Three OC residents charged with stealing funds meant for veterans
Three Ocean County residents have been charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking after Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced Friday that they embezzled money from the non-profit organization, Vetwork (based in Lacey Township), which helps veterans in Ocean County find employment and housing.
Jesse Violante, 33, of Tuckerton, Mary Anne Dileo, 67, of Manahawkin, and Gary Mclain, 33, of Little Egg Harbor allegedly embezzled money beyond their approved salaries, between February 2019 and June 2019.
The charges stem from an investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Unit.
Violante was the director of Vetwork during the relevant time period where he was responsible for overseeing the employees of the organization and certifying all expenses.
Dileo was the office manager and was responsible for processing payroll, while Mclain was in charge of community outreach.
The allegation of misconduct was referred to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economics Crimes Unit after an audit commissioned by the Vetwork Board of Directors found that Violante, Dileo and Mclain received extra payroll outlays above and beyond what they were entitled to.
Prosecutor Billhimer said the investigation found that Violante, Dileo, and Mclain took additional payments on certain weeks in excess of their regular payroll checks in accordance with their existing salaries.
Violante received five extra payments totaling $5,855.20, Dileo received twenty-six duplicate payments totaling $19,588 and Mclain received five duplicate payments totaling $4,972.
The OCPO investigation revealed that "these payments were not authorized by the Board, nor were they included in the documents submitted to the County of Ocean for purposes of obtaining funding."
Violante and Dileo surrendered themselves to law enforcement and were charged on summonses, processed by Officers of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, and released pending a future court appearance.
Mclain did not surrender himself to authorities and a warrant is now out for his arrest.
Anyone with information regarding Mclain’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact Detective Lindsey Llauget of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 929-2027, extension 3462.
“It is disturbing, to say the least, that employees of a nonprofit organization designed to assist our veterans here in Ocean County would steal from that very organization. These defendants lined their pockets with money that was intended to help those who sacrificed so much for our country. This type of conduct is truly shameful,” Prosecutor Billhimer said in a statement.
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