State: Official Stole $115,000 From Autism Nonprofit

Peter Pflug (Photo courtesy Attorney General's Office)

A state grand jury indicted the former CFO of New Horizons in Autism today for allegedly stealing $115,000 for personal use from the organization, the state attorney’s general office said Tuesday.

Peter Pflug, 55, of Freehold, was indicted on second-degree charges of theft by unlawful taking and misapplication of entrusted property and property of government, according to the attorney general’s office.

Between June 2015 and February 2018, the state alleges Pflug used $115,000 in the nonprofit’s funds, using New Horizons credit cards and checks, to purchase:

  • more than $36,000 for personal vehicles and expenses related to personal vehicles
  • approximately $10,000 for carpeting for his home
  • more than $35,000 for other renovations and repairs to the interior and exterior of his home
  • more than $20,000 for landscaping and fencing outside his home
  • more than $10,000 for new dining room and bedroom furniture and a new refrigerator
  • almost $2,000 for a fish tank and related equipment.

Authorities executed a search warrant of Pflug’s Freehold home in April, where they say they “allegedly identified numerous items and home improvements paid for using New Horizons credit cards and financial accounts.”

New Horizons is a Monmouth County-based nonprofit that receives most of its funding through a contract with the state Division of Developmental Disabilities. The organization provides services to those with autism, and operates group homes.

“Pflug is alleged to have abused his position as chief financial officer of this nonprofit by diverting funds for his personal use that were intended to provide services to individuals with autism,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said. “Most of this was taxpayer money, dedicated to funding group homes under a state contract, but Pflug is alleged to have selfishly stolen approximately $115,000 for improvements at his own home as well as purchases of personal vehicles and other goods and services.”

“This indictment should deter others in positions of trust who would consider stealing from the organizations they serve,” Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice said. “In this case, the betrayal was even more egregious because Pflug allegedly stole public funds intended for the assistance of a particularly vulnerable population.”

If convicted, Pflug may face five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

An arraignment date is pending.