NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 14 (UPI) -- A former New Jersey state senator was charged Thursday with receiving $5,000 a month in pay for a no-show job with a hospital.
Federal prosecutors said state Sen. Joseph Coniglio was a "hospital consultant" for Hackensack University Medical Center even though the former plumber had no experience in the field, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported. The Bergen County Democrat decided not to seek re-election after the investigation became public last year.
Coniglio was accused in an investigation of the "Christmas tree" program, which provided state grants for local institutions with no outside oversight. Some legislators used the program to provide jobs for relatives, supporters and even themselves.
"Trading personally on a position of public trust continues as an epidemic in New Jersey," U.S. Attorney Chris Christie said, announcing the indictment. "The allegations against Senator Coniglio in this indictment paint a disgraceful picture of exchanging public tax dollars for personal gain."
Another Democratic state senator, Wayne Bryant, got caught up in a similar scandal involving a no-show job at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.