Carol Hobbs, 34, of Jackson, was arrested and charged with third degree theft on Thursday following an investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Hobbs was responsible for maintaining the cash register in the pro shop, collecting greens fees and managing the schedule of golfers to the starting point to begin their round of golf. The investigation revealed Hobbs would modify a transaction so it appeared the golfer received a refund after the golf course patron paid for a round a golf when they had not asked for or received a refund. After modifying the transaction Hobbs retained the money. An audit revealed Hobbs embezzled over $3,000 from September 2012 through December 2012, according to a statement released by Acting Prosecutor Christopher A. Gramiccioni.
Hobbs was not charged with Official Misconduct, a second degree crime if the benefit of the infraction exceeds $200, that carries up to a 10 year prison sentence upon conviction, according to attorney Matheu D. Nunn:
Under New Jersey’s Official Misconduct law, N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2, a public servant can be prosecuted for acts committed in their official capacity and, if convicted, imprisoned for up to ten years.
A public servant includes any officer or employee of government including legislators and judges as well as any person participating as a juror, advisor, consultant or otherwise, in performing a government function; it does not include a witness. The test is whether the person is performing a “government function.”
Under New Jersey Official Misconduct law the public servant’s action or omission must be coupled “with a purpose to obtain a benefit for himself or another” or a purpose to injure another or deprive another of a benefit….
…Here is the scary part–Official Misconduct is a crime of the second degree. As a result, the official faces up to 10 years in state prison if the benefit involved exceeded $200 in value. If the benefit is less than $200 in value it is a crime of the third degree and the official faces a term of imprisonment up to 5 years.
If the purpose is to injure another it will be a crime of the second degree no matter how slight the injury.
And, unlike many other “non-violent” crimes, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.5, a person convicted of Official Misconduct:
“shall be sentenced to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment without eligibility for parole as follows: for a crime of the fourth degree, the mandatory minimum term shall be one year; for a crime of the third degree, two years; for a crime of the second degree, five years; and for a crime of the first degree, 10 years; unless the provisions of any other law provide for a higher mandatory minimum term.”
Former Brookdale Community College President Peter Burnham is serving at least two years of a five year prison sentence due to his guilty plea to Official Misconduct.
Gramiccioni declined to say why Hobbs was not charged with Official Misconduct, citing work product confidentiality.