More trouble in the City of Passaic tonight, as a federal grand jury returned a 23-count superseding indictment that adds additional bribery and extortion charges to the corruption indictment returned against former Passaic Councilman Jonathan Soto, according to U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie.
On Jan. 30, the U.S. Attorney’s office named Soto in a 15-count indictment, charging him with extortion, bribery, conspiracy, and attempted drug possession in connection with his alleged acceptance of $22,000 in exchange for his influence on local government contracts.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, today’s superseding indictment adds eight counts of bribery and attempted extortion.
These counts allege that “Soto accepted or solicited corrupt payments on behalf of himself and other public officials in Passaic.”
Soto is scheduled for arraignment at 11: 30 a.m. on Oct. 22, to face the superseding indictment before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson.
Th superceding indictment charges the former councilman with soliciting and accepting cash payments from representatives of an FBI undercover business in exchange for Soto exercising his official authority to secure business with the City of Passaic, including the Passaic Board of Education and the Passaic Redevelopment Agency, which Soto chaired in addition to his duties on the City Council.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “the superseding indictment also added charges that Soto solicited a $10,000 corrupt cash payment for a high-ranking elected government official in Passaic to ensure the promotion of a municipal employee of the City of Passaic.
“The one count of conspiracy and each of the ten counts of attempted extortion carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison. Each of the ten bribery counts carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison. Soto will be arraigned on the superseding indictment on a date yet to be determined.”