BRICK SCHOOL OFFICIALS INDICTED IN OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT AND THEFT BY DECEPTION CASE
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announces today’s indictment of former Brick Schools Superintendent Walter Uszenski, 63, of Brick; former Brick Schools Interim Director of Public Services Andrew Morgan, 68, of Edison; former Brick Schools Academic Officer Lorraine Morgan, 58, of Edison; and Jacqueline Halsey, 37, of Brick, the daughter of Walter Uszenski. The four were indicted today on charges of Official Misconduct and Theft by Deception for their roles in a series of schemes which was devised and orchestrated to provide a child of Jacqueline Halsey with educational and other services at public expense to which the child was not legally entitled.
Andrew Morgan was also indicted on charges of False Swearing and Theft by Deception for knowingly concealing his prior criminal conviction for Criminal Sale of a Controlled Dangerous Substance in New York City in 1990. Morgan falsely certified in his employment application for the Interim Director of Special Services position that he had never been arrested, charged or convicted of a criminal offense. Morgan resigned from his position on December 31, 2013. He received in excess of $60,000 in compensation from the Brick Board of Education between March 1 and December 31, 2013.
The indictment alleges that former Superintendent Walter Uszenski and Andrew Morgan, who became the Interim Director of Special Services for the Brick public school district upon Uszenski’s recommendation in July of 2013, engineered a plan to provide Ms. Halsey’s preschool aged child with full time day care and transportation at the school district’s expense by falsely claiming that the program and services were educationally appropriate and necessary. The investigation revealed that Ms. Halsey initiated and approved the improper request and that both Morgan and Uszenski, the superintendent, executed the necessary approvals required for the Brick Board of Education to fund the program and related services. The amount of fraudulent benefits conferred is believed to exceed $50,000.
The investigation revealed that Andrew Morgan initially was hired by the Brick Board of Education, at the request and recommendation of Uszenski, to conduct an “audit” of the Brick schools special services section in March of 2013. Uszenski and Morgan knew each other and had worked together before 2013. The $17,499 “audit”, which is approximately 7 pages in length, was critical of the job performance of the then director of special services. Morgan was paid more than $83 per hour for 209 hours to prepare and write the “audit”. The “audit” also advocated saving the district money by providing services to special needs students in-district rather than sending those students out of district and paying private tuition. As a result of the “audit”, Uszenski recommended Morgan to the Board of Education to become the “Interim Director of Special Services”. The school board hired Morgan for that position. It is alleged that the “audit” was a pretense to position Morgan as the director of the special services section. He began serving on July 1, 2013. One of his first official acts was to engineer a fraudulent special education plan for Ms. Halsey child, who is also Uszenski’s grandchild, to receive unnecessary services and transportation at taxpayer’s expense.
Uszenski, Morgan and Halsey have been charged with the second degree crime of Official Misconduct and third degree Theft by Deception. Each of them has also been charged with third degree Official Misconduct. Lorraine Morgan, Andrew Morgan’s wife, was also charged by the Grand Jury with Official Misconduct, a third degree offense, for her role in approving unnecessary counseling services for the former superintendent’s grandson. Each second degree Official Misconduct charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years incarceration with a minimum mandatory period of 5 years without parole. Third degree Official Misconduct carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in New Jersey state prison with a minimum mandatory period of 2 years which must be served before parole eligibility. Each third degree Theft by Deception charge carries a maximum period of 5 years incarceration in New Jersey state prison.
The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are only allegations and that each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.
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