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Former Executive of Engineering Firm Indicted in Pay-to-Play Scheme

Belmar man's indictment comes less than two weeks after another former executive of Birdsall Services Group pleaded guilty

A former executive of Birdsall Services Group, a Monmouth-based engineering firm, was indicted today, less than two weeks after another executive pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme to avoid the state's pay-to-play regulations.

Thomas Rospos, 60, of Belmar was indicted after being accused of disguising illegal corporate political contributions as personal contributions by employees of the firm, according to a release from the Attorney General's Office.

“Mr. Rospos allegedly conspired with others at Birdsall Services Group to circumvent New Jersey’s pay-to-play law through a fraudulent scheme in which extra bonuses were paid to employees to reimburse them for making unreported political contributions,” said Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa. “By engaging in this scheme, we allege that they unlawfully bolstered their political connections while continuing to receive public contracts for which they should have been disqualified.”

Rospos, the former executive vice president of Birdsall, has been charged with second-degree conspiracy, making false representations for government contracts, misconduct by a corporate official and money laundering. Each of the counts carry a potential five- to 10-year prison sentence.

He also was charged with tampering with public records or information, falsifying or tampering with records, prohibited corporation contributions through employees and concealment or misrepresentation of contributions or expenditures.

Joseph Hayden, attorney for Birdsall Services Group, said the firm is fully cooperating with authorities.

"The allegations outlined in these charges all occurred under previous management at Birdsall Services Group," Hayden said in a statement to Patch. "We have been fully cooperating with the Attorney General’s Office throughout the course of this investigation, and once we were made aware of potential discrepancies swift action was taken resulting in a new CEO, significant personnel changes, and the hiring of former New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice James Zazzali, who will oversee the newly established internal processes to ensure complete compliance going forward.”

Former Birdsall marketing director Philip Angarone, 40, of Hamilton pleaded guilty Nov. 30 before Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels in Ocean County to an accusation charging him with third-degree tampering with public records or information and fourth-degree prohibited corporation contributions through employees. He faces up to 364 days in jail and a term of probation.

Under the scheme to which Angarone admitted, instead of Birdsall Services Group making corporate political contributions to campaigns and political organizations that would disqualify it from public contracts awarded by certain government agencies, shareholders and employees of the firm would make personal political contributions of $300 or less, which are deemed unreportable, the attorney general's office said.

Multiple personal checks would be bundled together at Birdsall and sent to the appropriate campaign or political organization. Shareholders and employees would then be illegally reimbursed by Birdsall in the form of added bonus payments, and the firm would falsely omit the illegally reimbursed contributions in documents filed with the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) and with government agencies that awarded the firm engineering services contracts, the attorney general's office said.

“We’re continuing our investigation into illegal corporate political contributions made on behalf of Birdsall Services Group,” said Stephen J. Taylor, director of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Each of these actions we have taken, including this indictment and the recent guilty plea, serve to move our case forward substantially.”

Claudine Scozzari December 21, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Bowie - "I can't do anything about that problem. It's not my job; it is the job of the human resource professional hired by the firm." As a government contractor/professional services firm, there are monetary requirements supposedly enforced by the State/County/Municipal government. The Government entities throughout the State including the authorities have prequalification requirements. The lack of an engineering college education is an entirely different matter in the industry as a whole. But I am not a human resource professional, so it is not my JOB. Therefore, I can't do anything about it. I am someone who is really tired of reading how non-engineers are managing tax dollars; especially, when none of them have an engineering education. And, after Hurricane Sandy, it was an engineer like Birdsall who designed conservatively so that the Jersey shore still exists.
Claudine Scozzari December 21, 2012 at 01:52 PM
The "pay-to-pay" issue started as an engineering issue; THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND THE TEACHERS NEED TO STAY OUT OF THE ENGINEERING MATTERS OF THE STATE. That is the first problem with the "Pay-to-Play" issue. Second problem. who in their right mind including the judges in the matter would allow a non-engineer educated person to manage a flooding problem, as in the matter of Assemblyman Van Pelt from Ocean Township/Waretown, NJ. The details of these cases are mind boggling. And, this is how the government workers being paid with NJ State Tax dollars are running the State.
Claudine Scozzari December 21, 2012 at 01:57 PM
I want to know how the DAG's on the Government coffers allowed this problem to get this far. The DAG's completely used the engineering industry to maximize capacity at the Dept. of Corrections for all of the government workers who created the problems that exist today.
Claudine Scozzari December 21, 2012 at 02:41 PM
The titanic sunk back in 1929. There are no icebergs in NJ; just a lack of policy making decisions out of Trenton as it pertains to Government business. It is the same old; same old. This story is the same story in this State for the past 15 years, as clearly seen with the Asset Management system put in place by the NJDOT. UBS did a wonderful job in creating a terrific Asset Monetization plan that involved all of the State's Assets (aka Property Title to Property Owned by the State). I think all of those engineers working on that plan knew what the assets were. Oh, that's right there were no engineers working on the Asset Management Systems as dictated by federal law.
Claudine Scozzari March 30, 2013 at 01:48 PM
Because the problems BSG were having going through M & A during due diligence weren't enough. When did cash flow become a problem?

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