The retired head of a large New Jersey engineering firm and six other executives and shareholders have been indicted for allegedly conspiring to circumvent the state's pay-to-play law.

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The Birdsall Services Group was also named as a defendant in the indictment announced Tuesday.

The indictment alleges that 69-year-old Howard Birdsall of Brielle and the others disguised more than $686,000 in illegal corporate political contributions as donations made by company employees. The donations were made in amounts of $300 or less, which do not have to be reported to state election officials.

Joseph Hayden, an attorney for the company, said Tuesday night that the charges were "regrettable," noting that the firm has voluntarily made "sweeping changes" to its leadership and internal processes in recent months.


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