NJ Mother, Daughter Charged In School Bus Scheme
A one-time Transportation Manager/Supervisor for the Hazlet Township and Piscataway Township School Districts has been charged along with her mother for allegedly stealing approximately $565,772 from the two school districts by authorizing payments to fictitious bus companies for transportation services that were never provided to the districts.
State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa says the former transportation supervisor, Michelle Pumilia, was arrested by State Police detectives yesterday and is charged with second-degree theft by unlawful taking or disposition. Her mother, Virginia Lisay, was also arrested yesterday on the same charge.
Pumilia allegedly signed off on numerous purchase orders in the two school districts, authorizing the issuance of hundreds of thousands of dollars in district checks to the fictitious bus companies. Lisay allegedly endorsed many of the school district checks before they were deposited into a bank account. The alleged thefts totaled approximately $336,570 in the Piscataway District, and approximately $229,202 in the Hazlet District.
“We allege that this school administrator corruptly stole more than half a million dollars, taxpayer money that should have instead helped these two school districts provide a better education for their young students in this difficult economic climate,” says Chiesa. “We’re aggressively targeting officials who betray the public’s trust and steal taxpayer dollars.”
Pumilia was employed as the “Transportation Manager” for the Hazlet Township School District from July 2005 through August 2008. Beginning in 2006, she allegedly entered a new transportation vendor called “VL Transport” or “Vic Langly” into the district’s computer system. She allegedly provided the district with a false state business registration certificate for the company and allegedly authorized a total of approximately $229,202 in purchase orders and payments to VL Transport and Vic Langly.
The state’s investigation revealed that the company and the individual were fake. In addition, there is no evidence that any transportation services were provided to the district in connection with the payments that were made.
“There were many people affected by this alleged theft,” explains Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The taxpayers whose hard earned money funded the transportation to the districts and the young children who depended on these valuable services.”