TRENTON –New Jersey State Police detectives arrested a Middlesex County sheriff’s officer this morning on charges that he assisted the former sheriff in collecting a bribe, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced.
According to Taylor, Sheriff’s Officer Paul Lucarelli, 45, of South River, was arrested at his home and released without posting bail. Lucarelli was charged with conspiracy to commit official misconduct and conspiracy to commit bribery, both second-degree offenses. He has been suspended without pay from his position as a sheriff’s officer.
“We allege that this sheriff’s officer served as Sheriff [Joseph C.] Spicuzzo’s bag man, delivering bribe money to him inside the Sheriff’s Office,” Dow said. “The charges in this case are deeply troubling, all the more so because they involve a law enforcement agency.”
Lucarelli allegedly collected a $25,000 bribe for Spicuzzo from an individual seeking to be hired as a sheriff’s investigator, authorities said. Spicuzzo, 65, of Helmetta, surrendered to State Police detectives on March 7 on charges of pattern of official misconduct and bribery. Spicuzzo is due to make his first court appearance tomorrow afternoon.
“We are vigorously pursuing all leads in this ongoing investigation into alleged bribery and corruption in the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office under Sheriff Spicuzzo,” said Taylor.
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