By John Heinis/Hudson County View
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, Vargas resigned from office in February 2015, citing “personal circumstances” as the reason.
Since then, he has found employment at both the town’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.
“… We [myself and labor counsel] both concur that there is nothing in the plea agreement that requires that Mr. Vargas forfeit his office. That was not a lapse by the U.S. Attorney’s Office: they don’t make mistakes,” he said at the time.
Vargas’ sentencing is now scheduled for September 14 at 11 a.m. in front of Trenton federal court Judge Freda Wolfson. His hearing was originally set for yesterday at 10 a.m.