Former South Jersey Code Enforcement Officer Accused of Embezzling Permit Payments

A former code enforcement officer from Ventnor, New Jersey, has been indicted by a grand jury for allegedly misappropriating permit payments from residents and businesses.

Alleged Misconduct

Michelle Calderon, 37, of Egg Harbor Township, stands accused of unlawfully pocketing more than $91,000 in permit payments between January 2021 and June 2023.

Charges and Indictment

Initially charged in August, Calderon now faces indictment on counts of second-degree pattern of official misconduct, tampering with computer software to facilitate theft, and other related offenses.

Public Reaction

Residents like Tatiana Grasty express concern over the diverted funds, highlighting the potential impact on essential services such as education and infrastructure maintenance.

Discovery of Discrepancies

An investigation was launched after financial irregularities were noticed last year, revealing a scheme where Calderon allegedly accepted cash payments for permits without recording them properly.

Modus Operandi

Payments for various permits, including parking, dumpsters, building, and zoning permits, were reportedly accepted in cash but not logged correctly. Calderon is said to have used city computers to manipulate records to conceal the transactions.

Surprise and Disbelief

Business owner Michael Weisen, who had interactions with Calderon for city matters, expresses shock at the allegations, having found her professional in previous dealings.

Call for Restitution

Weisen suggests Calderon should reimburse the city to rectify the situation fairly.

Legal Proceedings

With the case proceeding to trial, both Calderon and her attorney remained unavailable for comment when reached out to by Action News.

Official Response

City officials refrain from commenting on the matter, directing inquiries to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office.

The case serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and accountability in public service, underscoring the need for robust oversight to prevent such occurrences in the future.

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