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Covering Hamilton and Robbinsville townships in-depth for The Trentonian. I can be reached at (609) 989-7800 ext. 207 or (609) 468-6962. Email me at or follow me @awisefool.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Two plead guilty in federal schools sports equipment fraud case

A criminal conspiracy that affected more than 20 schools districts across New Jersey and New York also touched Robbinsville, according to a federal plea agreement handed down Tuesday.
Mitchell Kurlander, 54, of Allentown, Pa. and Alan Abeshaus, 81 of Highland Beach, Fla. plead guilty to one count of mail and wire fraud conspiracy after being indicted two years ago. The two ran a criminal conspiracy through their sports equipment company, Circle Systems Group Inc., by falsifying records, overcharging schools and covering donations and gifts to public officials.
“The long-running fraud Kurlander and Abeshaus ran cheated students, teachers and the taxpayers who support them,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said in a release. “Just as offensive is the conduct of school officials who turned a blind eye to the deceit in exchange for cash payoffs and gifts.”
The company provided sports equipment and refurbishing services for school districts in New Jersey and New York, among other states, and would use fraudulent record keeping, duplicative billing and other practices to secure more than $800,000 for Abeshaus.
Even when school officials caught on, in many cases the company still wrung money out of them. For one New York school district that disputed $8,000 in fraudulent charges, Circle made it up later by billing for reconditioning it never did, according to the indictment.
“Circle fraudulently achieved its desired profits even when a school detected Circle’s fraudulent billing practices,” the indictment said.
You can read the full story here.


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