– Attorney General Anne Milgram and
Criminal Justice Director Gregory A. Paw
announced that a Bergen County woman and
her former boyfriend have pleaded guilty
to conspiring to steal $828,000 by filing
hundreds of fraudulent state tax returns.
to Director Paw, Rosa Victoria Rivera, a.k.a,
Vicky Rocsana Rivera-Peralta, 40, of Lyndhurst,
pleaded guilty on Friday, Dec. 7, before
Mercer County Superior Court Judge Thomas
P. Kelly to first-degree conspiracy to commit
money laundering and theft by deception.
Rivera’s co-defendant and former boyfriend,
John Arturo Perez Silva, a.k.a., John Perez,
39, of Belleville, pleaded guilty to second-degree
and Silva admitted that between Feb. 6,
2004 and July 11, 2006, they, along with
Rivera’s son, Wilson Armando Piños
Rivera, a.k.a. Wilson Piños, 21,
filed 540 fraudulent tax returns. An audit
by the New Jersey Division of Taxation determined
that the returns contained similar taxpayer
information, such as similar names, common
addresses and common employers. About 400
of the returns were filed electronically
and the remaining returns were filed with
majority of the refund checks were mailed
to mail box drops leased by either Rivera
or her co-defendants. More than 275 checks,
totaling $828,272, were deposited in bank
accounts maintained by Rivera or Perez,
which the defendants allegedly used to pay
personal expenses. Rivera admitted that
more than $500,000 in checks was deposited
into accounts she maintained. The Division
of Taxation was able to stop payment on
the remaining 264 checks, totaling $1,005,030.
Dec. 19, 2006, investigators from the Division
of Criminal Justice and the Division of
Taxation, assisted by officers from the
Lyndhurst Police Department, executed a
search warrant at Rivera’s apartment
and seized, among other things, a computer,
stacks of tax returns, blank W-2s, blank
Social Security cards, numerous driver’s
licenses, passports, bank records and $191,000
in cash. Several bank accounts of the defendants
containing a smaller amount of money were
seized, and a second search warrant was
executed at a self-storage site leased by
the defendants in Belleville, where additional
records were confiscated.
The investigation was led by Auditor Thaedra
Chebra of the Division of Taxation - Office
of Criminal Investigation and State Investigator
Noelle Holl of the Division of Criminal
Justice - Major Financial Crimes Bureau.
Deputy Attorney General Denise Grugan of
the Division of Criminal Justice - Major
Crimes Bureau represented the Division of
Criminal Justice at the guilty plea hearing.
and Silva are scheduled to be sentenced
by Judge Kelly on Feb. 6.
case against Wilson Armando Piños
Rivera is pending.