Former Assemblyman Albert Coutinho was sentenced today for his theft of funds from his own family's charity, as well as filing false financial disclosure forms with the state Legislature.
According to an announcement from the attorney general's office, Coutinho, 44, was sentenced to three years of probation by Superior Court Judge Gerald Council in Mercer County. He must also perform 50 hours of community service and repay tens of thousands of dollars he stole from the foundation.
Coutinho pleaded guilty Sept. 12, one day after resigning from his Assembly seat, to third-degree theft by unlawful taking and fourth-degree falsification of records charges.
In addition to serving probation and community service, Coutinho is permanently barred from holding public office or public employment in New Jersey.
According to the announcement, Coutinho's crimes occurred between 2008 and 2012, when he diverted donations to the Bernardino Coutinho Foundation — a nonprofit charitable organization run by his family and devoted to community development and cultural education in the Portuguese community of Newark's Ironbound district.
The former Assemblyman personally took checks from contributors to a check-cashing store to accumulate $32,500 during the four years in question.
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