- Associated Press - Monday, November 9, 2015

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Two men have admitted extorting payments from contractors seeking work on a golf course project in northern New Jersey.

Federal prosecutors say 65-year-old Gerard Pica of Middletown and 60-year-old James Castaldo of Beachwood both pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.

Each man faces up to 20 years in prison when they are sentenced Feb. 23. Pica and Castaldo are also jointly responsible for forfeiture of $53,861.

Prosecutors say the men took money from contractors in exchange for using their influence with the Hudson County Improvement Authority, which was building a nine-hole public golf course in Jersey City.

The pair schemed to obtain payments from an environmental consulting firm and a recycling business that sought to provide soil and fill material for the project.

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