Ex-BARJ director put on probation

Ex-BARJ director put on probation

HACKENSACK ““ A Bergen County judge placed Marti Roland, a former education director of the Bergen Academy of Reform Judaism charged last year with fraud and theft, in a pretrial intervention program on Monday.

According to the Oct. 31, 2008 indictment, Roland committed theft by “retaining property or money” belonging to BARJ valued above $500 but less than $75,000. In the language of the indictment, Roland “did unlawfully and purposely obtain by deception property of Bergen Academy of Reformed Judaism” by issuing a number of BARJ checks made out to cash, each in excess of $500. She was also charged with an additional theft of property unspecified in the indictment.

Superior Court Judge Donald Venezia ordered Roland into the probation program for three years, with the stipulation that she pay $30,000 in restitution to BARJ, which is housed in Temple Beth Or in Washington Township.

The pretrial intervention program is a form of probation for first-time offenders that allows them to forgo a guilty plea, said Brian Lynch, an assistant prosecutor in the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. If an accused person successfully completes all the conditions of the program, the original charges are dismissed and there is no record of conviction.

In addition to the restitution, Roland must also maintain gainful employment. If she violates the terms of her probation, the charges will be reinstated, Lynch said.

Roland was employed with BARJ for 10 years. She resigned abruptly on the Monday after Thanksgiving 2007, according to Richard Horwitz, co-president of BARJ.

Horwitz told The Jewish Standard on Tuesday that the school has taken steps to make sure that the incident cannot be repeated. He would not elaborate but did say that the board’s treasurer, a certified public accountant, would regularly review BARJ’s financial records.

“We’re happy the matter’s behind us,” Horwitz said. “It’s best just to move on at this point. It’s been a very difficult and trying time.”

BARJ is the post b’nai mitzvah educational program for Temple Beth Or, Temple Avodat Shalom in River Edge, Temple Emeth in Teaneck, and Temple Beth El in Closter. According to its Website, BARJ is “a school where young Reform Jewish adults can learn and socialize with other Reform Jewish students.”

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