Prosecutor: CO stole $6K raised in memory of colleague

Ann Inman was charged with one count of third-degree theft by failure to make required disposition of property received


By George Woolston
Burlington County Times, Willingboro, N.J.

MOUNT HOLLY, NJ — A Burlington County corrections officer was charged Wednesday for allegedly stealing over $6,000 that was raised in the memory of a fellow officer and veteran who died of brain cancer.

Ann Inman, 36, of Lumberton, was charged with one count of third-degree theft by failure to make required disposition of property received, the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office announced today.

Inman served as the treasurer for PBA 249, the union representing Burlington County corrections officers, at the time the fundraiser for Jason Wark was held in March 2017.

Wark's fellow correctional officers at the Burlington County Jail were planning a fundraiser to help him and his family as he underwent treatment for brain cancer.

Wark died in February before the fundraiser could be held. He was 35.

But one month later, his colleagues in PBA 249 gathered at the VFW Post 3020 in Delran — where Wark, a U.S. Marine veteran, was a member — to raise the money in his memory.

He was that kind of guy — always willing to drop whatever he was doing to lend a helping hand, or perhaps an ear to his fellow veterans who needed to talk, friends and colleagues said. Even when he was sick.

"He would do anything to help you," said John Wagner, Wark's former co-worker at the jail and close friend. "He would always talk to you. Even when he was sick and he couldn't drive, he would say, 'Hey come pick me up, I'll talk with you.'"

Todd Epperly, now the post commander at VFW Post 3020, knew Wark for years and said he was member of the VFW post ever since he returned from Iraq.

"He was quiet and kind-hearted and I loved him to death. He was a great guy," Epperly said.

Wark grew up in Riverton and served as a loader with the M1A1 Tank Battalion during the initial surge of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, according to his obituary. He was also a member of the Riverton Fire Company.

Wark's colleagues were under the impression that the $6,365 that was raised that day in March 2017 would be first deposited into union's bank account and then donated to the cancer center that treated Wark — as requested by Wark's wife.

The investigation into the funds raised for Wark began in April when a question was raised in a PBA 249 meeting about what happened to the proceeds from the fundraiser, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

The affidavit states that the union president called Inman to ask where the proceeds went after an examination of the PBA treasurer reports and bank statements revealed the money had never been deposited into the union account.

Inman admitted to the union president that she had kept the money and spent it, according to the affidavit.

Wagner, now retired, said that those at the jail who knew Wark feel disrespected that the money was never donated.

"Why is somebody else spending the money that was raised for him?" Wagner asked. "That money could have went somewhere ... not for somebody else to put it in their pocket. In his honor, I feel disrespected."

Inman turned herself in Wednesday at the Burlington County courts facility in Mount Holly and was released after being processed, the prosecutor's office said. The case will now go before Burlington County Grand Jury for possible indictment.

©2019 Burlington County Times, Willingboro, N.J.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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