The government’s key witness in Mayor Felix Roque’s bribery trial was once again put on the hot seat by the defendant’s co-counsel, facing attacks for his lavish lifestyle and prior convictions.
“A couple thousand dollars in each bundle?,” Chris Adams, one of Roque’s attorneys in the matter, asked Rehan Zuberi regarding the cash seized at his Boonton home.
“This was more like $10,000 each,” Zuberi said, admitting that he had about $150,000 cash at his home when he was arrested on June 17, 2014.
“So what were you doing with the cash?,” continued Adams.
“What, I cant have cash?,” retorted Zuberi.
“No, I’m just asking what you’re doing with it,” Adams shot back.
“Nothing, you saw it sitting in a safe, it wasn’t in my pocket,” Zuberi explained.
Adams also took the time to highlight examples of Zuberi enjoying the luxuries in life, particularly his high-end sports cars.
Zuberi testified that he paid a $6,000 a month for a Lamborghini, $3,000 a month for a Rolls Royce, $1,200 a month for a Range Rover and just over $3,500 a month for a Mercedes Roadster valued at $200,000 since only 50 vehicles of it’s kind were made.
Additionally, Adams put Zuberi on the spot about his guilty plea back on December 23, 1998.
At the time, Zuberi pleaded guilty to theft by deception and financial facilitation of criminal activity, however, he was initially charged with one count of conspiracy, 2 counts of medicaid fraud, theft by deception and financial facilitation of criminal activity.
He was sentenced to six years in state prison, but ended up serving just 10 months in Morris County jail.
Fast forwarding to Zuberi’s current case, where he pleaded guilty in May 2015 to paying millions of dollars in kickbacks to dozens of doctors from 2008 to 2014, Adams said that the litany of charges could’ve netted him 47 years in state prison.
Instead, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison.
“But you don’t intend to jail for 10 years do you? Yo don’t expect to go to jail for 10 years,” Adams asked.
“Not for 10 years. Even if you get sentenced to 10 years, you go to jail for 10 years,” Zuberi responded.
“If you cooperate, you’re deal is 10, with four years of parole eligibility, is that right?,” Adams questioned, which Zuberi agreed with.
“But, that doesn’t mean you agree with that, you can ask for whatever you want: you’re lawyer, Riz Dagli, could ask the judge for any sentence he wants, that’s the state that redirected, right?,” Adams inquired.
” … Obviously, when you go to court, every defendant wants the best that they can get, attorneys do that,” Zuberi answered.
Zuberi will briefly be on the stand this afternoon before Anthony Correll, a former detective for the state Division of Criminal Justice Medicaid Fraud Control Unit – the main investigator in Roque and Zuberi’s cases – is called to the stand.