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Township Man – Former ICE Officer – Convicted Of Federal Bribery, Harboring Charges

A township man who was a former deportation official for Immigration and Customs Enforcement was convicted by a federal jury March 9 of accepting cash bribes and sex for concealing the employment of an undocumented alien.

Arnaldo Echevarria, 39, of Somerset, was convicted of eight of nine counts with which he was charged. The jury, seated in Newark, deliberated one day before rendering its verdict.

Echevarria was convicted of Counts 1-6 and Counts 8 and 9 of an indictment charging him with seven counts of accepting bribes, one count of harboring an undocumented immigrant and one count of making false statements to immigration authorities, according to a press release from the US Attormey’s Office. He was acquitted on Count 7, one of the bribery counts.

Echevarria was charged in April, 2015 with employing his then-girlfriend, an undocumented alien, as manager of a hair salon in West Orange. Echevarria had received ICE permission to open the salon, provided that it would not conflict with his ICE duties and would not employ undocumented aliens, according to the complaint.

According to the complaint, the woman obtained the name and identification of a resident of Puerto Rico to obtain a Pennsylvania identification card.

The complaint alleges that Echevarria paid his girlfriend and another employee – also an undocumented alien – in cash and never asked them to fill out employee eligibility paperwork.

Echevarria also alleged signed a lease for his girlfriend’s apartment and put cable and electric service in his name, according to the complaint. In addition to driving his girlfriend and other employees to and from the salon each day, Echevarria also paid the employees in cash and never asked them to fill out employment eligibility paperwork, according to the release.

The complaint also states that Echevarria queried the name and birth date of his girlfriend’s alias in several law enforcement databases.

The six bribery counts on which Echevarria was convicted each carry a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, or three times the monetary equivalent of the things of value accepted by the defendant, according to the release. The charges of harboring and making false statements are each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss arising from the offense.

Echevarria’s sentencing is scheduled for June 19, 2017.

 

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