Woman admits guilt in theft by deception

Woman admits guilt
in theft by deception

SAYREVILLE — A borough resident has pleaded guilty to charges of theft by deception related to her employment at the Woodbridge law firm of Wilentz, Goldman and Spitzer.

Patricia Kelley, 49, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree theft by deception on March 31, for which she could face up to five years in prison, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan said.

Kelley, an administrative assistant for Wilentz, Goldman and Spitzer, is accused of stealing $350,000 from the company’s business and trust accounts and from checks payable to a partner of the company.

According to the prosecutor’s office, Kelley had checks drawn to her or to fictitious payees, which she cashed or deposited into a personal account. In some instances, Kelley forged the partner’s signature on checks from clients of the firm and negotiated them, authorities said.

The thefts took place between February 1996 and December 2003, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Kelley was arrested at her home in January, Kaplan said, on a complaint charging theft by deception, and was arraigned that day. A Middlesex County grand jury returned the indictment on Feb. 5.

Kelley will be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Frederick P. DeVisa on May 28. She also will be required to execute a consent judgment for the entire amount of the theft, according to the prosecutor’s office.