Fraud Allegations, Possible Charges Against Garfield School Employees
A recent Garfield Board of Education meeting resulted in serious disciplinary action against thirteen employees of the Garfield school district who were under investigation for alleged fraud offenses.
According to reports from the New Jersey Department of Education, the Garfield school district initially launched its own internal investigation of employee conduct when it was suspected that certain employees may be misreporting their annual salaries in order obtain free or reduced-cost lunches for their children.
Following the investigation, the district requested a review by the State Education Department’s Office of Fiscal Accountability.
Among the employees involved in this case, the identities of whom remain undisclosed, is the secretary to the superintendent, who is accused of fraudulently reporting her income since October of 2008, with drastic discrepancies totaling over $50,000 in a given year. She has since resigned from her position, along with another district employee.
The Board of Education vote, which occurred on Monday, October 27th, resulted in a resolution involving unpaid suspensions, restitution payments to cover the costs of the lunches and the district’s legal fees, and a year-long pay freeze for a total of thirteen employees. The employees’ individual suspension periods range from 30 to 120 days but no one has been fired as of yet.
Officials from the Garfield School District have indicated that the State will now determine whether to file criminal charges against these individuals. If law enforcement officials do, in fact, decide to conduct a criminal investigation, it could result in fraud and/or official misconduct charges against the school employees.
Under New Jersey Law, a conviction for fraud can spell serious consequences, including a term of incarceration, a charge on the defendant’s criminal record, and sizable fines. However, it remains to be seen whether or not the State chooses to prosecute in the case.
For more information, view the following articles:
1. Garfield school board disciplines employees in alleged lunch fraud, report says
2. 13 Garfield school employees disciplined in alleged lunch-form fraud