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Elizabeth landlord accused of coercing tenants into sex in exchange for rent reduction

A landlord in Elizabeth who owns hundreds of rental units has been accused of sex crimes against more than a dozen tenants.

News 12 Staff

Mar 22, 2021, 10:54 PM

Updated 1,182 days ago

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A landlord in Elizabeth who owns hundreds of rental units has been accused of sex crimes against more than a dozen tenants.
Joseph Centanni, 73, is accused of coercing tenants into sex acts in exchange for rent reductions or other financial assistance.
Authorities say that Centanni targeted men and women who were homeless or about to be evicted. The crimes allegedly happened between 2016 and 2020.
“Using a position of power and privilege to prey on the vulnerabilities and desperations of others is not just wrong – in this case, it is also criminal,” Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay Ruotolo said in a statement.
Prosecutors say that the victims would meet Centanni in his office on the 200 block of West Jersey Street in Elizabeth, and that the sex acts took place in laundry, storage, or boiler rooms at his properties – or in a sample apartment unit meant to be shown to prospective renters.
It is believed that there may be additional victims who have yet to come forward. Anyone with information about these crimes is urged to call the Union County Prosecutor’s Office at 908-477-1698.


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