Former City Hall Employee, Husband Charged with Fraud, Money Laundering
Couple allegedly failed to pay taxes on three businesses
A woman who once worked in Newark city hall and on the election campaign of Mayor Cory Booker was arrested early Wednesday and charged with conspiracy, tax fraud and money laundering, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office announced.
Maritza Torres-Falu, 54, was arrested at her Clifton Avenue home. Her husband, Luis Velez, 55, was arrested at his workplace, the Roche pharmaceutical company in Nutley. Velez also faces conspiracy, money laundering and tax fraud charges.
A second search warrant was executed at the insurance company office where Torres-Falu works on Pulaski Street.
Authorities contend the couple failed to register or pay state taxes for Latin Eagles Group LLC, Pepe Printing and Graphics and L. Velez General Contractor LLC from 2008 to 2011. They are also charged with filing of fraudulent tax returns, conspiracy and money laundering. Each charge carries a sentence of up to a five years in prison.
“We are alleging that these individuals willfully and intentionally concealed substantial income and assets as part of a scheme to defraud the state,’’ said Acting Prosecutor Carolyn Murray, who declined to discuss the case in greater detail because the arrests today are part of an active and ongoing investigation.
State Treasury Special Agent in Charge Charles Giblin said, "Cooperative investigations are the best method of using law enforcement resources to protect the honest taxpayers of New Jersey".
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Michael DiPrimio of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office at 973-266-7224.