March 8, 2014 at 7:14 AM
NEWARK, NJ – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced yesterday that an Essex County Grand Jury has indicted Fredrick J. Donatelli, Jr., the former treasurer of the East Orange Firefighters’ Relief Fund, for stealing more than $400,000 from the fund for widows and orphans.
A three-count indictment handed up today charges Donatelli, 46, of Bridgewater with one count of theft, one count of misapplication of entrusted funds and one count of money laundering. All three are second degree crimes. The theft is alleged to have occurred between January 2011 and February 2013.
The defendant, who had 25 years with the East Orange fire department, faces 5 to 10 years in a New Jersey State Prison if he is found guilty of the charges. Donatelli retired just prior to being indicted.
“This fund was established to assist widows and orphans of firefighters or firefighters who are facing extreme hardship. Instead, this defendant used the money for his personal benefit,’’ said Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Walter Dirkin, who is handling the case.
East Orange Fire Chief Charles Salley said, “This is very unfortunate but I am happy to know it is being dealt with in the proper manner.’’