Former NJ school admin gets probation after paying intern with school funds
WALL — A former school business administrator who admitted earlier this year to using public funds to pay an intern to do his work for him has been sentenced to one year of probation.
Dennis Kotch, 41, a township resident who had worked for the Shore Regional High School District was sentenced after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree official misconduct, two counts of third-degree theft by unlawful taking, one count of third-degree misapplication of entrusted property, and one count of insurance fraud.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Garmiccioni said the plea agreement came after district officials notified law enforcement in May of 2016 that Kotch may have been involved in stealing funds from the district. Gramiccioni said Kotch was found to have "unilaterally, and without Board of Education approval, hired a paid intern" from May of 2015 until June of 216.
During that time Gramiccioni said the intern was paid $27,439.95 to do Kotch's work. While the intern was working for Kotch, Gramiccioni said some of the work was done while she was attending college in Florida.
Gramiccioni also said Kotch spent 22 days "out of the district, often out-of-state, without using vacation time or other leave time."
Kotch resigned last May, just one week after prosecutor's started their investigation. At the time he was making $188,000 per year in his job. Last year, a Libertarian group sued the district for access to documents that could explain why Kotch had resigned.
When Gramiccioni announced the plea deal in June it was announced that Kotch will also have to refund the district the money he used as well as $2,581.04, or the difference in the 18.5 vacation days he had when he resigned and the 22 days he was absent without getting prior permission.
The identity of the intern was not released.
The regional district serves students from Monmouth Beach, Oceanport, Sea Bright and West Long Branch.
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Sergio Bichao contributed to this report
Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com