The former business administrator for the Shore Regional High School District pleaded guilty on Monday to a series of charges related to the theft of school funds, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced.
Dennis Kotch, 41, of Wall, pleaded guilty Monday afternoon by way of an accusation charging him with: 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. Kotch entered his guilty plea before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley.
As part of the plea agreement, the Prosecutor’s Office will make a sentencing recommendation of non-custodial probation conditioned on permanent forfeiture of public office, community service, and restitution to the Shore Regional High School District in the amount of $30,020.99.
Sentencing is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, before Judge Oxley.
The case background …
The charges stem from an almost year-long investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office prompted by a complaint from the school district that Kotch may have been involved in the theft of district funds.
Kotch resigned his position on or about May 13, 2016, a week after the investigation was initiated. The investigation revealed Kotch unilaterally, and without Board of Education approval, hired a paid intern from January 2015 through May 2016.
This intern was paid to do work that was Kotch’s responsibility, much of which was done by the intern remotely from Florida where she was attending college. The intern was paid $27,439.95 over this time period.
Additionally, the investigation revealed Kotch spent twenty-two work days out of the district, often out-of-state, without using vacation time or other leave time.
As a condition of his guilty plea, Kotch will be required to pay the school district back for the unauthorized monies paid to the intern, $27,439.95, and an additional $2,581.04, the total of his per diem rate for 3.5 days, which represents the difference between the twenty-two days he was out of the district without taking leave and the 18.5 vacation days he had accrued at the time he resigned from his district.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco.
Kotch is represented by Jason A. Volet, Esq., of Neptune Township.
— Edited press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office