Former Middlesex Borough Mayor Ronald DiMura pleaded guilty Thursday to a charge that he stole more than $75,000 from various local political campaigns.
DiMura, 64, whose term as mayor ended in December 2019, pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree theft by deception before Superior Court Judge Benjamin Bucca in Middlesex County.
Under the plea agreement, the state is recommending that DiMura be sentenced to seven years in prison. He will permanently be barred from public office and employment in New Jersey, must pay restitution in the amount of $83,372, and must forfeit the remainder of the funds he stole. Sentencing for DiMura is scheduled for Jan. 15 of 2021.
DiMura was indicted in December of 2019 after an investigation by the state”s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability that began with a referral from the Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Over the past seven years, DiMura served as the treasurer for the Middlesex Borough Democratic Campaign Committee, as well as a number of campaigns for candidates seeking local office in Middlesex Borough. An investigation revealed that between January 2013 and June 2019, he used his position as treasurer for the campaigns and the party campaign committee to steal about $190,000 by making purported donations to a local charitable organization that he ran. During the period in question, the nonprofit charity paid out only a small fraction of the funds for charitable purposes. It was determined that the remainder of the funds were funneled from the bank account of the charity to DiMura’s personal bank account or a business account that DiMura controlled.
The investigation also revealed that DiMura stole more than $75,000 from various investors by creating the false impression that they were loaning him funds that he would invest on their behalf and that would generate large interest payments for them. In reality, DiMura did not make any investments with the money. Instead, he deposited the funds into his personal bank account or the business account he controlled. He used some funds to pay back the investors, but most of them did not receive any of the promised interest and are owed substantial amounts of their principal. He also used his position as mayor to solicit $10,000 in donations to the local charity from a developer doing business with the borough, without disclosing that he intended to use the money for his personal benefit. He filed false or incomplete local government ethics law financial disclosure s that failed to disclose the funds he received from the charity, state officials said.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal created the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability in September of 2018 to combat corruption and strengthen public confidence in government institutions. In December of 2019, Grewal issued a directive and making the office a permanent part of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
“DiMura exploited his position as mayor and his role as a local party leader for his personal gain, betraying borough residents and party members who placed their trust in him,” said Grewal. “I formed the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability to ensure, among other things, that public officials are held accountable if they abuse their power. This guilty plea reflects our commitment to that mission.”
The Office of Public Integrity and Accountability toll-free tipline is 1-844-OPIA-TIPS. The Attorney General’s Office has an anti-corruption reward program that offers a reward of up to $25,000 for tips leading to a conviction for a crime involving public corruption.