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Hillsborough Board of Education offices. (Photo: Hillsborough Township Public Schools).

Hillsborough school employee admits paybacks-for-overtime scheme

Anthony DeLuca paid to receive $137k in overtime for hours he didn’t work

By David Wildstein, January 26 2023 1:03 pm

The former building and grounds director of the Hillsborough public schools has admitted to paying kickbacks in exchange for fraudulent overtime payments worth over $137,000.

Anthony DeLuca pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling, stealing, and fraud on Wednesday and faces ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine, although plea agreements rarely result in maximum sentences.

The 61-year-old Raritan resident appears to be cooperating with a larger investigation, but the U.S. Attorney’s office did not disclose the name of the individual who received the kickbacks.

DeLuca and that person agreed that he would “submit claims for overtime work” that he had not performed, according to the information complaint from the U.S. Attorney.

“DeLuca paid thousands of dollars in kickbacks,” the information complaint stated.

DeLuca resigned after the Somerset County Prosecutor began a probe of the school district’s finances.  Aiman Mahmoud,  the business administrator, resigned on December 20, 2021; two days later, Superintendent of Schools Lisa Antunes also resigned.  The deputy business administrator, Luisa Rodriguez, resigned on January 3.

According to federal prosecutors, DeLuca had been promoted to the director post in July 2019.  As a salaried full-time employee, DeLuca was no longer eligible for overtime.  The unnamed official allegedly authorized overtime payments anyway in exchange for kickbacks.

Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge Peter Sheridan on Wednesday, DeLuca admitted that he would withdraw cash from his bank account and that the unnamed individual would designate a drop-off location where the kickback would be left in an envelope.   DeLuca said those included the individual’s car and a desk drawer.

DeLuca had been a maintenance worker prior to his promotion, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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