Sharon Caldwell of Trenton, a former fiscal analyst for the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development has pleaded guilty to stealing approximately $18,525 in state funds by issuing unauthorized government checks, state Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said Wednesday.
Caldwell, 58, pleaded guilty to third-degree theft by deception before state Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Brown in Trenton. The charge was contained in an Oct. 5 state grand jury indictment.
Brown scheduled sentencing for April 18.
Under a plea agreement, the state Division of Criminal Justice will recommend that Caldwell be sentenced to 364 days in the Mercer County Jail as a condition of five years of probation. She will also forfeit any future public employment and to pay full restitution.
In her position as a fiscal analyst, Caldwell had responsibility for the disbursement of checks from a checking account for the state’s Disability Insurance program. In pleading guilty, Caldwell admitted that she issued three checks – for $8,000, $3,525.85 and $7,000 and converted the money for her personal use. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice determined that Caldwell used the money for rent payments to her landlord.
The unauthorized checks were discovered in 2010 by the labor Department’s Office of Internal Audit, which referred the case to the Division of Criminal Justice. Deputy Attorneys General Jim Ruberton and Valerie Noto were assigned to the investigation.
—TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM