South Brunswick Police today charged a Dayton warehouse dispatcher who was in the country illegally for taking money from truck drivers in order to gain higher paying routes.
Jorge Martinez-Lopez, 46, of New Brunswick, was charged with theft by deception and providing false information to police after investigators looked into reports of bribery at the Propak Distribution warehouse in Dayton. Police said Martinez-Lopez was in the country illegally using the alias Martin “George” Serrano.
Two truck drivers from Middlesex County told police they had been contracted for the past eight years at the company and when they first started they were not given any truck routes. Propak pays drivers based on the distance they have to travel to make a delivery, thus the drivers weren't able to earn any money, police said.
The drivers were then informed by co-workers that they needed to pay the dispatcher in order to get higher paying routes. The drivers told police that over the past eight years they paid in excess of $18,000 to Martinez-Lopez.
Recently however, the drivers told authorities that Martinez-Lopez raised the payments required to get better truck routes and they couldn't afford to pay him anymore.
Officer Dennis Yuhas and Det. Mike Pellino looked into the complaint and determined Martinez-Lopez had agreed to take money to award better delivery routes based on the money he received, according to police.
"He didn't overtly demand money, but when people paid him money they got more routes," said police spokesman Sgt. Jim Ryan. "When drivers went to the company to complain, (Martinez-Lopez) told company officials that he had loaned the drivers money and they were repaying him."
While he was being processed, Serrano’s fingerprints were run through an automated fingerprint identification system, which identified him by his real name as Martinez-Lopez.
Martinez-Lopez was previously convicted in 1993 for illegally entering the United States. He was subsequently deported, but snuck back into the country at some point unknown to investigators at this time.
Marinez-Lopez was lodged in Middlesex County Correction Center on a detainer from United States Immigration and Customs, pending another deportation.
South Brunswick Police were assisted in the investigation by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.
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