- Associated Press - Saturday, December 13, 2014

BELVIDERE, N.J. (AP) - The former business administrator of a northwestern New Jersey school district has been sentenced to three years in state prison for embezzling about $70,000.

Kevin Mulligan also must pay full restitution to the Knowlton school district under the sentence imposed Friday. He also will forfeit his pension and is barred from public employment.

Mulligan had pleaded guilty in September to an official misconduct charge. The judge initially imposed the sentence Nov. 7, but agreed to hear a defense motion to modify it.

That motion was rejected Friday.

Mulligan also must pay full restitution to the school district.

The 34-year-old Hasbrouck Heights resident admitted stealing the money by writing fraudulent checks against the district’s bank accounts that were made payable to himself or, in one instance, to someone he owed money. But he entered them into the district’s computer system as checks to various approved vendors or recipients.

Mulligan began working for the Warren County district in June 2013 and started his embezzlement scheme a month later. He abruptly resigned his post last December.

District staffers soon received a canceled check for $10,362 that was made payable to Mulligan but entered into district records as a payment to a heating oil supplier. When an employee called the supplier, it said it had never received the payment.

An audit uncovered additional fraudulent checks made payable to Mulligan. In entering his guilty plea, Mulligan admitted writing four fraudulent checks totaling $66,550

The checks that Mulligan issued required signatures by the school board president and treasurer as well as his own, authorities said, but Mulligan had signature stamps for those individuals.

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