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Press Release

Former Newark Police Officer Admits Bribery And Assisting In Preparing False Federal Tax Return

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A former Newark police officer today admitted soliciting and accepting cash payments from a brothel owner in Newark in exchange for protecting brothels from police action, and to failing to report those cash payments on his personal federal income tax returns, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Julio I. Rivera, 50, of Old Bridge, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark federal court to two counts of an indictment charging him with bribery (Count Six) and aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false 2015 personal federal tax return (Count 13).

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From September 2014 to August 2015, Rivera solicited and accepted cash payments from a Newark brothel owner (“Individual 1”) who ran brothels located on Lafayette Street and Emmet Street. In exchange for these cash bribes, Rivera performed official acts and violated his lawful duties for the benefit of Individual 1, including declining to arrest individuals who were committing and promoting prostitution, agreeing to protect these individuals from arrest by other Newark police officers, and agreeing to take adverse action against a competing brothel. Rivera collected between $40,000 and $95,000 in bribes in exchange for protecting those and other brothels in Newark.

Rivera also intentionally withheld information from his tax preparer regarding the cash bribes that he received, which caused Rivera’s filed federal tax returns for certain tax years, including 2015, to understate the total amount of income that Rivera received. Rivera stipulated that this misconduct resulted in a loss to the IRS of $15,000 to $40,000.

The maximum potential penalty for the count of bribery is 10 years in prison and the maximum potential penalty for the tax fraud is three years in prison; both counts carry a maximum potential fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for April 30, 2020.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, and special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cari Fais of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

Defense counsel: Kristen Santillo Esq., New York

Updated January 9, 2020

Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 20-015