Union County contractor enters plea in fraud case

TRENTON – A Union County contractor pleaded guilty Friday to fraudulently obtaining work on public projects, the Attorney General’s Office announced.

Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor reported that Joseph Budis, 61, of New Providence, pleaded guilty to two second-degree counts of making false representations for government contracts before Superior Court Judge Stephen B. Rubin in Hunterdon County.

Budis, who faces a maximum term of five years in prison, used a stolen identity and fraudulent documents to win work, including a project to restore the Clinton Town dam in Hunterdon County, the AG reported. The second count concerns a bridge project in Hope Township.

The charges were contained in an Oct. 29 indictment that also named his companies, MHHC Corp. and Murray Hill Equipment, Inc.   The companies pleaded guilty to the same counts, MHHC to the count involving the Clinton Dam, and Murray Hill to the count involving the Hope Township bridge.

Budis and MHHC Corp. are required to pay $44,174 to Clinton in restitution, in addition to facing a public corruption profiteering penalty of at least $250,000 and up to a maximum of $2.01 million to be determined by the judge.

“This contractor fraudulently concealed that he was barred from public contracts and did not have the required insurance or bonds to perform them,” Dow said in a release.  ‘As a result, he put workers at risk and imposed thousands of dollars in additional costs on taxpayers.”

Budis was arrested in July, when Clinton Town police officers, who were investigating an incident in which a worker broke his leg at the Clinton dam site, learned that Budis, the project manager, was using the alias Joe DeLia, Dow’s office reported.  The police subsequently discovered that two companies run by Budis, Murray Hill Enterprise Inc. and Murray Hill Equipment Inc., were prohibited from bidding on public contracts by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development because of prevailing wage violations and unpaid fines.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 10.

Union County contractor enters plea in fraud case