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Local Man Indicted in Reputed Bribe, Kickback Scheme

U.S. Attorney: Construction firm owner paid bribes to win contracts

An area man is facing more than 20 years in prison and the forfeiture of millions in assets after being indicted in an alleged bribery and kickback scheme.

George Chrysanthopoulos, 49, of Little Silver, was indicted Thursday in federal court in Trenton on seven counts of bribery, mail and wire fraud after he allegedly paid nearly $350,000 in bribes and kickbacks to a state Department of Transportation official and a port terminal operator to secure contracts for his firm, Tarheel Enterprises of Morgan, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

Authorities claim Chrysanthopoulos paid $300,000 from 2002 to 2008 to an employee of a private terminal at Port Elizabeth who would assist the Little Silver man in winning millions in construction contracts. Chrysanthopoulos agreed to pay the port employee $20,000 cash for every $5 million Tarheel earned at the terminal, Fishman said.

However, the port employee began cooperating with law enforcement and recorded meetings with Chrysanthopoulos in 2011 in which the Little Silver man spoke about rigging bids for their mutual benefit, Fishman said. 

The government also claims Chrysanthopoulos paid $48,000 in bribes to a Department of Transportation engineer in exchange for assistance in connection with a $44 million contract that the state awarded Tarheel in 2005 for road work on Routes 1 and 9 in Bergen and Hudson counties. 

Chrysanthopoulos is charged with: one count of conspiracy to commit honest services mail fraud; one count of mail fraud; one count of wire fraud; three counts of using the mail in interstate commerce to facilitate bribery; and one count of federal funds bribery.

Three of the counts carry potential penalties of a maximum of 20 years in prison while three others each carry maximum penalties of five years in prison. The federal funds bribery charge is punishable by 10 years in prison.

Each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000, and the indictment also seeks the forfeiture of up to $17 million.

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