Former Runnells Hospital supervisor pleads guilty to bribing NJ Transit employee

UNION COUNTY — A former Runnells Hospital maintenance supervisor recently pled guilty to bribing a NJ Transit employee to obtain contracts for a business he ran privately.

According to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, earlier this month Raymond Rapuano, 47, of New Providence, who made $84,900 working for the county, pled guilty before U.S. Judge William H. Walls in Newark Federal Court, after he was charged with one count of bribery. He faces 10 years in state prison and a $250,000 crime. His sentencing is scheduled for March 18, 2015.

According to Union County Communication Director Sebastian D’Elia, Rapuano retired from his position prior to pleading guilty to the charge in federal court.

“Charges are unrelated to his work here at the county and involve nothing here,” said D’Elia in a statement to LocalSource.
Fishman noted in a statement that Rapuano paid an individual who worked for New Jersey Transit $3,500 in “bribe payments” to obtain work for his landscaping company, RA Landscape and Design.

According to Fishman, Rapuano agreed to give transit workers 13 percent of the value of any work awarded by NJ Transit to RA Landscapes. The former county employee eventually handed out some $3,500 in bribes to one of the transit employees. According to Fishman the transit employee began cooperating with federal authorities in April 2012 after he was caught in a bribery scheme with another NJ Transit vendor, according to court papers filed by federal prosecutors.

During a March 2012 meeting with a vendor in Berkeley Heights, Rapuano said he “definitely wanted landscaping work from NJ Transit,” according to federal prosecutors.

“Write some numbers, put ‘em in, see what deal comes,” Rapuano told the vendor, while expressing his willingness to pay the transit employee if he helped him get work with the agency, court papers said.

Over the next several months, Rapuano paid a NJ Transit worker $2,000 for work he received, telling the employee “Put this in your pocket. Don’t even count it. It’s there, believe me.”

In September a veteran NJ Transit worker pleaded guilty to taking cash bribes to steer maintenance and custodial work to contractors seeking work at stations along the North Jersey Coast Line and northeast Corridor.

William Talerico, 55, of Beechwood, faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in January.