The chief and assistant chief of a volunteer fire company in Atlantic County have been charged with official misconduct and theft after using department money to set up unauthorized accounts at an auto parts shop, authorities said.

Loading...

Load Error

Mizpah Volunteer Fire Company Chief Jay Davenport II and Assistant Chief Craig Paxton are also charged with conspiracy, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday.

Both created accounts at NAPA Auto Parts, using fire company money and its exempt status, officials said.

Investigators from the prosecutor’s office and Hamilton police executed a search warrant at the fire house on Tuesday.

The men, both 38, were issued summonses and released. They are scheduled to appear in court at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 28.

On Tuesday, Hamilton officials announced that the fire company had been been “administratively closed” and that its coverage area will be handled by neighboring departments while a criminal investigation took place.

Please subscribe now and support the local journalism YOU rely on and trust.

Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

———

©2020 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

Visit NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J. at www.nj.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Continue Reading

Source Article

Syracuse, NY — Former Upstate administrator Sergio Garcia pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Wednesday, admitting that he submitted a puffed up resume to get his $340,000-a-year job at the taxpayer funded university and hospital.

Garcia’s plea bargain left Upstate’s former Chief of Staff with a criminal record, but spared him a felony conviction. Prosecutor Melanie Carden had sought a felony, accusing Garcia of intentionally lying on his resume as part of a greater plan to defraud the university; Garcia’s lawyer, Joseph Bergh, had argued no crime was committed, saying his client simply exaggerated his resume.

The plea comes after a long-running investigation that began after Garcia quit in 2018 following a controversial speech that included exaggerated remarks about his foreign service. The subsequent investigation uncovered exaggerations on his resume about his work in the U.S. Department of State — he wasn’t “Chief of Staff,” as he claimed — and there were questions about the validity of his college degree.

In court, Garcia admitted to “falsehoods and exaggerations” on his resume.

He would have escaped criminal charges if he’d puffed his resume to work for a private hospital. But because he was hired by then-Upstate President Danielle Laraque-Arena to work at a public institution, his resume was considered an official government document.

That led a grand jury earlier this year to indict Garcia on felony charges of defrauding the government and filing a false instrument. Garcia pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor version of filing a false instrument, admitting that he filed false information with the state-owned hospital, but not that he was intentionally defrauding taxpayers.

The investigation isn’t over. Left undecided after Garcia’s plea is how much money he stole from taxpayers by taking his huge yearly salary in portions of 2017 and 2018.

A judge, Gordon Cuffy, will hear arguments