As reported by nj.com, the union representing Mercer County Correction Officers has discovered that about $15,000 was stolen from its bank account and used for a variety of purchases, the union treasurer said yesterday. Treasurer James Kinley said he reviewed the bank account for PBA 167 last week and learned there were charges in amounts from $100 to more than $2,000 for credit card payments and purchases from retail stores such as Gap and Lord & Taylor. “No one authorized this,” he said.
The mysterious charges began November 28 and continued until Kinley and union President Donald Ryland suspended the bank account last week. Kinley said he also filed a report with the Ewing Police on Friday. “The detectives are investigating,” Ryland said. “And we intend to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”
The checking account, which usually has about $200,000, is funded by monthly dues paid by the Hopewell Township-based union’s 245 members, Ryland said. It is used to pay legal fees, the union’s monthly phone and internet bill, office-related expenses and to make donations to local charities, he said.
Kinley said spending is authorized by the PBA’s board and then he authorizes a check for that expense. The union usually writes 10 to 12 checks a month, but there were more than 25 unauthorized charges on the account in the last two months, he said. He also said only a handful of people in the union have access to the account information.
Kinley and Ryland would not say if they thought the money was taken by a union member, but they said they will conduct an internal investigation. “We have to investigate within to ensure that there is not an issue,” Ryland said.
Ryland also said he and Kinley are in the process of opening a new, secure account for the union and are looking into getting a refund of the money that was taken.