FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. – Former Guttenberg, N.J., councilman and police officer Vincent Tabbachino was sentenced today to 41 months in prison for attempted extortion and bribery as well as for laundering approximately $125,000 in funds that he believed were criminal proceeds, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Tabbachino, 70, of Fairview, N.J, pleaded guilty in April 2011 to one count of money laundering before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares. Judge Linares had severed the money laundering counts prior to Tabbachino’s October 2010 trial, at which Tabbachino was convicted of one count each of attempted extortion and bribery for offering and agreeing to give a corrupt payment to Ridgefield, N.J., Mayor Anthony R. Suarez. Judge Linares imposed sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Tabbachino admitted that in August 2008, he met with Solomon Dwek, who he later learned was a cooperating witness with the United States. Tabbachino also admitted that beginning in February 2009 he agreed to launder and conceal Dwek’s funds through a business account of his company, Tabbachino Associates, in exchange for a 10 percent fee. Dwek had told Tabbachino that the funds he sought to launder were the proceeds of a counterfeit handbag business.
Once he received the checks made out to his company, Tabbachino deposited them into the account and provided Dwek with cash. Tabbachino told Dwek he removed cash in incremental payments from the Tabbachino Associates bank account to avoid the bank filing certain forms that might draw attention to the illegal activity. Specifically, Tabbachino admitted to engaging in four separate transactions between February and July of 2009, one for $50,000, and three for $25,000 each.
On Oct. 27, 2010, a Newark jury found Tabbachino guilty of one count of attempted extortion and one count of bribery for offering and agreeing to give a corrupt payment to Mayor Suarez, who was acquitted at trial.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Linares sentenced Tabbachino to one year of supervised release. The defendant had previously agreed to forfeit $31,851.82.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark; and IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge JoAnn Zuniga, for the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark McCarren and Maureen Nakly of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Anthony A. Kress Esq., Hackensack, N.J.