NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A former Newark police officer has admitted he solicited and accepted thousands of dollars in bribes from brothel owners in exchange for protecting them from law enforcement. Julio Rivera, 50, pleaded guilty Thursday to bribery and aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false personal tax return, according to federal prosecutors.

The Old Bridge man faces up to 13 years in prison when he’s sentenced April 30.

Rivera started taking the payments in 2011 and continued through November 2016, accepting between $40,000 and $95,000 overall, prosecutors said.

In 2015, Rivera began sending his girlfriend to receive the payments at a clothing store. In text messages, he referred to the payments as “food.”

(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)