JERSEY CITY — A federal corruption probe is expected to land about a dozen Jersey City cops behind bars next month, law-enforcement sources tell The Jersey Journal.
Police officers have been expecting the arrests for months, the sources said.
NBC 4 New York reported on the probe last week and said that police brass are cooperating with federal officials to identify any officers involved.
City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill indicated that any investigation is a joint operation between the city and the feds.
“Over the last three years this administration has initiated and worked with federal authorities in several investigations to root out corruption by long term city employees,” Morrill said. “We have a zero tolerance policy and employees should be aware that if they break the law they will be held accountable.”
Asked to comment, Carmine Disbrow, president of the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association, said in a statement, “The JCPOBA will not speculate on this matter, but will remain focused on the ongoing efforts of our members to keep Jersey City residents safe.”
Jersey City police officers are permitted to work off-duty providing security for private companies, which are supposed to go through the city when seeking officers. The city charges an administrative fee of $12 an hour on top of what the company pays the officer. That fee is expected to total nearly $300,000 for the city this year.
Sources said the feds are investigating officers who cut the city out as the middleman and either performed the work under the table or took the money without working at all.
Off-duty gigs can be lucrative for cops, who receive between $35 and $65 an hour depending on the kind of work. Payroll records show one officer’s payments for off-duty work this year — a total of $129,445 since January — were higher than his annual salary, $121,338. Three officers made more than $100,000 from off-duty work this year, the records show.
The records show officers received a total of $14,892,946 this year between Jan.1 and Nov. 17 for off-duty jobs.
Ex-cop Juan Romaniello, who was in charge of distributing off-duty jobs to officers in the city’s North Precinct, admitted in federal court in November 2015 to orchestrating a scheme to accept payments from businesses directly. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and accept corrupt payments and one count of filing a false tax return.
Romaniello’s guilty plea wasn’t announced until about a year later, leading some officers to worry that the feds were investigating the department that entire time.
Asked in October whether federal prosecutors are considering charges against other officers, Matthew Reilly, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, said, “All I can say at this point is that no one else has been charged.”