Former police officer indicted for protecting brothels

A former Newark police officer was charged on Aug. 31 with allegedly soliciting and accepting cash payments from brothel owners in exchange for protecting the brothels from police action and other matters, and for failing to report those cash payments on his personal federal income tax returns.

Julio Rivera, 49, of Old Bridge, is charged in a 14-count indictment with three counts of extortion under color of official right, six counts of bribery, and five counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, according to information provided by U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

According to the indictment, from 2011 to November 2016, Rivera allegedly solicited, accepted and received more than $100,000 in cash payments from three brothel owners in Newark. While in uniform, Rivera allegedly approached each of these brothel owners and, instead of arresting them, reportedly solicited and then began receiving regular cash payments from them, according to the statement.

In exchange for these extortionate cash payments, Rivera allegedly performed official acts for the benefit of the brothel owners, including declining to arrest the brothel owners who were committing, facilitating and promoting prostitution, according to the statement.

Rivera also reportedly intentionally withheld from his tax preparer information regarding the cash payments he received from the brothel owners, causing Rivera’s tax returns from 2012 to 2016 to understate his total income, investigators allege.

The maximum terms of imprisonment are 20 years for each extortion count, 10 years for each bribery count, and three years for each tax count. Each count of the indictment carries a maximum potential fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.