Another Paterson cop pleads guilty in FBI corruption probe – NorthJersey.com

Another Paterson cop pleads guilty in FBI corruption probe - NorthJersey.com

Paterson cop admits unlawfully searching people, stealing their cash

A group of Paterson police officers who conspired to steal money from people they searched had a special code word for their scheme.

The text message whos in the mood for weekend mangoes[?] was actually an invitation to his colleagues to detain people and rob them while on duty, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.

Police officer Matthew Torres on Monday admitted to conspiring with fellow officers to stop and search motor vehicles without justification to steal cash and other valuable from occupants. He also admitted to filing a false police report to cover up the officers criminal activity.

In the past year, other officers in the same squad have been charged with taking money from drivers and from people they stopped on the street, and omitting those encounters in reports. Sometimes, the officers would hand over fake paperwork to trick someone into believing it was a legitimate interaction with police, authorities said.

In federal court on Monday, one of the officers admitted to his role in the scheme, Carpenito said in a news release.

Matthew Torres, 30, pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to violate civil rights and filing a false police report.

Ramos, Bustios, and Pent each have been charged as part of a sweeping FBI investigation into police corruption. In all, six officers were arrested in the probe. Two officers, Ruben McAusland and Roger Then, were sentenced to prison time last month.

Paterson cop hit with civil rights indictment in alleged scheme by rogue group of officers to rob cash from drivers

Torres and the other officers used fake paperwork to trick the victims into thinking the motor vehicle stops and cash seizures were legitimate. He and co-conspirators also stopped and searched people in the streets of Paterson.

A Paterson police officer was indicted Wednesday on federal charges that accuse him and four other officers of pulling over drivers and robbing them of cash, and then splitting the proceeds in a scheme that included coded text messages and falsifying reports, federal prosecutors said.

The two police officers told the passenger he could be charged with distribution of marijuana and that he could not be allowed to go without being charged because the camera saw it.

Torres and fellow officer Eudy Ramos stopped a vehicle in Paterson on Dec. 7, 2017 and a passenger told the two officers he had a small amount of marijuana with him, authorities said. He also had $3,100.

Ramos took the cash and placed it on the back seat of the car. He told the passenger not to worry about the weed. He also told the passenger he had a potential outstanding warrant.

The officers told the passenger they could take $500 and have him sign a piece of paper, authorities said. Then, Ramos made a call, which he said was to his superior, before telling the passenger to hand over $800 instead, authorities said. The passenger signed the paper and Torres and Ramos released them, authorities said. The officers shared the cash and did not put the stop in their daily activity logs, authorities said.

For example, on Dec. 7, 2017, Torres and Ramos conducted a motor vehicle stop of a pair of brothers in an undisclosed location. Both officers searched the vehicle and the victims.

In a separate incident, Ramos was accused of stopping a car, handcuffing the occupants and stealing about $10,000, which he split with another unnamed officer, authorities said. Ramos was indicted in March and the charges remain pending.

In Dec. 2018, Torres was interviewed by the FBI. He admitted that he and Ramos illegally seized cash from the passenger and that the cash was split amongst themselves.

Torres pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Katharine Hayden in Newark. He faces up to 10 years on the civil rights charge and up to 20 for false records, and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9.

A cooperating police officer told the FBI Ramos frequently used fake paperwork to trick people into believing an incident was as legitimate law enforcement encounter.

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During the search, Torres and others illegally took cash from victims. The officers then covered up their criminal enterprise by filing false police reports.

NEWARK — A Paterson police officer admitted to filing false police reports and shaking down drivers during traffic stops, according to the US Attorney's Office for New Jersey.

Ramos took a piece of white paper that had Paterson Police Department logo, turned it over, wrote something on it, and handed it to the passenger to sign.

Matthew Torres, 30, of Paterson admitted in federal court to stopping and searching drivers and pedestrians without reason and stealing cash with several other officers  between 2016 and April 2018, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Torres, who joined the police force in Jul. 2014, has been terminated, said public safety director Jerry Speziale on Monday afternoon.

During the stops, the officers, who all worked the same shift, would lead the individuals who were stopped to believe the stops were "legitimate," and would file false police reports.

Speziale described the officers involved as bad apples. He said their conduct is not indicative of the police force.

According to a complaint, the officers would communicate via text with each other when they would decide to carry out their activity. They would refer to cash as "mangos," according to the complaint.

Torres and Ramos did not report the cash seizure. Police records showed the passenger did not have an outstanding warrant.

Carpenito cited one case where authorities say Torres and Ramos stopped a driver in December 2017 who admitted to having a small amount of marijuana and $3,100 cash. The officers first told the driver they could give them $500 and sign a paper, according to Carpenito. Ramos then pretended to call his "supervisor" who said the driver needed to give him another $300 and sign another paper, according to Carpenito.

Torres is the second officer to admit being part of the alleged shakedowns, while two others are also charged. Two other Paterson officers have admitted to other crimes.

Torres was charged with conspiracy to violate individuals civil rights and filing a false police report. He faces a maximum 20 year prison sentence on the false records charge and 10 years on the civil rights violation along with a maximum fine for each count of $250,000.

Honesty goes a long way, Ramos told the passenger. The passenger also said he had $3,100 in his pocket.

Officers used the code word \”mango\” when they decided to carry out their shakedowns, according to a complaint.\nRead More

NEWARK — A Paterson police officer admitted to filing false police reports and shaking down drivers during traffic stops, according to the US Attorneys Office for New Jersey.

Matthew Torres, 30, of Paterson admitted in federal court to stopping and searching drivers and pedestrians without reason and stealing cash with several other officers  between 2016 and April 2018, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

During the stops, the officers, who all worked the same shift, would lead the individuals who were stopped to believe the stops were \”legitimate,\” and would file false police reports.

According to a complaint, the officers would communicate via text with each other when they would decide to carry out their activity. They would refer to cash as \”mangos,\” according to the complaint.

Carpenito cited one case where authorities say Torres and Ramos stopped a driver in December 2017 who admitted to having a small amount of marijuana and $3,100 cash. The officers first told the driver they could give them $500 and sign a paper, according to Carpenito. Ramos then pretended to call his \”supervisor\” who said the driver needed to give him another $300 and sign another paper, according to Carpenito.

Torres is the second officer to admit being part of the alleged shakedowns, while two others are also charged. Two other Paterson officers have admitted to other crimes.

Torres was charged with conspiracy to violate individuals civil rights and filing a false police report. He faces a maximum 20 year prison sentence on the false records charge and 10 years on the civil rights violation along with a maximum fine for each count of $250,000.

NEWARK — A Paterson police officer admitted to filing false police reports and shaking down drivers during traffic stops, according to the US Attorney's Office for New Jersey.

Matthew Torres, 30, of Paterson admitted in federal court to stopping and searching drivers and pedestrians without reason and stealing cash with several other officers  between 2016 and April 2018, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

During the stops, the officers, who all worked the same shift, would lead the individuals who were stopped to believe the stops were "legitimate," and would file false police reports.

According to a complaint, the officers would communicate via text with each other when they would decide to carry out their activity. They would refer to cash as "mangos," according to the complaint.

Carpenito cited one case where authorities say Torres and Ramos stopped a driver in December 2017 who admitted to having a small amount of marijuana and $3,100 cash. The officers first told the driver they could give them $500 and sign a paper, according to Carpenito. Ramos then pretended to call his "supervisor" who said the driver needed to give him another $300 and sign another paper, according to Carpenito.

Torres is the second officer to admit being part of the alleged shakedowns, while two others are also charged. Two other Paterson officers have admitted to other crimes.

Torres was charged with conspiracy to violate individuals’ civil rights and filing a false police report. He faces a maximum 20 year prison sentence on the false records charge and 10 years on the civil rights violation along with a maximum fine for each count of $250,000.


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