Wanna make $25,000? Rat out a corrupt NJ official
New Jersey law enforcement officials are rolling out two initiatives to fight public corruption, one involving a $25,000 reward.
State Attorney General Chris Porrino said his office is looking for swift results, which is why the initiatives will expire on Aug. 1.
“The message is we want tipsters to come forward now," he said Tuesday during a news conference in Newark.
“The first is an anti-corruption reward program in which we’re offering a reward of up to $25,000 for tips leading to the conviction for a public corruption crime.”
He noted criminal forfeiture money will be used to fund this program.
“For members of the public who have personal knowledge of corruption and are fed up and want to express their frustration, they can now do so with the added motivation of receiving $25,000 for their tip if it results in a conviction.”
He encouraged anyone with this kind of information to call a special Tipline, 1-866-TIPS-4CJ.
Porrino explained the first person to report a previously undisclosed case of public corruption leading to conviction will be entitled to the reward money.
He added a second initiative being rolled out is an anti-corruption whistleblower program.
“It will allow lower-level defendants in corruption cases the potential to avoid prosecution if they reveal the scheme to the Attorney General’s Office so that more culpable defendants can be prosecuted,” he said.
“The program will give secondary players in corruption schemes the ability to come clean and avoid prosecution if they can inform us about criminal activity that has not previously come to our attention.”
He said whistleblowers can initially report cases anonymously or through an attorney, to determine whether they’re a likely candidate for waiver of prosecution.
But not everybody can become a whistleblower.
“You can’t be an elected official, you can’t be the mastermind of the crime, and you need to be the first in the door,” Porrino said.
Porrino added it’s a troubling reality that along with the many public officials and employees who carry out their duties with fidelity and integrity in New Jersey, there are some who still abuse their authority and exploit their positions for personal gain.
“We know these actors are out there, we’re casting a wide net, an even wider net now to catch them with these two new programs.”
He added, “We must foster a culture of integrity in New Jersey and in government to safeguard the public interest, and we can’t do it without the public’s help.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com