Ex-school board president guilty in free lunch scandal

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Marie L. Munn, the former president of the Elizabeth school board, was convicted on theft charges for filing false applications that resulted in her two children receiving free lunch benefits in five consecutive school years.

Marie L. Munn, the former president of the Elizabeth school board, was convicted on theft charges for filing false applications that resulted in her two children receiving free lunch benefits in five consecutive school years.

ELIZABETH — Jurors found Marie Munn, the former president of the Elizabeth school board, guilty of of theft by deception and tampering with public records for stealing from the district’s federal free lunch program.

The panel found 49-year-old Munn understated her household income, which exceeded the limit by as much as $100,000 in one year, by filing false applications to obtain $2,649 in free meals for her two children, who were not entitled to the benefits.

Munn faces three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 when she is sentenced on May 2.

After learning her children had received free lunches since 2006, Munn said she repaid the school district.

Munn was convicted of third-degree charges of theft by deception and tampering with public records or information in a case tried by Deputy Attorney General Veronica Allende.

The verdict came after a five-day trial before Superior Court Judge Robert J. Mega in Union County.

Attorney General John Hoffman said, “It is shameful that a school board president in an Abbott district would steal from a program designed to help disadvantaged school children.”

The Attorney General said charges against two attorneys for the school district who conspired to cover up discrepancies in the lunch program application.

Kirk Nelson, 46, of Roselle, attorney for the school board, and Frank Capece, 63, of Cranford, an outside attorney for the district, have pleaded not guilty to charges of official misconduct, tampering with public records, hindering prosecution records and conspiracy.

Prosecutors say the two tried to conceal a fraudulent lunch program application submitted by the wife of John Donoso, a former board member. Donoso has also been charged with official misconduct and tampering with public records, officials said.

 

 


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