Ex-South River Parks Director Jailed For Paying Daughter For No-Show Work

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NEW BRUNSWICK—The former South River parks and recreation director was sentenced Monday to serve 180 days in jail for theft after admitting she paid her daughter $696 for work that was never performed for the borough, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced.

Karen Cuomo, 52, of South River also was placed on probation for three years and was ordered by Superior Court Judge Frederick P. DeVesa to repay the $696. She will serve the jail term at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick.

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During a hearing at the Middlesex County Courthouse, DeVesa also barred Cuomo from ever again holding a public job.

Cuomo was sentenced after she pleaded guilty on Dec. 11, 2009, to a third degree count of theft by deception, admitting her daughter was at Rowan University when some of the payments were made between September 2007, and July 2009.

In addition, the daughter, Tracey Cuomo, 24, also of South River, was admitted Monday into a pretrial probationary program known as PTI. Charges of theft and conspiring to commit theft will be dismissed if she successfully completes the 12-month program.

Karen Cuomo pleaded guilty after reaching a plea agreement negotiated with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Manuel Sameiro.

The mother and daughter were charged on Oct. 8, 2009, after Detective Robert Macloskey of the South River Police Department and Sgt. Pamela Jeffrey of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that the daughter claimed she worked for parks and recreation on various dates and collected pay when she was not actually working.

The investigation further determined that the mother, who worked as Tracey Cuomo’s supervisor, approved and submitted documents for the uncompleted work.

Karen Cuomo, who served as the borough’s director of parks and recreation, was suspended without pay after she was charged. She began working for the borough on June 6, 1998.

Tracey Cuomo was dismissed from her job on Aug. 12, 2009. She began working for parks and recreation on Oct. 10, 2000, as a part-time employee and was earning $8 per hour.


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