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Former jersey city housing department employee pleads guilty to tax evasion

October 4, 2011


NEWARK, N.J. – A former Jersey City Housing Department employee admitted today to evading taxes on cash payments he accepted for obtaining expedited development approvals for a purported real estate developer who was developing land in Jersey City, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

John Guarini, 62, formerly a Jersey City Housing Department property improvement field representative, pleaded guilty to one count of willfully subscribing to a false personal federal income tax return. Guarini entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Jose Linares in Newark federal court.

At today’s hearing, Guarini admitted he accepted $20,000 in cash from Solomon Dwek, who was a cooperating witness for the FBI, as consideration for obtaining expedited development approvals from other Jersey City public officials including the chairman of the Jersey City Planning Board. The approvals were for a property on Garfield Avenue in Jersey City purportedly owned by Dwek, who was posing as a corrupt real estate developer. Guarini also accepted $10,000 cash from Dwek that was intended for another Jersey City public official named Maher Khalil. Guarini admitted that instead of passing the $10,000 to Khalil, and unbeknownst to Dwek, Guarini kept the $10,000 for himself. Guarini also admitted he did not disclose any of the money he received from Dwek as income on his 2008 personal income tax return because he knew he had received it unlawfully.

The count of willfully subscribing to a false personal federal income tax return to which Guarini pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 4, 2012, before Judge Linares.

Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, and IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff, for the investigation that led to the guilty plea by Guarini.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric T. Kanefsky of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division.


Defense counsel: Peter Carter Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

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