ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A landlord with hundreds of rental units in 18 properties in Elizabeth is accused of coercing more than a dozen of his tenants into sexual acts.
According to Acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay Ruotolo, Joseph Centanni faces sexual assault and criminal sexual contact charges for several incidents which allegedly took place from 2016-2020.READ MORE: 18-Year-Old Saadiq Teague Arrested After Being Spotted With AK-47 At Times Square Subway Station
Authorities say Centanni, 73, targeted tenants who were homeless, facing eviction or otherwise struggling financially. He would demand sexual acts in exchange for rent reductions, delaying evictions or other financial relief. Prosecutors say tenants who refused or hesitated were threatened with eviction or other forms of retaliation.
Prosecutors say the sex acts took place in the laundry, storage, or boiler rooms at his properties, or in a sample apartment that was to be shown to possible renters.READ MORE: COVID Vaccine In New York: Walk-In Appointments Offered To All New Yorkers Over 50 At City-Run Sites
Centanni was arrested Friday.Discarded Tombstone Spotted On Empty Lot Raising Questions In Paramus
Anyone with information is asked to call either Union County prosectors at (908) 477-1698 or federal investigators at (855) 281-3339, or by emailing email@example.com.