BAYONNE -- The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit today arrested Rakesh Desai, 42, a municipal prosecutor for the Secaucus and Bayonne municipal courts. The arrest took place inside the Bayonne Municipal Court after Desai allegedly accepted a cash bribe in exchange for reducing the penalties on an outstanding charge, according to a release from the prosecutor’s office.
The investigation began several months ago when Bayonne detectives contacted the prosecutor’s office. Preliminary investigation indicated that Desai was allegedly meeting with defendants prior to court appearances and soliciting cash payments. In return, Desai would allegedly agree to lower their exposure to fines, and dismiss or reduce charges that might carry a greater penalty.
With the assistance of Bayonne officials, undercover detectives observed Desai during court proceedings and Desai’s interactions with defendants. During this morning’s court session, Desai allegedly solicited a cash payment from a defendant acting on behalf of the prosecutor’s office while detectives observed from the court room. The defendant was allegedly promised favorable treatment and a reduction in fines in return for a cash payment of $500. Desai allegedly instructed the defendant to get the cash and return it to him in an envelope provided by Desai, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Members of the Special Investigations Unit then arranged for a controlled delivery of the cash as allegedly requested by Desai. Once he allegedly accepted the payment Desai was immediately arrested and the cash was recovered by Detectives.
Desai is charged with bribery in violation of section 2C: 27-2, a second degree charge that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Anyone who has information regarding similar incidents involving Rakesh Desai in the Secaucus or Bayonne Municipal Courts is asked to contact the Hudson County Prosecutors Office, Special Investigations Unit at 201-795-6400, Extension 6775. – Al Sullivan