Ex-detective for the state begins explaining role in Roque bribery case

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A former detective for the state, who was the main investigator in West New York Mayor Felix Roque’s bribery case, began explaining what role he played in the matter.

“The steps that were taken particular to Dr. Roque included our analysis that came from the data on Rehan Zuberi’s phone, text messages and call logs,” began Anthony Correll, who worked as a detective for the state Division of Criminal Justice Medicaid Fraud Control Unit when Zuberi and Roque were indicted.

“We also sent out subpoenas to defendant Roque’s various banks so that we could analyze his bank records, which we began doing. We did not execute search warrants at his home or his office.”

Correll also discussed how Zuberi’s money laundering schemes worked, specifically defining the terms “structuring” and “smurfing.”

“He [Zuberi] engaged in a variety of structuring acts, which is, the banks require, whenever there’s a cash transaction over $10,000 to make a note – it’s a currency transaction report – to detect money laundering,” he began.

“So structuring would be, and Ray engaged in this over and over during a long span of time, cash withdrawls under that $10,000 on a repeated basis.”

The example Correll, now a detective in the investigations bureau for the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, would be for someone to withdraw $5,000 four times in a given week to avoid a currency transaction report being made.

Meanwhile, he described smurfing as an act where the boss of an entity has employees cash checks and return the money to him or her, so that they never actually ha to make a bank transaction.

The jury was excused around 3:20 p.m. as Judge Christopher Kazlau and counsel for both sides tried to reach an understanding about the scope of questions that would be appropriate for Correll, an expert witness.

Court resumes tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.