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Lodi fire marshal charged with elderly abuse

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

EXCLUSIVE: Lodi Fire Marshal Paul Wanco and his niece this week have applied for entry into a special program that will removed charges of elderly abuse against them in connection with an incident in which prosecutors said they neglected his mother after she fell down at home, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.

The three live together in Lodi, where, prosecutors said, the 85-year-old woman fell and needed assistance getting up.

However, she was left there for at least 12 hours — and possibly up to 15 — and later had to be taken to a hospital, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Jessica Gomperts said.

Authorities offered probation in exchange for a plea bargain to the 57-year-old Wanco, a 20-year firefighting veteran, and his niece, Jennifer Wanco, 38, she said.

She said they refused and sought Pre-Trial Intervention

Under PTI, as it’s known, defendants without prior criminal records can have charges removed if they follow certain conditions for a specified time period, ordinarily a year. If they do, their records are “expunged” — wiped clean.

Depending on the offense, PTI can require community service, restitution and/or fines, psychological testing, urine monitoring  and alcohol evaluations.

Should their bid be rejected, or they fail to complete the program, the charges would go to a grand jury in Hackensack.

Contrary to a published report, neither has been denied entry into PTI. Bergen prosecutors said they are opposing the move for both defendants. The process takes about five weeks to complete.

STORY: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

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