Jerry L. Moore of Mays Landing, an auditor with the state Division of Taxation has been charged with demanding a bribe from the owner of a convenience store in Gloucester County in return for not initiating an audit of the business, state Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced Monday.
Moore, 33, was arrested on Friday at the store in Washington Township, by detectives of the state Division of Criminal Justice after he allegedly accepted a $900 bribe from the owner.
Moore was charged by summons with second-degree bribery. He faces a sentence of five to 10 years in prison if convicted, including a mandatory minimum term of five years in without possibility of parole. He was released without posting bail after being processed.
“We charge that this state tax auditor used the authority of his public position to shake down a small business owner for a bribe,” Chiesa said. “The serious criminal charge filed against him should send a very clear and powerful message to government employees who think they can use their public offices for personal profit or advantage.”
“This investigation started when a member of the public alerted the Division of Criminal Justice about the alleged corrupt conduct of this government employee,” Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor said. “We urge anyone who suspects criminal conduct by a public official to alert us at our confidential tip line: 1-866-TIPS-4CJ. We will aggressively pursue any leads we receive.”
Moore allegedly visited the convenience store on Feb. 2 and told the owner that he must pay him $1,000 to avoid being audited. During a subsequent phone call, Moore allegedly repeated his demand for $1,000, but the owner asked that the amount be reduced to $800. Moore allegedly agreed to $900 and arranged to meet the owner on Friday. Detectives arrested Moore at the store immediately after he allegedly accepted the $900 cash bribe.
Because the charge is an indictable offense, the case will be presented to a grand jury for potential indictment. The Division of Taxation has suspended Moore from his position, which he has held since December 2000.
The investigation was conducted by Deputy Attorney General Peter W. Lee, Sgt. Robert Feriozzi and Detectives Stacy Scott and Frank Simpson. Detectives John Sheeran, John Neggia, Paul A. Marfino Jr., Michael Duffield and Joseph McCray assisted in the arrest.
—TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM