NEW BRUNSWICK — A former security director for the New Brunswick Parking Authority pleaded guilty to a count of official misconduct Wednesday, admitting that he took more than $3,000 from security guards to ignore their repeated thefts of cash that was being stolen from payments made at two city parking decks, Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced.
Lawrence Sorbino, 47, of the Kendall Park section of South Brunswick, pleaded guilty to the charge as his trial was about to start in New Brunswick before Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz.
Under the terms of a plea agreement reached with Middlesex County Acting Assistant Prosecutor Douglas Herring, the defendant will be sentenced to serve up to five years in a New Jersey state prison, with no chance of parole for two years.
Sorbino is scheduled to be sentenced in New Brunswick by Ferencz on September 30.
The sentencing date was set after Sorbino told the court on July 3 that he regularly took bribes from two co-defendants, Emil Hanna, 58, and Emad Naguib, 50, both of Old Bridge, to overlook their thefts and allow them to continue stealing thousands of dollars from the parking authority.
Following a 13-day trial, Hanna and Naguib were convicted on Jan. 28, of official misconduct for failing to report or prevent others from stealing parking fees. Ferencz subsequently dismissed the conviction. The ruling is currently being appealed by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Sorbino, Hanna and Naguib were among seven parking authority employees who were charged three years ago during an intensive investigation of the theft of more than $100,000 that was paid in parking fees.
Three other employees charged in the case pleaded guilty and have been sentenced.
Thevio Eliscar, 32, of New Brunswick was sentenced to a seven-year prison term and was ordered to repay the parking authority $45,000. He currently is on probation.
Hicham Saadi, 42, also of New Brunswick, was sentenced to serve 364 days at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center and has repaid $60,000.
Anthony M. Williams, 35, of the Somerset section of Franklin served 21 days at the correction center and was placed on probation for two years.
Wiliams worked as a dispatch supervisor. Eliscar and Saadi were employed as security officers.
The seventh defendant, Michael Lapidus, 36, of Milltown, was allowed to enter a pretrial intervention probationary program known as PTI. Official misconduct and related charges will be dismissed if he successfully completes the program. Lapidus had been employed as the parking authority’s financial operations manager.
The investigation into the thefts began with an anonymous tip and resulted in the arrest of the seven individuals.
The investigation by Lt. Daniel Del Bagno and Investigator Donald Heck, both of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, determined that parking fees paid by motorists to park in the Ferren and Lower Church Street decks in New Brunswick were being stolen by the security officers, who paid various amounts to supervisors to overlook the thefts, which occurred between July 2007 and June 2010.
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