Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ex-NJCU production manager 'deeply regrets' stealing $87K from school

A former production manager for the Music, Dance and Theater Department at New Jersey City University was sentenced to three years in prison today for embezzling $87,600 from the school.

“I deeply regret I can no longer be part of something that was so important to me,” said Kathleen Peet, 37, of Rochelle Park, before being sentenced by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez.

“I stand here today in acknowledging the fact that when one does wrong, there will be consequences.”

Peet and her attorney asked Galis-Menendez to sentence the former NJCU employee to probation only but the judge denied their request.

“It is a serious offense when you are a state employee entrusted to handle money and you are taking the money for yourself," Galis-Menendez said.

Peet was responsible for the box office receipts from performances of the school's Music, Dance and Theater Department and she turned them over to the Bursar’s Office, typically once or twice per semester. She admitted that she stole from the cash receipts while they were in her custody.

The university discovered that the deposits to the bursar did not match the box office receipts and an audit revealed about $60,000 was missing from 2008 through 2013. Peet was suspended without pay in October 2013 and resigned the following month.

The Division of Criminal Justice's investigation revealed additional thefts prior to 2008 bringing the total to $87,587.

“White collar crime doesn’t just affect the bottom line, it affects people – in this case, the students involved in performing arts at this university,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “By sending this woman to prison, we send a powerful deterrent message to others who might engage in this type of embezzlement.”

in court today, Peet read a lengthy statement at the sentencing, often stopping to wipe tears from her eyes. After the sentencing, she was led from court in handcuffs.

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