NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–The 67-year-old Ex-Treasurer of the Middlesex County Utilities Authority has admitted to stealing $57,000 from the Middlesex County Utilities between 2012 and 2014.
But almost five months after her guilty plea, Margaret Brennan still has not spent a moment in jail, thanks to the retirement of Judge Bradley Ferencz.
Judge Ferencz left his post as the county’s Presiding Criminal Judge earlier this year, but not before scheduling the sentencing of Brennan for February 2, just a few days after he planned to leave office.
Ferencz has since joined the firm Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst, and Doukas.
Brennan’s fate is now in the hands of replacement Judge Dennis Nieves. Prosecutors are seeking just under a year of jail time, which would ensure Brennan serves her sentence in county jail rather than state prison.
“Under the plea agreement, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office is recommending a probationary term with 364 days of incarceration at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center,” said MCPO spokesperson James O’Neill.
“The plea agreement also requires her to repay the amount of the theft and prohibits her from ever again holding a public job in New Jersey,” said O’Neill.
In the months since his retirement, Brennan’s case has been held up as Nieves took over for Ferencz.
Initially re-scheduled for February 27, Brennan’s sentencing date was pushed back again without explanation.
The MCPO told New Brunswick Today that the sentencing was scheduled for last month, but once again it didn’t occur.
Brennan’s family members were in the audience as she went before Nieves for what appeared to be the first time on April 23.
But before anything went down before the public, Brennan’s attorney Steven Altman and Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet joined the Judge behind closed doors for 24 minutes.
Altman returned and told his client: “This is going to get put off. Trust me, everything’s going to be OK.”
“My main concern is to make the public whole and the State’s interest is in trying to punish the wrongdoing,” said Nieves hinting that he may go easy on Brennan if she re-pays the money.
Brennan’s sentencing was re-scheduled for May 5 at 3pm in Judge Nieves’ courtroom at the Middlesex County Courthouse.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.