WEST LONG BRANCH — A former school business administrator who abruptly resigned last year has admitted to stealing public funds by paying an intern to do his work for him.

Officials said he had no permission to make the hire.

The intern, meanwhile, didn't physically show up for work. Officials say she was working from Florida, where she was attending college.

Dennis Kotch, 41, of Wall, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of second-degree official misconduct, third-degree theft, third-degree misapplication of entrusted property and third-degree insurance fraud.

Kotch resigned last May from his $188,000-a-year post at the Shore Regional High School District, leading many in the public to ask why. Last year, a Libertarian group sued the district for access to documents that could explain why Kotch had resigned.

The Monmouth Country Prosecutor's Office on Tuesday released that Kotch resigned a week after investigators opened their case.

Prosecutors said Kotch paid the intern $27,439.95.

As part of the plea deal, Kotch will have to repay that district plus another $2,581.04, which was the difference in the 18.5 vacation days he had accrued at the time he quit and the 22 days during which he was absent without permission.

Kotch will not serve any time in jail or prison, but will be subject to probation, must never seek a public job in the state and may be required to perform community service.

Authorities did not release the identity of the intern.

The regional district serves students from Monmouth Beach, Oceanport, Sea Bright and West Long Branch.

Kotch is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 4 before Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley sitting in Freehold Borough.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com.

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