2 sentenced for extorting payments for golf course project

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Two men who extorted thousands of dollars from contractors seeking work on a New Jersey golf course project have received prison sentences.

Federal prosecutors say 66-year-old Middletown resident Gerard Pica on Wednesday got almost three years and 60-year-old Beachwood resident James Castaldo got more than four years. The men are jointly responsible for paying $54,000 in restitution.

The men pleaded guilty last November to conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.

Prosecutors say the men took money from contractors in exchange for using their influence with the Hudson County Improvement Authority, which was building a nine-hole public golf course in Jersey City.

The men schemed to obtain payments from an environmental consulting firm and a recycling business that sought to provide soil and fill material for the project.