In 2012, a 22-year-old Bellmawr resident took office as the Treasurer for Bellmawr Fire Company. The man also worked as a volunteer firefighter with the company. In January 2013, members of the Fire Company allegedly came to believe that someone had been stealing from the company.
On March 20, 2013, the treasurer pleaded guilty to third-degree theft in the Superior Court. The man admitted to taking more than $40,000 over a ten-month period before the crimes were discovered. The Camden County Prosecutor’s Office reported that the man paid back all of the money that was stolen as part of a plea agreement. The accused will appear for sentencing on May 3. Under the agreement, the man will be sentenced to probation, and forfeits his right to hold New Jersey public office. Being a volunteer firefighter is included in this restriction.
Third-degree theft carries a possible sentence of three to five years imprisonment for persons convicted, as well as fines of up to $15,000. A person convicted of theft may also be ordered to repay any monies taken.
This case illustrates one way that a criminal defense attorney may be able to assist persons accused or, or charged with, committing a crime. The accused will be able to avoid jail as part of the plea agreement. For some first-time offenses, an attorney may be able to negotiate a deferred prosecution arrangement. Where deferred prosecution is available, a person accused of a crime serves a term of probation and, at the end of the agreed time period, the charges are dismissed. This process can help some people avoid having a criminal record.
Source: N.J. News, “Volunteer firefighter admits stealing $40k from Bellmawr Park Fire,” Joe Green, March 21, 2013
Source: New Jersey Courts, “The Criminal Justice Process,” last visited March 28, 2013