Sandy contractor pleads guilty to theft and money laundering
A Seaside Heights contractor could spend several-years in prison if convicted on charges of theft and money laundering for deceiving a Toms River man to do work following Sandy, announced Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.
The Sandy theft case was not the only one the suspect plead guilty to in court as there were three cases at play in which he plead guilty to the charges from each investigation.
Robert Brower, 45, has plead guilty to second-degree theft for taking over $750,000.00 from a Toms River homeowner but never doing any repair work.
Brower later admitted he used that money to buy drugs instead of doing the work.
He also stole $225,000.00 from H.U.D. and put it in a bank account using his dead Dad's S.S. Number and birth-date to hide the funds.
Detective Stephen Shadiack of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit determined that Brower contracted with a Toms River homeowner to repair his Sandy-ravaged home and during the course of the project, Brower repeatedly asked for additional money in excess of the contract in order to move the project forward.
The homeowner agreed to provide the money as Brower would not finish the project.
“Brower admitted in Court that he left the house unfinished and stole in excess of $750,000 for his own use including the purchase of illegal narcotics," Prosecutor Billhimer said.
Billhimer also recommended that the Court sentence Brower to seven years in New Jersey State Prison.
In a seperate case, Brower plead guilty to second-degree financial facilitation of criminal activity (money laundering).
He admitted that he stole over $225,000.00 from a grant he received from the United States’ Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and that he transferred the funds to a bank account he created using his deceased father’s Social Security number and date of birth in order to conceal the proceeds of the theft.
Detective Shadiack and Agents from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determined that in February of 2016, Brower received a $229,395.00 grant from the HUD Landlord Repair Program to repair 33 Sampson Avenue in Seaside Heights and failed to use the funds for that purpose.
“Brower admitted that he converted those funds for his own use and tried to disguise his theft by using his father’s pedigree information," Prosecutor Billhimer said.
Billhimer also recommended that the Court sentence Brower to ten years in New Jersey State Prison, subject to five years of parole ineligibility.
In the third case, Brower pled guilty to distribution of eighteen folds of heroin to an individual in a Toms River parking lot in February 2018.
Prosecutor Billhimer recommended that the Court sentence Brower to five years in New Jersey State Prison.
Ocean County Senior Assistant Prosecutor Jill O’Malley and Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Heisler represented the State.
The Honorable Therese A. Cunningham, J.S.C. ordered that Brower be held in the Ocean County Jail pending sentence on March 15, 2019.
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