A former New Jersey state senator was indicted Thursday on influence-peddling charges, accused of funneling millions of state dollars to a hospital in return for a $5,000-a-month consulting fee. Joseph Coniglio, 65, faces one charge of extortion and eight counts of mail fraud; each charge carries up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. He was expected to surrender and make an afternoon court appearance in Newark.
The former legislator from Bergen County has maintained his innocence, but he dropped his re-election bid in September after being told he was targeted in a federal corruption probe regarding Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center. His term expired last month. A message seeking comment from his lawyer was not immediately returned. The medical center had no immediate comment.
Coniglio, a retired plumber from Paramus, came to the state Senate in 2002 and served on the influential Senate budget committee. Federal prosecutors said he took consulting fees in exchange for supporting hospital grants stuffed into the state budget, and for helping to secure hospital funding from other state agencies. -- by the Associated Press
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