A city contractor admitted to conspiring with the chairman of the now defunct-Paterson Municipal Utilities Authority to steal funds and pay kickbacks in return for obtaining work from the agency.
Anthony Cacciola, 47-year-old, of Waldwick, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right before U.S. District judge Kevin McNulty on Wednesday.
Cacciola operated a fence installation and repair company in Paterson. In 2012, he was introduced to Erik Lowe, a Paterson Municipal Utilities Authority commissioner from February 2009 through May 2015. His company received work from the Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA).
Lowe would inflate the dollar amount of checks provided to Cacciola for various MUA contracts.
Cacciola admitted this allowed him to kick back to Lowe thousands of dollars in cash for steering work to his company. Near the end of the scheme, Cacciola began to accept MUA checks from Lowe for thousands of dollars knowing no work had been or would be performed.
Cacciola accepted $141,700 in MUA checks from Lowe, authorities said, out of which tens of thousands of dollars in cash kickbacks were made to Lowe.
Cacciola faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. As part of his plea, he has to pay $89,900 in restitution. He is scheduled for sentencing on September 23, 2019.
Lowe (pictured) pleaded guilty to extortion under color of official right in May 2018 for his role in the same scheme. He ran a second fraud and kickback scheme involving Carnell Baskerville of Linden, authorities said.
Baskerville received a 21-month prison sentence in 2018.
Lowe is scheduled for sentencing next Tuesday.