PATERSON, N.J. – A truck driver on Monday joined his two brothers in admitting his role in a scheme to con a Clifton company out of $920,000.
Angel D. Vidal, 25, of Paterson and his brothers -- Angel G. Vidal and Miguel Vidal, both 23 – all said they allowed 55-year-old Lisa Popewiny of Clifton to use their personal identifying information to generate bogus paychecks from Clifford B. Finkle Jr. Inc.
The trio then converted the checks, many of which were deposited into their bank accounts and then funneled out of the accounts in cash, said Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick.
Popewiny, who was the company’s payroll clerk, is scheduled to stand trial in U.S. District Court in Newark beginning Oct. 2, with the Vidal brothers as potential witnesses for the government against her.
Fitzpatrick said Popewiny “falsified payroll records in order to generate fraudulent paychecks payable to non-existent employees, including the Vidal brothers.”
Miguel Vidal admitted to recruiting other people to provide their personal information so that Popewiny could add them to the payroll.
In the end, Fitzpatrick said, bogus hours were clocked for at least a dozen non-employees.
“The scheme came to light when owners of the company, in an effort to investigate suspected fraud, distributed the payroll checks to employees – a task normally completed by Popewiny,” the U.S. attorney said. “After all of the payroll checks had been distributed, several paychecks remained unclaimed that turned out to be fraudulently issued.”
U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo scheduled sentencing for the Vidal brothers for Nov. 17.
Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, credited criminal investigators from his office, as well as postal inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, for the investigation leading to the guilty pleas.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cari Fais of Fitzpatrick’s Special Prosecutions Division is handling the case.
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