- Associated Press - Friday, June 12, 2015

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey man pleaded guilty Friday to stealing more than $600,000 by sending invoices to schools across the country for math and language books that didn’t exist.

Robert Armstrong, 44, of Franklinville, admitted to sending fraudulent invoices to more than 70,000 schools seeking payment for book orders totaling more than $600 each.

Even though they hadn’t ordered anything from him, prosecutors say, 938 schools sent money to a company Armstrong set up.

He pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in federal court in Camden and is to serve 44 months in prison. A judge will sentence him Sept. 25.

He has to pay back $653,224 as part of the plea deal, prosecutors said. Federal authorities have already seized $325,501 from his bank accounts and a 2014 Ford Mustang.

Armstrong was sued by Kansas in January after sending false invoices to more than 300 public schools there. A spokeswoman for Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said the state has asked to delay the lawsuit until a federal criminal case is resolved.

Kansas wants Armstrong to pay a $634,000 civil penalty for multiple violations of the Kansas False Claims Act.

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This story has been corrected to restore Armstrong’s first name, Robert.


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