A 56-year-old Rahway resident was charged with bribing an Orange Township official in exchange for a $350,000 no-bid contract, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced Wednesday.
Jeanmarie Zahore faces a single count of making corrupt payments to a local government agent receiving federal funds, two counts of wire fraud and one count of violating the Travel Act to carry on bribery.
Authorities said Zahore paid an unnamed Orange public official $20,000 in exchange for the official steering the contract to JZ Nettech, a computer consulting business owned solely by Zahore, who recorded two $10,000 payments to the official in a spreadsheet on Nov. 20 and Nov. 23, 2015.
On Sept. 14, 2015, the unnamed co-conspirator advised officials within the Orange Municipal Court and the Orange Police Department that the municipal complex’s network infrastructure had a security vulnerability and that JZ Nettech had been chosen to remedy the problem.
The contract was approved by the Orange City Council the following day. The unnamed official spoke in favor of its passage but failed to disclose that they and Zahore had been in contact since at least late August of that year.
Last month, Carpenito announced Willis Edwards III, formerly Orange’s acting business administrator, had been charged with a 28-count indictment that included allegations of bribe-taking, conspiracy and federal tax fraud, among other things.
Authorities claim Edwards used a limited liability corporation to funnel public funds back to himself in exchange for diverting public contracts and grants to the firm.
He separately pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States and the Internal Revenue Service in December 2019.
Edwards, a former assemblyman, was present at the Sept. 15, 2015, council meeting where the JZ Nettech contract was approved as a designee of the mayor, according to meeting minutes.
The investigations into those two men were headed by the same law enforcement officials — Acting FBI Special Agent in Charge Joe Denahan, Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of the Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Christina Scaringi and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cari Fais and J. Fortier Imbert are representing the state in both cases.
Fais and Imbert are also representing the U.S. government in a case against Shane Adams Sr., a 54-year-old New Providence resident who is facing four counts wire fraud and two counts of making false statements in connection with a mortgage loan.