Three people were charged Thursday after an investigation revealed they stole thousands of dollars from a Lacey-based nonprofit that assists veterans in Ocean County, authorities said.
Jesse Violante, 33, of Tuckerton, Mary Anne Dileo, 67, of Manahawkin, and Gary Mclain, 33, of Little Egg Harbor, were each charged with theft by unlawful taking, according to a release from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
Violante and Dileo surrendered to police Thursday, were processed and released pending their future court appearances. Mclain did not turn himself in and a warrant was issued for his arrest, the office said. Anyone with information on his whereabouts was asked to contact Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Lindsey Llauget at (732) 929-2027, ext. 3462.
The trio are former employees of Vetwork, which is governed by a board of directors and assists veterans in the county with services such as obtaining employment and finding suitable housing, officials said.
Violante was the director of Vetwork between February and June 2019 and was responsible for overseeing the employees of the organization and certifying all expenses, the office said. Dileo was the office manager and was responsible for processing payroll, while Mclain was in charge of community outreach.
The prosecutor’s office began an investigation after an audit commissioned by the organization’s board of directors showed that all three took additional payments on certain weeks in excess of their regular payroll checks, authorities said.
In total, Violante received five extra payments totaling $5,855, while Dileo received 26 duplicate payments totaling $19,588, and Mclain received five duplicate payments which equaled $4,972, the office said. The extra payments were not authorized by the Vetwork’s board, nor were they included in the documents submitted to the County of Ocean for purposes of obtaining funding.
“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,” Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said in a statement. “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.”
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Chris Sheldon may be reached at [email protected].