TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a Monmouth County man has been indicted for allegedly stealing 28 computers from the New Jersey Schools Development Authority while working for the state authority as a temporary employee.
Corey Jester, 49, of Freehold, N.J., was indicted by a state grand jury on charges of computer theft (2nd degree), conspiracy (3rd degree), theft by unlawful taking (3rd degree), receiving stolen property (3rd degree), fencing (3rd degree), and misapplication of entrusted property of government (3rd degree). Jester formerly was employed by a company contracted by the state to provide temporary IT staff. He was contracted in 2017 to be a temporary employee at the IT helpdesk for the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA). It is alleged that while employed at the SDA, Jester accessed a storage closet and stole 28 computers, including mini PC computers and laptops. The computers had an estimated combined total retail value of between $25,000 and $30,000. Jester allegedly cleaned data from the computers, installed new software, and sold them online at a price per computer that usually was in the range of $100 to $200.
Darryl Jester, 55, of Lawrenceville, N.J., Corey’s brother, was indicted with him on charges of conspiracy (3rd degree), receiving stolen property (3rd degree), and fencing (3rd degree). It is alleged that Darryl Jester assisted his brother in selling some of the computers, knowing that they were stolen.
The indictment, which was returned on Friday, July 13, was the result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Bureau and the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau, conducted with the assistance of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority. The SDA discovered that computers were missing in December 2017 and, after an initial investigation, referred the matter to the Division of Criminal Justice. Both defendants were arrested and charged by the New Jersey State Police on Jan. 9, 2018.
“This case reflects our resolve to work with other governmental agencies to guard state property and taxpayer dollars vigilantly,” said Attorney General Grewal. “The Schools Development Authority quickly discovered these thefts, and our detectives and attorneys in the State Police and Division of Criminal Justice, assisted by the SDA, diligently investigated and secured this indictment.”
“This indictment should serve as a strong warning to dishonest actors who might consider using their government employment and access to public property as an opportunity to steal,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We urge any member of the public who suspects that government property is being misused to contact us confidentially so that we can investigate.”
“By stealing computers from the New Jersey Schools Development Authority, Jester was stealing from the children of our State,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This collaborative effort of our Official Corruption Bureau with the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice resulted in the successful recovery of the stolen merchandise and arrests of the actors responsible.”
Deputy Attorneys General Mallory Shanahan, Jonathan Gilmore and Kathryn Faris presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. The lead detective on the case for the State Police is Detective Sgt. 1st Class David Feldstein. Attorney General Grewal thanked the New Jersey Schools Development Authority for their referral and cooperation throughout the investigation.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Robert C. Billmeier, who assigned the case to Mercer County, where the defendants will be ordered to appear for arraignment at a later date.
Attorney General Grewal and Director Allende noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has a toll-free Corruption Tipline 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities confidentially. The public can also log on to the Division webpage at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing confidentially.
The Attorney General’s Office has an Anti-Corruption Reward Program that offers a reward of up to $25,000 for tips from the public leading to a conviction for a crime involving public corruption. Information is posted on the Attorney General’s website at: http://nj.gov/oag/corruption/reward.html.