as he left the convenience store where the transaction allegedly occurred.

If convicted of the bribery offense, Christaldi faces a maximum possible sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a $150,000 fine. He will appear in court in Cape May County to be arraigned.

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; Follow @phillynews on Twitter.
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