SPOTSWOOD — A former mayor took more than $5,000 from a scholarship fund dedicated to a former EMT for his own use in the Atlantic City casinos, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey said Nicholas Poliseno, 39, turned himself into authorities on Tuesday morning after being charged with one count of third-degree theft. Carey said in June of last year, Poliseno, who would finish a distant third in last year's election, took the money from the Hinal Patel Scholarship Fund.

Patel was a 22-year-old EMT who died in the line of duty in July of 2015 when the ambulance she was riding in was struck by a car. The scholarship has been awarded each year since then to a student from Spotswood High School.

According to Middlesex County election records, Poliseno ran as an independent in 2016 on the "Continued Leadership Putting Our Residents First" ticket. He received 831 votes, putting him behind current Mayor Edward T. Seely's 1,573 votes.

Phone calls to Seely and Business Administrator Dawn McDonald have not yet been returned.

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