A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Three Arrested and Charged with Payroll Fraud in New Jersey

The Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office in Mount Holly, New Jersey has arrested three men and charged them with Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity (First Degree), which is more commonly known as money laundering.  This follows a nine-month investigation revealing an illegal construction finance scheme involving millions of dollars.  Approximately $450,000 in cash and deposited funds were seized by authorities, along with nine vehicles, three motorcycles and a collection of 30 high-end watches.  One of the confiscated vehicles is a fully-restored 1967 Pontiac CP Tempest GTO.

The owner of MAIA Consulting, Renato Maia Da Silva, along with his two co-conspirators, Wesley Dos Santos and Lucas Alves, are charged with setting up “shell” companies such as others we have reported on in order to commit payroll fraud.  These “shell” construction companies only existed on paper for the purpose of allowing subcontractors to avoid labor-reporting regulations as well as tax obligations and insurance requirements by cashing checks received from general contractors and paying their workers in cash.  Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said:

“This is not a victimless crime.  These illegal financial transactions have increased the costs of construction in our area, deprived multiple government bodies of needed tax revenue, and placed some of our most vulnerable construction workers at peril from injuries that occur on the job.  I’d like to acknowledge in particular our Financial Crimes Unit and the Cinnaminson Police Department for their painstaking efforts in recognizing this complex money laundering operation and building the case supporting the asset seizures and charges we have filed against the defendants perpetrating this scheme, and also thank our other law enforcement partners involved in this operation.”

This investigation is ongoing. It is suspected that multiple construction companies, general contractors and subcontractors are involved. Additional arrests are anticipated.

For more information, read the entire press release from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office.  Anyone with information about these defendants or this case that might be beneficial to investigators is urged to call the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-265-5035 and ask to speak to a detective in the Financial Crimes Unit.