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October 28, 08

NEWS / Jersey City Man Pleads Guilty to String of Merchandise Shipment Thefts

CAMDEN Ė A Jersey City man pleaded guilty today for his scheme to steal interstate cargo shipments containing approximately $1.7 million worth of merchandise from retailers that included Mervyns, Public Clothing Company, Polo/Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Marshals, and Ross Stores, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced.

Edward P. Cijntje, 45, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Renée M. Bumb to a one-count Information charging conspiracy to steal interstate cargo shipments. Judge Bumb continued Cijntjeís release on a $50,000 bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled for Feb. 2.

At his plea hearing, Cijntje admitted that he spent more than three years employing his scheme to steal roughly $1.7 million worth of merchandise. Cijntje admitted that he and his co-defendant, Jose Nunez, 54, of Union City, devised a plan where they would pose as legitimate trucking companies arriving to pick up retail clothing shipments at warehouses in New Jersey. After the merchandise was stolen, the defendants sold the stole good to local businesses, admitted Cijntje.

According to Cijntje, Nunez supplied him with information about shipments that were scheduled to be picked up by trucking companies and delivered to retailers. To commit the theft, the defendants would place plastic lettering on the sides of a box truck to make the truck appear as if it were owned by a legitimate trucking company, and they would replace the license plates on the box truck to conceal its identity, Cijntje admitted. Cijntje would then drive the purported delivery truck to the warehouse, present fake identification, and take the merchandise, he admitted. According to Cijntje, he, Nunez, and other coconspirators did this repeatedly.

Cijntje and Nunez were arrested on a criminal Complaint on July 19, 2007. Currently, Nunez is free on a $250,000 bond secured by equity in property.

The charge of conspiracy to steal interstate cargo shipments carries a statutory maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the pecuniary gain derived from the offense.

In pleading guilty to an Information, a defendant waives the right to have his case presented to a grand jury and, instead, pleads guilty to charges presented by the government.

In determining an actual sentence, Judge Bumb will consult the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges that take into account the severity and characteristics of the offense, the defendantís criminal history, if any, and other factors. The Judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence. Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time.

U.S. Attorney Christie credited Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction Special Agent in Charge Weysan Dunn, for this successful investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott B. McBride of the U.S. Attorney Officeís Government Fraud Unit.

Tags: criminal history,


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