TRENTON - A onetime New Jersey Treasury claims investigator from Willingboro can expect a three-year prison term, after admitting that she approved more than $75,000 worth of fake claims.

Stephanie Hargrove (NJ Motor Vehicle Comm.)
Stephanie Hargrove (NJ Motor Vehicle Comm.)

Stephanie Hargrove, 39, pleaded guilty to a second-degree theft charge today in Trenton, according to information from state Attorney General Christopher Porrino's office. She was represented by Trenton attorney Robin Lord.

Sentencing is scheduled for March 23, 2018. In addition to the sentence, prosecutors seek full restitution to the state, forfeiture of her position and a permanent ban on public employment in New Jersey. Hargrove has been on suspension from her job since being charged in April.

Hargrove was a principal claims investigator, supervising others and managing her own files. According to authorities, Hargove admitted processing or approving claims for damages and similar circumstances, under the identities of relatives, friends and acquaintances in a time span exceeding five years. Investigators contended that she kept some of the proceeds.

Prosecutors alleged that the false claims included wrongful towing of vehicles resulting from erroneous record-keeping in the state Motor Vehicle Commission, and claims for house damage supposedly inflicted by foster children placed through the state Department of Children and Families.

Until November 15, individuals who report public corruption are eligible for a $25,000 reward. Learn about the Public Corruption Reward Program here, or provide information through the Division of Criminal Justice toll-free hotline, 866-TIPS-4CJ.

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