Former Perth Amboy official pleads guilty to stealing public funds, implicates Vas

A former Perth Amboy official today pleaded guilty to helping former mayor and current assemblyman Joseph Vas (D-Perth Amboy) steal funds from that city, according to Attorney General Anne Milgram.

Jeffrey D. Gumbs Sr., who lives in Wilmington, Del., admitted to submitting fraudulent invoices to the city to pay for personal expenses for both himself and Vas.

Gumbs was the city’s director of human services and superintendent of recreation under Vas.

“This guilty plea is a significant step in our investigation and prosecution of this case,” said Milgram in a press release. “Mr. Gumbs admitted that he helped the mayor to steal taxpayer funds. We charge that Joseph Vas used the city like his own piggybank.”

Vas was indicted two weeks ago on eleven counts related to his tenure as mayor, which ended last year after he was defeated by Wilda Diaz in a surprise upset. He remains an assemblyman and leader of the Perth Amboy Democratic Party, although he does not plan to seek reelection to the legislature and has been stripped of his committee chairmanship and position as Deputy Majority Leader. Vas’s lawyer, Alan Zegas, has indicated that he will plead not guilty.

Gumbs is scheduled to be sentenced on June 26. The Attorney General’s office is recommending probation, although Gumbs will have to pay restitution to the city and will be barred from ever againQ holding a public job.

Last week, Milgram indicted two former Vas aides for allegedly soliciting fraudulent campaign contributions for his 2006 congressional race.