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August 25, 10

NEWS / Director of County Garage in Passaic County Charged With Theft of Hidden Cash & Engine From Vehicles

TRENTON – Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that the director of the Passaic County Garage was charged today with stealing a large amount of cash found hidden in a car that was seized by law enforcement during a drug investigation. He was also charged with stealing an engine from a second vehicle.

According Director Taylor, Paolo “Paul” Mariano, 52, of Wayne, was charged by complaint with two counts of second-degree official misconduct, one for the theft of cash and a second for the theft of the engine. The charges are the result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison.

The investigation revealed that Mariano allegedly stole a large quantity of cash found inside a 2000 Ford Taurus that had been seized during an investigation by the Passaic County Drug Task Force in 2004. The car was being repaired for use as an undercover car in 2005 when county mechanics found the cash in a hidden compartment. They found three or four stacks of $100 bills, each more than an inch thick, estimated at about $100,000. The mechanics told Mariano. He allegedly took possession of the car and the cash, and directed them not to report anything. It is alleged that Mariano subsequently had a mechanic disassemble the car.

Mariano is also charged with directing county mechanics in November 2006 to remove an engine from a 1995 Toyota 4-Runner that had been seized by the county. Mariano allegedly had the mechanics place the engine into a 1993 Toyota 4-Runner that he had given to his girlfriend but titled in his own name. The stolen engine was in better condition than the one that was replaced. Mariano allegedly sold that car, with the engine from the county vehicle, to an undercover detective on May 14, 2010 for $2,000.

Mariano is expected to surrender to detectives from the Division of Criminal Justice. The complaint is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Because the charges are indictable offenses, they will be presented to a state grand jury for potential indictment.

The investigation was led by Deputy Attorney General Vincent J. Militello, Deputy Chief Paul Castellvi, Detective Scott Donlan, and Detective Harry Maronpot Jr. They were assisted by Sgt. David Salzmann and Detectives Laura Clarke, Ruben Contreras and Nick Olenick.




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