JERSEY CITY, NJ - A Bayonne man who served as shop steward with the United Production Workers (UPW) Union Local 17-18 out of Brooklyn was among three people charged with the theft of more than $50,000 from the pension funds of two different Hudson County factories, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced Monday.

According to Suarez, Elkin Garcia, 55, was charged with Theft by Deception for his role in allegedly cashing pension loan checks and retaining a portion of the funds. The theft, which occurred on various dates between June 2017 and July 2019, was from funds intended for employees working at Star Snacks Company in Jersey City and/or Gel Spice Company in Bayonne. 

Francisco Jara, 63, a former business representative for the union, was charged with the same crime, as well as Theft by Unlawful Taking and Conspiracy, while Marta Gray, 52, has been charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking.

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All three individuals are scheduled to have their first court appearance at 1:00 p.m. on July 7 in Central Judicial Processing Court at 595 Newark Avenue in Jersey City. Prosecutor Suarez credited the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office HCPO Special Investigations Unit with the investigation.

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