An Elizabeth, N.J. police officer, who is currently suspended without pay, was indicted Friday on 58 counts stemming from an investigation that revealed he was shaking down undocumented immigrants for money, saying he would not turn them into authorities in exchange for payment, announced Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
Rocco Malgieri DOB: 2/10/1968 of Brick Township is charged with 2nd Degree Theft by extortion, 2nd Degree attempted extortion, 2nd and 3rd Degree Pattern of official misconduct, 2nd and 3rd Degree Official Misconduct, 3rd Degree Bribery, and 3rd Degree receipt of unlawful benefit by a public servant.
Malgieri, who joined the force 19 years ago, turned himself in to Prosecutors on March 17, 2011 and immediately was suspended without pay by the Elizabeth Police Department, said Romankow. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Ann Rubin.
According to the investigation, beginning in February 2011 Malgieri would make unwarranted motor vehicle stops of Hispanic men, question them about their residency status and threaten to report them to immigration officials unless they gave him money, said Romankow. The stops occurred while he was on duty.
Currently there are twelve victims who have reported that Malgieri solicited payments from them. The payments ranged from $30 – $250, according to the investigation, Romankow.
Malgieri remains free on a $20,000 property bond.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.