Former Board of Education President and Steve Fulop ally Sudhan Thomas has been indicted by a state grand jury on charges that he allegedly took bribes in a major investigation of political corruption in Hudson and Morris counties.
Thomas is the second Fulop ally to be hit with state or federal charges recently. In June of last year, former Fulop campaign consultant and real estate expediter Tom Bertoli was charged with tax evasion.
The indictment alleges that Thomas, along with three co-defendants, took thousands of dollars in bribes from a cooperating witness in the form of illegal campaign contributions. In return, the defendants allegedly promised the cooperating witness, a tax attorney, that they would use their official positions to give his law firm lucrative government legal work. Envelopes and paper bags filled with cash were delivered to the defendants by the cooperating witness at various locations. Other times the cooperating witness offered checks from illegal “straw donors”— individuals reimbursed to write checks to the defendant’s campaign in amounts that complied with the legal limit on individual donations.
In November, Thomas, who was also Acting Executive Director of the Jersey City Employment and Training Program (JCETP), was indicted by a federal grand jury for embezzlement, money laundering. In that case, Thomas was charged with embezzling funds from JCETP and wire fraud and money laundering in connection with the the JCETP. Thomas was also charged with wire fraud for embezzling money from his 2016 and 2019 Jersey City Board of Education (JCBOED) campaigns; bank fraud for stealing checks issued by and to another JCBOED candidate’s campaign in 2018; and mail and wire fraud for schemes to defraud two separate Florida companies.
“These indictments are an important step in our prosecutions of these defendants,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We allege that these former political candidates agreed to sell the authority of their public office or the office they sought in exchange for an envelope filled with cash or illegal checks from straw donors. The conduct alleged in these indictments is old-school political corruption at its worst— the kind that erodes public faith in government and that we are determined to root out.”