Former Airline Executives Plead Guilty to Bribery Charges in New Jersey
Renton, N.J. – In a stunning development, a former airline corporate real estate director, a former airline senior manager, and a former airline contractor have all admitted to accepting bribes in exchange for helping a company secure contracts from the airline. The guilty pleas were announced by U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger today.
Alok Saksena, 45, of Montclair, New Jersey, Anthony Rosalli, 44, of Burlington, New Jersey, and Lovella Rogan, 48, of Springfield, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Zahid N. Quraishi in Trenton federal court. They were charged with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.
According to U.S. Attorney Sellinger, the defendants compromised their positions by accepting bribes in the form of home renovations, electronics, and jewelry, which were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sellinger emphasized that this kind of commercial bribery corrupts the fairness of the economic system and vowed to hold accountable those who violate their duties for personal gain.
FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy stressed the importance of an honest bidding process, stating that if those in positions of authority demanded personal benefits for approving contracts, the cost of doing business would be astronomical and untenable. Dennehy further noted that the defendants chose to accept bribes in the form of home renovations, electronics, and jewelry, instead of money, in an attempt to avoid detection. However, he made it clear that such actions are not only unfair, but they are also illegal.
John Gay, Port Authority Inspector General, expressed gratitude to federal partners for their collaborative effort in ensuring fairness within the industries operating out of their facilities and bringing these individuals to justice.
The court documents and statements made in court revealed the details of the bribery scheme. Rosalli, Saksena, and Rogan held influential positions within the airline that allowed them to influence which companies would be awarded certain contracts at Newark Liberty International Airport. The defendants conspired with a maintenance and construction company to receive bribes and kickbacks in exchange for helping the company secure lucrative airline contracts.
In September 2021, the maintenance and construction company bid on a contract to renovate restrooms at Newark Airport. The defendants, who sat on the selection committee, voted to award the contract to the company. In return for their assistance and with the expectation of securing future contracts, the company agreed to fund significant renovations at the defendants’ personal residences. This included renovating bathrooms, building decks, installing floors and sheetrock, and renovating kitchens. The company also provided valuable items such as electronics and jewelry. The total value of the bribes paid were approximately $539,000 to Saksena, $276,000 to Rosalli, and $409,000 to Rogan.
Moreover, the defendants colluded with an employee of the maintenance and construction company to fraudulently inflate change orders, which amended the contract’s scope of work. This allowed the company to recoup some of the bribe costs. The defendants were aware of and consented to the submission of change orders with fraudulently high numbers, enabling the company to obtain money it had not legitimately earned and partially fund the bribe payments.
The defendants now face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. Sentencing for Saksena is scheduled for April 17, 2024, while Rosalli and Rogan are set to be sentenced on April 18, 2024.
The successful investigation leading to the guilty pleas was credited to the special agents of the FBI, investigators from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Office of Inspector General, and special agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine Calle and Francesca Liquori of the Special Prosecutions Division and First Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna are representing the government in this case.
Defense counsel for Rogan is Frank Arleo Esq. of West Orange, New Jersey; for Rosalli, David Glassman Esq. of Marlton, New Jersey; and for Saksena, Daniel Welsh Esq. of Jersey City, New Jersey.
– U.S. Attorney’s Office
– Federal Bureau of Investigation
– Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Office of Inspector General