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Former Elmwood Park bank loan officer gets 18 months for taking bribes

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former Elmwood Park bank officer was sentenced today to 18 months in federal prison for taking more than $65,000 in bribes to help customers get low-interest refinancing loans without preparyment penalties.

Jose Dominguez, 47, of Newark, also was sentenced in another case in which he admitted that he and a Newark police officer defrauded Spencer Savings Bank to secure a $1.9 million loan to buy two apartment buildings in Elizabeth.

The officer, 13-year veteran Victor Patela, was convicted at a trial of several counts and sentenced to four years in federal prison in April 2013.

Dominguez admitted soliciting and accepting $55,529 in payoffs from one customer, “intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with a bank transaction,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.

The customer wanted to refinance loans without paying significant prepayment penalties, Fishman said. Dominguez, in turn, told the customer he could “obtain a lower interest rate without paying a prepayment penalty” in exchange for a bribe, he said.

Dominguez also admitted to accepting additional bribes of $4,500 and 5,000 from oher bank customers.

Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, with the investigation. The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna of the Fishman’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman sentenced Dominguez to three years of supervised release and fined him $4,000.

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