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Abreu Conviction, U.S. Attorney's Office Press Release

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Posted by GET NJ on August 06, 2004 at 08:57:25:

08-04-2004 -- Abreu, Rene, et al. -- Convictions -- News Release

Hudson County Businessman Rene Abreu, Co-Defendants Convicted of Bank and Real Estate Frauds

NEWARK - Hudson County businessman Rene Abreu was convicted today by a jury of 20 of 28 counts against him for running a series of real estate and bank fraud schemes that enriched him and his companies and involved numerous of his employees, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

The jury also convicted Abreu employees Ana Martell, Kathy Giunta, and Fernando Jimenez, all of North Bergen, and Luis Nieves, of Leonia, a senior vice president with Hudson United Bank.

The jury returned acquittals on some charges, including seven counts against Abreu, and deadlocked on an extortion count in which Abreu was the only person charged. That count alleged that Abreu received regular payoffs from West New York police protection of prostitution and gambling.

"The verdict represents another victory for the people of Hudson County," Christie said. "Mr. Abreu committed massive fraud and infected the political process. His elimination from the public scene in Hudson County is positive for all its citizens."

"As I have said repeatedly, this office brings cases for only one reason - because we believe those charged have committed the crimes and that we will be able to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt," Christie said. "These verdicts are further proof of that principle. Despite the protestations and hyperbole from the defendants' lawyers, the jury agreed that these defendants were guilty and now will go to jail."

The jury began deliberating July 27, and today was their seventh day of deliberations. Opening arguments in the trial began April 6. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deborah Goldklang, Thomas Eicher and Matthew Boxer.

No sentencing date was set by U.S. District Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr., who heard the case.

Abreu faces a possible sentencing range of between 78 and 97 months under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The other defendants face potential prison sentences ranging from approximately two to five years. Certain findings to be made by Judge Greenaway will determine the specific sentences. Another factor is a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, in which the Court questioned whether the Sentencing Guidelines are a constitutional means for determining sentences.

The 29-count Indictment against the defendants charged multiple conspiracies including mail fraud, extortion and cash structuring in excess of $2 million, as well as several bank fraud schemes, money laundering, bribery of bank officials and more.

Counts One and Two of the Indictment charged Abreu, Martell, Giunta, Jimenez, Nieves and others with conspiring to commit mail fraud, in that Abreu and other employees and associates of The Mortgage Pros, Inc. fraudulently submitted fictitious loan-related documents to several financial institutions, to induce the institutions to issue residential and commercial loans to clients of The Mortgage Pros. Counts Three through 12 of the Indictment charged specific acts of mail fraud affecting financial institutions, engaged in by Abreu, Jimenez, Giunta, Martell and others.

Count 14 charged Abreu, Martell (an employee of The Mortgage Pros, Inc. and chief financial officer of the Abreu real estate company RLA Homes), and Nieves with conspiring to defraud Hudson United Bank, by engaging in a fraudulent check-kiting scheme. In the scheme, they continuously drew checks - often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars - on Abreu's several commercial bank accounts with insufficient funds at Hudson United and credited other of Abreu's accounts with these seemingly bona fide checks, in order to pay the business and personal expenses of Abreu and others. Frequently, Abreu's commercial and personal accounts had overdrafts of more than $1 million.

Count 17 charged that Abreu conspired to extort money for the protection of illegal gambling, in that Abreu demanded and accepted from Alexander V. Oriente, the former chief of police in West New York, bribe and protection money from the proceeds of the video gambling business of Boardwalk Amusements, a business in West New York.

Count 18 charged Abreu, Martell, Giunta and others with conspiring to structure currency transactions, by causing in excess of two million dollars to be deposited into accounts at Hudson United Bank and other financial institutions in amounts of less than $10,000, to avoid the filing of currency transaction reports by the financial institutions, as required by law. Counts 19 through 42 also charged Abreu, Martell, Giunta and others with specific acts of structuring currency transactions.

Abreu was found guilty on Counts One through Nine, Twelve, Fourteen, Eighteen through Twenty-Four, Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine, and Thirty-Two. Abreu was acquitted of Counts Ten, Thirteen, Thirty, Thirty-One, Thirty-two, Thirty-five, Thirty-Six, and Forty-Two.

Martell was found guilty of Count One and Two; Counts Five and Six, Fourteen and Eighteen and Counts Twenty through Twenty-three and Twenty-eight. Martel was acquitted of Count Thirteen and Thirty-six.

Giunta was convicted of Count One and Two, Counts Five through Eight, Count Twelve, Eighteen, Twenty, Twenty-two, Twenty-three and Twenty-eight. Giunta was acquitted of Count Four.

Jimenez was convicted of Count One and Count Four, while Nieves was found guilty of Count One and acquitted of Count Two and Sixteen.

Christie credited Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Joseph Billy Jr.; and Special Agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation section, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patricia J. Haynes, with the successful investigation of the defendants.

-end-

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