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Staffing Firm Owner Gets Prison in Bribery Case

January 27 2012

A former staffing firm owner received a two-year prison sentence Thursday in a bribery case involving a state investigator in New Jersey, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported. Channavel “Danny” Kong, 40, of Philadelphia, previously pleaded guilty to one count of bribery and one count of failing to pay federal payroll taxes in federal court in Camden, N.J.

Kong owned temporary employment firm Sunrise Labor and admitted paying $55,281 to Joseph Rivera, 55, of Winslow, N.J. from 2006 through January 2009, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Rivera was a senior investigator with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The payments were made so Rivera would not conduct audits and inspections of Sunrise’s compliance with state payroll tax requirements, according to the office.

Rivera previously admitted in court to accepting more than $1.86 million in bribes from owners and operators of staffing firms in exchange for not inspecting the firms and certifying they were in compliance with labor regulations, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Rivera also admitted that Kong was not the only staffing firm owner who paid bribes.

Rivera pleaded guilty on March 30, 2009, to accepting a bribe and tax evasion, the U.S. Attorney’s Office reported. As part of his plea, Rivera forfeited $1.86 million. The forfeitures included $120,400 in cash; two properties in Ocean City, N.J.; a property in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; a 2008 Lexus ES 350; eight gold plates; and gold and silver coins. Rivera has not yet been sentenced.

In Kong’s case, the former staffing firm owner also admitted to not properly collecting all federal employment taxes, causing a loss to the IRS of between $80,000 and $200,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In addition to the two-year sentence, the court required Kong to serve three years of supervised release, cooperate with the IRS in paying outstanding federal tax obligations and pay New Jersey $15,000 in restitution.

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