Former Jersey City Board of Education President Sudhan Thomas, also the ex-chief of the local employment agency, could take a plea deal in a case that accuses him of abusing both of his roles to embezzle money.By John Heinis/Hudson County View
” … An order granting a continuance of the proceedings in the above-captioned matter from March 15, 2023, through and including May 15, 2023, to permit defense counsel the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation in this matter and to allow the parties to continue plea negotiations,” U.S. District Judge William J. Martini wrote on March 10th.
“And the defendant being aware that he has the right to have this matter brought to trial within 70 days of the date of his appearance before a Judicial officer of this Court …”
Thomas was charged by criminal complaint in January 2020 with embezzling $45,000 from JCETP and was released on a $75,000 unsecured bond, a case that got considerably worse for him about 10 months later.
In November of the same year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced a 26-count indictment alleging embezzlement, money laundering, and fraud. He is accused of embezzling over $45,000 from the now defunct Jersey City Employment and Training Program (JCEPT).
Specifically, federal prosecutors charge that 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.
For example, Thomas caused certain checks to be issued to Paul Appel, at attorney who served as outside counsel at JCETP, and Appel then redirected the funds to Thomas, including by issuing checks made payable to Next Glocal, an entity for which Thomas was a director, which were then deposited into a Next Glocal bank account.
Under the guise of collecting repayments for loans to the campaign or reimbursement for other purported campaign-related expenses, Thomas and Appel embezzled more than $8,000 from Thomas’s 2016 campaign for their own personal use.
Appel is charged with five of the counts related to Thomas’ case.
In a separate case by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Thomas is accused of accepting $35,000 in cash bribes in anticipation of a 2021 city council run in exchange for promising to have the cooperating witness hired as special counsel at the BOE.