March 22, 2017
Sussex County Prosecutor Francis A. Koch announced the entry of guilty pleas to an Indictment before the Honorable William J. McGovern, III, J.S.C. at the Sussex County Courthouse in Newton, N.J. by TINA DIAKOS and OZKAN CENGIZ.
DIAKOS age 49 and CENGIZ age 40, both of Butler, N.J. pled guilty to one count each of 3rd Degree Arson for the purpose of collecting insurance money in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C: 17-1(b)(3). CENGIZ and DIAKOS admitted they both researched how to start fires and combustible materials in furtherance of their agreement to burn down The Jerzeez Diner located in Vernon Township, N.J. CENGIZ and DIAKOS stated the business was not doing well and they sought to collect insurance money from the destruction of the Diner. CENGIZ admitted he drove from their home in Butler to the Diner at approximately 2:45 am on March 8, 2016 and started the fire. The structure was destroyed. No one was harmed.
This matter was investigated by the Vernon Township Police Department, The Sussex County Prosecutors Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Sentencing is presently anticipated for May 12, 2017.
CENGIZ was represented by Richard Baldi, Esq. and DIAKOS was represented by Joseph Corazza, Esq. The State was represented by Assistant Prosecutor Seana Pappas.