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TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck announced that Passaic County Surrogate Bernice Toledo has been criminally charged for allegedly falsifying a judgment she filed in order to make an improper appointment of an estate administrator.
Toledo, 51, of Wayne, N.J., was charged yesterday, Aug. 26, by complaint-summons with fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA). The charge is the result of an investigation by the OPIA Corruption Bureau, which began with a referral from the New Jersey Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (“ACJC”), which has an open ethics complaint in this matter.
On June 22, 2017, Toledo filed a judgment granting administration of the estate of a deceased person to a personal acquaintance of Toledo who was not related to the decedent. It is alleged that Toledo falsified the judgment by stating that all of the competent adult next of kin and other persons having a prior right to administer the estate had renounced their right of administration. In reality, a relative of the decedent who had a prior right of administration had not renounced her right and instead had made her right known to Toledo by appearing before her in person before Toledo signed and filed the judgment.
Deputy Attorneys General Eric Cohen and Caroline Oliveira are prosecuting the case for the OPIA Corruption Bureau under the supervision of Bureau Chief Peter Lee and OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione. Acting Attorney General Bruck thanked the ACJC for their referral.
Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $10,000. The charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Defense Attorney: Dennis Carletta, Esq., O’Toole Scrivo, LLC, Cedar Grove, N.J.