Former Accounting Manager of Hoboken Housing Authority Admits Embezzling More Than $111,000

08-16-06 -- Hurt, Eric D. -- Guilty Plea -- News Release

Former Accounting Manager of Hoboken Housing Authority Admits Embezzling More Than $111,000

NEWARK:  The former accounting manager for the Hoboken Housing Authority pleaded guilty today to embezzling funds totaling $111,083 from the general operating fund by writing checks to himself, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced. [READ CHARGES]

Eric D. Hurt, 38, of Jersey City, admitted before U.S. District Judge Harold A. Ackerman that he embezzled the funds in 34 checks written to himself between about August 2001 and February 2004. To conceal the embezzlement, Hurt admitted that he falsely reported to the Housing Authority that the payees on the checks were various vendors doing business with the Housing Authority by entering them that way in the general operating fund check register.

Hurt pleaded guilty to two counts of a five-count criminal Information: one count of embezzlement and one count of subscribing to a false federal income tax return for tax year 2003.

The remaining three counts of subscribing to a false tax return will be dismissed at sentencing. However, for purposes of sentencing, Judge Ackerman will take into account the so-called relevant conduct alleged in those dismissed tax counts. As such, Judge Ackerman can use that relevant conduct in calculating the length of any prison sentence. Hurt is also responsible for all unpaid taxes, penalties and interest for all years covered by all the tax charges.

The embezzlement count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The count of subscribing to a false federal tax return carries a maximum criminal penalty of three years in prison and the same maximum fine. Judge Ackerman scheduled sentencing for Nov. 21.

Today was Hurt's first appearance in court. He was not charged previously and waived indictment by pleading guilty to the Information.

During his plea hearing, Hurt admitted that he deposited 31 of the checks into his personal bank account and used the money for personal expenses. He cashed the three other checks.

On the tax count, Hurt admitted that, in filing his 2003 federal income tax return, he falsely stated that his taxable income was approximately $33,661. He admitted omitting an additional $84,069. That amount represented money embezzled from the Housing Authority, according to the Information.

Hurt further admitted that he intentionally under reported taxable income for tax years 2000, 2001 and 2002, and that the total amount of tax he failed to pay for tax years 2000 through 2003 was approximately $40,621.

Christie credited Special Agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Leslie G. Wiser; Special Agents of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ruth Ritzema; and Special Agents of the IRS Criminal Investigations Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patricia J. Haynes, with the investigation of Hurt.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ricardo Solano and James Nobile, of the U.S. Attorney's Office Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.


Defense Counsel: Brian Eyerman, Esq., Fort Lee

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