TRENTON, N.J. – A former Borough of Belmar fire marshal and senior lead fire protection inspector with the Picatinny Arsenal Fire Department today pleaded guilty to fraudulently reporting his hours on time cards to the Borough of Belmar, causing it losses of approximately $34,141, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
John Rizzitello, 45, of Nashville, Tennessee, formerly of Freehold, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with fraudulently obtaining funds that belonged to the Borough of Belmar, a local government receiving federal funds.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From January 2013 to December 2014, Rizzitello intentionally reported, and was compensated for, working approximately 1,540 hours for the Borough of Belmar Fire Department that he did not work, including instances when he was actually working at Picatinny Arsenal.
During the plea hearing, Rizzitello also admitted that he intentionally reported, and was compensated for, working approximately 508 hours for the Picatinny Fire Department that he did not work, causing losses to Picatinny of approximately $10,644.
The charge to which Rizzitello pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for March 27, 2016.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited investigators with the Picatinny Arsenal Criminal Investigations Unit, under the direction of Picatinny Arsenal Garrison Commander Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Ivey, the Picatinny Arsenal Inspector General and Internal Review office, under the direction ARDEC Director John Hedderich, and criminal investigators with the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara R. Llanes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Ryan J. Clark, Esq., New Jersey