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TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that former Middlesex Borough Mayor Ronald J. DiMura was sentenced to prison today for stealing more than $75,000 from various local political campaigns.
DiMura, 64, whose term as mayor ended in December 2019, was sentenced today to seven years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Benjamin S. Bucca in Middlesex County. He pleaded guilty on Aug. 13, 2020 to a charge of second-degree theft by deception. DiMura was ordered to begin serving his prison sentence within 60 days. He will be permanently barred from public office and employment in New Jersey, must pay restitution in the amount of $83,372, and must forfeit $163,582, representing the remainder of the funds he stole.
Deputy Attorneys General Mallory Shanahan and Adam Gerken prosecuted DiMura, and DAG Shanahan represented the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) at the sentencing hearing. DiMura was indicted in December 2019 in an investigation by OPIA that began with a referral from the Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC).
“DiMura exploited his role as a local party leader for his personal gain, betraying party members who placed their trust in him,” said Attorney General Grewal. “I formed the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability to ensure, among other things, that public officials are held accountable if they abuse their power. This prison sentence reflects our commitment to that mission.”
“DiMura’s thefts were all the more egregious because he used a local charity to hide his actions,” said OPIA Director Thomas Eicher. “With this prison sentence, we send a strong message that we expect honesty and integrity from our public officials in New Jersey, and those who act corruptly will face serious consequences.”
For seven years, DiMura served as treasurer for the Middlesex Borough Democratic Campaign Committee as well as a number of campaigns for candidates seeking local office in Middlesex Borough. The OPIA investigation revealed that between January 2013 and June 2019, he used his position as treasurer for the campaigns and the party campaign committee to steal approximately $190,000 by making purported donations to a local charitable organization that he ran. During the period in question, the nonprofit charity paid out only a small fraction of the funds for charitable purposes. It was determined that the remainder of the funds were funneled from the bank account of the charity to DiMura’s personal bank account or a business account that DiMura controlled.
In addition, the investigation revealed that DiMura stole over $75,000 from various individual investors by creating the false impression that they were loaning him funds that he would invest on their behalf and that would generate large interest payments for them. In reality, DiMura did not make any investments with the money. Instead, he deposited the funds into his personal bank account or the business account he controlled. He used some funds to pay back the investors, but most of them did not receive any of the promised interest and are owed substantial amounts of their principal.
Finally, DiMura used his position as mayor to solicit $10,000 in donations to the local charity from a developer doing business with the borough, without disclosing that he intended to use the money for his personal benefit. He filed false or incomplete Local Government Ethics Law Financial Disclosure Statements that failed to disclose the funds he received from the charity.
Deputy Attorneys General Shanahan and Gerken prosecuted the case under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Peter Lee, who is Chief of the OPIA Corruption Bureau, and Assistant Attorney General Anthony Picione, Counsel to the OPIA Director.
Attorney General Grewal created the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability in September 2018 to combat corruption and strengthen public confidence in government institutions. In December 2019, the Attorney General issued a directive codifying OPIA and making it a permanent part of the Attorney General’s Office. That directive established the OPIA Corruption Bureau as the lead office within the Department of Law & Public Safety for the investigation and prosecution of state criminal violations involving corruption and abuse of public trust.
OPIA has a toll-free Tipline 1-844-OPIA-TIPS for the public to report corruption. The AG’s Office has an Anti-Corruption Reward Program that offers a reward of up to $25,000 for tips leading to a conviction for a crime involving public corruption. Information is posted at:http://nj.gov/oag/corruption/reward.html.
Defense Attorney: William M. Fetky, Esq., New Brunswick, N.J.