Former School Vice-Principal Charged With Theft

Updated Nov. 16, 2012

NEW BRUNSWICK — A former New Brunswick adult school vice-principal was arrested today and charged with stealing at least $12,000 in student GED application fees, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and New Brunswick police director Anthony A. Caputo announced.

Patricia Ruggeri, 35, of East Brunswick was arrested and charged with one count of theft for taking the student fees in various amounts between April 2011 and July 2012. Bail has been set at $15,000.

Ruggeri was charged after Investigator Lisa Collins of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that Ruggeri took the funds while she worked for the New Brunswick Board of Education as the vice-principal of adult education.

The investigation has shown at least $12,000 was taken, but it is continuing to determine if additional funds are missing.

None of the students who paid application fees of $50 was denied adult education services due to the thefts, authorities said.

The investigation began after Ruggeri took a leave of absence and resigned from her job at the beginning of the new school year in September.

During her leave, school officials detected discrepancies in student fees and contacted authorities.

Authorities are asking anyone with information about the case to call Investigator Collins of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-732-745-3477.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, Ruggeri is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Correction:  On Nov. 9, 2012, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office incorrectly reported in a news release that Patricia Ruggeri was arrested at her new place of employment, the LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden. It since has been determined that she was not employed at LEAP, but was employed at Rutgers University in Camden.


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