Former State Sen. Joseph Coniglio (D-Paramus) was convicted today on five counts of mail fraud and one count of extortion connected to his $5,000-per-month plumbing contract with Hackensack University Medical Center, which then received state funds at Coniglio’s urging. Federal prosecutors called plan to secure millions of dollars of Christmas Tree” budget items an “influence-peddling scheme.”
Coniglio was found not guilty on two counts of the indictment, and a ninth count a mistrail was declared.
He was charged with negotiating a consulting contract with the hospital in 2004, after he was named to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. According to the indictment, the hospital was his new firm’s first client, even though he had represented that he was “engaged in the business of hospital relations.”
Coniglio, a 66-year-old former plumber, was elected to the State Senate in 2001, defeating three-term Republican Louis Kosco. He was re-elected in 2003.