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September 13, 2016

     Today, the Commission unanimously ordered the revocation of the registration of longshoreman Pedro Lopez of Elizabeth, NJ. Lopez’s registration as a longshoreman had been suspended by the Commission since June 2015 following his arrest for second-degree Theft by Deception. On October 15, 2015, in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Union County, Pedro Lopez pled guilty to the charge, admitting that, from 2010 to 2015, he bilked over $75,000 from six fellow longshoremen via a fraudulent mortgage loan modification program. Pedro Lopez had promised his co-workers at Maher Terminals, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, that, if they each paid him and a co-conspirator $15,000 or more, the modification program would lower their monthly mortgage payments or eliminate their mortgages completely. The program was a fraud and the longshoremen did not receive their money back. On December 11, 2015, the Court ordered Pedro Lopez to pay restitution to his victims and sentenced him to six months of incarceration in the county jail, beginning in December 2017.

     Following his conviction, Pedro Lopez appeared at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to determine whether the Commission should revoke his registration as a longshoreman. During the hearing, Pedro Lopez claimed that he was innocent and contradicted his guilty plea in the Superior Court. Following the hearing, the ALJ recommended that the Commission revoke Pedro Lopez’s registration. The ALJ found that Pedro Lopez’s “denial of knowledge and complicity” in the fraud was “incredible.” The ALJ found that Pedro Lopez “was not only guilty of a felony, but he committed that felony against fellow workers on the waterfront. . . . Every time his defrauded co-workers would see him, they would be reminded of how he victimized them, and if he is allowed to continue as a Longshoreman, how he got away with it.” The ALJ concluded that Pedro Lopez’s presence on piers or other waterfront terminals represented a danger to the public peace or safety. Today, the Commission adopted the ALJ’s recommendation to revoke Pedro Lopez’s registration as a longshoreman.

     The case against Pedro Lopez was the result of a join investigation of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the Waterfront Commission.

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