Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that three Essex County employees working in the Parks Department were charged with third degree theft and conspiracy to commit theft.
The three employees are maintenance repairer Albert Maldonado, 40, of Elizabeth; coordinator of maintenance services, Rocco Gonnella, 44, of Toms River; and laborer Jimmie Pettus, 45, of Irvington. The three have been employed in Essex County for 15, 25, and 12 years, respectively.
Following an investigation by the Essex County Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Essex County Sheriff’s Department, it is alleges that the three employees used a five (5) gallon plastic container to transfer gasoline from the county gas pump near Weequahic Park to their personal vehicles on more than one occasion.
Officials from the Essex County OIG, Essex County Sheriff’s Office, and Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards & Corruption Bureau facilitated the arrests.
“My administration takes public service very seriously and hosts regular programs to remind employees about maintaining high standards of ethics and integrity. These arrests demonstrate to our employees and the public that this conduct will not be tolerated. I applaud our Inspector General Dominic Scaglione and his staff, working with the Prosecutor’s Office and Sheriff’s Office, to conduct a thorough investigation,” said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr.
The three arrested employees were given summonses, processed and released. They are scheduled to appear in Essex County Superior Court on July 6, 2012. If convicted, they face 5 to 10 years. These are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent until they plead guilty or are found guilty in a court of law.