A former Jersey City School Board president has carried out a series of embezzlement operations that, with the help of a Jersey Shore attorney, raised more than $ 110,000.
Sudhan M. Thomas, 45, previously served as executive director of the Jersey City Employment and Training Program (JCETP), which has received “significant funding from federal grants from the US Department of Labor and the US Department of Housing and Development,” US said – Attorney Craig Carpenito.
Thomas – known as “Tommy” – paid off $ 45,000 personal debt and expenses he had embezzled from the nonprofit company by collecting money from JCETP checks he wrote to others. A prosecution returned charges on Monday.
Those individuals included Paul H. Appel, 78, attorney of Point Pleasant, whose indictment was brought before the Newark District Court.
Thomas also had company checks issued in cash or with a company called Next Glocal, which were deposited into a bank account for his personal use.
Thomas, who is also charged with government bribery in a separate case, was elected to the seat of the city’s education authority as the first Indian-American citizen in 2016, eventually serving as vice president and then president. Appel was the treasurer for this campaign.
Both men “collected campaign contributions and deposited them in a bank account opened for the 2016 campaign they controlled,” said US attorney Carpenito.
“Under the guise of paying back campaign loans or reimbursing other alleged campaign-related expenses, Thomas and Appel embezzled more than $ 8,000 from Thomas’ 2016 campaign for their own personal use,” said Carpenito.
Thomas, a Democrat, plunged into the kitty again, this time for $ 6,000, during a 2019 re-election campaign that was charged.
Among other schemes alleged in the indictment:
- Thomas is accused of soliciting and then pocketing campaign checks for $ 800 from a candidate he informally advised in the 2018 JCBOED election, claiming the money was for campaign workers.
- He also reportedly transferred a $ 1,000 check that was made available to the candidate’s campaign committee.
- Thomas and Appel are both accused of raising $ 48,500 from a Florida-based technology company to supposedly grow their businesses and using the money for personal expenses instead.
- Both men reportedly did it again, this time raising $ 10,000 and then refusing to promise to help another Florida-based company rent modular homes to veterans and the homeless.
The 26-point indictment accuses Thomas of various types of embezzlement, money laundering and fraud, Carpenito said. Appel has been charged as his accomplice on 17 counts, he said.
Carpenito attributed the investigation that led to the charges to special agents from the FBI and the New York inspector general of the US Department of Labor.
US Assistant Attorney Tazneen Shahabuddin from his Special Prosecutions Division in Newark is handling the case for the government.
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