US Department of Justice - Hudson County Convictions

Occupation Jurisdiction/Business Name
Elected Official Hudson County Executive Robert C. Janiszewski
Elected Official Hudson County Freeholder William C. Braker
Appointed Official Hudson County Deputy Registrar Jean Anderson
Developer Applied Companies Joseph Barry
Elected Official Hoboken Mayor Anthony Russo
Developer Kushner Companies Charles Kushner
Developer Hudson County Businessman Rene Abreu
Political Operative Janiszewski Associate Paul Byrne
Accountant Lisa & Associates Gerard Lisa
Elected Official Hudson County Freeholder Nidia Davila-Colon

2002-10-03 -- Janiszewski, Robert -- Guilty Plea -- News Release

Former Hudson County Executive Janiszewski Pleads Guilty to Bribery and Tax Evasion Charges

NEWARK - Former Hudson County Executive Robert C. Janiszewski pleaded guilty today to charges of extortion and tax evasion, admitting that he took more than $100,000 in cash bribes in connection with his official duties, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

Janiszewski, a former four-term Hudson County Executive, Democratic County Chairman and state Assemblyman, pleaded guilty to a two-count Information before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano. Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. Judge Pisano set bail at $100,000 unsecured bond.

When he is sentenced by Judge Pisano, Janiszewski faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the extortion charge and a maximum of five years in prison and a $100,000 fine on the tax evasion charge, according to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey D. Clark and Stuart Rabner.

"Corruption is a blight on government," Christie said. "In Hudson County, or any County or Municipality in New Jersey, we are determined to find it and stamp it out."

According to Christie, Janiszewski is cooperating with law enforcement in an ongoing corruption probe in Hudson County.

During the plea hearing, Janiszewski admitted that he took cash bribe payments in return for approving the Hudson County contracts of a professional services vendor. In response to questions from Judge Pisano, Janiszewski identified the vendor as Dr. Oscar Sandoval. According to the plea agreement, the value of the benefit in exchange for the bribes was more than $800,000 and less than $1.5 million.

Janiszewski admitted to accepting cash bribes from the vendor at various times: in two consecutive years as far back as the mid-1990s; two $5,000 bribe payments in September and October of 1999 through an intermediary; and two cash payments of $5,000 in November 1999. Under questioning from Judge Pisano, Janiszewski admitted that Nidia Colon, currently a Hudson County Freeholder, served as an intermediary for Dr. Sandoval, in making some of the bribe payments.

Janiszewski admitted that he accepted bribe payments from other individuals who were not identified in court. Overall, Janiszewski admitted that he accepted more than $100,000 in bribe payments in connection with his official actions as County Executive.

Janiszewski also admitted evading income taxes by failing to disclose the $20,000 in bribe money he received in 1999 on his federal income tax returns.

As Hudson County Executive, Janiszewski was the county's highest ranking government official. He was first elected in 1987 and served until his resignation in August 2001. As the County Executive, Janiszewski had the power to recommend particular vendors with whom the county government should do business. When authorized by the County Freeholder Board, Janiszewski also had the power to enter into contracts with vendors on behalf of the county.

Under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Judge Pisano will determine Janiszewski's actual sentence based on a formula that takes into account the severity and characteristics of the offense and other factors.

Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Under Sentencing Guidelines, defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time.

Christie credited Special Agents of the FBI Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Louie F. Allen, and the IRS Criminal Investigation Section, under the direction of Erick Martinez, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, for their work in developing the case. Christie gave special thanks to the Hudson County Public Corruption Task Force, comprised of the FBI, IRS, the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Joseph Santiago and the State Attorney General David Samson, and the Division of Criminal Justice, under the direction of Peter C. Harvey.

The Government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey D. Clark and Stuart Rabner.

-end-

Defense Attorney: Bruce I. Goldstein, Esq. Newark


12-22-04 -- Braker, William C. -- Sentencing -- News Release

Former Hudson County Freeholder, Jersey City Police Official Sentenced to 41 Months for Extorting County Vendor

NEWARK - Former Hudson County Freeholder William C. Braker was sentenced today to 41 months in federal prison for extorting $3,000 in payments from a county vendor, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

Braker, 58, who was also formerly a Deputy Director of the Jersey City Police Department, faced an applicable sentencing range of between 41 and 51 months in prison. Braker would have faced a probable range of between 31 and 41 months in prison. But last month, Braker tried to retract his guilty plea and, because of that, U.S. District Judge John C. Lifland today ruled that Braker had failed to accept responsibility for his crimes, a factor considered under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines in imposing sentence.

"We are very pleased with the sentence," Christie said. "Like other corrupt public officials we've seen, Mr. Braker seems unwilling or unable to recognize his criminality. For that, he's earned more prison time, which is appropriate and should stand as a lesson to other corrupt individuals."

Braker, who was indicted in December 2002 on a seven-count corruption Indictment, pleaded guilty on June 29, just as jury selection was to begin for his trial. He pleaded guilty to Count Three of the Indictment, which charged him with attempted extortion under color of official right.

Braker was a member of the freeholder board since 1987 and a Jersey City police officer until his retirement in 2002, when he was a deputy police director with the rank of lieutenant.

Braker admitted in June that between 1999 and September 2000 he met repeatedly with a vendor of psychiatric services and arranged to accept bribes. In exchange, the vendor was promised his vote of support as a freeholder and influence as a police official in helping the vendor obtain a contract with the police department.

The Indictment charged Braker with accepting three separate bribes. On April 4, 2000, Braker accepted a $2,000 cash bribe payment from the vendor. In June, 2000, Braker told the vendor that before the vendor could obtain a Jersey City Police Department contract, the vendor would have to "show good faith" by providing Braker with $2,000 in cash to purchase two $1,000 tickets to a political fundraiser. Braker was going to make a $1,000 cash contribution himself. Braker subsequently agreed to accept from the vendor a benefit of $1,000 by allowing the vendor to contribute not only $2,000 but also an additional $1,000 to cover the contribution that Braker had intended to make. On Sept. 29, 2000, one day after the Hudson County Board of Freeholders had approved a contract extension for the vendor, Braker accepted a $1,880 corrupt cash payment from the vendor.

After receiving a cash payment on one occasion, the Indictment states that Braker told the vendor, "I try and tell people invest five or six thousand for a three-hundred-thousand-dollar contract; you're way ahead of the game." The vendor received contracts with both Hudson County and the Jersey City Police Department.

Throughout the period that Braker was under investigation, the vendor had been voluntarily cooperating with the FBI. According to the Indictment, numerous conversations between the vendor and Braker were consensually recorded, and two of the three cash payments were captured on video tape as well.

Last month, Braker and his attorneys moved in federal court to take back his guilty plea, expressing his innocence and saying he wanted to go to trial. Judge Lifland, however, denied the motion and scheduled sentencing.

Christie credited Special Agents of the FBI in Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Joseph Billy, Jr., for their work in developing the case.

The Government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Kwon, of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark.

-end-

Defense Attorney:

Thomas Ashley, Esq. Jersey City

and Henry Klingeman, Esq. Madison


10-28-04 -- Anderson, Jean -- Guilty Plea -- News Release

Former Hudson County Deputy Registrar Pleads Guilty for Illegally Transferring Birth Certificates

NEWARK - The former deputy registrar of the Hudson County Office of Vital Statistics pleaded guilty today to conspiring to illegally transfer Hudson County birth certificates, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

The guilty plea from Jean Anderson, 40, of Jersey City, is the culmination of an extensive investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Diplomatic Security Service, an agency of the Department of State, into the issuance of fraudulent birth certificates from the Hudson County Office of Vital Statistics (HCOVS).

An individual who paid Anderson and her co-conspirators for the service of creating the false birth records could then go to Office of Vital Statistics to receive a birth certificate.

As part of the investigation, federal agents executed a search warrant of the HCOVS on Feb. 18, 2004, which resulted in the seizure of hundreds of suspect Certificates of Live Birth which falsely indicated that the named individuals were born in Jersey City, when in fact, they were born outside the United States and were in the United States illegally.

Anderson admitted today before U.S. District Judge John C. Lifland that she was approached by an individual she knew as "Raj," who asked her to provide him with false birth certificates from the HCOVS. "Raj" - who is actually Rajendra Bahadur and has previously pleaded guilty - subsequently gave her numerous names, dates of birth and other relevant identifying information that was used to generate fraudulent birth certificates, according to Anderson.

Anderson admitted that she would then place birth certificates for these individuals into the HCOVS files. The birth certificates falsely indicated that the named individuals were born in Jersey City. Anderson admitted that she was paid by "Raj" for her activities.

Judge Lifland scheduled Anderson's sentencing for Feb. 2. She remains free on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond.

"It is deadly serious in this day and age when we have people like Anderson and her co-conspirators making it possible for anyone to present themselves as lawful U.S. citizens when they are not," said Christie. "The possibilities run from the benign to the horrific. Anyone contemplating this sort of crime should consider that the full weight of federal law will be brought upon them."

Two others have pleaded guilty in the scheme to get illegal aliens birth certificates, including, on May 20, Bahadur, 44, of Parsippany. Bahadur admitted that he provided false birth certificates from the HCOVS to Nikhil Goswamy in exchange for money. Bahadur further admitted that he obtained the birth certificates from Jean Anderson, who would incorporate Certificates of Live Birth into the county records to make the birth certificates appear legitimate. Bahadur split the money he received from Goswamy with Anderson.

Bahadur pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transfer false identification documents. Bahadur faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Bahadur is scheduled for sentencing tomorrow at 12:15 p.m. before Judge Lifland.

On July 22, Nikhil Goswamy, 47, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty before Judge Lifland to illegally transferring false identification documents. Goswamy's sentencing is currently scheduled for Nov. 29.

Goswamy admitted that he sold false Hudson County birth certificates to a number of individuals he knew were not born in the United States and were present in the country illegally. Goswamy obtained the birth certificates from Bahadur,. As part of the criminal scheme, Goswamy would either obtain actual birth certificates from Bahadur, with whom he was acquainted on a personal basis, or have the purchasers of the certificates go directly to the HCOVS themselves and obtain a birth certificate.

Every birth in New Jersey is recorded on a form called a Certificate of Live Birth, which is completed in triplicate at the institution where the birth occurs. The original form is sent to the State of New Jersey Office of Vital Statistics located in Trenton. A copy is forwarded to the Vital Statistics office in the municipality where the birth occurred, and another copy is forwarded to the Vital Statistics office in the municipality where the parents reside. Birth records for the New Jersey municipalities of Jersey City and Secaucus are maintained by the HCOVS. To obtain a birth certificate, an HCOVS employee would have to confirm that a Certificate of Live Birth for a particular individual was in the HCOVS records.

As the Deputy Registrar, Anderson ran the daily operations of the HCOVS and had intimate knowledge of the procedures used to issue birth certificates to those born in Hudson County.

In the fraud scheme to obtain false birth certificates, Goswamy, a/k/a "Pranav Kumar," contacted Rajendra Bahadur and provided him with an individual's vital statistics, which included the name, parents' names, and date of birth. Bahadur owned a business in Jersey City which supplied stamps and seals to the HCOVS, and therefore knew Anderson.

Once he obtained the personal information from Goswamy, Bahadur contacted Anderson, who would generate a false Certificate of Live Birth containing the individual's information and falsely indicating their place of birth as Jersey City and incorporate that false Certificate of Live Birth into the HCOVS records. In this way, the individual who purchased this service could go to any window clerk at the HCOVS and obtain a birth certificate, as the clerk would simply verify that a Certificate of Live Birth for that individual was in the HCOVS records.

Federal agents also arrested Iftikhar Ali Bhutta, a Pakistani national who was living in Jersey City. Bhutta purchased from Goswamy false birth certificates for himself and his three foreign-born children. Bhutta and his children utilized the false birth certificates to obtain U.S. passports, which they used to travel internationally. Bhutta also sold birth certificates to others. Bhutta is scheduled to go to trial on Nov. 29, with jury selection to begin on Nov. 16, on charges of falsely transferring false identification documents and making false statements on applications for U.S. passports.

Under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, the judge to whom this case is assigned would determine an actual sentence based upon a formula that takes into account the severity and characteristics of the offense, and the defendant's criminal history, if any.

Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Under Sentencing Guidelines, defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all of that time.

Christie credited Special Agents of the FBI in Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Joseph Billy, Jr., and Special Agents of the Diplomatic Security Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Sean O'Brien, for their work in developing the case.

The Government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Phillip Kwon and Joyce Malliet, both of whom are in the Special Prosecutions Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark.

-end-

Defense Attorney:

Daniel Welsh, Esq., Jersey City, for Jean Anderson.


10-21-04 -- Barry, Joseph -- Sentencing -- News Release

Hudson County Waterfront Developer Joseph Barry Sentenced to 25 Months for Making Cash Payments to Janiszewski

NEWARK - Hudson County waterfront developer Joseph Barry was sentenced today to 25 months in prison for making cash payments totaling $114,900 to former county Executive Robert Janiszewski, in connection with federal and state funding for the Barry company's Shipyard project in Hoboken, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano also fined Barry $25,000 and ordered him to make $1 million in restitution to three federal agencies that supplied him with grants for his building projects. The restitution was part of Barry's plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Barry remains free until Dec. 2, when he is to surrender to begin serving his prison sentence.

Barry, 64, of Peapack-Gladstone, Somerset County, pleaded guilty on June 22 to Counts Seven through 10 of the Indictment returned against him and Janiszewski associate Paul J. Byrne on Oct. 15, 2003. Each count details a cash payment to Janiszewski to reward the then-county executive for his assistance in securing the grants and loans for Barry's development projects.

Each of the counts - making an illegal payment in connection with a federal program - carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, under terms of the plea agreement and U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Barry faced a probable range of between 24 and 30 months in prison. Judge Pisano selected a sentence within that range.

"Mr. Barry is paying a steep price for contributing to the culture of corruption that has pervaded Hudson County government for too long," said Christie. "Elected officials, appointed officials, contractors and now Mr. Barry - all have been swept up in our ongoing corruption investigations. Hopefully the message is clear by now that we will persist in finding and prosecuting corruption in Hudson County."

Barry, a powerful and influential developer of mixed-use retail and residential projects along the Hudson County waterfront, was the president and principal of the Applied Companies and related companies, including Shipyard Associates, based in Hoboken.

Byrne, a long-time political advisor and "consultant" to Janiszewski, was charged in the same Indictment. Byrne pleaded guilty on July 19, admitting that he acted as an intermediary in passing cash payments to Janiszewski in return for government action on renewal of county contracts with the Lisa & Associates accounting firm. Byrne is scheduled to be sentenced on December 13.

Janiszewski pleaded guilty to extortion and tax evasion charges on Oct. 3, 2002. His sentencing is scheduled for January 5.

In all, the Barry/Byrne Indictment detailed $8.8 million in federal and state loans and grants that Barry and the Applied Companies received with the assistance of Janiszewski. At his plea hearing, Barry admitted making the following cash payments to Janiszewski: $30,000 on May 24, 2000; $30,000 on Jan. 23, 2001; $15,000 on March 16, 2001; $14,900 on April 12, 2001, and $25,000 on July 18, 2001.

The FBI and IRS investigation involved consensually made video- and audio-taped recordings of Barry, Byrne and others, made by Janiszewski as he cooperated in the government's investigation.

Christie credited Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Joseph Billy Jr.; and Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation section in Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patricia J. Haynes; and Special Agents with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ruth Ritzema, in Newark, with developing the case against Barry.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Goldklang, of the U.S. Attorney's Office Special Prosecutions Division.

-end-

Defense Counsel:

Joseph Hayden, Esq. and James Plaisted, Esq.


09-29-04 -- Russo, Anthony -- Guilty Plea -- News Release

Former Hoboken Mayor Anthony Russo Admits Accepting Cash to Influence Contracts

NEWARK - Former Hoboken mayor Anthony J. Russo pleaded guilty today, admitting that he took thousands of dollars in cash from the owner of a city accounting firm in exchange for Russo's influence in awarding contracts to the firm, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

Russo, 57, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano to three counts of mail fraud, encompassing unlawful payments he received on an ongoing basis between 1999 and December 2001. Russo admitted that he accepted the payments from principals of Lisa & Associates, including firm owner Gerard Lisa. Specifically, Russo admitted taking unlawful cash payments from Lisa, including but not limited to, one for $2,000 on Oct. 1, 2001 and another for $3,000 on Nov. 30, 2001.

"During his tenure in office, Mr. Russo expected and demanded to be paid in exchange for awarding municipal contracts," Christie said. "In corrupting his office, Mr. Russo deprived the citizens of Hoboken of the basic honesty and integrity that they had a right to expect from their highest elected official."

Russo admitted that he accepted all the unlawful cash payments knowing they were made to influence and reward him for his official action, including action in connection with the awarding of municipal contracts for professional accounting services to Lisa & Associates and for his assistance in securing future municipal contracts for the firm.

In pleading guilty, Russo, who served two terms as mayor between 1993 and 2001, admitted that he deprived the citizens of Hoboken of his honest and faithful services as mayor. Judge Pisano scheduled sentencing for Jan. 5 at 10 a.m.

Russo faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison on each of the mail fraud counts. However, under terms of the plea agreement and pursuant to U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Russo faces a probable sentencing range of between 24 and 30 months, plus restitution and a term of supervised release upon completion of his incarceration.

However, the defense has informed the court that it will make a downward departure motion, seeking a lesser sentence, based on Russo's serious cancer condition.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Luis A. Valentin and Ralph J. Marra, Jr.

Defense Attorney: Dennis McAlevy, Esq. Union City.

-end-


08-18-04 -- Kushner, Charles -- Guilty Plea -- News Release

Political Contributor, Developer Charles Kushner Pleads Guilty To Tax Fraud, Witness Retaliation and Making False Statements to the Federal Election Commission

NEWARK - Real estate developer and political contributor Charles Kushner pleaded guilty today to 16 counts of assisting in the filing of false tax returns, one count of retaliating against a cooperating witness and one count of making false statements to the Federal Election Commission, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

Kushner, 50, of Livingston, entered his plea in U.S. District Court before Judge Jose Linares.

At his plea hearing, Kushner admitted that, as Chairman of Kushner Companies, he assisted in filing false tax returns claiming over $1 million in partnership charitable contributions as office expenses, causing losses to the IRS of between $200,000 and $325,000.

Kushner further admitted he devised a scheme to retaliate against a cooperating witness and her husband by having a prostitute seduce the husband and covertly filming them having sex. Kushner told the Court that he paid a private investigator $25,000 to arrange for the seduction and videotaping of the cooperating witness' husband. Kushner admitted to personally recruiting the prostitute and instructing that the videotape be mailed to the cooperating witness.

Kushner also admitted to making false statements to the Federal Election Commission which allocated campaign contributions to certain individuals who had no knowledge that contributions were being made in their names and had not consented to him making the contributions.

"This is a great victory for the people of New Jersey," said Christie, "No matter how rich and powerful any person may be, they will be held accountable for criminal conduct by this office."

Each tax count carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $100,000. The witness retaliation count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The false statement charge provides for a maximum prison term of 5 years and a fine of $250,000.

Under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Judge Linares will determine Kushner's actual sentence based upon a formula that takes into account the severity and characteristics of the offense as well as other factors.

Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Under Sentencing Guidelines defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time.

Christie credited Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Joseph Billy, Jr.; and Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation section, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patricia J. Hayes.

The case is being prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra, Jr., and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Resnik and Thomas Eicher of the Special Prosecutions Division.

- end -

Defense Counsel: Alfred DeCotiis, Esq. Teaneck, NJ

Jeffrey Smith, Esq. Teaneck, NJ

Benjamin Brafman, Esq. New York, NY


08-04-2004 -- Abreu, Rene, et al. -- Convictions -- News Release

Hudson County Businessman Rene Abreu, Co-Defendants Convicted of Bank and Real Estate Frauds

NEWARK - Hudson County businessman Rene Abreu was convicted today by a jury of 20 of 28 counts against him for running a series of real estate and bank fraud schemes that enriched him and his companies and involved numerous of his employees, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

The jury also convicted Abreu employees Ana Martell, Kathy Giunta, and Fernando Jimenez, all of North Bergen, and Luis Nieves, of Leonia, a senior vice president with Hudson United Bank.

The jury returned acquittals on some charges, including seven counts against Abreu, and deadlocked on an extortion count in which Abreu was the only person charged. That count alleged that Abreu received regular payoffs from West New York police protection of prostitution and gambling.

"The verdict represents another victory for the people of Hudson County," Christie said. "Mr. Abreu committed massive fraud and infected the political process. His elimination from the public scene in Hudson County is positive for all its citizens."

"As I have said repeatedly, this office brings cases for only one reason - because we believe those charged have committed the crimes and that we will be able to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt," Christie said. "These verdicts are further proof of that principle. Despite the protestations and hyperbole from the defendants' lawyers, the jury agreed that these defendants were guilty and now will go to jail."

The jury began deliberating July 27, and today was their seventh day of deliberations. Opening arguments in the trial began April 6. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deborah Goldklang, Thomas Eicher and Matthew Boxer.

No sentencing date was set by U.S. District Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr., who heard the case.

Abreu faces a possible sentencing range of between 78 and 97 months under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The other defendants face potential prison sentences ranging from approximately two to five years. Certain findings to be made by Judge Greenaway will determine the specific sentences. Another factor is a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, in which the Court questioned whether the Sentencing Guidelines are a constitutional means for determining sentences.

The 29-count Indictment against the defendants charged multiple conspiracies including mail fraud, extortion and cash structuring in excess of $2 million, as well as several bank fraud schemes, money laundering, bribery of bank officials and more.

Counts One and Two of the Indictment charged Abreu, Martell, Giunta, Jimenez, Nieves and others with conspiring to commit mail fraud, in that Abreu and other employees and associates of The Mortgage Pros, Inc. fraudulently submitted fictitious loan-related documents to several financial institutions, to induce the institutions to issue residential and commercial loans to clients of The Mortgage Pros. Counts Three through 12 of the Indictment charged specific acts of mail fraud affecting financial institutions, engaged in by Abreu, Jimenez, Giunta, Martell and others.

Count 14 charged Abreu, Martell (an employee of The Mortgage Pros, Inc. and chief financial officer of the Abreu real estate company RLA Homes), and Nieves with conspiring to defraud Hudson United Bank, by engaging in a fraudulent check-kiting scheme. In the scheme, they continuously drew checks - often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars - on Abreu's several commercial bank accounts with insufficient funds at Hudson United and credited other of Abreu's accounts with these seemingly bona fide checks, in order to pay the business and personal expenses of Abreu and others. Frequently, Abreu's commercial and personal accounts had overdrafts of more than $1 million.

Count 17 charged that Abreu conspired to extort money for the protection of illegal gambling, in that Abreu demanded and accepted from Alexander V. Oriente, the former chief of police in West New York, bribe and protection money from the proceeds of the video gambling business of Boardwalk Amusements, a business in West New York.

Count 18 charged Abreu, Martell, Giunta and others with conspiring to structure currency transactions, by causing in excess of two million dollars to be deposited into accounts at Hudson United Bank and other financial institutions in amounts of less than $10,000, to avoid the filing of currency transaction reports by the financial institutions, as required by law. Counts 19 through 42 also charged Abreu, Martell, Giunta and others with specific acts of structuring currency transactions.

Abreu was found guilty on Counts One through Nine, Twelve, Fourteen, Eighteen through Twenty-Four, Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine, and Thirty-Two. Abreu was acquitted of Counts Ten, Thirteen, Thirty, Thirty-One, Thirty-two, Thirty-five, Thirty-Six, and Forty-Two.

Martell was found guilty of Count One and Two; Counts Five and Six, Fourteen and Eighteen and Counts Twenty through Twenty-three and Twenty-eight. Martel was acquitted of Count Thirteen and Thirty-six.

Giunta was convicted of Count One and Two, Counts Five through Eight, Count Twelve, Eighteen, Twenty, Twenty-two, Twenty-three and Twenty-eight. Giunta was acquitted of Count Four.

Jimenez was convicted of Count One and Count Four, while Nieves was found guilty of Count One and acquitted of Count Two and Sixteen.

Christie credited Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Joseph Billy Jr.; and Special Agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation section, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patricia J. Haynes, with the successful investigation of the defendants.

-end-


07-19-04 -- Byrne, Paul -- Guilty Plea -- News Release

Janiszewski Associate Paul Byrne Admits Being Intermediary in Hudson County Bribe Scheme

NEWARK - Paul Byrne, once a close associate of former Hudson County Executive Robert Janiszewski, pleaded guilty today, admitting that he acted as an intermediary in passing cash payments to Janiszewski in return for government action on renewal of county contracts with the Lisa & Associates accounting firm, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

Byrne, 58, of Jersey City, admitted before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano that he solicited and passed along $6,150 in cash payments from Gerard Lisa to Janiszewski at the end of 2000 and early months of 2001. Byrne admitted that he received more than that amount from Lisa and kept the difference for himself and that Lisa paid certain of his personal expenses.

Byrne pleaded guilty to one count of extortion, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and one count of tax evasion, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Judge Pisano scheduled sentencing for Oct. 25.

On June 22, Hudson County waterfront developer Joseph Barry pleaded guilty to making cash payments totaling $114,900 for Janiszewski's help in getting federal and state grants and loans for the Barry company's Shipyard project in Hoboken. Barry and Byrne were both charged in the same Indictment on Oct. 15, 2003.

Lisa, the owner and operator of his Hoboken-based accounting firm, pleaded guilty July 25, 2003. Lisa admitted that each year from 1997 through 2001, he made corrupt payments in order to secure the renewal of his firm's auditing contract with Hudson County. Lisa admitted that he made the payments to then-Hudson County Executive Janiszewski through an intermediary. The intermediary was not named at the time but is now known to have been Byrne.

Byrne also admitted today that he did not file federal income tax returns for 1999, 2000 and 2001. For those years, he admitted that he owes more than $200,000 in unpaid federal taxes on income that included the bribe money he received and kept from Lisa.

Christie credited Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Joseph Billy Jr.; and Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation section in Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patricia J. Haynes; and Special Agents with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ruth Ritzema, in Newark, with developing the case against Barry.

The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Jeffrey Clark, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Goldklang, of the U.S. Attorney's Office Special Prosecutions Division.

-end-

Byrne - John T. Coyle, Esq. and Elise DiNardo, Esq.


2003-07-25 -- Lisa, Gerard -- Guilty Plea -- News Release

Accountant Admits Making Corrupt Payments to Janiszewski Through Intermediary

NEWARK - A Hoboken accountant pleaded guilty today to making corrupt payments to former Hudson County Executive Robert C. Janiszewski, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

Gerard Lisa, 46, of Hasbrouck Heights, pleaded guilty to a one-count Information before U.S. District Judge Harold A. Ackerman.

When he is sentenced by Judge Ackerman, Lisa faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Clark. No sentencing date was set.

Lisa, the owner and operator of a Hoboken-based accounting firm, Lisa & Associates, admitted that each year from 1997 through 2001, he made corrupt payments in order to secure the renewal of his firm's auditing contract with Hudson County. Lisa admitted that he made the payments to then-Hudson County Executive Janiszewski through an intermediary. The intermediary was not named but was described in court documents as "a long-time associate of Robert C. Janiszewski."

Each year, Lisa made cash payments to the intermediary, who passed a portion of the cash to Janiszewski. Court documents indicate that as part of his cooperation with a federal corruption probe in 2000 and 2001, Janiszewski audiotaped and videotaped meetings with Lisa and the intermediary, at which Lisa's corrupt payments were discussed.

The intermediary passed Janiszewski cash payments and indicated that they were from Lisa by stating in two instances detailed in the charges, "Mr. Lisa sends his regards" and "Lisa says hello." The intermediary informed Janiszewski in a recorded conversation in December 2000 that Lisa would pay a total of $30,000 to Janiszewski and the intermediary - to be split part in cash and part in political contributions at the direction of Janiszewski and the intermediary. According to the Information, the intermediary told Janiszewski that he preferred a split of $15,000 in cash and $15,000 in political contributions over a split of $10,000 in cash and $20,000 in political contributions.

According to the Information, out of $16,000 in corrupt cash payments that Lisa made to the intermediary in early 2001, the intermediary passed on to Janiszewski $4,150.

Under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Judge Ackerman will determine Lisa's actual sentence based on a formula that takes into account the severity and characteristics of the offense and Lisa's criminal history, if any, Christie said.

Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Under Sentencing Guidelines, defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time.

Christie credited Special Agents of the FBI Newark in Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Louie F. Allen and Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations section, under the direction of Special Agent in Anne D. Fahy, for their work in developing the case.

The Government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey D. Clark, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney's Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

-end-

Defense Attorney: Paul B. Brickfield, Esq. River Edge


2003-06-23 -- Davila-Colon, Nidia -- Conviction -- News Release

Hudson County Freeholder Nidia Davila-Colon Convicted for Passing Bribes to Janiszewski

NEWARK - Hudson County Freeholder Nidia Davila-Colon was convicted by a federal jury today on all five counts against her, including charges that she passed cash bribes from a Hudson County psychiatrist to then-Hudson County Executive Robert C. Janiszewski, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

During her three-week trial before U.S. District Judge William G. Bassler, Davila-Colon admitted that she passed an envelope containing a $5,000 cash payoff to Janiszewski at a political fund-raising event on Oct. 15, 1999. The $5,000 cash bribe, which was from Davila-Colon's psychiatrist boyfriend Oscar Sandoval and given to Janiszewski, came several weeks after Sandoval won $2.3 million in county contracts to render psychiatric services at a county hospital and a county correctional facility, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey D. Clark.

Davila-Colon, 49, a Hudson County Freeholder for the past 19 years, is the longest serving female politician in the state. Sandoval, who cooperated with the government, has not been charged by the government with any wrongdoing.

"This verdict reaffirms our belief that if you break the law as a public official, you will be held accountable," Christie said. "We will continue our fight to give New Jersey a clean and honest government at all levels."

According to the five-count Indictment, Davila-Colon passed two $5,000 cash payments to Janiszewski at events in September and October 1999. She also had discussions with both Janiszewski and Sandoval about the cash payments and his contracts, which were coming up for renewal. At one point, according to the Indictment, Davila-Colon suggested including in an envelope with the cash a note to Janiszewski inquiring about the status of Sandoval's contracts.

The Indictment also alleges that Davila-Colon resisted Sandoval's suggestion that he personally pass the cash to Janiszewski, telling him that her participation as Janiszewski's intermediary was necessary because, "If he goes down, I go down"; and "My career is on the line and his is too . . . if we go, we both go down."

Count One to Count Three of the Indictment charge that Davila-Colon's conduct was part of a scheme to defraud the Hudson County government and the citizens of Hudson County of their right to the honest services of their elected officials - herself and Janiszewski. Those counts charge mail fraud, in that the U.S. mails were used to further the scheme to conceal the corrupt payments made to Janiszewski and Davila-Colon's role in making those payments. Each of these counts carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Counts Four and Five of the Indictment charge that Davila-Colon aided and abetted Janiszewski's attempted extortion under color of official right. Each of these counts carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Judge Bassler set sentencing for Sept. 29, 2003 at 10 a.m.

Under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Judge Bassler will determine an actual sentence based upon a formula that takes into account the severity and characteristics of the offense, and the defendant's criminal history, if any.

Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Under Sentencing Guidelines, defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time.

Christie credited Special Agents of the FBI in Newark, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Louie F. Allen, for their work in developing the case. Christie gave special thanks to the Hudson County Public Corruption Task Force, comprised of the FBI, IRS, the New Jersey State Police. Christie also thanked the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office for their work in the case.

The Government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey D. Clark and Phillip Kwon, of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark.

-end-

Defense Attorney:

Peter Willis, Esq. Jersey City

John Young, Esq.