Ex-law firm office manager sentenced for theft

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The former office manager of a northern New Jersey law firm has been sentenced to seven years in prison for stealing more than $400,000 from her employers.

The firm's owners say the thefts Beth Friedland committed between 2003 and January 2010 caused serious financial problems and forced them to lay off staff and associates. The Roxbury Township resident pleaded guilty in March to theft by unlawful taking, admitting she stole $448,721 from the Chatham-based firm of Maloof, Lebowitz, Connahan &Oleske.

The firm, though, claims Friedland took $1.1 million overall and has sued her to regain those funds.

Friedland must serve about 17 months of the sentence imposed Friday before becoming eligible for parole. Her husband, Alex Cruz, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, was sentenced Friday to three years probation.

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