July 6, 2011 |
Brigantine police charged two former Spartan Harbour Condominium officials and a local contractor with theft and conspiracy in an alleged fraudulent billing scheme against the city, police said.
The charges allege that from 2004 to 2008, former Spartan Harbour property manager Walter Czyzewicz, former Spartan Harbor board President Richard DeBenedetto, and Robert Musumeci, the operator of the Moose’s Cans dumpster service in Brigantine, conspired to defraud the city of Brigantine of more than $75,000.
“The city reimburses all condo associations in town for their trash removal based on a certain formula,” Lt. James Bennett said in a release, “and according to reports, there was a marked increase in the amount the Spartan Harbour Association was submitting from a company known as Moose’s Cans.”
The investigation began in mid-2009, Bennett said, after then-city purchasing agent Lou Wagenheim reported what he believed to be “suspicious/fraudulent billing” from the Spartan Harbour Condo Association.
“A clear pattern was visible in the billing as time progressed,” Bennett said.
Czyzewicz, 65, of Brigantine, DeBenedetto, 66, of Farmingdale, and Musumeci, 50, ofBrigantine, were charged Tuesday with theft and conspiracy to commit theft, Bennett said. In addition, Czyzewicz was charged with one count of falsifying a record/writing.
A woman who answered the phone at Moose’s Cans had no comment.
The Spartan has since been renamed Dolphin Cove Condo, current condominium board President Jennifer Michaelis said. Michaelis said the condo association voted out its board of directors and elected a new board in October 2009 because of concerns about “financial mismanagement.”
“Since that time the new board and the associations membership have fully cooperated with the City of Brigantine police department and other New Jersey law enforcement agencies in an effort to determine whether any criminal activities were carried out against the members of the Spartan Harbour Community,” Michaelis said in a written statement. “The association continues to cooperate with all law enforcement agencies in an attempt to move this investigation forward.”
A larger investigation is still ongoing, Bennett added, and is being assisted by the state State Division of Taxation, Criminal Investigations Division and the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office. That investigation is into “additional fraudulent practices” and will likely result in additional charges for the three men as well as others, Bennett said.
Brigantine police requested that anyone with information relating to the cases should call the department at 609-266-7662.
Contact Steven Lemongello: