A public employee from Wall Township was arrested and charged Monday with accepting a bribe from an undercover officer in exchange for favorable treatment during a permitting process, authorities said.
John Tonon, 51, of Lakewood Road, accepted a $700 bribe from an undercover officer while serving in his job as a soil conservationist and inspector for the Freehold Soil Conservation District, according to a release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.
Tonon, of Lakewood Road, accepted the bribe on Oct. 26 in Hazlet to expedite the permitting process for a recently built home, the release says.
Tonon faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence, the loss of his job and could forever be banned from future public employment in New Jersey if convicted, the release says.
Tonon appeared in Monmouth County Superior Court in Freehold before Judge Thomas Scully. His bail was set at $50,000, with no 10 percent option. He was taken to the Monmouth County Jail, Freehold, in lieu of bail.
A court date has yet to be set.
The Freehold Soil Conservation District is one of 15 soil conservation districts in the state, run by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.
Conservation districts are charged with the implementation of the New Jersey Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act, which regulates development in areas including stormwater management, soil erosion and sedimentation.
The Freehold Soil Conservation District works in both Monmouth and Middlesex counties.