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Toms River Man Admits Bribery of NJ Transit Employees

Two Toms River men paid off transit employees to secure contracts, authorities charged

A Toms River man admitted in court Tuesday to conspiring to pay bribes of approximately $40,000 to NJ Transit employees to obtain snow removal contracts, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Edward O’Neill, 53, pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit bribery. O’Neill entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court.

O'Neill was the second Toms River man to plead guilty in the case. Thomas Braden, 55, admitted his role in December.

According to information provided by U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman's office, O’Neill had been president of PPW Contracting Inc., which provided professional powerwashing and snow removal services for NJ Transit, an agency that received more than $10,000 in federal funds. At the same time, Braden worked at PPW as its vice president and secretary.

From September 2011 to March 2012, O’Neill and Braden agreed to give, and gave a cooperating witness – who was an NJ Transit employee – approximately $20,000 in exchange for his assistance with securing the 2011-2012 snow removal contract for the Trenton, N.J. train station, court documents said.

Then, from September 2012 to April 2013, O’Neill and Braden agreed to give the witness another $20,000, $8,000 of which was to go to an NJ Transit supervisor, in exchange for their assistance with securing the 2012-2013 snow removal contract, according to the documents.

The conspiracy to commit bribery charge to which O’Neill pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Sentencing for O’Neill is scheduled for April 22.

The bribery charge to which Braden pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Braden is scheduled to be sentenced on March 25.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; and the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, Superintendent, for the investigation leading to Monday’s guilty plea. He also thanked the N.J. Attorney General’s Office under the direction of Attorney General John Hoffman and Elie Honig, director of the N.J. Division of Criminal Justice, for their roles in the investigation.

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