Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato today announced the arrest of Robert William Brower, Jr., 45, of Seaside Heights, NJ, after an eighteen month joint investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Economic Crimes Unit, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development and the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Division of Criminal Justice Financial and Computer Crimes Bureau.
According to officials, as a result of this collaborative effort, Brower was charged in two (2) separate cases with one (1) count of Money Laundering in the second degree, in violation of two (2) counts of second degree Theft by failure to make required disposition, and one (1) count of second degree Theft by Deception.
Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato stated, “This case highlights the flagrant extent of the ‘Super Storm Sandy’ fraud. Over five (5) years later people’s lives are still being devastated, and unscrupulous individuals are still seeking to profit off of the misfortune of others. Along with our Sandy Fraud Task Force partners, we pledge to do all we can to find and prosecute these offenders”
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal stated, “In collaboration with our federal and state partners, as well as Prosecutor Coronato and the other county prosecutors in our Sandy Fraud Task Force, we have criminally charged over 220 defendants involved in more than $13 million in alleged Sandy-related fraud in New Jersey. This historic storm brought out the best in many, who joined efforts to assist those hardest hit, but sadly it also brought out callous predators who took advantage of victims and relief programs, as this defendant is alleged to have done. We will continue to prosecute these crimes aggressively.”
His arrest stems from two separate extensive fraud investigations into Brower’s post Sandy activities. In the first investigation it is alleged that Brower acted as a home contractor seeking to capitalize off of Super Storm Sandy by defrauding a victim out of over a million dollars which he received when contracted to renovate a Sandy damaged home in Toms River.
During the course of the first investigation, the State learned of a second separate case where Brower allegedly applied for and received over $200,000 in public disaster relief funds that he deposited into various bank accounts rather than rehabilitating the property as required. Brower opened the bank accounts using fraudulent information in order to thwart law enforcement detection.
The partnering agencies, with assistance from the Ocean County Sheriff's Warrants Division and the U.S. Marshals, located and arrested Brower, 9:30 pm Monday at a Waters Edge Drive residence in Toms River.
Officials say he is lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending his detention hearing.