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Ex-turnpike authority staffer faces fraud charges



NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a former claims manager for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority stole more than $120,000 from the agency through various schemes.

Gerardo Blasi of Clifton was arrested Monday by special FBI agents. He’s charged with mail fraud and defrauding a state agency that receives federal funds.

Prosecutors say the 54-year Blasi was responsible for negotiating and collecting payments from insurance companies whose insured drivers caused damage to the turnpike.

From April 2011 to June 2013, he allegedly stole more than $120,000 in several ways, including instructing insurance companies to issue checks payable to fraudulent repair companies. When the checks were mailed to Blasi at the authority, prosecutors say he would arrange to have them cashed and keep a portion of the money for himself.