A former director of Buildings and Grounds for the Hillsborough Township School District admitted to paying kickbacks in return for fraudulent overtime payments of more than $137,000, according to U.S. Attorney Phillip R. Sellinger.
Anthony DeLuca, 61, a long-time employee of the district, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton to one count of embezzling, stealing, and obtaining by fraud the thousands of funds belonging to and under the care, custody and control of the Hillsborough Township School District, according to a press release through the U.S. Attorney District of New Jersey.
DeLuca joined the Hillsborough Township School District in 1993 as a maintenance worker/custodian. After serving many years in that capacity, he transitioned to the role of maintenance foreman. He had served as acting director of buildings and grounds before the Hillsborough Board of Education approved his position as director in July 2019.
According to the documents filed in this case:
DeLuca was promoted to the position of director of Buildings and Grounds, a salaried position that did not entitle him to overtime pay. Nevertheless, shortly after assuming this position, the school district employee to whom DeLuca reported (referred to as “Individual 1” in the information) began directing DeLuca to claim that DeLuca was entitled to receive overtime payments, including for hours which substantially exceeded those that DeLuca actually worked. DeLuca submitted these claims to Individual 1 who then authorized overtime payments for DeLuca in return for cash kickbacks.
DeLuca admitted in court on Jan. 25 that upon receiving the overtime payments approved by Individual 1, DeLuca would typically withdraw cash from his bank account to provide kickbacks to Individual 1. DeLuca stated that Individual 1 would designate the location to which DeLuca should deliver envelopes containing the cash kickbacks, including the console of Individual 1’s vehicle and a drawer in Individual 1’s office desk. DeLuca admitted that through this scheme he received in excess of $137,000 in overtime payments to which he was not entitled and that he provided Individual 1 with at least $39,800 in kickbacks between July 2019 and January 2022.
DeLuca faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for June 1, according to the press release.
Sellinger credited agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel in Newark; and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor John P. McDonald, with the investigation leading to the charges.