FREEHOLD, NJ - A former Asbury Park Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) member has been charged with stealing over $21,000 from the organization between December 2013 and February 2018, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Defendant Joseph Nista of Neptune City, a Korean War Veteran, has been charged with third degree Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, third degree Theft and fourth degree Forgery in connection with unauthorized use of funds belonging to a local VFW Post. Nista faces up to 5 years in prison on these charges.
Nista served as the Quartermaster for VFW Post 1333, District No. 6 located in Asbury Park beginning around 2005. He was responsible for managing the Post funds on a day to day basis and was allowed to disburse funds only as approved by Post membership. The Post finances are additionally overseen by three elected trustees who are required to conduct a quarterly audit of the Post books and records, and file a quarterly report to be certified by the Post Commander. As Quartermaster, defendant was responsible for providing the records to support the audits.
Beginning in early December of 2013 and continuing through February of 2018, Nista accessed Post funds for his own personal use. He was able to accomplish this by a variety of methods, including unauthorized use of credit cards issued to the Post for personal expenses in several locations throughout Monmouth County, unauthorized cash withdrawals from bank accounts held in the Post’s name, and by writing unauthorized checks to himself from Post accounts to be deposited into his own personal bank account.
It is estimated that the aggregate value of the goods and services acquired through use of the credit cards along with cash obtained through ATM withdrawals and checks totaled $21,500. In addition, defendant forged the signature of one of the three elected Post Trustees, R.K., on two separate quarterly reports in 2016.
If anyone has further information in regards to the case, please contact Monmouth County Detective Sergeant Kevin Mahoney or Detective Melissa Ocasio at 800-533-7443.
The case has been assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer.
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.