EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 3, 2013

Former tow company secretary admits creating fake receipt for cop

LAWRENCE — The FBI was asking questions about bribery and corruption and Mayra Colon said she wanted to help her friend police officer P.J. Lopez, who was at the center of the investigation.

So Colon, secretary at M & W Towing of Lawrence, decided to make a phony receipt that showed Lopez paid $4,000 for a snow plow he received from the company. She told her boss he should say Lopez paid him the $4,000 for the plow but he forgot he got paid because he was drunk.

But yesterday, as a witness in federal court in Lopez’s bribery trial, Colon admitted to a jury that she doctored the receipt, made up the story about the $4,000 being paid and lied to FBI agents.

“Your intent was to fool FBI agents into believing this was a valid document?” said Alex Cain of North Andover, Lopez’s defense attorney, as he asked Colon about the fake receipt.

“Yes,” said Colon, who was given immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony against Lopez.

“Basically, what you did is lied to a federal agent?” Cain asked.

“Yes,” said Colon, a single mother who worked under the table at M & W Towing.

Colon, 37, who collects Social Security checks for a back disability, was the second witness granted immunity from prosecution that testified against Lopez at federal court on Boston.

On Monday, M & W Towing owner Wilson Calixto, 46, testified at length about his arrangement with Lopez, a police officer since 1997. Lopez got reduced rates on cars and the $4,000 snow plow in exchange for sending towing joibs to M & W.

Indicted on Sept. 25, 2012, Lopez, 47, is charged with bribery, lying to a federal agent and obstruction of justice in connection with his dealings with M & W Towing and Calixto from December 2010 to May 2011.

Calixto said he went along with Lopez because he didn’t want to get thrown off the Lawrence tow list or blackballed in city business.

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