Leadbeater reports to prison in Pa.

former Kearny lawmaker and school trustee has taken up residence in the Keystone State, courtesy of Uncle Sam.

John Leadbeater, 58, reported last Monday, Sept. 19, to the federal prison at Lewisburg, Pa., to begin serving a 60-month sentence following his March 2015 plea to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Federal prosecutors charged Leadbeater – together with a string of co-defendants – with participating in a multi-million-dollar home mortgage fraud scheme in South Jersey.

The feds said the conspirators recruited “straw buyers” – people with good credit scores but not enough assets – to buy waterfront condos “overbuilt” by fiscally stressed developers in Wildwood and Wildwood Crest between May 2006 and August 2011.

In return for their participation, the straw buyers were to be exempted from paying deposits, closing fees and monthly mortgage fees, the feds said.

According to government lawyers, Leadbeater admitted bilking lenders out of some $4.7 million in mortgages for nine properties spread between the two communities.

As part of his sentencing, Leadbeater – and others – will have to make restitution in the amount of $3 million to victims of the scam.

By now, Leadbeater – a former Kearny Little League coach – is presumed to have settled in at his new surroundings in Lewisburg, Pa., and, as a destination about a two-and-a-half-hour drive away, within range for family visitation.

According to Shawn Barlett, executive assistant/public information officer for U.S. Prison Lewisburg, Leadbeater is assigned to the “prison camp,” a minimum security facility listed as accommodating 479 inmates spread among three buildings, just outside the high-security penitentiary building that houses 1,237 inmates.

Barlett describes the camp as “dormitory style living arrangements” where inmates sleep in bunk beds in cubicles. It’s “lights on” at 5:45 a.m. and beds must be made by 7:30 a.m. “Lights out” at 10:30 p.m.

“Inmates are assigned to a job at the conclusion of the admission and orientation process,” Barlett says.

And, he notes, “All inmates are compensated for work performed.” But they won’t get rich doing it. The pay rate is “$25 per quarter,” according to an inmate handbook, and a portion of that must be applied toward any mandated restitution.

“Outside sources” of income can supplement that miniscule amount.

Work assignments are “based on institutional needs, available jobs, past work experience and evaluation of skills,” the handbook says.

Inmates are expected to put in seven-and-a-half-hour work days, Monday to Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., with a 45-minute lunch break.

For recreation, inmates can watch TV (shut-off time is 11:45 p.m.), use computers (for a modest fee and subject to monitoring by prison staff), write letters, exercise on a stationary bike or do weight lifting, play ping pong, dominoes, horseshoes, bocce, table top games, pool or chess, draw or paint, sign up for sand volleyball, soccer, softball or basketball leagues or take a class in acoustic guitar.

There’s also an opportunity for sunbathing, but only “during non-working hours” and only “in discrete areas and out of public view.”

To purchase odds and ends, inmates are permitted to maintain a commissary account restricted to a maximum of $290 per month.

From that account, inmates can draw funds to participate in a health care plan which charges $2 for each “health care visit” requested.

Leadbeater is scheduled to maintain his lodgings at the camp through Jan. 25, 2021, but there may be an opportunity for early release as “all inmates are reviewed for half-way house placement according to established policies,” Barlett said.

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