A lawmaker representing Newark and Belleville has resigned his post as the state Attorney General’s office conducts a criminal investigation into his family’s nonprofit foundation, NJ.com reported Wednesday.
Assemblyman Albert Couthino pleaded guilty Thursday to falsifying records and theft, a day after he formally resigned his seat in the Legislature, NJ.com reported.
Coutinho’s plea will likely result in probation without jail time. If convicted, Coutinho could have faced six years in prison. He must pay $32,500 in restitution and promised never to hold a public job again.
He will be sentenced in October.
In court Thursday, Couthino admitted he diverted donations made to his family’s charitable foundation between 2008 and 2012 for his personal use. The foundation provided funds for the popular Portugal Day parade in the Ironbound.
The foundation allegedly
spent more than a half-million dollars in 2011 even though it had ceased
raising money. The spending was then written off as loans, NJ.com reported.
Couthino’s businesses also have liens totally about $500,000, much of that for
Essex County Democratic Party officials met in Newark Wednesday night to select Coutinho’s replacement, Eliana Pintor Marin, a Newark Schools Advisory Board member, who will serve out the remaining weeks of Coutinho’s term and will appear on the ballot in the Nov. 5 election.
Coutinho suffered a minor heart attack earlier this summer.