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Official Sentenced for Staffing Firm Bribes

March 30 2012

A judge sentenced a New Jersey labor investigator to 60 months in prison for taking $1.86 million in bribes from operators of temporary staffing firms, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey reported. The investigator will also have to pay $250,000 in restitution and forfeit money and property.

Joseph Rivera, 56, of Winslow, N.J., had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of solicitation and acceptance of a bribe and one count of tax evasion, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Rivera served as a senior investigator with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development; he was charged with inspecting temporary labor firms to ensure they were in compliance with wage and hour laws. However, Rivera agreed to not inspect the firms and falsely certify firms were in compliance in exchange for payments, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Bribe payments were calculated by multiplying the total number of hours worked by temporary employees at a firm by 25 cents.  In addition to not inspecting the firms, Rivera also recommended them to other businesses as companies that should be hired.

The incidents happened between 2002 and 2008. Rivera received payments from at least 20 temporary labor firms, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Rivera also attempted to avoid paying taxes on money from the bribes, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He filed a tax return claiming income of $89,696 in 2007, but his taxable income was actually $499,176.

Rivera agreed to forfeit monies and property equal to $1.86 million, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported. The forfeitures include $120,300 in cash; two Ocean City, N.J., properties; a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., property; a 2008 Lexus ES 350; eight gold bars; and numerous gold and silver coins.

Earlier this year, a staffing firm owner received a two-year sentence after pleading guilty to charges related to this case. For the story, click here.

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