EDISON, N.J. — Nilesh Dasondi, 50, spent over 5-months in a federal prison in Pennsylvania. He’s been out for five years and says he now wants to do something good for his community.
“Yes, my past is a past. Nobody can change it, but I request everybody to give me a second chance,” he said, seated in his office in Edison.
Dasondi currently does consulting work. Prior to his arrest in 2008, he ran a company called Cygate Software & Consulting.
According to the Justice Department, Dasondi helped to obtain visas and green cards for Indian immigrants who would come to the United States to work for his company. But they never did; it was fraud.
Dasondi pleaded guilty to money laundering in excess of $850,000.
"It was a white collar crime, immigration documentation fraud,” he stated today. “I was a victim of the system, but I already paid my dues."
Dasondi stressed his background in business and technology as a potential boon for the Edison School District, which has a budget of over $200 million and an enrollment of over 15,000 kids.
"I do believe in second chances,” said Keneisha Dubose, who was out shopping for school supplies for her three kids.
"But I do believe with the school, with the children, that is a sketchy area. So I wouldn’t want him to be considered,” she ultimately determined.
“It’s a bad influence. Especially with money involved? No good,” said another parent, Rajiv Chauhan.
Even if Dasondi is elected in November, it is unlikely he’ll be able to take his seat on the board.
According to a New Jersey Department of Education spokesman, New Jersey law stipulates that there are certain crimes that can prohibit a person from serving.
One of those crimes is fraud in excess of $75,000.
"Everyone does the mistakes, you know. I already paid my dues and I want to move forward in life,” said Dasondi.
"I think I can be really instrumental and bring some kind of changes to the current school system.”