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Lyndhurst contractor kept $648,337 from Fort Lee co-op for piping project, authorities charge

Photo Credit: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Lyndhurst contractor pocketed $648,337 given to him by a Fort Lee cooperative building for copper piping and related materials, said authorities following his arrest on theft and other charges.

John T. O’Brien, 46, signed a $1,430,373.90 contract for his company, J.T. O’Brien Plumbing and Heating, with the owners of the Colony, 1530 Owner’s Corp, in September 2012, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said this afternoon.

O’Brien gave the Colony a list of the items he supposedly bought — which the contract called for him to store on his property “locked in a separate area and not to be co-mingled with other materials” of his, the prosecutor said.

In February 2013, O’Brien “entered into a Security Agreement regarding the items purchased and, on May 28, 2013, filed a UCC-1 statement in which he fraudulently claimed to have purchased the required items for this project,” Molinelli said.

An audit found that O’Brien “never purchased $648,337.16 of the $1,430,733.90 worth of materials,” he said.

A grand jury subsequently indicted O’Brien on charges of theft by deception, theft by failure to make disposition of property received, misapplication of entrusted property and uttering a forged document.

He was taken into custody Tuesday, immediately posted $25,000 bail and was released, the prosecutor said.

MUGSHOT: Courtesy BERGEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR

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