Three New Jersey Residents Plead Guilty in Major Airline Bribery Scandal at EWR
In a startling revelation of corporate corruption, three former airline officials and a contractor from New Jersey have pleaded guilty to accepting substantial bribes, including luxury home renovations and expensive items, in exchange for manipulating contract awards at Newark Liberty International Airport.
In a recent federal court proceeding in Trenton, New Jersey, Alok Saksena (45) of Montclair, Anthony Rosalli (44) of Burlington, and Lovella Rogan (48) of Springfield, confessed to conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud. This case exposes deep-rooted corruption within the airline industry at Newark Airport.
The trio, while holding influential positions at the airline, colluded to receive kickbacks from a maintenance and construction company. In return, they unfairly awarded the company contracts, including a significant renovation project for airport restrooms in September 2021. The bribe, valued at approximately $1.22 million in total, included home renovations and high-value items like electronics and jewelry.
U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, commenting on the case, emphasized the corruption's damage to economic fairness and vowed to hold accountable those who abuse their positions for personal gain.
“The defendants compromised their positions by accepting bribes in the form of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of home renovations, electronics, and jewelry. Commercial bribery of this kind corrupts the fairness of our economic system. We will hold to account those who unlawfully violate their duties to further their own economic interests,” said U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.
FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy criticized the compromised bidding process, while Port Authority Inspector General John Gay acknowledged the collaborative efforts in bringing these individuals to justice.
“Federal law requires an honest bidding process because if everyone in a position of authority demanded goods and services for their approval, the cost of doing business would be astronomical and untenable,” FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said. “These individuals admit to taking bribes in the form of home renovations, electronics and jewelry instead of money, thinking no one would notice. Greasing someone's palm for a lucrative contract not only isn't fair, but it's also illegal.”
The defendants' actions, including conspiring to fraudulently inflate contract costs to cover bribes, have led to potential sentences of 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000 each. Sentencing is scheduled for April 2024.
The successful investigation and resulting guilty pleas were credited to the collaborative efforts of the FBI, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Office of Inspector General, and special agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.