The owner and operator of an Asbury Park daycare center and pre-school pleaded guilty on July 14 to charges related to fraudulent contracts to provide services for city preschoolers, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced.
Sylvia B. Brodrick, 59, of the Oakhurst section of Ocean Township, pleaded guilty before Superior Court Judge Ronald L. Reisner to two counts of second degree Making False Material Representations in Performance of a Government Contract.
Prosecutors say that Brodrick collected money for a janitor’s salary, though no such person worked there. They also say she hired an individual “under the table” without background checks.
At her plea, Brodrick admitted to fraudulently receiving more than $40,000 under two contracts with the Asbury Park Board of Education (APBOE) by submitting expenses for an individual that she had reported working as a janitor, but who was not in fact employed at the daycare center she operated.
Brodrick is scheduled to return for sentencing before Judge Reisner on October 23, 2015.
As part of the negotiated plea agreement, the state will recommend that Brodrick be sentenced to a term of four years in a New Jersey state prison on each of the two counts and ordered to pay restitution of $43,130.05 to the APBOE.
Additionally, Brodrick will execute a voluntary agreement rendering her ineligible to bid, contract, or otherwise conduct business with the state of New Jersey, or any political subdivisions, for a period of 20 year.
An investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office determined Brodrick as the owner and operator of Little Tots II, located at 603 Mattison Ave. in Asbury Park, operated under a contract with the Asbury Park Board of Education (APBOE) to provide pre-school services for eligible 3 and 4-year-old children in the school district for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years.
The services were provided without charge to the eligible children and the costs associated with the programs were reimbursed by the APBOE. Under the terms of the contracts, Brodrick’s Little Tots II received reimbursement payments for the services provided to the eligible children, including staffing expenses, as determined by required quarterly expense reports submitted to the APBOE by Little Tots II documenting its contractually-incurred expenses.
The contracts with the APBOE were valued at over $1.2 million for the 2010-11 school year and over $800,000 for the 2011-12 school year.
The Prosecutor’s Office investigation determined Brodrick submitted staffing expense reports and supporting documentation under both contracts seeking repayment for the salary of an individual listed as a janitor. The investigation revealed, however, that this individual interviewed for the post as a night janitor in 2010 but worked only one night before quitting the job, never returning to work at Little Tots II.
Despite never collecting a paycheck for the one night of work, Brodrick regularly reported his continued employment status at Little Tots II and submitted expenses associated with his employment for reimbursement to the APBOE, fraudulently receiving over $40,000 in public monies over the term of the two-year contract.
The investigation also uncovered a second individual, working at Little Tots II during the two contract years, was paid “under the table” in cash.
This individual, whose employment was never reported to the APBOE, was never subjected to a criminal background check or a child abuse record information check as required by both the terms of the contracts with the APBOE as well as the governing State standards for child care centers such as Little Tots II. The investigation further revealed the second individual was not legally documented to work in the United States.