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Press Release

Four Charged With Defrauding More Than $900,000 From Clifton-Based Trucking Company

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

NEWARK, N.J. – Four people have been arrested and charged with stealing more than $900,000 from a New Jersey-based trucking company, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced today.   

Lisa Popewiny, 53, of Clifton, New Jersey, and brothers Angel D. Vidal, 24, and Angel Gabriel Vidal, 22, of Paterson, New Jersey, and Miguel Vidal, 22, of Jersey City, New Jersey, are each charged by complaint with one count of wire fraud. Federal authorities arrested Popewiny, Angel D. Vidal and Angel Gabriel Vidal on June 2, 2016. Miguel Vidal was arrested today. All four defendants appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Mannion in Newark federal court; Miguel Vidal appeared today and the remaining defendants appeared yesterday. 

According to the complaint:

Popewiny was the payroll clerk at Clifford B. Finkle Jr. Inc, a Clifton company that provided transportation and freight services to various public and private entities located in New Jersey, New York, and elsewhere. From June 2012 to April 2015, Popewiny, Angel D. Vidal, Angel Gabriel Vidal, and Miguel Vidal – a former truck driver for the Company – allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud the company out of $920,380. 

Popewiny falsified payroll records in order to generate fraudulent paychecks payable to non-existent employees. Angel D. Vidal, Angel Gabriel Vidal, and Miguel Vidal then converted the paychecks, many of which were deposited into their bank accounts and then funneled out in cash. The scheme came to light when owners of the company, in an effort to investigate suspected fraud, distributed the payroll checks to employees – a task normally completed by Popewiny. After all of the payroll checks had been distributed, six paychecks remained that turned out to be fraudulently issued. Further investigation revealed that Popewiny input false hours for at least 12 different individuals.

The count of wire fraud is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited criminal investigators in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, postal inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Cynthia Shoffner, and members of the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force, under the direction of U.S. Marshal Juan Mattos Jr., with the investigation leading to the arrests and charges.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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

Defense counsel:

Angel D. Vidal: K. Anthony Thomas Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

Updated June 7, 2016

Press Release Number: 16-162