Ex-Jersey City BOE pres., JCETP acting ED, Sudhan Thomas admits embezzlement & fraud


Former Jersey City Board of Education President Sudhan Thomas, also an ex-acting executive director of the now defunct employment and training agency, has pleaded guilty to embezzlement and wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger announced.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Sudhan Thomas, 47, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini to two counts of an indictment charging him with embezzling funds from JCETP, an organization that received federal funds, and wire fraud for embezzling money from his 2016 Jersey City BOE campaign.

HCV first reported that a plea deal on the federal charges was in the works back in March.

Thomas served as JCETP’s acting executive director from January 2019 until his resignation in July 2019. JCETP was a nonprofit organization that operated to assist Jersey City residents to prepare for and enter the workforce.

Using his access to JCETP funds and control of JCETP’s bank accounts, from March 2019 through July 2019, Thomas embezzled more than $45,000 from JCETP, as federal prosecutors charged in January 2020.

Thomas caused checks to be drawn from JCETP accounts that were made payable to others, but ultimately received by Thomas or used to pay his debts and expenses.

He also embezzled JCETP funds by issuing checks made out to cash that Thomas either cashed himself or used to obtain bank checks that he made payable to Next Glocal, an entity for which Thomas was a director, which were deposited into a bank account for his personal use.

Thomas ran for and was elected to a seat on the Jersey City BOE in 2016, ultimately serving as vice president and then president.

From September 2016 to November 2016, Thomas collected campaign contributions and caused them to be deposited into a bank account opened for the 2016 campaign that he controlled.

Under the guise of collecting repayments for loans to the campaign or reimbursement for other purported campaign-related expenses, Thomas embezzled more than $8,000 from his 2016 campaign for his own personal use.

By November 2020, Thomas faced a 26-count indictment alleging an elaborate embezzlement, money laundering, and fraud scheme involving both JCETP and the Jersey City BOE.

He received over a dozen continuances overall in his federal case and still has pending charges from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, who has accused him of taking $35,000 in cash bribes for a council campaign from a cooperating witness in exchange for being promised a BOE contract.

Back in January 2018, only HCV reported that Thomas had opened a new account with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission, though said the notion he was prepping for a council run was “fake news.”

The embezzlement charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. The wire fraud charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. Both charges carry a maximum fine of up to $250,000.

His sentencing is scheduled for November 1st.

Thomas originally was charged by indictment in November 2020 with Paul Appel, 81, of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, who is an attorney and who also served as treasurer for Thomas’ 2016 campaign. His case is also pending before Martini.

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/hcvcp/public_html/wp-content/themes/Hudson County View/includes/wp_booster/td_block.php on line 353