By Jeremy Baratta
Former Manalapan Township Mayor Andrew Lucas told More Monmouth Musings that his sentencing in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, originally scheduled for Tuesday, January 20, has been postponed until March.
Matthew Reilly, Deputy Public Affairs Officer for U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman’s Office, told MMM that Lucas’s sentencing is scheduled for March 25th.
During a telephone interview today, Lucas stated that the reason for the rescheduling is that the United States Probation Office has not prepared his Pre-sentence Investigation Report – which is a detailed account of the defendant’s history and convictions and is used by judges during sentencing.
The report is required under Rule 32 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and pursuant to those rules, the Pre-sentence Investigation Report must be provided to the court, the defense and the U.S. Attorney 35 days before the sentencing date. After being served, the defendant has 14 days to object to anything contained in the report, and the US Probation Office then has the opportunity to amend the report. It must then serve a final report at least 7 days before the sentencing date.
A significant component of the report is an interview by a federal probation officer with the defendant, and the recommendations of the probation officer regarding the defendant’s sentence. Additionally, the report is generally the first document the Bureau of Prisons sees on an inmate and the one primarily used to determine the custody class and facility a defendant will be sent to. Originally scheduled for October 20, Lucas reported that his interview occurred several days later, being postponed after the birth of his third child.
Lucas is currently free on bail following his conviction in the Trenton vicinage of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey on September 18, 2014 on all 11 counts in an indictment handed up February 6, 2014. Lucas’ bail conditions include home confinement and electronic monitoring. He is allowed to leave his home to go to church and to work. The charges included fraud, obstruction of a grand jury and identity theft.
They are related to the purchase of property in Manalapan Township by Lucas, which he later sold the development rights to through the Farmland Preservation program. The Farmland Preservation Program is different from the state Green Acres Program, which is to acquire private land for public use as open space. He received 1.152 million dollars in grant money for the development rights.
Controversy arose because Lucas applied for the grant while a member of the Manalapan Township Committee. It has been reported that he allegedly participated in discussions amongst the township committee about the sale, and also that Lucas did not disclose that he was the actual owner of the property to the township committee. Lucas stated those allegations are untrue and that he was not present for any discussions regarding his property. It is undisputed that he did recuse himself from voting on the approval. The charges, however, are related to the actual purchase of the property, not the sale of the redevelopment rights through the Farmland Preservation Program.
Unlike sentencing in New Jersey Superior Court, a federal defendant on bail is generally sentenced and given a reporting date to turn themselves into the bureau of prisons – allowing them to get their affairs in order and say goodbye to their families. Federal sentencing guidelines, which are a part of the United States Code and approved by Congress, expose Lucas to a sentence of between 8-10 years.
The case was tried before Freda L. Wolfson, USDJ. The jury deliberated for 3 hours following the 2 week trial.
Lucas was represented by Mario F. Gallucci, Esq., of Staten Island. Gallucci is the star of the current USA Network Series “Partners in Crime.”