Federal jurors in Newark convicted a former city police officer on Monday of paying kickbacks to a corrupt official for a no-show private security contract.
Janell Robinson, 42, of Newark, was the ninth and final defendant convicted in a scheme to siphon money from the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation (NWCDC).
Jurors deliberated for two hours before finding Robinson guilty of conspiring in a massive corruption scheme with Linda Watkins Brashear, the former executive director of the NWCDC, which provided water to half a million New Jersey residents before it was closed in 2013 amid a federal corruption probe.
Robinson, who also was convicted of mail fraud following the 10-day trial in U.S. District Court, was working as a Newark police officer when she controlled a company that purported to provide security consulting services to its one and only client, the NWCDC, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Robinson conspired with to pay Brashear, of West Orange, “a stream of concealed and undisclosed kickbacks from the proceeds that P&S received from the NWCDC” in exchange for her help securing contracts, Carpenito said.
Brashear approved bogus and inflated invoices submitted by Robinson, he added.
In the end, the NWCDC paid P&S roughly $289,000, of which Robinson kicked back $50,000 to Bashear, the U.S. attorney said.
Robinson to pay Brashear kickbacks.
Brashear, who Carpenito said collected nearly $1 million in kickbacks from contractors who did little or no work, pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme and was sentenced in September 2017 to 102 months in federal prison.
She received leniency in exchange for cooperation, which included what resulted in her testifying against Robinson.
U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton scheduled sentencing for Robinson for June 8, 2020.
All of those convicted in the case – most of whom took pleas -- must serve nearly all of their sentences because they’re no parole in the federal prison system.
Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation with the investigation leading to Monday’s conviction, secured by Senior Trial Counsel Leslie F. Schwartz and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacques S. Pierre of his Special Prosecutions Division.
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