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Ex-Franklin Twp. housing official admits steering contracts to husband’s business February 17, 2010

Posted by jefhenninger in News.

April Harbstreeet, who previously administered the Franklin Township Community Development Block Grant Program has entered a guilty plea today in Somerset County Superior Court. She was responsible for qualifying applicants for federal housing assistance and soliciting bids for housing rehabilitation projects.  In 2005, she contracted $113,677 worth of work to her husband’s company, Ronald Patrick Plumbing. After her supervisors told her to stop, her husband Ronald DeSantis,42, continued to win contracts by working under the name of an electrical contractor, and reaped $169,678.78.

Today, both pleaded guilty to multiple offenses, including 13 counts of second-degree official misconduct and third-degree witness tampering. DeSantis also pleaded guilty under a separate indictment to third-degree tax charges, including failure to file income tax returns.

Under the deal Harbstreet will be sentenced to five years in prison. As a condition of the plea, she was remanded to the county jail pending sentence. DeSantis will be sentenced to serve seven years in prison, but he won’t be sentenced until Harbstreet is released, for the benefit of their child. He also agreed to pay back taxes, interest and penalties which equals $23,479.99.

Story is here.


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