Former Investigator Admits Accessing Taxpayer Accounts To Steal $6,000

TRENTON – A former investigator with the New Jersey Division of Taxation pleaded guilty today to using his access to taxpayer accounts in state computers to steal a total of $6,630, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced.

Joseph Stack, 61, of Toms River, pleaded guilty to third-degree theft by unlawful taking before Superior Court Judge Mark J. Fleming in Mercer County. The charge was contained in an Aug. 28, 2009 state grand jury indictment obtained by the Division of Criminal Justice. Stack was charged as a result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Bureau and the Division of Taxation’s Internal Security Unit.

Deputy Attorney General Pearl Minato prosecuted the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. She took the guilty plea with Deputy Attorney General Victor Salgado. Stack is scheduled to be sentenced on March 12.

Under his plea agreement, the state will recommend that Stack be sentenced to three years of probation, conditioned upon him serving 364 days in the county jail. He must pay $6,630 in restitution and will be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.

“This former state investigator, who was responsible for detecting and investigating tax fraud, instead took advantage of his access to state computer records to commit fraud himself,” said Chiesa. “We have zero tolerance for such breaches of trust by public officials.”

“We will continue to work diligently with our partners in the New Jersey State Police and other government agencies to uncover and bring strong prosecutions against those who engage in official misconduct,” said Director Stephen J.Taylor of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The Division of Taxation deserves great credit for its vigilance in this case.”

In pleading guilty, Stack admitted that between Aug. 1, 2005 and Aug. 31, 2006, he used his access to computer records of the Division of Taxation to steal money by making three unauthorized transfers of funds from the business accounts of two taxpayers – one deceased and one living – into the taxpayer accounts of his own deceased mother and a living relative.

The transfers totaled $6,630, including transfers of $6,184 and $300 into his deceased mother’s account from the business account of the other deceased taxpayer, and a transfer of $146 into the account of Stack’s living relative from the business account of the living victim. Stack prepared state income tax returns on behalf of his deceased mother and the other relative claiming that the amounts transferred represented taxes that they pre-paid.

The investigation originated as a result of an audit performed by the Division of Taxation’s Inheritance Tax Audit Unit. Stack’s employment with the Division of Taxation was terminated in March 2009 as a result of the investigation.

The investigation was led for the State Police Official Corruption Bureau by Detective Glenn Sefick and Detective Sgt. 1st Class Myles A. Cappiello. The investigation was led for the Division of Taxation’s Internal Security Bureau by Investigators Carolyn Fox and Ken Johnson.

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