What to Know
- An ex-NJ cop who acknowledged accepting money for off-duty security work that he didn't perform has been sentenced to 23 months in prison
- Juan Berrios, 42, of Rahway, expressed remorse in federal court Tuesday and apologized to his family and the people of Jersey City
- He is the 11th former cop to be sentenced following a federal probe of the Jersey City Police Dept. - and the fourth to receive a jail term
A former New Jersey police officer who acknowledged accepting money for off-duty security work that he didn't perform has been sentenced to 23 months in prison.
Juan Berrios, 42, of Rahway, expressed remorse in federal court Tuesday and apologized to his family and the people of Jersey City.
Defense attorney Daniel Welsh said he doesn't understand his client's actions, saying "he doesn't gamble, he doesn't do drugs, he's not a philanderer." The judge said he would recommend a minimum-security camp rather than a traditional prison.
Berrios pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to commit fraud and accept corrupt payments.
He was a police officer with the Jersey City Police Department from 2004 to 2017.
Under Jersey City’s municipal code, police officers performing off-duty work were not permitted to receive cash payments directly from other employers. Instead, the employers were supposed to pay Jersey City, which would then pay the off-duty police officers, minus certain fees, taxes and deductions.
Berrios agreed with numerous off-duty employers to accept payments directly from them and cut Jersey City out of the process, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Prosecutors say that in exchange for the payments, Berrios permitted off-duty employers to operate at worksites without the presence of a police officer when their presence was required.
Additionally, according to prosecutors, Berrios submitted off-duty vouchers seeking and obtaining compensation for working as a traffic director or security guard.
He also sought and received overtime compensation for appearing in court at the same time he was purportedly performing off-duty work — fraudulently obtaining compensation from Jersey City for separate assignments that occurred at the same time.
Berrios is the 11th former officer to be sentenced following a federal investigation of the Jersey City Police Department - and the fourth to receive a prison term.