NEWARK — A former Essex County College track coach was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay restitution after admitting to stealing $150,000 from the school.

Michael Smart, 62, of Roselle, also is barred from public employment ever again. Smart, however, is collecting an annual pension of $31,000 after retiring from the college two years ago.

Prosecutors say Smart used the college team's debit card as a personal ATM card from 2012 to 2015, often withdrawing the $700 transaction maximum several times a day.

The funds were supposed to be used to buy the team food or pay for event fees. Instead, Smart inflated costs, requested funds for events the team did not attend, and requested funds to pay fees for events that did not charge.

State prosecutors urge the public to use the state Corruption Tipline at 1-866-TIPS-4CJ to report similar crimes.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email

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