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Thieving tax collector gets house arrest, must pay back $72,480

A former Merchantville tax collector was sentenced today to one year under house arrest and banned from holding public employment for stealing tax payments.

Superior Court Judge Irvin Snyder in Camden sentenced Michelle McKinney, 36, of Brooklawn.

In March, McKinney pleaded guilty to theft. Following 364 days of house arrest, McKinney will remain on probation for five years, must return $72,480 and forfeit her ability to hold public office.

The borough also could pursue civil action to get reimbursement if an ongoing audit reveals that additional funds are missing, authorities said.

On at least six occasions, from February to November 2009, McKinney kept payments made in cash, totaling $72,480. Authorities discovered the missing money when a taxpayer complained and an audit had been launched. McKinney had worked in the borough tax office since 2004 and became tax collector in 2008.