Businessman Admits Stealing $100,000 Worth of Water from the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority
NEWARK, NJ—The owner of Reliable Wood Products (Reliable Wood) today admitted his role in a conspiracy to steal at least $100,000 worth of water from the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority (JCMUA), U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Nicholas Vene, 43, of Holmdel, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From January 2007 through March 31, 2012, Vene and others diverted the water flowing from a Jersey City water pipe to 1 Caven Point in Jersey City and away from the water meter on that pipe. United Water New Jersey was responsible for collecting payment on behalf of the JCMUA for water used by residents and businesses in Jersey City, and Vene’s actions resulted in United Water obtaining a false calculation of the volume of water used at 1 Caven Point by under-reporting such usage. At 50 Caven Point, another Reliable Wood location, Vene was aware of the use of a water pipe that was unmetered. In early 2012, Vene caused monthly payments by check to be mailed to the JCMUA that did not accurately cover the actual cost of water used by Reliable Wood. He and others defrauded the JCMUA of at least $100,000.
The conspiracy charge to which Vene pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 26, 2015.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents from the FBI, under direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Foster of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Special Prosecutions Division, in Newark.