A county tax commissioner in New Jersey has been replaced after he was indicted last week for conspiring to embezzle $278,650 from his Elks Lodge to gamble in Atlantic City.
Morris County Tax Commissioner Anthony Crecco, 62, was indicted April 29 on the conspiracy charges. Prosecutors also accused him of voting to award a county contract to a software vendor with whom he had personal dealings. The indictment also accused Crecco of rigging a raffle to obtain a computer donated by the same vendor, and of underpaying state sales tax on a Mercedes he bought from the software vendors CEO by underreporting the price by $14,700.
Denville attorney Joan Bedrin Murray replaced Crecco as county tax commissioner on Tuesday. She had been nominated to replace him in 2007 after the investigation began, according to the Star Ledger newspaper.
The nine-count state grand jury indictment charges Crecco with official misconduct and theft, among other crimes. We charge that Mr. Crecco betrayed county taxpayers by awarding a lucrative public contract to a firm he was connected to, and betrayed his fellow Elks by stealing huge sums from them to gamble, said New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram in a statement.
It is disturbing that a tax commissioner would fail to pay hundreds of dollars in sales tax, said Criminal Justice Director Deborah Gramiccioni.
The indictment charges Crecco with conspiracy, theft by failure to make required disposition of property, and misapplication of entrusted property, all in the second degree, for allegedly conspiring with another member of the Florham Park-Fairfield Elks Lodge, who was not charged or named in the indictment, to steal approximately $278,650 in lodge funds, which the men used to gamble.
The money allegedly was used to pay off markers, or lines of credit, in Atlantic City casinos. The markers were in Creccos name and were used to cover the two mens gambling debts. In a single weekend in June 2007, the two men allegedly misapplied over $101,000 in Elks money to pay off markers in three casinos and pay off a pawnshop where the co-conspirator had pawned property to pay off markers. When markers were paid off, Crecco obtained new markers, which were used to return the majority of the money to the Elks lodge. However, the men failed to repay thousands of dollars to the Elks.
The other charges in the indictment all relate to Creccos dealings with a software vendor, Vital Communications, and its chief executive officer, a personal friend.
A committee appointed by the county tax administrator to evaluate contractors voted in December 2004 to recommend that the county accept a bid by Vital to supply software to the tax board for $118,560. The county freeholders approved the bid. As a member of the evaluation committee, Crecco had a duty to recuse himself from that request for proposals because he was in the process of negotiating with Vitals CEO to buy a Mercedes from him, according to prosecutors. Crecco allegedly violated his duty by participating in the recommendation. He voted for Vital, giving its bid a perfect score.
The indictment further alleges that he directed another committee member to vote for Vital. Crecco was president of the county tax board at the time. The indictment charges Crecco with two counts of second-degree official misconduct, one count for his own vote and the second for pressuring the other committee member to vote for Vital. Crecco golfed with Vitals CEO and had attended his wedding in Las Vegas.
In connection with the raffle, Crecco is charged with theft by unlawful taking and rigging a publicly exhibited contest, both third-degree offenses. Vital Communications donated a personal computer worth $1,200 for a raffle on Sept. 3, 2004, at the annual conference of the New Jersey Association of County Tax Boards in Cape May. Crecco, who was president of the association, allegedly entered the name of another man in the raffle after the man left the conference. Crecco allegedly placed the mans ticket on top of the other tickets in the raffle box so it would be selected. The man was unaware he had won, and Crecco allegedly picked up the computer from Vitals headquarters after the conference and kept it for his own use.
Crecco is charged with theft by unlawful taking and purposely failing to turn over sales tax, both in the third degree, in connection with his failure to pay the full sales tax due on his purchase of a car from Vitals CEO. Crecco paid the CEO $28,700 in January 2005 to purchase a 1998 Mercedes Benz SL 600. However, in registering the car with the Motor Vehicle Commission, Crecco reported that he purchased the car for $14,000. As a result, Crecco paid $840 in sales tax to the state when he actually owed $1,722. He is charged with stealing the $882 he failed to pay.
Register or login for access to this item and much more
All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.
Community members receive:
- All recent and archived articles
- Conference offers and updates
- A full menu of enewsletter options
- Web seminars, white papers, ebooks
Already have an account? Log In
Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access