NJ: Three Charged in Workers’ Comp Fraud, Part of $100M Money Laundering Scheme

09.06.2017


By Liz Carey

Cinnaminson, NJ (WorkersCompensation.com) – Three Brazilian men have been arrested in New Jersey for what authorities say was a $100 million money laundering scheme. 

Following a nine-month investigation, police raided Maia Consulting, a non-descript storefront off Route 130 in Cinnaminson, NJ. Officials allege the company was a set up to conceal payments to undocumented workers at construction projects all along the Eastern seaboard.

Renato Maia Da Silva, 51, of Cinnaminson; Wesley Dos Santos, 31, of Palmyra; and Lucas Alves, 34, of Cinnaminson, were taken into custody. Each faces a charge of financial facilitation of criminal activity, also known as money laundering, authorities said.  Police say all three were in the country illegally.

Berlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina told WTXF that the goal of the company was to “avoid taxes, pay lower workers’ compensation premiums and to hide the fact that they were illegally employing undocumented workers.”

Essentially, the company cashed checks for shell companies to conceal payments to undocumented workers. The scheme had been ongoing since early 2015. Up to $100 million was laundered through the scheme, the prosecutor’s office said.

Officers became suspicious when they investigated a break-in at the scene last year. 

“When they responded, they noticed an unusual amount of cash and cash counting equipment within the business,” Coffina said.

Police raided the storefront, the residences of the alleged money launders and a storage facility, and seized $450,000 in cash and funds, nine vehicles, three motorcycles and a collection of high-end watches, the prosecutor’s office said in a release.

The three men were scheduled for a detention hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 29. The Burlington County Prosecutors office did not immediately return phone calls for comment by press time.


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