Attorney General Anne Milgram, who is building a case against former Perth Amboy Mayor Joseph Vas, won her second guilty plea form a Perth Amboy official today.
Perth Amboy recreation supervisor Ana Pastrana, 49, pleaded guilty today to using city funds to pay off a credit card in her name that she used for personal expenses for herself and Vas. In her plea, Pastrana said that Vas directed her to reimburse the card for purchases of sneakers, beachwear and sportswear through a bank account for the city’s Housing Development Corporation.
“With this second guilty plea, we continue to advance our case against former Perth Amboy mayor Joseph Vas, who we charge conspired with other officials to enrich himself at the expense of his struggling city and its taxpayers,” said Milgram.
The bank account was controlled Jeffrey Gumbs, the city’s former superintendent of recreation and director of human services, who pleaded guilty last week to theft, misapplication of government property and tampering with public records.
Milgram recommended probation and restitution in excess of $5,000 for Pastrana, who will also be forced to resign from her three public jobs. Aside from recreation supervisor, she is a special education teacher in Perth Amboy public schools and the city’s Municipal Alliance Coordinator.
Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz said that Pastrana resigned from her recreation supervisor position today.
"As we stated previously, my administration has zero tolerance for anyone in city government who violates the trust and confidence of the people that we are here to serve, and we will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities throughout their investigations," she said.
Vas, who remains an assemblyman and still heads the Perth Amboy Democratic Party, was indicted earlier this month for allegedly stealing city funds to pay for personal expenses and rigging a housing lottery in favor of his personal driver, Anthony Jones, who was also indicted. Two of his top aides, Raymond Geneske and Melvin Ramos, were charged a week later with official misconduct, money laundering and conspiracy.