FRANKLIN, NJ—New Brunswick's neighbor saw one of its key municipal officials charged with theft and insurance fraud and quietly suspended from duty in December.

According to the story broken by TapInto Franklin's Malik Lyons, Franklin Township Clerk Ann Marie McCarthy faces criminal charges that she deceived her health insurance company, Horizon Blue Cross.

McCarthy, a Hillsborough resident, was arrested on December 14 by Detective Darren Herrling from the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office (SCPO), according to the report.

But the SCPO did not issue a press release or otherwise publicize the charges against the public official, which include third-degree theft by deception and third-degree insurance fraud.

McCarthy's suspension went unreported until after the New Year, following her conspicuous absence from the Township Council's January 1 "re-organization" meeting.

A public employee since 1987, McCarthy earned an annual salary of $103,000 prior to her suspension.

According to Lyons' reporting, the accusations are that she "made it appear as though she received treatment and services eligible for insurance coverage reimbursement" between January 2016 and September 2017, having not actually received such treatment and services.

The case against McCarthy has been transferred to the Brunswick-based Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, according to Lyons' January 4 article.

McCarthy's name still appears on the Franklin Township website, though she has been suspended pending the outcome of the case.

According to a statement from Township Manager Robert Vornlocker, a former law enforcement officer, McCarthy was "immediately suspended… without pay" on December 14 after the SCPO notified Franklin of the charges.

"Deputy Clerk, Msiba Holliman, has assumed the Township Clerk’s duties," Vornlocker told TapInto Franklin.  "To the extent they require it, the Township is prepared to cooperate, to the fullest extent possible, with the involved law enforcement agencies."

McCarthy was held by authorities until December 20, when she was released under her own recognizance, according to the Franklin Reporter.

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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 and a community organizer, and an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.