SPOTSWOOD, NJ—Less than a year after losing his re-election bid, former Mayor Nicholas Poliseno is now facing criminal charges of third-degree charges of stealing from a local scholarship fund.

County Prosecutor Andrew Carey's office filed criminal charges against Poliseno, and the 39-year-old former politician was allowed to surrender to authorities on October 10.

"During the investigation it was determined that in June, 2016 Poliseno withdrew money from the scholarship fund and utilized it for gambling purposes in Atlantic City," read a press release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office (MCPO).

The fund had been set up in memory of Hinal Patel, a Piscataway resident and Rutgers alum who died at age 22 while working as an emergency medical technician with Spotswood Emergency Medical Services.

According to the MCPO, the fund is intended to support a scholarship "awarded annually to a deserving student at Spotswood High School."

As we reported at the time, Patel was killed on July 25, 2015 when her ambulance – en route to an emergency– collided with a car in East Brunswick.

Poliseno served a term on the Borough Council and also as Chief of the community's fire department, before his election as Mayor in November 2012.

He was featured in a 2015 New York Daily News article on the Zadroga Act, as a result of a medical condition he contracted while responding to the terrorist attacks on New York City in September 2001.

Poliseno was defeated in an upset by Ed Seely in the November 2016 election, and Seely took office in January.

But, now he faces the third-degree theft charge, one that could potentially lead to an indictment against him.

The MCPO credited "a joint investigation" with the state's Division of Criminal Justice, Detective Kevin Schroeck of the MCPO, and the Spotswood Police Department.

The investigation "is active and is continuing," according to authorities.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Kevin Schroeck of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3927.

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Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.