NEWARK, N.J. — The Internal Revenue Service announced Tuesday it has charged a Georgia man on conspiracy and fraud charges in connection to a New Jersey university.
Isaac Newton, 53, of Loganville, Georgia is being indicted and charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud, and one count of unlawfully obtaining $5,000 or more from a federally funded local government.
Newton appeared via videoconference Tuesday and entered a not guilty plea. He was then released on a $100,000 unsecured bond, the IRS said.
According to the indictment, Newton had a family member enrolled in a graduate program at a New Jersey university with Willis Edwards III, a local government official from the City of Orange Township, New Jersey.
The indictment says:
"From June 2015 to June 2016, Newton and Edwards conspired to dupe Orange into making payments to Newton, which were, at least in part, for academic papers that Newton arranged to have written for Edwards. Edwards plagiarized the papers that Orange paid for and passed them off as his own work to professors at the university. Between December 2015 and March 2016, Newton submitted three fraudulent invoices to Orange calling for payments of $12,000, $16,000, and $10,000 for purported professional services. Orange paid the money to Newton, and Edwards received from Newton academic papers that had been written for Edwards. On June 20, 2016, Edwards submitted to several professors papers that were virtually identical to the papers that he had received from Newton. In emails sent to the professors, to which the papers were attached, Edwards asked the professors to grade the attached outstanding assignments so that he did 'not receive a failing grade for all of the hard work that [he had] done.'"
The indictment states Edwards was charged in a 31-count indictment on Sept. 29, 2020, with related charges to Newton's indictment. Edwards' case is awaiting trial.
Additionally, the IRS said each count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The IRS said the count for unlawfully obtaining more than $5,000 from a local government, who receives federal funds is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.