Rahway man pleaded guilty to accepting corrupt payments as Jersey City police officer

A former Jersey City police officer admitted that he accepted corrupt payments in exchange for helping employers operate at worksites without the required presence of an off-duty police officer.

Juan Berrios, 41, of Rahway, pleaded guilty earlier this month before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and accept corrupt payments.

According to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito, court documents filed in the 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.

Berrios faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Berrios will forfeit $50,000.

His sentencing is scheduled for April 16, 2018.

Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy A. Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation.


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