Prosecutor: Jersey Shore Trio's $30K Embezzlement From Lacey Veterans Group 'Truly Shameful'

Three former employees of a veterans organization in Ocean County stole at least $30,415 from the non-profit, authorities said.

Three former employees of Vetworks have been charged with stealing from the Lacey veterans organization.
Three former employees of Vetworks have been charged with stealing from the Lacey veterans organization. Photo Credit: Ocean County Prosecutor's Office

Jesse Violante, 33, of Tuckerton, Mary Anne Dileo, 67, of Manahawkin, and Gary Mclain, 33, of Little Egg Harbor, were each charged with theft by unlawful taking on Thursday, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said.

The three suspects formerly worked at Vetwork, a Lacey Township-based nonprofit organization that provides resources and assistance to veterans in Ocean County, according to Billhimer. 

Violante and Dileo have turned themselves in while Mclain is considered a fugitive, he said.

The three ex-employees are accused of embezzling money from Vetwork beyond their approved salaries, between February 2019 and June 2019, the prosecutor said.

Vetwork is governed by a Board of Directors that assists veterans with such services as finding jobs and suitable housing. The organization is partially funded by Ocean County.

“It is disturbing, to say the least, that employees of a nonprofit organization designed to assist our veterans here in Ocean County would steal from that very organization," Billhimer said.

"These defendants lined their pockets with money that was intended to help those who sacrificed so much for our country. This type of conduct is truly shameful,” the prosecutor said. 

Violante was the director of Vetwork at the time of the thefts, Billhimer said.

He was responsible for overseeing Vetwork employees and certifying all expenses, according to Billhimer.

Dileo was the office manager and was responsible for processing payroll, while Mclain was in charge of community outreach, the prosecutor said.

An audit by Vetworks' Board found that each of the former workers received extra pay above their normal salaries, Billhimer said.

Violante received five extra payments totaling about $5,855, while Dileo received 26 unauthorized payments totaling $19,588 and Mclain received five duplicate payments worth $4,972, the prosecutor said. 

Violante and Dileo were charged by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, and released pending a future court appearance, Billhimer said.

Mclain did not surrender and is considered a fugitive, the prosecutor said.

Anyone with information about Mclain’s whereabouts is urged to call Detective Lindsey Llauget at 732-929-2027, extension 3462.

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