(STL.News) – A Jersey City police officer was charged today with conspiring to defraud Jersey City by obtaining compensation for off-duty work that she did not perform, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Gicella Sanchez, 36, of Jersey City, is charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to defraud a local government. She is expected to appear today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Private contractors and businesses sometimes require the services of off-duty Jersey City police officers for certain projects, including work that could obstruct the flow of traffic. The off-duty assignments were made by a Jersey City Police Department-designated coordinator for the district in which the assignment was to be carried out. Officers receiving these off-duty assignments were required to complete and provide to the coordinator a voucher that indicated, among other things, the hours worked on particular off-duty assignments.
From November 2014 through June 2016, Sanchez conspired with another Jersey City police officer who was authorized to assign off-duty work and sign vouchers. That officer – with Sanchez’s knowledge and consent – submitted phony vouchers to Jersey City indicating that Sanchez had completed certain off-duty assignments that she never actually performed. As a result, Sanchez was compensated well over $5,000 for off-duty work she never performed.
Sanchez faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Joe Denahan in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s charge.
The Jersey City Police Department is cooperating with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Farrell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.