Leadbeater sentencing postponed … for the 4th time


For the fourth time in the last eight months, the sentencing of a former Kearny official implicated in a mortgage fraud scam has been put off.

Now, onetime councilman and former Board of Education member John Leadbeater is scheduled to go before U.S. District Court Judge Jerome Simandle in Camden Federal Court on May 5 to learn his fate.

Matthew Reilly, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark, told The Observer last week that the case had been rescheduled with the court’s consent on Feb. 9. Sentencing had been expected for last Tuesday, Feb. 23.

When asked at whose request the postponement was sought, Reilly said that was not part of the official case record.

After having continued to maintain his innocence, Leadbeater opted to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was to be sentenced June 26, 2015, but the matter was deferred, first to Sept. 14, then to Dec. 14, and again, to Feb. 23.

Each successive postponement took place with no explanation from federal prosecutors.

The government alleged that various co-conspirators schemed to use fake documents and “straw buyers” to “make illegal profits on overbuilt condos in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest” between May 2006 and August 2011.

Leadbeater was charged in March 2013 with conspiracy to commit money laundering and wire fraud and initially went to trial in the summer of 2014 to fight the charges. But, one week into the trial, the government dropped the money laundering charge and accepted a guilty plea on the wire fraud count.

That set the stage for the successive sentencing delays.


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