Sentencing for Kearny man put off again

NEWARK –

A Kearny man who admitted playing a role in a $13 million mortgage fraud scam will be home for the holidays, now that his federal sentencing has been delayed a third time.

Matt Reilly, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, said last week that John Leadbeater, a former Town Councilman and former vice president of the Board of Education, is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Court Judge Jerome Simandle in Camden at 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 23.

After initially going to trial to contest the charges against him, Leadbeater pleaded guilty March 9 to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was slated to be sentenced June 26.

That date was later changed to Sept. 14 and, after that, to Dec. 14, without explanation from federal prosecutors.

When the defendant entered his guilty plea, the feds said that Leadbeater faced a “maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office described the conspiracy, in which at least 13 other defendants were implicated, as a “scam that used phony documents and ‘straw buyers’ [from New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Arkansas and California] to make illegal profits on overbuilt condos in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest.”

The government said that Leadbeater “admitted causing mortgage lenders to fund $4,711,557 worth of mortgages [for nine properties] based on false and fraudulent loan applications and closing documents prepared by him and his conspirators.”

Leadbeater is represented by Jersey City attorneys Thomas J. Cammarata and Jeffrey Garrigan.

– Ron Leir 

Ron Leir | Observer Correspondent

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc. He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter. He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based W.H.A.T. Co. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, N.Y.