HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Suspended Hillsborough High School Athletic Director Michael Fanizzi has been arrested and charged with the theft of $10,704 in athletic event receipts over a four-year period from 2013-2017, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.
Fanizzi, 53, a resident of Conover Way in Hillsborough who had been athletics director for 14 years, had been suspended from his position by the township Board of Education in November, 2017.
In December, Hillsborough Schools Supt. Dr. Jorden Schiff requested Hillsborough Police to investigate the missing funds, according to Police Chief Darren Powell.
Robertson provided the following account:
The investigation was turned over by Hillsborough Police to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit. Additional information was also provided through the STOP!T Messenger, an anonymous online computer application which allows users to provide information to law enforcement.
Investigators asked the Hillsborough Township Board of Education to provide an audit of the Athletic Department’s records.
The three-month investigation determined that Fanizzi, while employed as the Hillsborough Township High School Athletic Director, received reimbursement checks from the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association between 2013 and 2017. The checks were intended to be deposited into the Board of Education account as reimbursement for high school athletic event services.
The investigation also determined that Fanizzi allegedly deposited the NJSIAA checks into the athletic department’s bank account in place of the cash ticket sales and that he kept portions of the cash proceeds which were generated from the events, Robertson said, a total of $10,704.
On Friday, March 16, members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit arrested Fanizzi without incident at his residence.
He was charged with third degree theft by unlawful taking, and he was released on his own recognizance pending a court appearance.