|TRENTON – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that a former bookkeeper for the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) was sentenced to state prison today for using her state position to steal nearly $300,000 by submitting phony bills to the state for services purportedly provided to DDD clients and having the payments go to her.
Suzanne Eyman, 44, of Bordentown, N.J., who formerly was head bookkeeper for the DDD, was sentenced today to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Peter E. Warshaw in Mercer County. Eyman pleaded guilty on Sept. 29 to a charge of second-degree theft by deception. She must pay full restitution to the state of $296,216. She forfeited her job as a result of her guilty plea and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.
Deputy Attorney General Mallory Shanahan prosecuted Eyman and handled the sentencing for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau, which conducted the investigation. The case was referred to the Division of Criminal Justice by the Division of Developmental Disabilities after the DDD discovered that Eyman had been submitting false payment vouchers and receiving direct deposits and checks from the State Department of Treasury as a result.
The DDD contracts with vendors who provide care to disabled individuals. As head bookkeeper, Eyman was responsible for collecting the invoices and supporting documents submitted by vendors and entering the information into a computer database to electronically submit the vouchers to Treasury for payment. In August 2006, Eyman established an individual named “Suzanne Muller” as a purported vendor for the DDD, using her husband’s Social Security number. Over the next nine years, excluding a break of three years between 2009 and 2012, Eyman submitted false vouchers from the DDD for Suzanne Muller that caused Treasury to issue over 100 checks and payments totaling $296,216, which were either mailed to an address used by Eyman or direct-deposited into bank accounts she controlled.
“Eyman had a duty to ensure that state funds entrusted to her stewardship were used for the vital purpose of caring for people with disabilities and their families, but instead she stole nearly $300,000,” said Attorney General Porrino. “She selfishly and corruptly stole from state taxpayers as well as the vulnerable population she was supposed to serve.”
“We urge government workers, vendors and constituents who deal with government agencies to contact us confidentially if they suspect that public funds are being stolen or misappropriated,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will diligently pursue all leads to ensure that corrupt public employees like Eyman end up in prison where they belong.”
Attorney General Porrino and Director Honig noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has a toll-free Corruption Tipline 866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities confidentially. The public also can log on to the Division webpage at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing confidentially.
In many instances, the data keyed into the DDD’s voucher system by Eyman revealed that she was using information from legitimate invoices to create fraudulent vouchers to be paid to “Suzanne Muller.” Once Eyman logged the valid invoices into the computer, she would then submit them a second time, changing either the client’s identity or the service date slightly and altering the payee’s name to “Suzanne Muller.” Beginning in October 2012, Eyman fraudulently established “Suzanne Muller” as a respite provider for the DDD and falsely billed the state for respite provider services that were never actually rendered. Respite providers provide care to a child or adult with special needs in order to provide temporary relief to families who are caring for that child or adult.
Attorney General Porrino thanked the Division of Developmental Disabilities for conducting an initial investigation and referring the matter to the Attorney General’s Office. Porrino commended the detectives from the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau who conducted the investigation for the Attorney General’s Office.
Terry Bruce Stomel, Esq., Adler, Stomel & Tucker, P.A., Bridgeton, N.J.
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