May 27, 2021
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a roofing contractor and his companies were sentenced today for fraudulently billing the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission (“PVSC”), a state agency, for $10,210 in fictitious expenses under a contract with the agency.
Andrew J. Clark, 54, of Wall Township, N.J., and his companies Roof Management, Inc., and A&S Enterprises, Inc., were sentenced today by Superior Court Judge Sharifa R. Salaam in Essex County. Clark was sentenced to a five-year term of probation, conditioned on him serving 120 hours of community service. In addition, he was ordered with his companies to pay restitution to the PVSC and a $75,000 anti-corruption profiteering penalty. Clark will be debarred for a period of five years from all government or quasi-government contracts, and the two companies will be debarred from such contracts for 10 years.
Clark pleaded guilty on Sept. 4, 2020 to a third-degree criminal charge of false contract payment claims for a government contract. Roof Management and A&S Enterprises pleaded guilty that day to second-degree false contract payment claims for a government contract. In pleading guilty, Clark admitted that he falsely billed the PVSC for equipment rental costs of $10,210 that he claimed Roof Management incurred under the contract with the PVSC. In reality, there were no equipment rentals. The PVSC disputed the equipment rental expenses, but ultimately paid out $5,972 in settlement of that claim.
Deputy Attorney General Samantha McCluskey prosecuted Clark and represented the Office of Public Integrity & Accountability (OPIA) at the sentencing hearing. The charges resulted from an investigation by the OPIA Corruption Bureau that began with a referral from the PVSC.
“We’re sending a loud and clear message to dishonest contractors that this type of crime does not pay,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We’re committed to using all available tools, including New Jersey’s strong criminal laws, to protect the integrity of public contracts and hold bad actors accountable.”
“We will continue to work with government agencies to investigate fraud involving public contracts and prosecute dishonest operators who break the law to increase their profits,” said OPIA Director Thomas Eicher. “We urge anyone who has information about fraud in government contracting to contact us confidentially at 1-844-OPIA-TIPS.”
In September 2017, the PVSC entered into a two-year contract with Roof Management to perform roof repairs and improvements at the PVSC Plant in Newark, N.J. The PVSC is a state agency responsible for managing and regulating collection and disposal of wastewater generated in a four-county area along the Passaic Valley River Basin, encompassing parts of Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Hudson counties.
Under the terms of the contract, if Roof Management required additional equipment beyond what it agreed to supply to complete work under the contract, it was entitled to reimbursement for documented expenses to rent such equipment. As part of an application for payment of $67,327 submitted to PVSC for roof repairs at a PVSC building, Clark, as owner and president of Roof Management, included an invoice for $10,210, purporting to reflect costs incurred by Roof Management for renting various pieces of equipment from A&S Enterprises, including roof kettles, roof cutters, mop carts, and mop poles.
When Clark submitted the invoice for those expenses to the PVSC, he did not disclose that he had any connection to A&S. However, the PVSC questioned the expenses and the fact that the address listed for A&S Enterprises matched a registered address for Roof Management. The PVSC referred the matter to the Attorney General’s Office. The OPIA investigation revealed that A&S Enterprises is merely a shell company set up by Clark that has no assets or equipment. All items of equipment used by Roof Management to perform the roof repairs in question were owned or possessed by Roof Management.
Deputy Attorney General Samantha McCluskey prosecuted the case, under the supervision of Corruption Bureau Chief Peter Lee and Counsel to the Director Anthony Picione. The investigation was conducted for the AG’s Office by the OPIA Corruption Bureau, under the leadership of Director Thomas Eicher, and members of the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Bureau.
Attorney General Grewal created the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability in September 2018 to combat corruption and strengthen public confidence in government institutions. In December 2019, the Attorney General issued a directive codifying OPIA and making it a permanent part of the Attorney General’s Office. That directive established the OPIA Corruption Bureau as the lead office within the Department of Law & Public Safety for the investigation and prosecution of state criminal violations involving corruption and abuse of public trust.
OPIA has a toll-free Tipline 1-844-OPIA-TIPS for the public to report corruption. The AG’s Office has an Anti-Corruption Reward Program that offers a reward of up to $25,000 for tips leading to a conviction for a crime involving public corruption. Information is posted at: http://nj.gov/oag/corruption/reward.html.
Defense Attorney: John J. Bruno, Jr., Esq., Rutherford, N.J.