Former Lesniak chief of staff sentenced to probation for siphoning campaign money

Antonio Teixeira, 43, dodged prison time and was sentenced to probation and house arrest. He admitted his role in siphoning $100,000 from campaign accounts.

Matt Trapani

Jul 25, 2023, 12:21 AM

Updated 336 days ago

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There is more fallout from a murder-for-hire plot that stunned New Jersey politicians. The investigation uncovered a second scheme to siphon money from political campaigns. One of the admitted leaders in the case was sentenced in court Monday afternoon.
Antonio Teixeira, 43, dodged prison time and was sentenced to probation and house arrest. He admitted his role in siphoning $100,000 from campaign accounts.
Former Democratic state Sen. Ray Lesniak employed Teixeira as chief of staff for four years. Before and during Lesniak's 2017 run for governor, Teixeira wrote phony invoices to himself and another political consultant - and they split the campaign money.
Lesniak says that he had no idea any of this was happening while Teixeira worked for him.
“Why would he do this? I don’t know why he would do this,” Lesniak says.
Federal prosecutors uncovered the phony invoices scheme as part of an investigation into a murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by political consultant Sean Caddle.
Teixeira is not connected to the murder-for-hire scheme. The case against him is the only corruption case brought so far in the federal probe.
Caddle was sentenced to 24 years in prison last month.
Federal prosecutors wanted 12 to 18 months in prison for Teixeira, but three dozen pages of letters from elected officials and law enforcement leaders and an in-person plea by Lesniak in the courtroom convinced them otherwise.
“Tony made a big mistake. He admitted it and he's now on probation. That's what we wanted. He's been a good public servant who went astray, and the court basically granted what I asked them to do. And that's a good thing,” Lesniak says.
Teixeira was one of the most influential people in Trenton as chief of staff to Democratic Senate President Nick Scutari. Teixeira resigned as Scutari's chief of staff after pleading guilty late last year. Scutari has not been connected to any of Teixeira’s admitted wrongdoing.
The judge allowed Teixeira to continue campaign and political work. He just needs to tell his probation officer first.
Teixeira will also have to pay back just over $98,000 to seven campaign organizations.


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