CAMDEN — A former Upper Township mayor and Ventnor city administrator admitted in federal court Friday that he stole $458,000 during the 15 years he was Frank LoBiondo’s campaign treasurer.

Andrew McCrosson, 59, of Egg Harbor Township, said he wrote unauthorized checks beginning in 1995 and ending in 2010, when the LoBiondo campaign replaced him, averaging $30,500 each year.

McCrosson pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and embezzlement for writing himself checks while he controlled two bank accounts for the Republican congressman’s campaign. Those sentences carry a maximum total of 25 years in prison, but under the federal sentencing guidelines, McCrosson likely faces less than five years.

He is scheduled to be sentenced June 16.

“This was a very difficult and emotional day for Mr. McCrosson and his family,” defense attorney James Leonard Jr. said after the proceeding. “The conduct to which he has accepted responsibility for is completely out of character for him, and he is both embarrassed and remorseful for what he has done.”

During his admission in federal court, McCrosson was asked if he reported all campaign expenditures to the Federal Election Commission, as required by law. He replied: “Yes, except the checks I wrote to myself.”

He said he falsely reported how much cash the campaign had on hand to cover his tracks.

“Political contributors expect that they are supporting a candidate, not paying a staffer’s mortgage,” U.S. Attorney Paula Fishman said in a statement. “People should not treat the opportunity to participate in the political process as a personal windfall.”

McCrosson began working for the LoBiondo campaign in 1994 and made between $3,000 and $8,000 for each two-year election cycle, information given in court shows. He was replaced last summer, and a short time later, the numbers the new treasurer reported did not match those McCrosson had filed.

William McGinley, the campaign’s attorney, said Friday that they contacted federal authorities late last year.

“As reflected in the plea agreement, Mr. McCrosson’s actions were an abuse of the trust placed in him by the campaign,” he said. McGinley thanked the prosecutors and FBI agents who worked the case.

McCrosson also is expected to pay restitution, which Leonard said his client “has every intention” of doing.

He likely faces 46 to 57 months in federal prison, under the sentencing guidelines for someone without a criminal record. But the judge has discretion to go higher or lower.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Irenas allowed McCrosson to remain free on a $100,000 unsecured bond co-signed by his wife, Lisa. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Smith told the judge he had no problem with that arrangement.

“Mr. McCrosson has been exceptionally cooperative with the government since this began,” Smith said.

McCrosson was an Upper Township committeeman from 1989 to 1992 and 1994 to 2006. He served as mayor for six terms, 1992 and 1995 through 1999. He was city administrator in Ventnor from the end of 2000 until his resignation in 2008. In 2006, he was named chairman of the Republican Party in Somers Point.

Contact Lynda Cohen: