A former Paterson school district employee has been indicted for allegedly stealing more than $102,000 by hiring her own company to do work for the district, an Abbott school district, and then fraudulently overbilling.
Anna Taliaferro, 73, formerly of Paterson and currently of Virginia Beach, Va., is charged with official misconduct, pattern of official misconduct, theft by deception and misconduct by corporate official, as well as two counts of tampering with public records and forgery, state Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor said Tuesday.
Taliaferro was the district-wide coordinator of the Paterson Resource Center before she retired in 2008. She was also the president of the non-profit corporation New Jersey Association of Parent Coordinators (NJAPC).The indictment alleges that between February 2003 and April 2007, Taliaferro falsified records, making false statements on one or more annual school ethics commission financial disclosure statements and/or school ethics commission personal/relative disclosure statements.
It is also alleged that Taliaferro falsely claimed that she held no interest in any business organization, and was not a principal of any organization that contracted with the Paterson school board, even though NJAPC did business with the district.
As part of her job as the resource center coordinator, Taliaferro participated in annual conferences for Paterson parents, which focused on becoming better parents. It is charged that, in reality, Taliaferro "outsourced" her participation in the conferences to NJAPC. It is alleged that Taliaferro created the false impression that NJAPC was an independent business entity. Moreover, it is alleged that NJAPC received credits from hotels where the conferences were held and never reimbursed Paterson school district for those funds.
In addition, Taliaferro allegedly used school district employees and equipment for NJAPC business. Between February 2003 and July 2007, Taliaferro allegedly stole $102,226.81 from the school district by creating false impressions on one or more fraudulent invoices submitted to the school district by the NJAPC. The indictment further alleges that between June and July 2007, Taliaferro deposited a check from NJAPC for $25,000 that she knew had been forged.
The investigation was coordinated by Sergeants Warren Monroe, James Scott, and Thomas Culp, Det. Robyn Greene, Analyst Kathleen Ratliff and Deputy Attorney General Richard Queen. Queen is prosecuting the case. The investigation began when the state Department of Education referred the matter to the state Division of Criminal Justice.
Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a $150,000 fine, while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
– TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM