FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. – A former Jersey City Housing Department employee was sentenced today to six months in prison for evading taxes on cash payments he accepted to obtain expedited development approvals for a purported real estate developer operating in Jersey City, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
John Guarini, 62, of Bayonne, N.J. – formerly a Jersey City Housing Department property improvement field representative – previously 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, who also imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
At his plea hearing, Guarini admitted he accepted $20,000 in cash from Solomon Dwek – 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 Maher Khalil, another Jersey City public official. 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.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Linares sentenced Guarini to two years of supervised release. Guarini was also ordered to pay $31,000 in restitution.
Khalil has pleaded guilty to related conduct and awaits sentencing.
U.S. Attorney 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 Acting Special Agent in Charge JoAnn S. Zuniga, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark McCarren of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Assistant Federal Public Defender Peter Carter Esq., Newark