PERTH AMBOY, NJ—An official with the Perth Amboy Fire Department (PAFD) who also served as the treasurer for Mayor Wilda Diaz's 2008 campaign has been charged with crimes.
Sammy Arroyo, a 42-year-old resident of the city, was charged with third-degree theft by unlawful taking and second-degree computer theft, apparently because a computer was used in the alleged scheme.
According to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO), Arroyo used a city computer to "acquire compensatory time that was unearned."
"Between March 2016 and May 2017, Arroyo was double-dipping from the city and county by putting in for time instructing at the Middlesex County Fire Academy while also getting paid by the City of Perth Amboy for the same period of time," reads the MCPO's December 1 statement.
The criminal charges against Arroyo came less than six months after the leader of the PAFD, Abraham Pitre, took his own life.
Arroyo, who has been on the city payroll for 19 years, was also involved in local politics.
According to campaign finance records, Arroyo was paid $5,000 to serve as Diaz's campaign treasurer in 2008, when she upset incumbent Mayor Joseph Vas, who also served as a state Assemblyman at the time.
Vas was convicted of convicted on corruption chargesafter Diaz took office, and served a term in federal prison.
But one local source said that Arroyo fell out of favor with the Diaz administration and he did not serve as treasurer for subsequent campaigns.
Nevertheless, Arroyo was promoted to Battalion Chief in 2015 and earns an annual salary of $121,376. But now he is suspended without pay from the position, according to the MCPO.
The Diaz administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the charges.
The investigation is active and is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Perth Amboy Police Lt. Panagiotis Bouleris at (732) 324-3800 or MCPO Detective Chiorella at (732) 745-3848.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.