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NEWTON — A Wantage campground has filed a civil lawsuit claiming a former employee embezzled more than $700,000 over about 12 years.
Wantage resident Sande Annuzzi allegedly took money from Pleasant Acres Farm Campground on Dewitt Road from 1992 to 2003 while she was employed as the office manager, the lawsuit alleges.
Campground owner Richard Denman declined to comment Thursday. His attorney Daniel Kopec, of Morristown, did not return a call for comment.
The lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday, says Denman discovered the alleged theft of funds on March 23, 2003 when $4,000 was determined to be missing from the safe. Annuzzi retrieved $4,000 from a folder marked “personal” in her desk when she was asked about the missing money and allegedly could not provide “an adequate explanation” for why the funds were in the folder.
Money and cash deposits for Annuzzi’s personal bank account were also previously seen in the same folder, but the officer manager had said she deposited gambling winnings, the lawsuit claims.
Annuzzi’s employment at the campground was immediately terminated after the March 23, 2003 incident, the lawsuit states. Further analysis of the business records allegedly determined that $715,000 was unaccounted for during the last 12 years.
The county prosecutor’s office has not received any complaints about the alleged theft of funds by Annuzzi, said First Assistant Sussex County Prosecutor William Fitzgibbons.
Annuzzi’s husband, Peter, who is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit for allegedly breaching a rental contract, was unaware of the lawsuit when contacted by The New Jersey Herald on Thursday and was surprised by the amount of money allegedly taken.
He declined further comment.
From 1993 to 1998, Peter Annuzzi leased premises from Pleasant Acres on Dewitt Road in Wantage. He was responsible for paying rent and electricity and Sande Annuzzi was supposed to ensure the proper payments were made, the lawsuit states. Sande Annuzzi allegedly did not collect money due to Pleasant Acres and she did not inform her superior that her husband failed to make the payments, according to the lawsuit.
Peter Annuzzi is alleged to owe Denman more than $13,000 for use and occupancy of the Dewitt Road residence.
The lawsuit claims conversion, fraud and breach of contract. It seeks $715,000 for Pleasant Acres for Sande Annuzzi’s alleged embezzlement and another $13,000 for Peter Annuzzi’s failure to pay rent.
This story was posted as it appears here on the Topix.net website May 28 and was written by Herald Staff Writer Jamie Goldenbaum.