TRENTON – The former chief financial officer for the Middlesex County Economic Opportunities Corporation (MCEOC), a charitable nonprofit agency funded with state and federal grants, was sentenced today for stealing $51,000 from the agency, Acting Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced.
According to Taylor, Claudia Grant, 79, of Perth Amboy, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Frederick P. DeVesa in Middlesex County to a five-year term of probation, conditioned on her paying full restitution of $51,106 to the MCEOC. She pleaded guilty on Dec. 7 to an accusation filed by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau charging her with third-degree theft by deception.
The MCEOC is a nonprofit agency which provides funds and assistance to needy residents of Middlesex County. It receives funding in the form of various grants from federal and state agencies for that purpose. Grant served as chief financial officer of MCEOC from May 1971 to March 2006.
In pleading guilty, Grant admitted that between July 2004 and February 2005, she used her position as chief financial officer to authorize the payment by MCEOC of $99,106 to credit card companies to pay off her personal credit card debt. Of that amount, $48,000 represented reimbursement of cash advances that Grant made from her personal credit cards in order to pay a premium bill to Aetna Inc. for health care coverage for MCEOC employees. However, there was no legitimate reason for payment by MCEOC of the balance of $51,106 in personal credit card debt of Grant. She admitted that she stole that amount from the agency.
The investigation started with a referral from the Department of Community Affairs, which raised concerns regarding financial problems at MCEOC and the agency’s use of grant funding.
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