FREEHOLD – A Burlington County man is charged with stealing more than $175,000 in payroll checks by cashing checks for seasonal employees who were not actually working at the times he specified, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Edwin Montanez, 62, of Willingboro, is charged with one count of second degree Theft of Moveable Property. The charges stem from an investigation by the Eatontown Police Department with assistance from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. The investigation discovered Montanez stole $178,058, while employed as a supervisor at Hanro of Switzerland, with an office in Eatontown. The investigation further revealed, from July 31, 2012 through June 15, 2018, Montanez was clocking-in employees, who were not actually working, then depositing those employees’ payroll checks into his personal bank account.  A total of 345 separate payroll checks were deposited and credited to his account.

Montanez was served with a complaint summons last month during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. 

If convicted of second degree Theft of Moveable Property, Montanez faces a sentence of five to ten years in a New Jersey state prison. 

The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Lawrence H. Nelsen, III, Esq. Montanez is represented by Mark A. Bernstein, Esq., of Cherry Hill.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

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