Seaside Heights Man Will Spend Decade in Prison for Sandy Theft
A Seaside Heights man will have plenty of time to think after being sentenced a decade in prison for theft and money laundering.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced the sentence of Robert Brower, 45, of Seaside Heights which was sent down by the Honorable Therese A. Cunningham, J.S.C.
Brower pled guilty to second-degree financial facilitation of criminal activity on January 29, 2019 after admitting that he stole over $225,000.00 from a grant he received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and then transferred the funds to a bank account he created using his deceased father’s social security number and date of birth in order to conceal the proceeds of the theft.
An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit and Agents from the U.S. H.U.D.D. revealed that in August 2015, Brower received a grant under the department’s Land Lord Repair Program, in order to repair 33 Sampson Avenue in Seaside Heights.
On February 19, 2016, Brower allegedly received a payment of $229,395.22 from the program as part of a construction advance.
In court, Brower then admitted that he converted those funds for his own use rather than use them on the project and conceded during his plea hearing this January that he tried to disguise his theft by using his father’s pedigree information rather than his own.
Brower's sentence includes a five year period of parole ineligibility.
He was also sentenced to seven years in State Prison for second-degree theft after admitting to taking over $750,000.00 from a Toms River homeowner for repairs on a Sandy ravaged home.
During the course of the project, Brower repeatedly asked for additional money in excess of the contract in order to move the project along.
When he received the money to be utilized on the project, Brower left the Sandy ravaged home unfinished and converted approximately $786,500.00 to his own use.
During his plea Brower claimed that he spent the money on illegal narcotics.
Brower was also sentenced to five years in State Prison after he admitted to selling eighteen folds of heroin to an individual in a Toms River parking lot in February 2018.
Judge Cunningham ordered that Brower’s sentences will be served concurrently and ordered him to pay restitution to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs for Housing and Urban Development in the amount of $229,395.22 and $786,500.00 to the Toms River homeowner.
In addition, to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Prosecutor Billhimer extends thanks to the Division of Criminal Justice Financial and Computer Crimes Bureau, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, the United States Marshall’s Service, the Toms River Police Department and the Seaside Heights Police Department for their assistance in these matters.
The State was represented by Senior Assistant Prosecutor Jill O’Malley and Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Heisler.