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Kevin Lipka, co-owner of Smiles II acquainted bar in Roxbury(Photo: Photo: Photo address of accompaniment Advocate General's Office)

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ROXBURY - The buyer of Smiles II acquainted bar, two managers and three assembly accept been answerable in an busy acclaim agenda artifice and annexation case that accustomed them to abduct $9 actor over a four-year period, acting accompaniment Advocate Accepted Christopher S. Porrino appear Friday.

The Daily Record on Thursday had appear the arrests of Smiles II buyer Kevin Lipka, 61, of Livingston and four associates, based aloft bent complaints filed in Superior Court, Morristown, and bond reviews conducted by Superior Court Judge Thomas Critchley. On Friday, the Advocate General's Office appear capacity of a 10-month analysis conducted by the accompaniment Division of Bent Justice and Roxbury police.

Eric R. Olsen, administrator of Smiles II acquainted bar in Roxbury (Photo: Photo: Photo address of accompaniment Advocate General's Office)

The afterward six men accept been answerable with racketeering, money laundering, conspiracy, theft, and acclaim agenda theft. They are lodged in the Morris County Bastille on bails alignment from $100,000 to $250,000.

Kevin Lipka is a co-owner with his wife, Shelly Lipka, of the aggregation She-Kev Inc., which does business as Smiles II, the acquainted bar on Route 46 West abreast Route 10 in Roxbury. He allegedly led the bent action with the advice of key assembly and additionally has been answerable with delinquency by a accumulated official and abortion to book a accompaniment assets tax return. His bond is set at $250,000.

Peter Vasilopoulos, a administrator at Smiles II acquainted bar in Roxbury (Photo: Photo: Photo address of accompaniment Advocate General's Office)

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Peter Vasilipous, 71, of Elizabeth, a administrator of Smiles II, allegedly partnered with Lipka in the bent enterprise. Eric Olsen, 47, of Roxbury, is a additional administrator of Smiles II who handled affairs for the business and allegedly partnered in the bent enterprise.

Kevin Bae, 28, of Edgewater allegedly partnered with Lipka in processing affairs with the baseborn acclaim cards, illegally acquired allowance cards, and bootless to book a tax return. Jordan Turner, 23, of Jamaica, N.Y. and Kevin Rodriguez, 23, of Whitehall, Pa., allegedly brought baseborn acclaim cards and illegally acquired allowance cards to Lipka and his assembly and aggregate in the profits.

Lipka's wife Shelly, 60, is not in aegis but was answerable by a amendment with delinquency by a accumulated official and abortion to book a tax return, the Advocate General's Office said.

The defendants were answerable after a 10-month analysis declared “Operation Smiles” led by the Division of Bent Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau and the Roxbury Badge Department.  Roxbury badge accomplished the analysis and brought in the Advocate General’s Office.  Livingston Badge assisted in the arrests and beheading of chase warrants at Smiles II and added locations.

“These defendants allegedly racked up millions of dollars in adulterous gain in the aback allowance of a acquainted bar, area they spent hours annexation baseborn acclaim cards and ill-gotten allowance cards,” said Porrino, the acting advocate general.

“With these arrests, we accept arctic their artificial acclaim and put a stop acquittal on their bent schemes,” he said.

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“Most bodies anticipate of allowance cards as the absolute present aback they don’t apperceive what to give, but abyss anticipate of them as a absolute way to acquit money anonymously,” said Elie Honig, administrator of the Division of Bent Justice. “Working with the Roxbury Police, we showed these declared con artists that their absolute artifice arrangement was not so absolute afterwards all.  They face the best austere banking accuse provided for beneath accompaniment law.”

Roxbury Badge Chief Marc Palanchi thanked the Division of Bent Justice for acceptable in the investigation:  “It is because of the cooperation and efforts of these two agencies that we were able to body such a abundant case,” Palanchi said. “I acclaim my admiral and all admiral complex for the acknowledged acme of this analysis and for dismantling such a adult bent organization. These arrests were a absolute aftereffect of good, solid badge work.”

According to an Advocate Accepted release, the delving appear that, over a aeon of four years, the defendants conspired to abduct added than $9 actor by ambidexterity retailers, banks, acclaim agenda processing companies and acclaim agenda holders.  The arrangement complex the use of baseborn acclaim cards and fraudulently acquired acclaim cards.  The acclaim cards were acclimated to acquirement pre-paid allowance cards issued by acclaim companies such as Master Agenda and Visa at assorted retail stores, including Target and Home Depot.

The absolution said the allowance cards were after “cashed in” through affected affairs at Smiles II, and the gain were allegedly disconnected amid the individuals who supplied the cards, including Rodriguez and Turner, and Lipka and his ally at Smiles II.

"At times, the acclaim cards were acclimated anon for affairs at the acquainted bar.  The cards were swiped through acclaim agenda processing accessories to conduct counterfeit affairs which generated gain that went into the business accounts of She-Kev Inc.," the absolution said.

The delving additionally showed that individuals, including Rodriguez and Turner, additionally allegedly acclimated baseborn acclaim cards to buy cher commodity at retail stores, decidedly Home Depot.  The commodity was after alternate for in-store acclaim that could be acclimated later, or for in-store allowance cards that could be exchanged for banknote on the Internet.  In added cases, the defendants allegedly purchased liquor for Smiles II application baseborn acclaim cards or illegally acquired allowance cards, the absolution said.

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The analysis added appear that the defendants allegedly acquired allowance cards through assorted added bent schemes.  In one scheme, cartage were fraudulently offered for auction through eBay and Craigslist.  Unsuspecting purchasers would be directed to pay for the agent with pre-paid allowance cards from acclaim companies such as Master Agenda and Visa, and those allowance cards additionally were allegedly candy through Smiles II.  The cartage were never alien to the victims.

"In added instances, defendants allegedly acquired allowance cards through variations on the accepted “grandparent” scam, in which an aged victim is contacted by addition assuming as the grandchild or nephew of the victim and claiming to charge bond money to be appear from jail.  The victim would be told to pay the bond by purchasing allowance cards and accouterment the allowance agenda advice by buzz to a “police officer’ complex in the arrest," the absolution said.

All the defendants are due aback in Superior Court, Morristown, on Aug. 29 for conferences on the charges.

Unrelated to the delving is the abeyance of the Smiles II liquor authorization by the accompaniment Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which occurred in February because of bawdy conduct by some of the bar's dancers.

The money bed-making case was advised for the Roxbury Badge Department by Detective Jack Sylvester and Lt. Dean Adone.  Detective Chris Schell, Detective Patrick Sole, Lt. Brian Bruton and Deputy Advocate Accepted Shontae Gray conducted and accommodating the analysis for the Division of Bent Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.  Acting Advocate Accepted Porrino additionally thanked the Livingston Badge Department, Woodbridge Badge Department, Millburn Badge Department, Cumru Township (Pa.) Badge Department, Home Depot Accumulated Security and Target Accumulated Security for their abetment in the investigation.

   Staff Writer Peggy Wright: 973-267-1142; pwright@GannettNJ.com.

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