Dear Editor,

Former Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas will soon be sentenced by Trenton U.S. District Court Judge Freda L. Wolfson for his conviction on mortgage fraud related charges, tied to his purchase of farmland for which he later received farmland preservation funds.

Mayor Lucas is facing an excessive amount time behind bars for being convicted of allegedly fudging some numbers to get a mortgage he has since repaid. No criminal act alleged to have been committed by him directly touched his office. He’s a nice guy who you’d be happy to have living in your neighborhood.

Lucas is a Princeton University graduate and has worked in the investment sector, with a wife and young daughters at home. If not incarcerated, he could legitimately earn money to support his family and pay fines.

Instead of wasting money incarcerating Mr. Lucas, why not instead sentence him to probation with a requirement that he volunteer 25 hours a week for the next decade providing financial education courses to inmates in state and federal prisons across New Jersey?

Such a unique sentence would support his rehabilitation and benefit the community by reducing recidivism of other offenders, who could be empowered by Lucas’ ivy league education to better themselves.

Eric Hafner
Toms River, NJ