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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information:

August 10, 2006

Office of The Attorney General
- Zulima V. Farber, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Gregory A. Paw, Director

 

Peter Aseltine
609-292-4791

 
Six State Treasury Officials Charged with Misconduct
Two Sales Managers for State Vendor Also Charged
>> view indictment (2.7MB pdf) plug-in

TRENTON – Attorney General Zulima V. Farber and Criminal Justice Director Gregory A. Paw announced that the director of the state Division of Taxation, the deputy director and four other state managers were indicted today on official misconduct charges for allegedly accepting thousands of dollars worth of dinners, entertainment, golf outings and spa treatments from a collections company contracted by the state to collect unpaid taxes.

According to Director Paw, a state grand jury also indicted the former sales director at OSI Collection Services Inc. who managed the company’s New Jersey contract, and a former OSI vice president for sales.

“Instead of declining the lavish gifts offered by this state vendor and reporting them, as clearly required by law and their department’s code of ethics, these state officials allegedly welcomed them,” said Attorney General Farber. “New Jersey residents must be able to count on the fact that officials who make decisions on state contracts won’t be subject to influence by vendors who offer generous freebies.”

“According to this indictment, these state officials brazenly violated their duties and created a strong impression, at the least, that they were working in their own interests, rather than the best interests of the people of New Jersey,” said Director Paw. “These allegations are what erode public confidence in government, and we will continue to investigate and prosecute this type of corruption to the full extent of the law.”

According to Director Paw, a 42-count indictment was returned today by a state grand jury against the following Division of Taxation employees:

  • Director Robert K. Thompson, 57, of Hamilton;
  • Deputy Director Harold A. Fox, 58, of Wall;
  • Assistant Deputy Director for Contract Compliance David M. Gavin, 54, of Titusville;
  • Manager of Clerical Services Carmela L. Thompson, 52, Thompson’s wife; and
  • Assistant Deputy Director for Technical Services Karen M. Wood, 54, of Hamilton.

Also indicted were an assistant deputy director in the Division of Revenue, Janice Eckstein, 46, of Robbinsville, former OSI sales director Sandra Bielanski, 39, of Hillsborough, and former OSI vice president for sales Remy P. DeVarenne Sr., 59, of Chatham. Bielanski was indicted on 10 counts of official misconduct and DeVarenne was indicted on five counts of official misconduct for allegedly assisting the state officials in violating their duties by arranging for gifts and benefits they received.

Robert Thompson and Gavin had direct responsibility for overseeing OSI’s performance under its contracts with the state to collect unpaid income and business taxes. Robert Thompson, Gavin, Bielanski and DeVarenne were each charged with engaging in a pattern of official misconduct. Most of the counts in the indictment relate to specific gifts provided by OSI to the state officials, and the failure of the state officials to report those gifts to the department’s ethics officer as required.

A copy of the indictment is linked to this press release at www.nj.gov/oag/. The gifts from OSI alleged in the indictment include:

  • A Sept. 22, 2004 trip to New York City for Robert and Carmela Thompson valued at about $2,470, including limo service to the city, tickets to the Broadway musical “Wicked,” and meals and drinks at two restaurants;
  • Spa services for the Thompsons, Wood and Eckstein in September 2004 at the Cliffhouse Spa in Ogunquit, Maine, collectively valued at about $626;
  • Three separate golf outings for Gavin between June 2001 and May 2003, collectively valued at about $2,560;
  • Various meals at restaurants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware between September 1999 and November 2004 for Robert Thompson, Fox and Gavin totaling more than $3,600 in value.

One count of the indictment charges Robert Thompson with official misconduct for participating, despite an apparent conflict of interest, in a decision regarding the length of the extension of one of OSI’s contracts. Another count charges him with official misconduct for failing to recuse himself in connection with an allegation made by an OSI employee that the company was overbilling the state.

Another count of the indictment charges Fox and Gavin with official misconduct for participating, despite an apparent conflict of interest, in the appointment of four members of a committee responsible for evaluating vendors during the rebidding of one of OSI’s contracts. Yet another count charges Gavin with official misconduct for participating, despite an apparent conflict of interest, in the formulation of a request for proposals for the rebidding of one of OSI’s contracts.

The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Maria Marinari Sypek in Mercer County. The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

All of the defendants face multiple counts of second-degree official misconduct, with the exception of Eckstein, who faces one count of third-degree official misconduct and one count of second-degree official misconduct. Bielanski was also charged with six counts of offering an unlawful benefit to a public servant for official behavior, including three third-degree counts and
three fourth-degree counts.

Crimes of the second degree carry sentences of up to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000, while crimes of the third degree carry sentences of up to five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000. Crimes of the fourth degree carry sentences of up to 18 months in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $10,000.

Deputy Attorneys General Thomas Clark and Steven Zweig are prosecuting the case. It was investigated by State Investigator Benjamin Kukis, assisted by Supervising State Investigator Ken White and State Investigators George Delgrosso, John Janowiak and Dino Dettorre.

>> view indictment (2.7MB pdf) plug-in

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