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Plea deal keeps former Bergen corrections officer out of prison

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

EXCLUSIVE: A former Bergen County corrections officer with a rap sheet pleaded guilty to theft charges in Hackensack on Tuesday as part of a deal that spares him prison time.

Mario Restivo, 35, admitted stealing from an Englewood woman whose home he was living in. He also agreed to pay her back.

Prosecutors, in turn, dropped charges that included possession of Ketamine and other drugs, as well as two restraining-order violations, from Fort Lee, Cliffside Park, Edgewater and Hasbrouck Heights.

Restivo, formerly of Fort Lee but now of Jersey City, had been free on $15,000 bail following a pair of arrests in one week in January, which came while he was out on bail for other offenses last year.

State records show that Restivo left the Sheriff’s Office on a disability in December 2010 following an undisclosed accident. A monthly state pension of a little under $6,000 was halted last June after he was arrested twice early last year.

Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma warned Restivo that he’ll reinstate all the charges if he violates parole.

“You could go to prison for as much as 5 years,” the judge said.

Mario Restivo in court Tuesday (STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter)

“You should look at sentencing as an opportunity to make a large good-faith payment, and submit a payment plan to follow it,” Roma told him. “You took the property. Now it’s time to make the victim whole.”

The judge then turned to defense attorney Vincent D’Elia

“This is a payment he needs to make each and every month,” Roma said.

Restivo agreed but insisted he didn’t steal everything listed on the police report.

“I’m not saying that I took everything … but I did take some of them,” he said.

Roma set sentencing for Dec. 13 and told Restivo he has time until then to review the list of stolen items with prosecutors and reach a restitution agreement.

If that doesn’t happen, the judge said, “I’ll hold a hearing and make a determination.

“It’s in your best interests to have it settled,” Roma said.  “[I]f the payments stretch out, probation will be longer.”

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