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LEH Municipal Employee Confesses to Stealing Taxpayer Money

A Little Egg Harbor Township employee confesses to pocketing over $40-thousand dollars in taxpayer money to support a drug habit. According to the Asbury Park Press, 30-year-old Dawn Marie Kelly, of Eagleswood, admitted to taking the cash payments she handled in the Municipal Tax Collector’s Office from 2011 to 2012.

Kelly is also the daughter of Ocean County Freeholder John (Jack) Kelly, so officials in the Ocean County Prosecutors Office said the case was referred to the State Attorney General’s Office to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Under the plea deal on December 14th, before State Superior Court Judge James M. Blaney in Toms River, Kelly pleaded guilty to theft by unlawful taking, a third degree crime that could get her up to five years in prison. However, the State Attorney General’s office will recommend that Kelly serve probation on the condition that she enter a long-term inpatient drug treatment program and forfeit her municipal job.

A State Attorney General’s Office Spokesman says most of the $40,000 in cash was paid back. He also says Kelly was not arrested because she admitted guilt when confronted.

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