Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Hillsborough Township Chief of Police Darren Powell announced the arrest of Michael Fanizzi, 53, of Hillsborough Township.
Prosecutor Robertson stated that in December 2017 the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit was notified by the Hillsborough Township Police Department of a potential theft of funds from the Athletic Department at Hillsborough Township High School.
Police say additional information was also provided through the STOP!T Messenger, an anonymous online computer application which allows users to provide information to law enforcement. Consequently, three months the Hillsborough Township Board of Education provided investigators with a forensic audit of the Athletic Department’s records.
Prosecutor Robertson said the three-month investigation revealed that Michael Fanizzi, while employed as the Hillsborough Township High School Athletic Director, received reimbursement checks from the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association between 2013 and 2017.
The checks were intended to be deposited into the Board of Education account as reimbursement for high school athletic event services. The investigation revealed that defendant Fanizzi deposited the NJSIAA checks into the athletic department’s bank account in place of the cash ticket sales. Defendant Fanizzi kept portions of the cash proceeds which were generated from the events.
According to authorities, the investigation revealed that there was $10,704.00 of unaccounted cash missing from the athletic department.
Members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit on Mar. 16th arrested defendant Fanizzi without incident at his residence.
Police charged the defendant with third-degree theft by unlawful taking, then released him on his own recognizance pending a court appearance.
These charges are merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.