Paterson Top Stories

County Social Service Employee Arrested on Misconduct and Theft Charges

4f59832172ba637c630c_echevarria__jecemia.jpg
4f59832172ba637c630c_echevarria__jecemia.jpg

 

PATERSON, NJ – An employee of the Passaic County Board of Social Services took more than $17,000 in payments that clients made to the agency by having them submit blank money orders, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes announced on Thursday.

Jecemia Echevarria, 40, of Paterson, was arrested as the result of “an extensive investigation into the misappropriation of State and Federal funds intended to aid needy families in Passaic County,’’ said a press release issued by the prosecutor.

Sign Up for E-News

Members of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office’s Public Integrity Unit, acting on information provided by the Board of Social Services, began an investigation into irregularities involving blank money orders Echevarria collected from clients, the press released said.

Echevarria, a social service technician, has been employed by the Board of Social Services since 2002. Her job entails administering state and federal funds in assisting low income families with rental housing, utilities payments, and relocation expenses, the press release said. When a client is eligible for Temporary Rental Assistance (TRA), the Board of Social Services generally pays 70 percent of the client’s rent with the client being responsible for the remaining 30 percent.

The prosecutor’s press release said the investigation revealed numerous instances in which Echevarria would direct the client to provide a money order to her in the amount representing the client’s 30 percent contribution, but with the payee line on the money order left blank. Echevarria would then convert the funds to her personal use and use Board of Social Service funds to cover the client’s 30% responsibility, according to the prosecutor.

Thus by using Board of Social Services funds to pay 100 percent of the required payments Echevarria was able to forestall the issuance of eviction notices from the landlords in question enabling the scheme to remain undetected, the press release said. In addition, chevarria engaged in other fraudulent activities, including but not limited to, submitting or causing to be submitted applications for additional benefits.

So far, the investigation has uncovered more than $17,000 in misappropriated funds and is continuing, the press release said. Echevarria was charged with one count of official misconduct, one count of theft by deception in excess of $500 but less than $75,000, and three counts of witness tampering.

The Prosecutor’s Office has recommended bail be set in the amount of $75,000, with no 10 percent option.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Paterson

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_4a7c1d9531382f8f978c_d3414e24-7d80-4b40-b695-3d07804f3502

Thu, April 26, 12:00 PM

Paterson Public Library, Paterson

Book Discussion

Arts & Entertainment Law & Justice

Carousel_image_897be50e75068cc49c3a_bronze_heat

Thu, April 26, 6:00 PM

Paterson

Bronze Heat Community Carnival

Carousel_image_897be50e75068cc49c3a_bronze_heat

Fri, April 27, 6:00 PM

Paterson

Bronze Heat Community Carnival

TAPinto Paterson Reader Shares Concerns About Absentee Ballots

April 21, 2018

Dear editor:

I am writing this letter to express a grave concern I have regarding the influx of absentee ballots. To my understanding, absentee ballots were designed to be used by those who are unable to make it to the polls on Election Day. Such as people in the armed services or those who are away on vacation. 

This year’s municipal election will be one for the history books.

Assembly's Longest Serving Member Dead at 79

April 19, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- Paterson's Assembly members, Shavonda Sumter and Benjie Wimberly, are mourning the loss of their colleague, Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Plainfield) who died on Thursday.

Green, 79, was the longest serving member of the Assembly, and considered to be a champion of affordable housing. Green stepped down as Chairman of the Union County Democratic Organization on January 24 to ...

Team Pedro Rodriguez Receives Endorsement from the New Jersey Organization for Economic Growth (NJOEG)

April 25, 2018

PATERSON, NJ – On Monday, The Organization for Economic Growth (NJOEG) endorsed Paterson’s mayoral candidate Pedro Rodriguez and his Council-at-Large running mates Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman and Juan “Mitch” Santiago in the May 8th election.

The organization is a New Jersey based, pro economic nonpartisan political action committee, and their decision to endorse the ...