Assemblyman Schroeder Offered Plea Deal
Robert Schroeder would have to forfeit his seat in the New Jersey State Assembly as a condition of the deal.
State officials offered New Jersey Assemblyman Robert Schroeder a plea deal for the charges that he swindled $1.8 million from investors and wrote bad checks worth $3.4 million for loan payments during an arraignment hearing Friday morning.
Deputy Attorney General Veronica Allende offered Schroeder a sentence of five years in state prison if he pleads guilty to the second degree offenses of writing bad checks and theft by deception.
As conditions of the plea, Schroeder would have to agree to pay back about $5 million in restitution, forfeit his State Assembly seat and agree to be barred from ever holding public office again.
Schroeder, a Washington Township resident who represents District 39 in the Assembly, declined to comment.
Judge Julie M. Marino released Schroeder on his own recognizance, but did order Schroeder to forfeit his passport and required that he make no contact with the alleged victims.
Schroeder has until March 15 to make a decision on the deal. He is due back in Somerset County Superior Court May 17 at 9 a.m.
If Schroeder doesn't take the deal, he faces charges of issuing bad checks, theft by deception, and misconduct by a corporate official. If found guilty, he could face punishments as severe as five to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $150,000 for each offense.
Schroeder was first arrested by State Police last August and charged with writing about $400,000 in bad checks. He was was later indicted by a grand jury for allegedly stealing $1,887,000 from five individuals who believed they were investing in a housing project in North Dakota.
The indictment also included charges that Schroeder knowingly wrote bad checks for loan payments at least 47 times, for a total value of $3,431,150.
Judgments against Schroeder in civil courts in New Jersey have totalled more than $13 million over the past year.
He was recently banned from doing business with the federal government for allegedly failing to deliver tents to a military base in Afghanistan and failing to pay a subcontractor.