NEWARK, NJ – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced Wednesday that four New Jersey TRANSIT train conductors were arrested this Wednesday morning as part of an ongoing investigation into the illegal sale of stolen train tickets. The investigation was initiated by the NJ TRANSIT Police Department’s Fraud Unit with assistance from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Official Corruption Unit.
Wilbert Townsend, 47, of Woodbridge, Andrew Paloti, 46, of Iselin, Robert Nemeth, 67, of Sayreville and Marquise Richardson, 40, of Newark, were arrested. All four have been charged with commercial bribery, official misconduct and theft.
Townsend was arrested on a train at Newark Penn Station Wednesday morning. Nemeth was arrested at this home in Sayreville. Paloti surrendered himself at the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in Newark. Richardson was arrested in Princeton Junction boarding a train when he arrived for work. All four defendants have been released. They are scheduled to make their first court appearance on Aug. 18.
Nemeth is a retired conductor. He retired May 2, 2015 after 44 years of service. The others are currently suspended without pay. Townsend has been with New Jersey TRANSIT for 12 years. Paloti has been with New Jersey TRANSIT for 21 years. Richardson has worked for the rail line for 15 years.
It is alleged that the four participated in a scheme in which they collected tickets from passengers. Rather than canceling the tickets, as they are required to, they bundled and resold them to monthly passengers at a dramatic discount. The amount the passengers paid for the bundles of 40 tickets ranged from $100 to $200 – approximately a third of the cost of a monthly ticket. The tickets never expire.
The investigation is active an ongoing.
Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Walter Dirkin specifically commended the work of Detective Sergeant James Finnegan, Detective Michael Bavosa and Detective James Garrison of the New Jersey TRANSIT Police Department and Detective Alissa Vinci of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
These are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they enter a guilty plea or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.