The former president of the Hoboken Municipal Council is condemned for millionaire fraud in the purchase of taxis
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ttorney Christopher Campos, former president of the Hoboken Municipal Council in New Jersey, was convicted of allegedly participating in a million-dollar fraud, led by Dominican businessman Julio Álvarez, owner of the 195 th Street brokerage in Upper Manhattan.
Álvarez was previously sentenced to three years and will begin serving his sentence as of this January.
The statement from the federal district attorney’s office in the southern district of New York says that Campos, who was found guilty of helping orchestrate the complex and illegal taxi financing scheme in which he involved his wife, a brother and a cousin, was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
The plan involved dozens of buyers who borrowed money to buy new cars they could not afford, for vehicles that they claimed were for their own personal use, but were actually rented out to others and driven like taxis in the streets of New York.
They obtained more than $ 7 million in loans from multiple banks, and most went into default, prosecutors said.
Manhattan interim federal prosecutor Joon H. Kim said Campos defrauded the lenders with millions of dollars.
Defense attorney Lee Vartan of West Orange said Campos maintains his innocence.
“It’s not over,” said Vartan. “We plan to appeal.”
Campos, 41, a lawyer and former municipal prosecutor in West New York, served on Hoboken’s board until he lost a hotly contested race in 2007 to Dawn Zimmer, who eventually became mayor.
According to the prosecution, the plan was conceived in the fall of 2012 when Julio Álvarez, accused of co-conspiration, came up with the idea of buying a fleet of cars that would lease directly to taxi drivers.
The idea was that the initial lease payments of the taxi drivers would be used to pay the loans and insurance payments. After the loans were settled, the taxi drivers’ continued lease payments would be divided among the group.
However, Álvarez realized that he could not get the financing to legitimately obtain the amount of cars that were needed.
Prosecutors said Alvarez and others involved in the plan decided to recruit alleged spontaneous buyers with good credit histories posing as legitimate clients, and brought Campos, who Vartan had represented Alvarez in a legal matter.
They made buyers buy several cars at once, all financed by different banks, while claiming they were buying the vehicles for their own personal use, according to court documents.
“The co-conspirators agreed that Campos would help recruit buyers and receive a percent of each car sold under the names of those people,” the prosecution said in a sentencing memorandum.
“Campos understood that fictitious buyers were expected to buy several cars at a time, in their own names,” the statement added.
According to prosecutors, loan applications were based on false income statements. u
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