Assemblyman Robert Schroeder (R-Woodcliff Lake) has been charged with writing nearly $400,000 in bad checks to investors in his company, which sells tents and prefabricated buildings to the U.S. military, Attorney General Jeffrey G. Chiesa announced today.
Schroeder, a 52-year-old resident of Bergen County's Washington Township, was charged with second-degree passing bad checks as a result of an ongoing investigation by the state police and Division of Criminal Justice corruption bureaus, authorities said.
Schroeder was charged this morning at the Totowa substation of the New Jersey State Police, and was expected to be released without bail after being processed.
The state obtained a court order to seize seven bank accounts controlled by Schroeder in various business names, including four accounts against which the bad checks alleged in the complaint were drawn. Those accounts were in the names of All Points International Distributors; a subsidiary of All Points, called Hercules Global Logistics LLC; and RS Consultants LLC, a property management firm Schroeder operates from his house, authorities said. Detectives executed search warrants on Friday of Schroeder's house and a Hillsdale office that serves as his business headquarters.
The attorney general's office said the complaint relates to a small number of investors and multiple checks written to each investor, but the office is investigating whether Schroeder wrote bad checks to numerous other people who invested large sums in All Points.
Division of Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor said officials urge any investors who have information or concerns related to Schroeder's alleged passing of bad checks or other conduct related to investor funds to contact his office confidentially. The division has a toll-free tip line at (866) TIPS-4CJ or (866) 847-7425.
State police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes said Schroeder betrayed the trust placed in him by investors.
"The cooperative investigation and arrest of Schroeder by the state police and Division of Criminal Justice sends a clear message that everyone must abide by the same set of rules," Fuentes said in prepared remarks.
Schroeder, first elected to the Legislature in 2010, is the deputy minority whip of the Assembly. He previously served 19 years on the Washington Township Council. He is married with two children, according to his biography in the state legislative manual. He has been a firefighter since 1980.
All Points sells tents, tarpaulins, building components, and prefabricated and portable buildings, with the bulk of its business historically with the federal government, authorities said. His legislative biography said the company "supports disaster relief organizations worldwide." Hercules supplies permanent and temporary housing units and offers catering services, logistical support and other services to design and maintain a base camp, authorities said.
If found guilty, Schroeder faces five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000. Authorities said the charge will be presented to a grand jury for potential indictment.
A voicemail left at Schroeder's district office was not immediately returned, and the voice mailbox for a business number for Hercules was full.