Two men imprisoned for role in Jersey City golf course extortion scheme

JERSEY CITY – Gerard Pica, 66, of Middletown, and James Castaldo, 60, of Beachwood, were sentenced to 35 and 51 months in prison respectively for extorting thousands of dollars in corrupt payments in connection with arranging approvals to provide landfill materials for a Hudson County Improvement Authority (“HCIA”) project, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced on March 30.
Both men pled guilty earlier this year before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares.
Fishman’s announcement said the HCIA oversaw the construction of a nine-hole golf course in Jersey City, and Castaldo ran Renda Enterprises LLC, which provided interstate transportation and broker services that moved or received recycled waste and other materials.
Fishman said Pica had been employed by the HCIA as an environmental scientist and had the ability to influence the HCIA’s decisions regarding the selection of contractors to provide soil and fill material to the LPW project.
From August 2010 through November 2011, Pica, Castaldo and others (as yet to be named) schemed to obtain payments from certain contractors in exchange for Pica and another unnamed HCIA employee’s assistance in getting approval for certain companies to provide materials for the LPW project, Fishman said. Pica admitted that he arranged to obtain corrupt payments from the owner of a recycling business in Bayonne.
Castaldo admitted that in early 2011, he met with Pica and the owner of the Bayonne recycler to arrange dumping of material at the golf course site. Castaldo received two payments totally more than $8,600 that allowed the Bayonne recycler to dump more than 2.600 cubic yards of fill material.

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