NEWARK – Last week, a former advisor to state Assemblyman Joseph Vas pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of illegally funneling money into Vas’ 2006 congressional campaign.
Ray Geneske, a longtime friend of Vas, admitted accepting $30,0000 from a developer and giving most of it to “straw donors” who wrote checks to the campaign. The move circumvented campaign finance regulations that cap the maximum donation at $2,100 per individual.
The former Democratic committee chairman in Perth Amboy agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney General’s Office. Geneske faces a maximum of two years in prison, but he may only receive probation when he is sentenced on Sept. 21.
Geneske also pleaded guilty to state money laundering charges earlier this month.
Vas, who still remains in office as an assemblyman representing the 19th District, faces state and federal charges accusing him of using city funds to pay for personal expenses when he was Perth Amboy’s mayor and laundering illegal campaign contributions to finance his unsuccessful congressional bid.
Vas is also accused of using his influence to steer government funds from low-income housing programs to developers in a bid to raise campaign contributions.
When the once-powerful Democrat was arraigned in federal court last week, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Howe said that a grand jury was considering another indictment against Vas and more charges were anticipated.
Vas has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him