Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment and arrest of a detective with the police division of the Waterfront Commission

Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau announced today the indictment and arrest of a detective with the police division of the Waterfront Commission for lying to officials under oath with the New York State Office of the Inspector General during an investigation into corruption on the waterfront.

The defendant, JAMES SUTERA, 28, of Woodland Park, New Jersey, was indicted on multiple perjury charges. The crimes charged in the indictment occurred on February 17, 2009.

The investigation leading to today’s indictment and arrest revealed that SUTERA gave false statements under oath during an interview the state Office of the Inspector General was conducting about various acts of corruption that had taken place at the Waterfront Commission. Specifically, SUTERA was questioned about the circumstances under which he applied for the position of detective at the Waterfront Commission, including whether he took the entrance examination that was required for the position of detective, whether he had been given either a copy of the test or the answers to the questions on the test beforehand, and whether he had ever told anyone that he had been given a copy of the test or the answers to the questions on the test. SUTERA denied that he had been given either a copy of the test or the answers to the questions on the test beforehand, that he had ever told anyone that he had been given a copy of the test or the answers to the questions on the test beforehand and that he had offered anyone a copy of the test or the answers.

In fact, SUTERA was hired on February 22, 2007 at a salary of $30,000 on the order of Michael Madonna, then the New Jersey Commissioner for the Waterfront Commission. SUTERA took the required written examination twice, failing both times with grades in the 50’s on a test that carried a minimum passing grade of 70. After his second failed attempt, Madonna obtained a copy of the test. Shortly thereafter, SUTERA took the exam for a third time and passed with a grade of 98. He currently earns $40,775 and is on suspension.

Almost a year later, SUTERA bragged to a co-worker that he had the answers to the exam and offered to provide them prior to this worker taking the test. After SUTERA brought the answers into work the matter was reported to the state Office of the Inspector General. The District Attorney’s Office began an investigation in spring 2009.

SUTERA was indicted on three counts of Perjury in the First Degree, a class D felony, which is punishable by up to 7 years in prison. He is scheduled to be arraigned today in State Supreme Court, Part 1.

The investigation is continuing.

Mr. Morgenthau thanked State Inspector General Joseph Fisch of the New York State Office of the Inspector General and Investigative Counsel Paul Ryan as well as Walter Arsenault, Executive Director of the Waterfront Commission.

Assistant District Attorney Deborah Hickey, Deputy Chief of the Rackets Bureau, is handling the prosecution under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Eric Seidel, Chief of the Rackets Bureau. District Attorney Investigator Peter Salerno assisted in the investigation under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigator Terry Mulderrig and Chief Investigator Joseph Pennisi.

Defendant Information:
JAMES SUTERA, 5/27/1981
55 Highview Drive
Woodland Park, New Jersey

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