GC Pleads to Bribery over Code Fines

MONDAY, JULY 6, 2015

NEWARK, NJ--A general contractor from New Jersey has admitted bribing a local inspector in an attempt to avoid nearly $9 million in fines for fire-code violations.

Victor Coca, 48, of North Bergen, pleaded guilty Tuesday (June 30) in U.S. District Court to two counts of paying bribes to government officials, the FBI announced.

Coca, who faces up to 20 years in prison on the charges, owns YYY Enterprise LLC, a construction company based in West New York. He was arrested at his home in May 2014.

Bribes for Reduced Fines

The bribes involved fire-code violations at two buildings: one partly owned by Coca and one owned by a friend.

On March 27, 2014, the FBI said, Coca gave $2,000 in cash to a fire official with the West New York Bureau of Fire Prevention to wipe out $14,500 in fines and penalties for violations in the friend's buiding.

The second building had more than $8.7 million in fines and penalties for outstanding violations. In that case, Coca gave the official $5,000 in cash to reduce the fine to $5,000, authorities said.

The fire official was not identified. The FBI says he is cooperating with the government.

According to the YYY Enterprise website, Coca studied engineering in Cuba and then worked for another construction company before starting YYY in 2006.

Each of the bribery counts carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense, if applicable.

Coca is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 20.


Tagged categories: Construction; Contractors; Criminal acts; Good Technical Practice; Home builders; North America

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