Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Plainfield schools employee faces jail over purchasing fraud

The red Cardinal adorns the District's logo,
as shown on its website.

Word comes that Robert E. Banks, a carpenter and locksmith for the Plainfield public schools, who pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud will be sentenced later this month.

Banks conspired with employees of Bayway Lumber to defraud the Plainfield school district of nearly $20,000 over a period from 2007 to September 2015.

Banks received more than $9,000 in goods, including a laptop, a lawn mower and a dishwasher. He worked with Bayway Lumber to defraud the Plainfield schools in a number of ways, including inflating invoices and billing for items never actually shipped. Banks, who had purchasing authority, then signed off on the fraudulent invoices.

Banks, who lives in Piscataway, faces up to five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

Robert Datillo, the part-owner of Bayway Lumber who masterminded the scheme, was sentenced to four years in prison in July and must repay over $700,000 he netted from the scheme, in addition to a fine.

Datillo's scam involved institutions ranging from the Plainfield school district to the City of Elizabeth and the former UMDNJ, the predecessor of University Hospital. Although not mentioned in the DOJ documents, Bayway Lumber also did millions of dollars worth of business with the County of Union. For details on those amounts, see here.

In what may have been Datillo's (and Banks') undoing, Datillo kept a record of all the fraudulent transactions, which he referred to as 'the Bank', in order to be sure he was recouping the cost of all the 'gifts' supplied to Banks and other co-conspirators.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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