TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced that a man was sentenced today for submitting fraudulent price quotes to secure three contracts worth $31,428 for his company to supply machine parts to the Keansburg Division of Water and Sewers.
Robert Bruno, 71, of Warren, N.J., was sentenced to 12 months of probation and ordered to pay full restitution of $31,428 by Superior Court Judge David F. Bauman in Monmouth County. Bruno pleaded guilty on March 18, 2021 to third-degree theft by deception. The company that employed Bruno—Sigma Engineering and Consulting (“Sigma”)—also pleaded guilty to third-degree theft by deception and is jointly and severally liable with Bruno for paying the full restitution amount. In addition, Bruno and Sigma are debarred from public contracts in New Jersey for a period of five years.
Bruno and Sigma were charged in an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) that began with a referral from the New Jersey Office of the State Comptroller. The Office of the State Comptroller discovered the false price quotes submitted by Bruno while conducting an audit of the expenses of the Keansburg Division of Water and Sewers.
The OPIA investigation revealed that between 2016 and 2018, Bruno submitted price quotes to secure three separate purchase contracts for machine parts from the Keansburg Division of Water and Sewers. Under local government guidelines, the Division of Water and Sewers was required to receive price quotes from a minimum of three vendors, because each purchase exceeded $3,000. Bruno fabricated two companies, K-A Mechanical Inc. and SMC2, submitting higher price quotes from those fictitious companies for each of the purchases in order to ensure that Sigma received the purchase contracts.
Deputy Attorneys General Adam Gerken and Jonathan Gilmore prosecuted the case for the OPIA Corruption Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Peter Lee and OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione.
For Bruno: Tara Breslow-Testa, Esq., Freehold, N.J.
For Sigma: Kevin Buchan, Esq., Buchan & Palo, LLC, Tinton Falls, N.J.