Secaucus Tax Collector Alan Bartolozzi was charged Tuesday, July 21 with one count of theft in the third degree for allegedly stealing $20,000 from the Secaucus Public Employees' Association, according to Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio.
If convicted, Bartolozzi, who has been suspended without pay from his job, faces a maximum penalty of five years behind bars. Appearing with his attorney John Lynch, Bartolozzi made his first court appearance before Superior Court Judge Kevin Callahan and was released on bail.
Bartolozzi and the Tax Collector's Office have been under investigation since February or March when accounting irregularities were discovered and the office was unable to balance its books.
The Tax Collection Office is a receiving office only and does not make payments or disbursements.
Since then, Secaucus Chief Financial Officer Margaret Barkala and the town's longtime auditors, Suplee, Clooney & Company, have been investigating the matter to determine the reason for the shortfall. As required by state law, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office were notified of the situation and Drumeler has met with investigators in the prosecutor's office, which is being kept abreast of developments in the case.
Although few details have been released to the public, the accounting problems appear to date back to at least 2005. Bartolozzi has been the Tax Collector in Secaucus since 1985. E. Assata Wright