Police & Fire

School Officials Charged with Theft, Conspiracy, Money Laundering and Burglary

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pNEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Two administrators in the award-winning Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools have been arrested and charged with crimes related to their handling of funds dedicated to the schools.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Police Chief Scott Cartmell of the Piscataway Police Department announced on Friday that the Middlesex County Vocational & Technical School Assistant Superintendent and the Principal of the Vocational & Technical School- Piscataway Campus were arrested and charged with theft, conspiracy, burglary, and money laundering.

Joseph Armstead, 47, of Washington Township, principal of the Piscataway Vo-Tech Campus was arrested on April 13 and charged with two counts of theft in the third degree, one count of burglary in the third degree, and one count of money laundering in the third degree for stealing from a non-profit organization that helps urban youth with tutoring and preparing college applications.

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Brian Bilal, 47, of Dunellen, the Middlesex County assistant superintendent of Vocational & Technical Schools was charged with one count of theft in the third degree, and one count of conspiracy to commit theft, for receiving unauthorized payroll checks, which were issued by Armstead.

Armstead and Bilal were charged following an investigation by Detectives Nick Summonte and Dan Nee of the Piscataway Police Department and Detective Ryan Tighe of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

During the investigation it was determined that between March 2016, and August 2017, Armstead issued checks to himself and Bilal, neither of whom was employed by the non-profit organization. In addition, Armstead used a debit card for his own personal gain, according to police..

Armstead also burglarized the non-profit facility and illegally took approximately $10,000 worth of property which was recovered in a storage facility in Edison, pursuant to the execution of a search warrant, police said.

In total, Armstead stole approximately $32,500 and Brian Bilal received checks from Armstead in the approximate amount of $12,350 from the account of the non-profit, according to police.

Armstead and Bilal were processed and released pending their initial court appearance in Middlesex County Superior Court on May 3.

The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Nee at (732) 562-1100 or Detective Tighe (732) 745-3287.

As is the case with all criminal investigations, the charges against Armstead and Bilal are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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