Fort Lee Man Gets Prison for Unemployment Fraud
Man and Wife Who Used to Live in North Bergen Admit Defrauding Government Through Unemployment & Disability Claims
A man who used to live in North Bergen, NJ is headed to prison after pleading guilty to NJ government fraud charges. The defendant in the criminal case was Jose Crespo, a 52-year-old man who resided in New Castle, Delaware. Crespo previously resided in Fort Lee in Bergen County, New Jersey. According to law enforcement officials, Crespo defrauded the government out of $317,736 through false unemployment claims and false disability claims. Additionally, Crespo’s wife, Marilyn Crespo, also faced fraud and theft charges.
Crespo and his wife allegedly committed the government assistance claims fraud between December 2012 and December 2015. NJ law enforcement investigated the suspects and eventually placed them under arrest. The investigation was conducted by multiple law enforcement agencies: the NJ Division of Criminal Justice’s Specialized Crimes Bureau, the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and the US Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.
Crespo and his wife were indicted on fraud charges in October 2016. Prosecutors alleged that Crespo filed 19 fraudulent Unemployment Insurance Claims. The claims allegedly provided the names of fake employers – the companies were actually set up by Crespo in New Jersey for the purpose of committing the fraud, according to authorities.
Plea Deal in New Jersey Fraud Case
Crespo ultimately avoided trial in the case and reached a deal with the prosecution. In exchange for Crespo pleading guilty to a second degree charge for computer theft, prosecutors agreed to drop other charges against him and recommend a more lenient sentence than might otherwise have been imposed. In New Jersey, a second degree felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison; prosecutors recommended that Crespo receive a sentence of just eight years behind bars.
The Mercer County Superior Court judge has now approved the plea agreement, which means that Crespo will be spending at least three years behind bars in prison. Crespo’s plea deal with prosecutors calls for him to serve a minimum of three years in prison and a maximum of eight years in prison. Crespo was also ordered to pay back the full amount of the theft – more than $317,000 – as restitution for his crimes. In theft and fraud cases, it is not uncommon for convicted defendants to be required to pay restitution to the victims.
Crespo’s wife also pleaded guilty to second degree theft charges and was sentenced to an alternative drug court program. As long as Crespo fulfills the requirements of the program and does not get into trouble with the law, she will stay out of jail. However, if Crespo fails to complete the drug court program, she could potentially be ordered to serve five years in prison.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Lawyer About Your Fort Lee Fraud Charges
Charged with fraud, theft by deception, theft of movable property, or any other criminal offense in Fort Lee, NJ? Travis J. Tormey is an experienced criminal attorney who can defend you against theft & fraud charges in Fort Lee, Hackensack, Lodi, or anywhere else in Bergen County, New Jersey. Contact Attorney Tormey today to discuss your case.