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4 men charged with bilking school district of more than $2 million February 2, 2010

Posted by jefhenninger in News.

The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office has charged four men after a more than year-long investigation, alleging they bilked the Bernards School District out of more than $2 million.   Even though the money has since been repaid, the bad news for these four is “Somerset County”.  Good luck.

Charged were Robert E. Titus Jr., 52, of Citadel Drive in Jackson; John Paris, 61, of Sherman Avenue in the Belford section of Middletown; Edward G. Beach, 52, of Woodfern Court in Toms River and Gabriel Caponetto, 50, of Milton Street in Howell. They face charges ranging from first-degree money laundering to second-degree conspiracy to theft by deception and forgery.

Aramark Corp. and school district officials jointly reported an alleged long-term theft by an employee of Aramark from the district. Aramark provides food, janitorial and facility management services to the school district.  Titus, who began working for Aramark in 1992, became an on-site manager at the district’s Ridge High School in 1999, and was responsible for maintaining facilities and overseeing projects performed mostly by outside subcontractors. He was able to contractors without the school district having to obtain bids. In addition, one of those contractors, John Paris Construction, in turn hired other subcontractors to perform work without following a bidding process.

In July 2008 the district’s newly appointed business administrator began noticing inconsistencies between invoices Titus submitted for payment through Aramark and work performed in the district. When confronted by the schools superintendent, Titus admitted he had ‘doctored” an invoice, apologized, cleaned out his office and left the district.  This will present another problem for everyone involved as he may be the first to flip.

This is the type of case where an attorney really needs to move on this case right away to quickly figure out which way the case may go, what a trial would look like, which charges will stand up, who will flip, etc.


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