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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pennsylvania Woman Sentenced To Five Years In Prison For Selling Millions Of Dollars In Fraudulent Telecom Equipment

TRENTON, N.J. – A Pennsylvania woman was sentenced today to 60 months in prison for her role in a long-running, large-scale scheme involving the fraudulent sale of telecommunications equipment belonging to a company she worked for as a consultant, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Following an 11-day trial before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court, Juanita L. Berry, 48, of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, was convicted in December 2015 of four counts of wire fraud, which caused more than $3.5 million in losses, and two counts of tax evasion for evading taxes in 2010 and 2011. The jury deliberated for 75 minutes before returning the guilty verdicts.

According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:

From 2008 to 2011, Berry worked as a consultant for an Indiana company that installed and removed telecommunications systems, first as a sales representative and later as the company’s vice president for major accounts. Initially, Berry worked out of the company’s Levittown, Pennsylvania, facility and, later, out of its Dayton, New Jersey, facility. The “brains” of the telecommunications systems the company installed and removed were the electronic circuit boards of varying complexity that range in price between several hundred to tens of thousands of dollars.

Berry owned a company named J. Starr Communications Inc., (J. Starr) through which she arranged her consulting agreement and allegedly operated her fraudulent scheme.

Without the knowledge or authorization of the telecommunications company’s management, Berry sold both used cards and new cards with other telecommunications equipment owned by the company as though such equipment belonged to her or J. Starr. She then pocketed the proceeds from such fraudulent sales. Berry deceived employees at the Levittown and Dayton facilities into thinking that the shipments of used cards were part of the telecommunications company’s normal course of business. Between 2008 and 2011, the Florida company that purchased the cards from Berry or J. Starr wired in excess of $3.5 million in payment to J. Starr’s bank account.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Berry to three years of supervised release and ordered her to pay restitution of $3.4 million.           

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; and special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen, for the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Andrew Leven and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lucy Muzzy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.

Updated September 1, 2016