Former Newark Political Consultant Gets Four Years for Fraud Caper

A Hudson County man was sentenced today.

A political consultant from Essex County was sentenced today to 48 months in prison for her role in a fraud scheme related to contracts with the Newark Watershed Development Corp. (NWCDC) and kickbacks to officials there, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Dianthe Martinez-Brooks, 48, of West Orange previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares to an information charging her with one count of wire fraud. Judge Linares imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Martinez-Brooks was the owner and proprietor of a consulting company called DMart127 LLC, which provided political consulting services to local candidates and elected officials, among others, in the Essex County area. Between May 2011 and March 2013, she participated in a scheme with Linda Watkins Brashear, the former NWCDC Executive Director, and Donald Bernard, the former Director of Special Projects, to defraud the NWCDC of the honest services of Brashear and Bernard, and of money and property.

Martinez-Brooks submitted fraudulent invoices to the NWCDC in the name of DMart127 detailing services that were purportedly performed, but which sought payments that overstated the value of any services she or her company performed. Martinez-Brooks also assisted in obtaining contracts between companies owned by Kevin Gleaton and the NWCDC and contracts between a company owned by her relative and the NWCDC through Bernard and Brashear. Fraudulent invoices were submitted in the name of those companies to the NWCDC detailing services that were purportedly performed, but were never rendered by Gleaton, his companies, or Martinez-Brooks’ relative. Based on the fraudulent invoices, the NWCDC issued checks to DMart127, Gleaton’s companies and company belonging to Martinez-Brooks’ relative totaling $225,666. Martinez-Brooks kicked back a substantial amount of those proceeds to Brashear and Bernard.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Linares also sentenced Martinez-Brooks to three years of supervised release and ordered her to pay restitution of $225,666.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark; IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Tafur; and special agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christina Scaringi, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacques S. Pierre and Jihee G. Suh of the Special Prosecutions Division.

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