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Press Release

Former Member Of Mount Olive Township Board Of Education Admits Role In Scheme To Defraud School District

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. – A former member of the Mount Olive Township Board of Education (MOBOE) today admitted his role in a scheme to defraud the school district of $371,000, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Robert Mania, 47, of Flanders, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with wire fraud.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From 2007 to 2009, while serving as a board member, Mania and others took part in a scheme to increase the amount of commissions to be paid on the school district’s account and then divert a portion of the commission payments to a company controlled by an individual, referred to in the information as the “Associate,” for distribution to Mania and his co-schemers. Mania admitted secretly inflating the commission rate and then diverting to himself approximately $371,000 in commission payments.

To conceal the rate increase and payments, Mania caused the district’s health insurance provider to send the annual disclosure statements generated by the health insurance carrier – which detailed the true commission rate and the payments to the associate’s company – to Mania’s own personal post office box, rather than to the school district. Approximately $606,000 in commissions was diverted to the associate’s company for distribution to Mania and his co-schemers, including approximately $371,000 that was received by Mania.     

The wire fraud charge to which Mania pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of the gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for July 27, 2016.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI’s Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee M. Cortes Jr. of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division.

Defense counsel: James A. Plaisted Esq., Roseland, New Jersey

Updated September 2, 2016

Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 16-119