UNION COUNTY—The campaign treasurer accused of stealing money from the election fund of a former state assemblyman was admitted into a pretrial intervention (PTI) program over the objections of the state Attorney General’s office.
Rosemary McClave, 66, of Hillside, was indicted on March 23 with one count of third-degree theft by deception and six counts of third-degree tampering with public records.
Last week, McClave appeared before Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert C. Billmeier, who allowed her to enroll in a program that will avoid prosecution by accepting alternative rehabilitative measures that can be expected to deter future criminal behavior.
McClave is Teterboro’s chief financial officer, where Borough Manager Paul F. Busch said that she will remain employed until her case is through.
Typically, PTI allows first time defendants an opportunity to avoid prosecution, but sources say aside from the state’s interest in rehabilitation McClave is viewed as a potential witness in the long-term investigation of corruption among Union County politicians.
McClave was treasurer for many campaign committees controlled by Union County Democratic Chair Charlotte DeFilippo, including funds for every county elected official and most Democratic legislators in the region. DeFilippo has been under investigation for allegedly steering taxpayer-funded business to Camelot Title Insurance Agency, which she co-owned with Assemblyman Joseph Cryan and other partners.
Sources say DeFilippo is also suspected of diverting campaign funds for personal use, influencing the award of county business to political contributors and ballot fraud.
Allowing McClave to enter PTI means there will be reduced pressure on her to testify against the powerful party boss, who is a longtime friend.
The indictment charges that between March 2003 and November 2006, McClave wrote to herself 10 checks totaling $5,562.54 from the Election Fund of Neil Cohen and then falsely claimed the stolen money was reimbursement for legitimate expenses in six reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Had she been tried and found guilty, McClave could have faced a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a $15,000 fine but instead she may be subject to supervision for one to three years.
Billmeier was appointed as a judge on Feb. 23, and his nomination was confirmed earlier this year by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which includes state Sen. Raymond Lesniak and state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, two Union Country Democrats closely affiliated with DeFilippo.
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