A Collingswood alarm-system contractor has been indicted on charges of rigging bids that allowed him to win more than $280,000 in contracts from the state Department of Corrections and two Camden County municipalities.

Paul Kerth, 57, is accused of creating two false companies that "competed" for the same contracts with his real business, Independent Alarm Distributors.

Between 1999 and 2004, the state alleges, Kerth used the fraudulent companies to submit bids that drove up the price of the alarm systems in negotiations with the Department of Corrections.

When Kerth's company submitted a lower bid, the state was required by law to accept it. Kerth also used his two fraudulent companies to win contracts in Haddon Township and Oaklyn, the state said.

Kerth is charged with conspiracy, conspiracy in restraint of trade, theft by deception, contract fraud, and misconduct by a corporate official. If convicted, he could face up to 70 years in prison and more than $500,000 in fines.

Contact staff writer Allison Steele at 856-779-3838 or asteele@phillynews.com.