A Lacey Township man who works as a dispatcher for the Lacey Police Department and as a volunteer EMT with the Lanoka Harbor Emergency Medical Service has been charged with theft, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced on Friday.

(Photo Courtesy: Ocean County Prosecutors Office)

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Matthew Bender, 33, of Lacey Township, was charged following an investigation  by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economics Crime Squad who learned that embezzled $4,690.00.

Bender had access to the Lanoka Harbor EMS website and to the LH-EMS PayPal account and when LH-EMS was awarded a grant in February from 'Benevity', "an organization that facilitates grants on behalf of the Macy’s corporation". he allegedly took money out of the PayPal account he managed and transferred it to his own personal PayPal account.

Prosecutor Billhimer said that the OCPO ECS investigation also led them to find out that a number of purchases were made, "in small denominations," at various restaurants, pharmacies and auto stores, "confirming that the grant money was not used for the benefit of the LHEMS."

Investigators then made the determination that Bender had misappropriated these funds for his own personal use.

Bender has been processed at the Berkeley Township Police Department and released on a summons pending a future court date.

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