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Ex-Brookdale President Sentenced to Five Years for Theft

Former Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham is sentenced to five years in prison for using college money and his son’s federal tuition aid on personal expenses.

Peter Burnham
Peter Burnham (The Stall student newspaper)

The Colts Neck 68-year-old was sentenced today in Freehold in relation to his guilty plea to charges of official misconduct and theft by deception in June. He was also ordered to pay $44,497 in restitution. His sentences on each count are to run concurrently, and he’s denied parole eligibility for two years under terms of his plea deal.

According to court documents, Burnham had logged more than $24,000 in meals, clothes, alcohol, lodging, electronic equipment and tuition costs on two college credit cards as business expenses between June 2003 and February 2011. He was accused of doctoring invoice statements before they reached the BCC executive staff for approval, and of supplying no supporting receipts or documents.

Investigators determined that many of the expenses were run in Philadelphia, Washington DC, south Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Arizona and Delaware, among other spots. They also charged that he covered up alcohol purchases with non-itemized receipts, ultimately bypassing college regulations that ban the buying of alcohol with school funds.

Authorities later uncovered the scheme to take over his son’s $20,000 federal tuition aid at Monmouth University. Burnham, say investigators, had already been reimbursed for his son’s 2010-11 tuition under terms of his contract.

But three days after resigning amid a storm of controversy and a growing internal probe, say authorities, Burnham and his son applied for and received federal aid for the same academic year wtihout disclosing the reimbursement. Monmouth University issued a $20,398 check for tuition reimbursement that landed in Burnham’s personal bank account.

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