Acting AG: Coutinho ‘failed’ N.J.

TRENTON – New Jersey’s acting Attorney General says a state lawmaker who pleaded guilty today to stealing from his family’s charitable foundation “failed the people of New Jersey.”

Acting Attorney General John Hoffman issued a statement shortly after former Assemblyman Albert Coutinho pleaded guilty to theft and falsifying records in Mercer County Court. Coutinho resigned from office yesterday and, as part of his guilty plea, is permanently barred from holding public office or public employment, officials said.

“Assemblyman Coutinho committed a crime by stealing funds from a charitable foundation and failing to report income as part of his financial disclosure obligations as a legislator,” Hoffman said in a statement. “In doing so, he failed the people of New Jersey, who rightfully expect their elected representatives to uphold the laws of this state and act with integrity at all times.”

Coutinho admitted cashing checks meant for his family’s foundation over a four-year period starting in 2008 and totaling more than $32,000 for personal use.

Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Coutinho be sentenced to a term of probation.

Acting AG: Coutinho ‘failed’ N.J.