Elizabeth cop charged with theft by extortion, official misconduct

ELIZABETH - According to the Union County Prosecutor's Office, Elizabeth police officer Rocco Malgieri, 43, of Brick Township, was charged this morning with taking money from undocumented immigrants, saying he would turn them into authorities if they didn't pay him.

The investigation began at a pizzeria on Elizabeth Avenue when a woman, who is undocumented, approached two officers and claimed Malgieri threatened to turn her into immigration unless she handed over money.

Malgieri's attorney, Donald Digioia, tells News 12 New Jersey that Rocco Malgieri is "an outstanding police officer. He looks forward to confronting his accusers in court. He's a 19-year veteran with a spotless record, tremendous performance and has been decorated."Malgieri turned himself in to prosecutors this morning. The prosecutor's office says he was suspended without pay by the Elizabeth Police Department.The prosecutor's office says that there are seven victims who have reported that Malgieri asked them for money. This remains an active investigation and anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Edward Koenig at (908) 527-4914.

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