A onetime employee of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) from Tinton Falls has a June sentencing date for diverting government grant money to his own consulting company.

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Lawrence F. Cullari Jr., 43, took a guilty plea to one count of mail fraud during federal proceedings in Trenton, according to information from the office of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman. He could be given up to 20 years in prison and a fine as high as $250,000, authorities said.

According to details issued by prosecutors. Cullari had power to influence U.S. Transportation Department funds as an FHWA assistant administrator from 2010 through July 2013.

Cullari also operated Dencore Consulting, an engineering firm under his wife's ownership. Cullari's former father-in-law owned a Middletown firm, called by prosecutors "Company 1" which designed mechanical, plumbing and electrical layouts for business and home construction.

Cullari admitted using his in-law's company as the front to funnel FHWA-funded projects to Dencore from the Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (Rutgers CAIT) and the New Jersey Institue of Technology (NJIT) from May 2006 through June 2013, authorities said.

Cullari prepared the bids which were submitted through Company 1, which were approved and paid through Rutgers CAIT and NJIT, then arranged engineering reports and invoices falsely indicating that Company 1 had completed the jobs.

The owner kept a portion and paid the rest to Dencore, authorities said.