JERSEY CITY - A former Jersey City Housing Department employee was sentenced today to six months in prison for evading taxes on cash payments he accepted to obtain expedited development approvals for a purported real estate developer operating in Jersey City, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced in a release issued May 1.
Former Jersey City Housing Department employee John Guarini of Bayonne previously pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly submitting a false personal income tax return. Guarini entered his guilty plea before U.S.
District Judge Jose Linares, who imposed Gaurini's sentence in Newark federal court.
At the time Guarini entered his plea, he admitted that he accepted $20,000 in cash from Solomon Dwek - a cooperating witness for the FBI - in exchange for expedited development approvals from other Jersey City public officials, including the chairman of the Jersey City Planning Board. The approvals were for a property on Garfield Avenue in Jersey City, purportedly owned by Dwek, who at the time was posing as a corrupt real estate developer. Dwek's masquerade was part of his undercover work for the FBI.
Guarini also admitted that he accepted $10,000 in cash from Dwek that was intended for Maher Khalil, another Jersey City public official. Guarini further admitted that instead of passing the $10,000 to Khalil he kept the money for himself. Guarini stated in court that these cash payments were never disclosed on his federal income tax returns.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Linares sentenced Guarini to two years of supervised release. Judge Linares also ordered Guarini to pay $31,000 in restitution.
Khalil has pleaded guilty to related charges and awaits sentencing.