The 48-year-old suspect was employed as a plumber at the Colony co-op, which is located in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The co-op hired the suspect in September 2012 to purchase copper piping. The piping was meant to be used in a riser replacement project.
According to prosecutors in the case, the suspect deceived members of the co-op and stole more than $600,000.
The suspect allegedly told his employers that he would buy piping and then secure it in a separate area at the building. He filled out numerous purchase orders and claimed to have purchased roughly $1.4 million worth of copper piping and related materials. However, investigators went to the room and allegedly learned that the suspect had in fact bought less than $800K of necessary materials for the job.
Authorities allege that the suspect spent the stolen money on personal items.
Once authorities obtained enough evidence, the suspect was arrested and charged with several crimes, including theft by deception, theft by failure to make disposition of property received, misapplication of entrusted property, and uttering a forged document.
The suspect was recently indicted by a Bergen County grand jury.
If the suspect is eventually convicted, he could be subject to significant penalties. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4, a person who creates or reinforces a false impression with respect to their intention to perform a promise can be charged with theft by deception. A conviction for second degree theft by deception could lead to a sentence of 5-10 years in New Jersey State Prison.
To learn more about this case, view the NJ.com article entitled “Plumber Snaked Fort Lee Co-op Out of $650K, Prosecutor Says.”