15 charged in New Jersey unemployment fraud case

TRENTON, N.J. - June 19, 2013

Investigators released the results of "Operation April Fools," in which the suspects allegedly defrauded the state of nearly $700,000.

According to investigators, the ringleader was 48-year-old Todd Halpern of Livingston.

Halpern, and his co-defendants, would allegedly file false records to back up unemployment insurance claims.

Those claims would cite work at nine area businesses and payment into the unemployment fund, the attorney general said, and eight of those businesses were unaware of the activity.

Halpern, who ran a tax preparation business in recent years, pleaded guilty to federal charges of tax and wire fraud on June 5th.

Investigators say Halpern used his proceeds to buy season tickets to the New York Giants, jewelry, and high-end vehicles including a Cadillac Escalade, Lexus GX-470 and classic 1957 Chevy Bel Air.

Those charged are:

1. Todd P. Halpern, 48, of Livingston;
2. George J. Halpern, 74, of Short Hills;
3. Jack B. Chesner, 81, of Morris Plains;
4. Miriam Chesner, 78, of Morris Plains;
5. David Altman, 42, of Plainfield;
6. Manuel Cruz, 28, of Union City;
7. Henry Ford, 54, of Plainfield;
8. Dario Gomez, 43, of Newark;
9. Augustin Gomez, 29, of Jersey City;
10. Alexis Leguizamon, 41, of Jersey City;
11. Garry Lloyd, 58, of Williamstown;
12. Andres Lopez III, 41, of Lyndhurst;
13. Osiris Perez, 44, of Bronx, N.Y.;
14. Chalin E. Romero, 24, of Union City;
15. Edgard Torres, 49, of North Bergen.

Copyright © 2023 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.