NEWARK, NJ (AP) — The former senior aide to the president of the New Jersey Senate pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to charges of fraud and tax evasion stemming from political advice work he performed on a five-year period ending in 2018.
Tony Teixeira, 43, admitted that from 2014 to 2018 he worked with Sean Caddle – who made headlines this year when he admitted to arranging the murder of another political operative – to inflate the bills political advisory work done by the couple.
There is no connection to the murder-for-hire plot, Teixeira’s lawyer said after the proceedings, and the scheme was not discussed at all in the courtroom.
“All I’m going to say is that Tony Teixeira made a mistake getting involved with Sean Caddle,” John Lynch said.
The scheme, according to prosecutors in court Monday, resulted in Teixeira earning some $107,800 and paying no more than $47,000 in federal taxes.
The wire fraud charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years, while tax evasion can result in up to five years in prison. He also faces a fine of up to $250,000, plus restitution.
Teixeira was a longtime aide to Democratic Senate Speaker Nicholas Scutari, who said last month he had accepted Teixeira’s resignation pending tax charges.
“(He) has served the public in many ways and is a friend, but he made a mistake and I recognize that,” Scutari said in an emailed statement.
Scutari became Senate Speaker in November after former Senate Speaker Steve Sweeney unexpectedly lost in last year’s election.
Teixeira also served as chairman of the Democratic Party in Elizabeth. It is not known if he will remain in this position.
Which campaigns Caddle and Teixeira worked on were not specified during Monday’s hearing.
Lynch said the case against Teixeira appeared to have been discovered as part of prosecutors’ case against Caddle, who has yet to be convicted after pleading guilty in January.
Caddle worked as a political consultant in northern New Jersey and had the son of a former state senator killed by two hired men, who fatally stabbed the victim in 2014 and burned down his apartment, according to the prosecutor’s office American.