The new leaders of a major New Jersey engineering firm have filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court, days after the company was indicted and state authorities won an order freezing its assets.

Birdsall Services Group, a Monmouth County-based firm that has been involved in several major South Jersey projects, made the legal move late Friday afternoon.

In its filing, the company asked that the frozen funds be released so it can pay its creditors and issue paychecks to its 325 employees.

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Birdsall and seven of its top executives were indicted Tuesday for allegedly conspiring to circumvent the state's pay-to-play law while making millions of dollars off government contracts.

The indictment alleges that President and CEO Howard Birdsall and the others disguised more than $686,000 in illegal corporate political contributions as donations made by company employees. The donations were made in amounts of $300 or less, which do not have to be reported to state election officials.

Earlier this week, a company attorney said the firm has voluntarily made "sweeping changes" to its leadership and internal processes.

Company officials say all but two of the indicted executives have now left the firm, and those two are either on leave or will be resigning.

Birdsall has been involved with several local projects, including Atlantic City's Tourism District Master Plan, the Beach Boulevard Bridge replacement in Lacey Township and the NextGen Aviation Research and Technology Park.

Staff writer Wallace McKelvey contributed to this report.

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