NJ man accused of stealing millions to spend on BMW, donkeys
A Sussex County man faces federal charges after embezzling millions of dollars from the construction company that he worked for, which he used to pay for his mortgage, a luxury vehicle and a few farm animals, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Jonathan Baker, 38, of Green Township, was indicted on five counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering. He was arrested Thursday by FBI special agents and appeared in Newark federal court.
According to court documents filed, Baker was the chief financial officer (CFO) of a small, privately held retail construction company in Sparta. Prosecutors said the company acted as a construction manager and general contractor for projects like new business offices, retail spaces and restaurants.
Carpenito said over a three-year span ending in 2018, Baker stole millions of dollars from company bank accounts and credit cards and used the funds for personal expenses, including mortgage payments on Baker’s home and to buy a BMW as well as six donkeys.
When confronted by company officials about the theft, Baker lied and blamed a commercial lender for making a mistake, federal prosecutors said.
Baker also tried to cover up his embezzlement by changing the locks on company offices and trying to disable the email and phone system, Carpenito said.
Each of the five counts of wire fraud carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and hefty fines, while each of the three counts of money laundering carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and extensive fines.
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