SNOW HILL — A West Ocean City woman, arrested last April on theft and other charges after rigging a fundraising event on behalf of the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department in her son’s favor, was convicted this week and now awaits her fate pending a sentencing hearing.
Last Friday, Jennifer Zadnik, also known as Jennifer Snider, 45, of West Ocean City, was convicted of theft from $100 to under $1,500 in District Court in Snow Hill for allegedly defrauding a fundraiser she was contracted by the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Company to conduct last April. Sentencing in the case was deferred until Dec. 20 to allow Zadnik time to pay $530 in restitution to the victim, in this case the OPVCD. Zadnik faces six months in jail at sentencing in December.
The charges stem from Zadnik’s involvement in a fundraiser for the Ocean Pines Fire Department last April. The fire department contracted Zudnik to host a “quarter auction” during the event at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club. During the auction, guests and fire department officials became suspicious of fraud when they realized certain numbers were being drawn more frequently than others.
Suspicions grew when it was learned the frequently drawn numbers were held by Zadnik’s son. Ocean Pines Fire Department officials contacted the Ocean Pines Police Department and the investigation revealed Zadnik had duplicated her son’s numbers on multiple chips in order to make it more likely he would win. The total value of the auction items stolen by Zadnik as a result of the rigged bidding scheme came to $530.
Worcester County State’s Attorney Kris Heiser thanked the OPVFD and the Ocean Pines Police Department for their diligence in helping to expose this type of fraud and cautioned non-profit and charitable organizations to closely monitor fundraising efforts to prevent similar occurrences.