The ex-treasurer of Toms River Elks Lodge No. 1875 has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $119,000 from the club and will serve prison time.
Christine Wilbert, 46, of Lakehurst, entered her guilty plea in front of Superrior Court Judge Rochelle Gizinski on Monday. Under a plea agreement with the Ocean County Prosecutors Office, the state will recommend that Wilbert be sentenced to five years in New Jersey State Prison, and be required to pay $119,000 in restitution. Wilbert is scheduled to be sentenced May 3, 2019.
“Wilbert was entrusted with managing the lodge’s various bank accounts, including its general charity account that was used to provide donations to both charitable and civic organizations, as well as citizens in need,” Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in a statement.
Wilbert was responsible for issuing checks from the account for those purposes and for managing the cash deposits that resulted from various fundraising events. An investigation revealed that between April 2013 and June 2016, Wilbert issued approximately 50 checks to herself, frequently recording them in the organization’s accounting software as legitimate charitable payments. Additionally, Wilbert skimmed monies from the cash that she was responsible for depositing in the Elk’s bank accounts. In total, Wilbert stole $119,010 during that time period.
The guilty plea, Billhimer said, is the result of an investigation by Detective John Bajcic of the Toms River Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Heisler of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit.