Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced today that a Freehold woman has been placed on probation for five years and ordered to repay $57,146.79 she stole from the Middlesex County Utilities Authority in Sayreville while she worked there as comptroller/treasurer.
Margaret Brennan, 68, was ordered to repay the stolen funds within 45 days and was told that she also will be required to pay for the auditing that was undertaken to determine the amount of the thefts. The bill for auditing the account totaled $68,761.75. A judge will decide the amount of the payment at a later date that has not yet been scheduled.
In addition, Brennan was ordered to undergo counseling for her gambling addiction and was barred from ever again holding a public job in New Jersey. Brennan resigned from her utilities authority job on July 1, 2014.
The sentence was imposed in New Brunswick by Superior Court Judge Dennis Nieves on May 5, 2015 after Brennan pleaded guilty on December 8, 2014 to one count of theft.
She pleaded guilty under the terms of an agreement reached with Middlesex County First Assistant Prosecutor Christopher L. C. Kuberiet.
In the plea agreement, Brennan was expected to serve as much as 364 days in the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center, but the judge declined to impose the jail term.
Prosecutor Carey was disappointed with the judge’s decision. “His honor’s decision is, in essence, straight probation, which is a slap in the face of the public trust,” Prosecutor Carey said.
“The 364-day sentence would have been just and fair,’’ he said, adding, “We will continue to investigate and prosecute corruption with all our available tools.’’
Brennan, who had worked for the utilities authority in Sayreville for 28 years, was charged in September 2014 after an investigation conducted by Detective Linda Infusino of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined the defendant took the funds in various amounts between November 20, 2012 and June 16, 2014.
The investigation further showed Brennan took the money by withdrawing sums from a utilities authority account and by writing checks to herself.
The investigation began after officials at a bank contacted the utilities authority.