June 12, 2024

PATERSON — Alfred Acquaviva, the lawyer who represents the city’s Planning Board, has been accused of knowingly misappropriating $74,950 in his attorney trust fund account involving his private practice.

The allegations against Acquaviva are made in a 26-page complaint filed by the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Ethics.

The complaint, dated July 14, said Acquaviva had been under investigation since 2020 involving a tax appeal refund sought by one of his private-practice clients.

What did officials say?

Acquaviva remains in his role as Paterson’s Planning Board attorney, officials said. Mayor Andre Sayegh did not respond to messages on Friday and Monday seeking his comments for this story.

Paterson Press left a message for Acquaviva about the complaint at his law office in Hawthorne. But he did not call back.

Property tax increase?: Paterson’s city taxes could rise by an average of $161

What did the complaint say?

The complaint said the Attorney Ethics Office investigator contacted Acquaviva in March about the alleged $74,950 shortage in his trust account. Acquaviva told the investigator he was on vacation and would address the issue when he returned April 4, the complaint said.

On April 5, Acquaviva admitted disbursing the money to himself and said he would send the investigator an explanation, promising to provide it by April 21, the complaint said. After delays, Acquaviva sent his explanation and copies of the checks involved to the ethics agency, the complaint said.

But the check copies did not match those that the state investigator obtained through a subpoena filed with the bank involved, the complaint said.

“A review of the subpoenaed bank records showed respondent doctored the memo lines of the checks … when compared to the [subpoenaed] canceled checks,” the complaint said.

Joe Malinconico is editor of Paterson Press. Email: editor@patersonpress.com

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Paterson NJ Planning Board attorney named in ethics complaint

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