A Paterson housing and zoning Inspector has been criminally charged for allegedly agreeing to accept and accepting money in exchange for issuing fraudulent building permits and other records, according to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.
Jose Fermin, 50, of Prospect Park, was charged on Wednesday with bribery, official misconduct, acceptance or receipt of unlawful benefit by public servant for official behavior, conspiracy, forgery, tampering with public records, and falsifying or tampering with records.
Fermin, over a period of at least two years, accepted money from an unnamed co-conspirator in exchange for supplying Co-Conspirator #1 with fraudulent building permits and other fraudulent records allegedly issued by the City, but that were never actually issued by the City, authoirties said.
“The harm here goes well beyond the back room deals and crooked payoffs,” said New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin. “When the public is placed at risk and loses faith in our government institutions, we all lose. This action sends a strong message that we will aggressively prosecute this type of public corruption.”
The investigation further revealed that Fermin showed Co-Conspirator #1 how to forge the signature of the Paterson director of planning and zoning on one or more records purportedly issued by the City, authorities said.
Fermin’s alleged conduct also violated the Paterson Personnel Policies and Procedures manual to refrain from, among other things, accepting any gifts from any individual who has had or is likely to have any professional or official transactions with the City, authorities said.
“The Office of Public Integrity and Accountability is working hard to deter this type of dishonest conduct and build a culture of integrity in government and public agencies,” said Thomas Eicher, director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability. “This defendant allegedly tried to undermine the inspection system and evade rules designed to keep New Jerseyans safe. Anyone who we discover engaging in this type of conduct will be investigated and prosecuted.”
Fermin, who worked for Paterson for seven years, could face decades in prison if convicted on the charges.