A.C. Housing Authority employee charged with theft, official misconduct

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MAYS LANDING – A Pleasantville man who worked for the Atlantic City Housing Authority was charged with official misconduct, theft and multiple other crimes for allegedly defrauding and stealing thousands of dollars by creating and paying fraudulent contractors, Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel announced.

Brian Lewis, 41, of Pleasantville was charged May 1 with one count of official misconduct, five counts of theft by deception, five counts of filing a false claim for payment of a government contract, five counts of fraudulently transacting business while acting as a public servant, one count of unsworn falsification to authorities and one count of theft by deception for unemployment fraud.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Official Corruption Unit, the FBI Investigation Public Corruption Task Force and the U.S. Department of Labor-OIG initiated the joint investigation after receiving information in October of 2010 from the attorney for the Housing Authority that some construction and home repair jobs were paid to various contractors and the work had not been completed.
Some of the work was double and triple billed with no work ever being completed, according to Housel.

Authorities said that beginning in 2010, Lewis, an assistant buyer for the Housing Authority, used his position to access work orders and contracts for construction and home repairs for Stanley Holmes Village. He then allegedly created shell companies and billed the Housing Authority for work that had already been completed by legitimate companies and had already been paid by the Housing Authority.

Lewis used his position to award his own businesses contracts for construction and repair work, and then did not perform the work despite receiving payment, investigators said. This left many residents of Stanley Holmes Village Apartments living in deplorable and unsafe conditions, according to Housel.

Inspections by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Official Corruption Unit confirmed that the contracted repairs were never completed.

Over the course of 16 months, Lewis allegedly created at least five fraudulent businesses and defrauded the Housing Authority and the taxpayers of nearly $150,000, according to Housel.

It is also alleged that Lewis collected unemployment benefits from 2006 to 2008, while working full time for the Housing Authority. Lewis fraudulently collected more than $13,000 in unemployment benefits, Housel said.

Lewis turned himself in Monday to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, where he was processed and released on his own recognizance.

Official misconduct carries a prison term of five to 10 years with a mandatory period of parole ineligibility. Theft by deception carries a prison term of five to 10 years. Theft by deception carries a prison term of three to five years. Filing a false claim for payment of a government contract carries a prison term of five to 10 years. Fraudulently transacting business while a public servant carries a prison term of up to 18 months. Unsworn falsification also carries a prison term of up to 18 months.


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