Jersey City cop gets 23 months in jail for off-duty benefits
JERSEY CITY — A veteran Jersey City police officer became the latest member of the force to get jail time for money he earned off the clock.
Juan Berrios, 42, was sentenced to 23 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $80,000 in forfeitures and restitution after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and accept corrupt payments.
Berrios, who worked for the police department from 2004 to 2017, admitted to working several off-duty jobs and keeping the money from the employers for himself, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
As part of his agreement with the employers, Berrios would allow them to work at job sites without the presence of a police officer despite police being required at those sites, Carpenito said.
Officers who work off-duty jobs are not permitted to receive cash payments from the other employers, who are supposed to pay the city first, after which the officers get paid minus fees, taxes and deductions, Carpenito said. On more than one occasion, Berrios would submit off-duty vouchers for working as a traffic safety director or security guard, and also got overtime pay for being in court when he was supposedly doing the off-duty work.
As part of his plea agreement Berrios was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, and ordered to forfeit $50,000 and pay $34,951 in restitution.
Last year, three other Jersey City officers admitted to getting paid for work they didn't actually do. James Cardinali, Victor Sanchez and Christopher Ortega all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud. The three faced five years on prison as part of their plea agreements.