State employee Marcella Friedman allegedly posed as an inspector and coerced roadside vendors into giving her a free generator in the days after Superstorm Sandy.
Friedman, 49, told two roadside vendors set up in Springfield, Burlington County, that she was a state inspector capable of shutting down their sale of generators and fining them, according to Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa. The encounter happened on Oct. 31, just after the monster storm hit New Jersey.
Friedman, wearing a jacket with the New Jersey State Police logo and carrying a handheld radio, said she’d overlook the stand if the men gave her a free generator, Chiesa said. The vendors handed over an 8,500-watt generator, which Friedman gave to a relative. The relative reportedly sold the generator to an unknowing third party.
The suspect, who lives in Oaklyn, actually is a state worker, but not an inspector. She is a civilian employee of the state police and works as a communications system technician. She’s currently on disability, as she was during the alleged generator incident.
“It’s unconscionable that anyone would use their employment with a law enforcement agency or the trappings of that agency to unlawfully obtain a benefit, as alleged here,” Chiesa said. “We will not tolerate this type of misconduct, which has the potential to undermine public trust in law enforcement. The state police swiftly investigated and uncovered this alleged conduct.”
Friedman was charged Tuesday with third-degree theft by deception. If convicted, she faces a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine up to $15,000.