Ex-employees of Ocean County veterans charity charged with theft

A former director of an Ocean County veterans charity and two former employees were charged Thursday with larceny after they collectively stole more than $30,000 from the group, Ocean County District Attorney Bradley said. D. Billhimer, in a press release.

The trio, who worked for Vetwork, a Lacey-based nonprofit that helps ex-servicemen find jobs and stable housing, all took payments beyond their approved salaries over a four-month period between February 2018 and June 2019, according to Billhimer.

Jesse Violante, 33, of Tuckerton, former director of Vetwork, Mary Anne Dileo, 67, of Stafford and former group office manager, and Gary Mclain, 33, of Little Egg Harbor and former community outreach manager, have all been charged. Thursday on one count of theft by unlawful taking, the statement said.

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An investigation has been led by the prosecutor’s office Economics Crime Unit after an audit commissioned by the Vetwork board found that each defendant ‘was given additional salary expenses beyond what they were entitled to’ , Billhimer said.

Specifically, the three individuals took additional payments on certain weeks beyond their regular paychecks “in accordance with their existing wages,” the statement said.

In total, Violante received five additional payments totaling $5,855.20, Dileo received 26 duplicate payments totaling $19,588 and Mclain received five payments totaling $4,972, authorities said.

The investigation found that these payments were not authorized by the council, nor were they included in documents submitted to the Ocean County government for funding, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Violante and Dileo surrendered to law enforcement and were released pending a future court appearance. Mclain, who was initially charged on a warrant, surrendered to authorities and was later released on bail.

Billhimer credited the work of Assistant District Attorney Christopher Heisler who is handling the case on behalf of the state, as well as the District Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office for leading to the Thursday’s indictment.

Joshua Chung is 9-5’s breaking news and weather reporter. A longtime Jersey Shore resident, he recently graduated from Michigan State University. Reach him at jchung@gannettnj.com, 917-703-9373 or on Twitter @Joshchunggg

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