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Man Pleads Guilty in Tow Truck Bribery



Buffalo, NY (WBEN) A guilty plea in the so called tow truck pay to play scandal.

Christopher Mahoney, 30, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara, for conspiring to pay bribes to City of Buffalo police officers.
 
“Today’s conviction for bribery exposes a ‘pay to play’ scheme in the Buffalo towing service industry,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “As admitted by this defendant, certain police officers were paid in exchange for notification and call-out to motor vehicle accident scenes. This Office will bring to justice those who would corrupt a branch of government or seek to create an uneven playing field through payment of bribes.”           

Federal prosecutors say Mahoney admitted that between January 2009 and May 2012, Jim Mazz Auto tow truck operators, at the direction of James Mazzariello, Jr. and Adam Mazzariello, made payments to certain City of Buffalo police officers for their assistance in enabling Jim Mazz tow truck operators to tow motor vehicles damaged in accidents in the City of Buffalo. The tow truck operators made these bribe payments from their own personal funds and subsequently sought reimbursement from James Mazzariello, Jr., Adam Mazzariello and Christopher Mahoney. James Mazzariello, Jr. directed and authorized Christopher Mahoney to make reimbursement payments to the tow truck operators.  Mahoney made reimbursement payments to tow truck operators on a regular basis and often times used cash from the Jim Mazz Auto cash drawer to make such payments. 
 
While the plea agreement does not specify the exact number of bribe payments made by the tow truck operators to Buffalo Police Officers, the government, through its investigation and prior to the time defendant Mahoney expressed a desire to plead guilty, substantiated and examined, in detail, 19 different bribe payments made by tow truck operators.  Approximately $500 in payments were made to Buffalo police officers by tow truck operators for access to the tows of the 19 accidents examined. The gross revenue Jim Mazz Auto derived from making such bribe payments totaled $43,022.74. The gross revenue consisted of payments made to Jim Mazz Auto for towing, as well as for mechanical and collision repair work.
 
James Mazzariello, Jr. and Adam Mazzariello are under indictment for conspiring to pay bribes to City of Buffalo police officers. James Mazzariello, Jr. is also charged with filing false corporate tax returns and false personal tax returns for calendar years 2009 and 2010.


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