Former Local Administrator of State Home Energy Assistance Program Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Program of $11,705


TRENTON, NJ – January 10, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that a former local administrator of the New Jersey Home Energy Assistance (HEA) Program was sentenced to prison today for stealing from the program.

According to Director Taylor, Nicole Victor, 38, of Paulsboro, was sentenced to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge M. Christine Allen-Jackson in Gloucester County. She was ordered to pay restitution of $11,705 and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey. Victor pleaded guilty on July 19, 2010 to second-degree official misconduct.

Victor was formerly an HEA administrator in the Paulsboro office of Tri-County Community Action, the local agency handling HEA applications in Gloucester, Salem, and Cumberland Counties. In pleading guilty, Victor admitted that between June 2005 and May 2008, she used her position to file fictitious HEA applications to generate benefits for herself. She admitted she fraudulently obtained $11,705 by filing three false HEA applications. Victor worked for Tri-County from September 2002 through May 2008. She was hired as an HEA aide, and became an HEA supervisor in 2004.

Deputy Attorney General Susan Kase handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. Deputy Attorneys General David M. Fritch and Robert Czepiel prosecuted the case. The charges resulted from an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice, conducted with assistance from the Department of Community Affairs. The investigation was conducted and coordinated for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau by Lt. Keith Lerner, Sgt. Robert Ferriozzi, Detective Andrea Salvatini, Detective Anthony Luyber, Deputy Chief of Detectives Neal Cohen, Analyst Alison Callery and Deputy Attorneys General Fritch and Robert Czepiel.

Three other local administrators of the HEA Program have been charged with fraud involving the program as a result of investigations by the Division of Criminal Justice and the Department of Community Affairs. Constance Campbell, 25, of Chester, Pa., a former HEA manager for Tri-County’s Salem and Gloucester County offices, pleaded guilty to official misconduct and was sentenced to five years in prison. Charges are pending against a third women, Denise Nicole Johnson, 36, of Paulsboro, a former administrator in Tri-County’s Paulsboro office, and a man, Marvin Laws, 55, of Atlantic City, who was employed as an HEA benefits manager by Atlantic Human Resources, a nonprofit contracted by the DCA to administer the HEA program in Atlantic County. In addition, Thomas J. Harris, 67, of Woolwich, the owner of a Paulsboro-based heating oil company, was sentenced to four years in prison as a result of the investigations.

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