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September 29, 09

NEWS / Somerset County Contractor Pleads Guilty to Submitting False Claims for Schools Contract


TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram announced that a Somerset County contractor has pleaded guilty to submitting false payment claims on behalf of his family’s company under a contract to replace doors in four schools in Clark Township.

According to Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni, Rantik Parikh, 48, of Warren, and the family company he operated, Parikh Inc., pleaded guilty yesterday to a criminal charge of submitting false contract payment claims before Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier in Mercer County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Parikh be sentenced to three years of probation. Parikh and Parikh Inc. will be debarred from public contracts in New Jersey for a period of five years.

Judge Billmeier scheduled sentencing for Dec. 17. Deputy Attorney General Pearl Minato took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.

The defendants were indicted last year for making false representations in submissions to the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation, now the Schools Development Authority, in connection with a 2004 contract to replace doors at the Johnson, Kumpf, Valley Road and Hehnly Schools in Clark. In pleading guilty, Parikh admitted that he submitted false certifications in connection with payment claims filed under the $295,500 contract.

The investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau revealed that the defendants falsely certified in a January 2005 payment application to the Schools Construction Corporation that a subcontractor, Rangam Consultants Inc., had been paid for work performed. They further certified that any additional money owed to any subcontractors would be paid within 10 days of receipt of the next contract payment. Based on the representations, the SCC authorized a $57,000 payment to Parikh Inc. in May 2005. However, the state’s investigation revealed that the first time any money was paid to Rangam was nearly 18 months after the certification. Another subcontractor was never paid.

The investigation was conducted by Sgt. David Salzmann and Sgt. Frederick Weidman of the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.

http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases09/pr20090929a.html

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