Former Wall school superintendent James Habel going to prison

The former Wall school superintendent James Habel is going to prison after being found guilty of official misconduct and falsifying records.

The former Wall school superintendent James Habel is going to prison after being found guilty of official misconduct and falsifying records. (12/4/15)

FREEHOLD - A judge has sentenced Wall Township's former school superintendent to five years in prison for official misconduct and falsifying records.

The judge on Friday also ordered 58-year-old James Habel of Dunedin, Florida, to forfeit his pension benefits and right to hold another public office.

A jury in March found Habel guilty of lying about 105 vacation days he took but never reported.

Jurors acquitted Habel of theft and destruction of files. The panel could not reach a unanimous verdict on charges of theft by deception and money laundering.

Habel earned between $145,000 and $225,000 as Wall's school superintendent from 2003 until he retired in 2012.

He has appealed his conviction, arguing his original lawyer had a conflict of interest because he was acting county prosecutor when Habel's investigation started.

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