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St. Johns County deputy arrested on theft charges

Shane Tolerico accused of defrauding county in insurance claims

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A St. Johns County deputy was arrested Thursday and charged with grand theft.

Deputy Shane Tolerico, 43, turned himself in on the arrest warrant and was booked into the St. Johns County Jail.

He is charged with defrauding St. Johns County of over $60,000 in insurance claims.

Detectives began an investigation nearly a month ago when a Sheriff's Office employee became suspicious after the deputy attempted to obtain death benefits on his wife, who had recently died, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. That's a benefit afforded to employees and their qualified spouse.

During a review of documents it was discovered that the Tolericos had been divorced since July of 2013.

Investigators said Tolerico falsified documents during annual "open enrollment" sessions by confirming his marital status was unchanged, which afforded him to receive out of pocket savings of about $14,000 by passing those costs onto the county.

Although equivalent and continuous coverage was still available, at a slightly higher cost following the divorce, Tolerico chose to obtain a benefit he was no longer legally entitled to receive, SJCSO said.

This action resulted in the county paying over $60,000 in prescription and medical payments for his former spouse, according to investigators.

"Unfortunately, during my fifteen years as a Law Enforcement Chief Executive Officer, this is not the first time that I have had to arrest one of my own employees. Despite many of the false narratives being advanced today about law enforcement, there is no profession that holds its members accountable to the extent that we do in law enforcement and this case is another example in support of that belief," Sheriff David Shoar said.

Tolerico invoked his constitutional rights when questioned by detectives and did not make a statement concerning this investigation.

He was placed on paid administrative leave at the onset of the investigation but was terminated when he was arrested.