FREEHOLD, NJ — A Neptune City man has been charged with stealing more than $21,000 while serving as an officer with the Asbury Park post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, according to the Monmouth County’s Prosecutor’s Office.
Joseph Nista, a Korean War veteran, was serving as quartermaster for VFW Post 1333 when he is accused of accessing post funds for his personal use beginning in early December 2013 to February 2018, the prosecutor’s office said in a press release.
He accessed funds through by various methods, including unauthorized use of credit cards issued to the post at several locations throughout Monmouth County, unauthorized cash withdrawals from bank accounts held in the post’s name and unauthorized writing of checks to himself from post accounts that were deposited into his own personal bank account, the release said.
It is estimated that the total value of the goods and services acquired fraudulently totaled $21,500. In addition, Nista is accused of forging the signature of one of three elected post trustees (R.K.) on two separate quarterly reports in 2016, it continued.
Nista began serving as the Asbury Park post’s quartermaster around 2005, responsible for managing its funds on a day-to-day basis and disbursing funds only as approved by its membership. Its finances are also overseen by three elected trustees who are required to conduct a quarterly audit of the post books and records, and file a quarterly report to be certified by the post commander. As quartermaster, Nista was responsible for providing the records to support the audits, said the prosecutor’s office.
Nista, whose age was not disclosed, has been charged with third-degree fraudulent use of a credit card, third-degree theft and fourth- degree forgery in connection. He faces up to five years in prison.
Anyone with information that could assist in this case is urged to contact Monmouth County Detective Sgt. Kevin Mahoney or Detective Melissa Ocasio at 800-533-7443. The case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and state law.
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