A former Newark police officer was found guilty by a federal jury today of conspiring to defraud the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation (NWCDC) and giving kickbacks to its former executive director.
Janell Robinson, 42, of Newark, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud the NWCDC facilitated by use of mails and wire transmissions, two counts of mail fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right affecting interstate commerce following a 10-day trial before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton.
While Robinson was a Newark police officer between March 2010 and May 2013, she controlled Protected and Secured Services LLC (P&S), a company that purported to provide security consulting services to its only client, the NWCDC.
Robinson was charged with conspiring with Linda Watkins Brashear of West Orange, New Jersey, the former executive director of the NWCDC, to pay Brashear a stream of concealed and undisclosed kickbacks from the proceeds that P&S received from the NWCDC.
In exchange for Brashear’s assistance in securing P&S a contract with the NWCDC and approving completely fraudulent or inflated invoices that Robinson submitted, Robinson paid Brashear cash kickbacks from the proceeds of the fraud, according to court records.
In total, the NWCDC paid P&S approximately $289,000 during the scheme, approximately $50,000 of which was used by Robinson to pay Brashear kickbacks, according to court records.
The wire and mail fraud conspiracy, mail fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right charges each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for June 8, 2020.
Brashear pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme and was sentenced Sept. 21, 2017, to 102 months in prison
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark; and special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur, with the investigation leading to today’s conviction.
The government is represented by Senior Trial Counsel Leslie F. Schwartz and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacques S. Pierre of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division.