By John Heinis/Hudson County View
â€œWe are pleased that the court recognized Ruben Vargasâ€™ qualities, character and dedication to his community and chose to reject the governmentâ€™s request to send him to prison, and instead sentence him to probation so that he can continue to work and provide for his family,” Vargas’ attorney, Christ Adams, said via email.
“His public service and good deeds certainly make him a person that will respond well to probation.â€
Adams added that the Vargas will not have to forfeit his public employment and will be allowed to work during his home confinement, as well as “attend religious services” and activities for his children during that time.
As Hudson County View first reported, Vargas, 65, pleaded guilty to performing equity skimming with a $417,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) back in May.
Vargas admitted in court that on or about September 21, 2007, he purchased the rental property, located at 5512 Grant Pl., and purposely stopped making payments on it, yet continued to collect rental income from the residence.
A former car salesman, the elected official resigned from office in February 2015, citing â€œpersonal circumstancesâ€ as the reason.
Since then, he has found employment at both the townâ€™s housing and parking authorities, earning annual salaries of $35,000 and $40,000, respectively.
Despite his guilty plea, both autonomous agencies initially opted to keep Vargas on the payroll.
However, at the end of June, the HUD Departmental Enforcement Center informed Vargas that he would be suspended without pay from the housing authority.
At the regularly scheduled May meeting of the West New York Housing Authority, Agency Counsel Frank Leanza insisted that there was no reason to terminate Vargas since such an action was not explicitly stated in his plea agreement.