The former president of the Jersey City Board of Education and former acting executive director of the Jersey City Employment and Training Program pleaded guilty today in federal court to embezzlement and wire fraud charges.

According to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, Sudhan Thomas, 47, admitted that he embezzled JCETP funds and committed wire fraud in connection with his use of funds from his 2016 Board of Education campaign account.

JCETP was a nonprofit organization that operated to assist Jersey City residents to prepare for and enter the workforce. Thomas served as its acting executive director from January 2019 until his resignation in July 2019.

Authorities charged that Thomas embezzled more than $45,000 from JCETP using checks written to others who then routed the funds to Thomas for his own personal use. He also converted to his personal use checks made out to cash and some deposited with a company for which he was a director.

Thomas, a former close ally of Mayor Steven Fulop, assumed the role of acting director at the JCETP after Fulop fired Jim McGreevey for alleged financial improprieties. Following McGreevey’s firing, the mayor’s spokeswoman touted Thomas’s “leadership” in hiring a firm to audit the program.

Mayor Steven Fulop and former Jersey City Board of Education President Sudhan Thomas
Mayor Steven Fulop and Sudhan Thomas

Thomas was also charged with embezzling more than $8,000 from his 2016 campaign for a seat on the Board of Education, converting campaign contributions to his personal use under the guise of collecting repayments for loans to the campaign or reimbursement for other purported campaign-related expenses.

The embezzlement charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. The wire fraud charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. Both charges carry a maximum fine of up to $250,000.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 1.

Thomas originally was charged along with Paul Appel, 81, of Point Pleasant, New Jersey. Appel is an attorney who also served as treasurer for Thomas’ 2016 campaign. Appel’s case is pending.

Aaron is a writer, musician and lawyer. Aaron attended Berklee College of Music and the State University of New York at Purchase. Aaron served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. He received a J.D....