Ex-Jersey City Head Start ED pleads guilty to stealing $250k from agency

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A former Jersey City Head Start Executive Director pleaded guilty to stealing $250k from the agency and using the money to purchase items such as a Maserati and a fur coat, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced.

A Facebook photo of Robert Mays from May 24, 2012.
A Facebook photo of Robert Mays from May 24, 2012.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Robert E. Mays, 38, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to one count of wire fraud yesterday. Mays was arrested back in October.

Mays was the executive director of the Jersey City Childhood Development Centers from September 2013 to May 2014.

He admitted stealing more than $250,000 from JCCDC by unilaterally increasing his annual salary from $96,500 to $155,000 after being employed by JCCDC for only two months, according to court documents.

Furthermore, Mays also admitted that he created false board of director’s minutes to give the impression JCCDC authorized the salary increase, authorities said.

On top of that, he also fessed up to withdrawing funds from a JCCDC bank account to pay for unauthorized personal expenses, including a 2007 Maserati Quattroporte and a fur coat worth thousands of dollars, officials said.

The wire fraud count to which Mays pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the scheme, as well as mandatory restitution in the full amount of the loss to JCCDC.

His sentencing is scheduled for September 20, 2016.

Back in September,only Hudson County View reported that the FBI was investigating whether or not Jersey City Head Start funds had been misappropriated, with Mays’ apartment being searched by the feds on September 11.

Mays is also a former dean of students at Snyder High School, where he was terminated for excessive absences and tardiness, recently served as the campaign treasurer for Bruce Alston during his run for the state Assembly in the 31st Legislative District.

Alston, who was indicted in an alleged mortgage fraud scheme earlier this week, cut ties with Mays after he was arrested on domestic violence charges.