NEWARK, N.J. – A Jersey City, New Jersey, man today admitted stealing more than $250,000 from the Jersey City Child Development Centers Inc. (“JCCDC”), an organization that provided early childhood development services and education to under-privileged children, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Robert E. Mays, 38, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Mays was the executive director of JCCDC from Sept. 2013 to May 2014. Mays admitted that he stole more than $250,000 from JCCDC by unilaterally increasing his annual salary from $96,500 to $155,000 after being employed by JCCDC for only two months. He also admitted that he created false board of director’s minutes to give the impression JCCDC authorized the salary increase.

In addition, Mays admitted he withdrew funds from a JCCDC bank account to pay for unauthorized personal expenses, including a 2007 Maserati Quattroporte and a fur coat worth thousands of dollars.

The wire fraud count to which Mays pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the scheme, as well as mandatory restitution in the full amount of the loss to JCCDC. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 20, 2016.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher, and special agents of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert, with the investigation leading to today’s plea. He also thanked the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Esther Suarez, for its assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys José R. Almonte and Mala Ahuja Harker of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division and Sarah Devlin of the Office’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.

Defense counsel: Alexander W. Booth Jr., Union City, New Jersey