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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Jersey City Police Officer Sentenced To 23 Months In Prison For Conspiracy To Commit Fraud And Accept Corrupt Payments

NEWARK, N.J. – A Jersey City police officer was sentenced today to 23 months in prison for accepting corrupt payments in exchange for helping employers operate at worksites without the required presence of an off-duty police officer, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Juan Berrios, 42, of Rahway, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and accept corrupt payments. Judge Vazquez imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

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

Berrios was a police officer with the Jersey City Police Department from 2004 to 2017. Under Jersey City’s municipal code, police officers performing off-duty work were not permitted to receive cash payments directly from other employers. Rather, the employers were supposed to pay Jersey City, which would then pay the off-duty police officers, minus certain fees, taxes and deductions.

Berrios agreed with numerous off-duty employers to accept payments directly from them and cut Jersey City out of the process. In exchange for the payments, Berrios permitted off-duty employers to operate at worksites without the presence of a police officer when such a presence was required.

On several occasions, Berrios submitted off-duty vouchers seeking and obtaining compensation for working as a traffic director or security guard. Berrios also sought and received overtime compensation for appearing in court at the same time he was purportedly performing off-duty work. As a result, Berrios fraudulently obtained compensation from Jersey City for separate assignments that occurred at the same time.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Vazquez sentenced Berrios to three years of supervised release and ordered forfeiture of $50,000 and restitution of $34,951.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Vikas Khanna, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Devlin of the Asset Recovery and Money Laundering Unit, in Newark.

Defense counsel: Danny J. Welsh Esq., Jersey City, New Jersey

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
18-365
Updated October 23, 2018