Tony Teixeira pleaded guilty to fraud and tax charges in a federal courthouse in Newark Monday. (Fran Baltzer for New Jersey Monitor)
Tony Teixeira, the former chief of staff to Senate President Nicholas Scutari and a sizable player in Union County politics, pleaded guilty to federal fraud and tax charges Monday.
Teixeira, the former Elizabeth Democratic Committee chair and a longtime aide to Democratic ex-Sen. Ray Lesniak, pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and tax evasion related to a scheme that siphoned $107,800 out of various campaigns, PACs, and nonprofits and directed the money to himself.
Authorities said Teixeira encouraged politicians to hire consulting firms owned by another former Lesniak aide, Sean Caddle, then the two conspired to overbill the clients and split the overpayments between each other.
Caddle in January pleaded guilty to hiring two men to kill Michael Galdieri, a political consultant he had once employed.
Prosecutors say Teixeira failed to declare his ill-gotten gains as income and failed to pay taxes on the payments from 2015 to 2018.
“Tony made a mistake getting involved with Sean Caddle. He’s accepted responsibility for that mistake, and he’s prepared for the consequences,” said his attorney, John Lynch.
In exchange for Teixeira’s guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop four other tax evasion charges against him.
His plea agreement requires him to pay back $107,800 in overcharged funds. He’ll pay an additional $47,353 to the IRS. That payment covers tax on unreported income between 2014 and 2018.
Teixeira stepped down as Scutari’s aide last month when news of his guilty plea leaked.
During a press gaggle Monday, Scutari, a Democrat, declined to comment on Teixeira’s guilty plea, instead deferring to past comments. He previously said he was glad Teixeira “is accepting responsibility for his personal financial actions.”
Teixeira is due to be sentenced in March. Both charges against him carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison and fines of not more than $250,000.
GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.