SPOTSWOOD, NJ — Former borough mayor Nicholas Poliseno has been charged with theft for allegedly "stealing from a scholarship fund set up to honor the memory of a Spotswood EMT," according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.
The 39-year-old father of two was charged with one third-degree count of theft, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced in a statement.
Poliseno, one-time chief of the Spotswood Fire Department, turned himself in to authorities. He is scheduled for his first court appearance on November 9 in Middlesex County Superior Court in New Brunswick.
Poliseno was charged after a joint investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice, Detective Kevin Schroeck of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Spotswood Police Department. According to the prosecutor's office, Poliseno withdrew an undisclosed amount of money from the scholarship fund set up to honor Hinal Patel in June 2016. The investigation determined that the money was then used for the purpose of gambling in Atlantic City.
The Hinal Patel Scholarship Fund was set up in December 2015 in memory of the Spotswood Rescue Squad emergency medical technician who was killed in the line of duty on her last day of work in the borough when she and her fellow EMTs were responding to an emergency in a neighboring town in July 2015.
The ambulance Patel was riding in was struck by another car. Patel was 25 years old and was leaving her position to pursue her education at the Graduate School of Biomedical Science at Rutgers/Newark. Patel hoped to one day become a doctor. The scholarship fund is to be awarded annually to a deserving Spotswood High School senior.
Poliseno was elected as mayor of the borough in November 2012 when he defeated longtime councilman Curtis Stollen. He lost his bid for re-election in November 2016 when he was beaten by current Spotswood Mayor Ed Seely.
Poliseno's investigation is ongoing, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office. The office is asking anyone with information regarding the active investigation to contact DetectiveSchroeck at 732-745-3927.