Falsified Records to Inflate Years of Service for Family Members

FREEHOLD— A Howell Township volunteer firefighter admitted Monday he falsified documents crediting his brothers with years of service in the state-run Length of Service Awards Program, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

William Donahue, 54, of Bath Place in Howell Township, pleaded guilty to four counts of fourth degree Falsifying Records. As part of his plea agreement with this Office, a recommendation for probation will be made at his sentencing scheduled for June 2, 2017 before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English.

Also part of his plea agreement, Donahue forfeited his current position as a volunteer firefighter with the Freewood Acres Fire Department and as a commissioner with the Howell Township District #5 Board of Fire Commissioners. Donahue also forfeited all future public employment and offices in the State of New Jersey.

The Howell Township Board of Fire Commissioners adopted a Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) around the time Donahue became a member of the Freewood Acres Fire Company around 1998. The LOSAP program provides active emergency service organization volunteers, like volunteer firefighters, deferred compensation benefits as an incentive and reward for volunteer service to the community. Benefits increase with each year of active service in the fire company.

Donahue was responsible for annually certifying which members of the fire department qualified for a “year of service” under the LOSAP program. Members had to complete a certain percentage of activities in the fire department to qualify for a “year of service” credit, thus increasing their LOSAP benefits.

Donahue falsely credited his brothers Michael Donahue and John Donahue with years of service in the LOSAP program. Michael Donahue left the Freewood Acres Fire Company and has been serving as a firefighter in Old Bridge since at least 2007. John Donahue resigned from the fire company in July of 2011.

In November 2012, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the leadership of Prosecutor Gramiccioni, launched a Corruption Tip Line designed to solicit the public’s assistance in identifying and targeting corruption, fraud and misconduct occurring in local governmental agencies.

Citizens may report concerns via the following: Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Corruption Tip Line – 855-7-UNJUST (855 786-5878); or E-mail at: corruption@mcponj.org write “Corruption/Misconduct Tip” in the subject line.

The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau and Assistant Prosecutor Jordan Williams.

Donahue is represented by Charles Moriarty, Esq., of West Long Branch.