TRENTON, N.J. – A Piscataway man has admitted to conspiring with employees of Bayway Lumber in Linden to use phony invoices to defraud the Plainfield Board of Education, resulting in losses of $19,927, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced on Wednesday.
Robert E. Banks, 54, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in a Trenton federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court, from 2007 to 2015 Bayway Lumber had contracts with the Plainfield Board of Education to provide various products at specified discounts from the manufacturer’s listed prices.
Banks was a carpenter and locksmith in the Plainfield Board of Education’s maintenance department and was responsible for purchasing supplies from vendors. During that time, Bayway Lumber charged the Plainfield Board of Education prices that did not include the contractual discounts and at times charged the Plainfield Board of Education for items it did not receive. Afterwards, Banks signed off on the fraudulent and overbilled invoices.
In return Bayway Lumber employees used a portion of the proceeds to purchase over $9,000 in items for Banks, including a laptop computer, a lawnmower, construction materials, and a dishwasher.
Banks faces up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 29.
Robert R. Dattilo, a part owner of Bayway Lumber, pleaded guilty before Judge Sheridan on Feb. 18 to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with this and other fraudulent activity. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 12.