NJ public workers allegedly stole gas

June 11, 2008 4:12:07 PM PDT
The soaring price of gas is proving to be a hardship for so many people, but officials say 13 people in Camden sought relief at the expense of taxpayers.Six of those accused of stealing gas from government fueling stations are former or current employees at the State Department of Children and Families Camden office.

Four are workers at the Camden City Board of Education and two are Camden city employees, including Recreation Superintendent Patrick Freeman.

All 13 are charged with official misconduct for illegally pumping 1,400 gallons of gas into their personal cars during the last year, some using gas keys and swipe cards, also allegedly pumped fuel for friends and family.

"This is fundamentally a case about government workers with their hand in the till. While it wasn't cash that was stolen it might as well have been as anyone who drives a car knows," New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram said.

Because the Department Of Children and Families has over 2,500 vehicles the state comptroller will begin an audit of that fleet

"Depending on what we find at this particular department, we may determine that it is appropriate to look at procedures and policies at other departments," New Jersey State Comptroller Matthew Boxer said.

Camden's Assistant Business Administrator Richard Cinaglia is one of many who are angry that public workers would take advantage at the pumps.

Action News spoke with Patrick Freeman, Camden's Superintendent of Recreation, by phone. He said he's innocent and had permission to gas up.

If convicted those charged today could face fines and jail.

The official release from the New Jersey Attorney General, including the names of the people charged, can be found by clicking here.