NEWARK, NJ – Paterson’s Erik Lowe, a former commissioner with the now-defunct Paterson Municipal Utilities Authority, will spend up to 35 months in prison for engaging in two separate schemes to steal funds from the agency he served for more than six years., U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced Monday.

According to court documents Lowe and Carnell Baskerville, a contractor who performed work for the MUA, had an agreement whereby Low would approve payments to Baskerville’s company for services that were never performed. Between December 2014 and May 2015, Lowe wrote a series of MUA checks totaling $146,500 to Baskerville’s company. Lowe directed Baskerville to deposit these checks into Baskerville’s bank account and to kick back to Lowe a significant percentage of this amount in cash to reward Lowe and a fellow, unidentified, MUA commissioner for their official assistance in carrying out the scheme.

Baskerville pleaded guilty to the crime in 2018 and was sentenced to 21 months in prison.

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Lowe also admitted to engaging in a similar scheme between August 2012 and November 2014 with a second contractor whose company installed and repaired fences for residential homes and commercial business. Records showed Lowe issuing $141,700 in checks to the contractor, accepting kickbacks totalling thousands of dollars from the contractor in exchange.  

In addition to the jail time Lowe was ordered to pay restitution of $236,400.

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