Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced today a major initiative designed to solicit the public’s assistance in identifying and targeting corruption, fraud and misconduct occurring in local governmental agencies.
Public corruption is a breach of the public trust by government officials – whether elected, appointed or under contract – who use their public position for personal gain. It is often carried out with the help of private sector accomplices who may also share in private gains. It undermines democracy and good governance by flouting or subverting formal processes that are established to ensure integrity in government. So much of our way of life is impacted when these crimes occur, such as the quality of our roads, schools and other government services, all while taking a significant toll on our pocketbooks and wasting millions of dollars every year.
While fighting corruption, fraud and misconduct has traditionally been a top priority of the Office, we are undertaking a more aggressive approach. The Office relies heavily on the public’s assistance in identifying potential wrongdoing by public officials. No matter how insignificant it may seem, citizens are encouraged to contact the Office because it is the citizens that are in the best position to monitor local government officials and ensure integrity and accountability of their behavior.
Acting Prosecutor Gramiccioni is asking for citizens to get involved: “The large majority of public officials render honest and faithful service. But we need the public to help us hold accountable those who betray the public’s trust by committing crimes or using their official positions for their own personal gain and enrichment.”
Citizens may report concerns via the following:
• Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Corruption Tip Line – 855-7-UNJUST (855 786-5878); or
• E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Write “Corruption/Misconduct Tip” in the Subject Line.
Examples of possible corruption, fraud or misconduct include: misuse of governmental funds, chronic spending irregularities, corruption in contract and bid processes (e.g., bidrigging), theft or embezzlement of governmental or municipal funds, bribery and extortion, issuance or receipt of kickback payments, or illegal collusion with vendors. The opportunities for such crimes to be committed could increase with the anticipated flow of financial assistance that municipalities affected by Hurricane Sandy are expected to receive. Because of the secretive nature of these types of activities, such crimes are often difficult to detect and more difficult to prove without assistance from concerned citizens. If necessary, tips and information can be provided anonymously.
Acting Prosecutor Gramiccioni added, “With the public’s assistance, we can shine daylight on and bring to justice those individuals who seek to line their own pockets at the expense of the public trust. Greed and self-interest has no place in public service, and lawbreakers will be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. Public vigilance is the key to rooting out corruption, fraud and misconduct – join us in the fight.”