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Hudson County Property Manager Admits Role in $470K Condominium Fraud Scheme

New Jersey

By: Richard L. Smith 

In a statement, federal officials said Ranaldo Bennett has confessed to participating in a fraudulent kickback scheme that siphoned $470,000 from a Jersey City condominium complex owner.ChickenU.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced the admission following Bennett's guilty plea in federal court.

Bennett, 56, from Jersey City, entered his plea in front of U.S. District Court Judge Karen M. Williams in Camden, facing charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

This case has also seen Bennett's co-conspirators, Nathaniel Obedos and Jonathan Smith, admitting guilt and currently awaiting their sentencing.

The fraudulent activity unfolded between November 2018 and October 2020, involving Bennett, then the condominium complex's lead property manager, and Smith, the superintendent.

The duo colluded with Obedos, directing maintenance and repair tasks to his company in return for financial kickbacks.ChickenThe scheme was facilitated through the submission of falsified invoices that significantly overcharged the services rendered by Obedos's company, leading to the condominium complex overpaying by $500,000.

Investigations revealed that the complex paid over $1 million for services that were, in reality, worth half that amount.

The inflated funds were then distributed as kickbacks, with Bennett receiving $440,000 and Smith receiving $30,000.

The charge against Bennett carries a severe potential penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine that could reach $250,000 or double the fraudulent gain or loss incurred.

His sentencing is scheduled for August 7, 2024, marking a significant step towards concluding a case that highlights the vulnerabilities and trust breaches in property management.