FREEHOLDA former Ocean Township Police Officer has been sentenced for acts of theft and forgery associated with his former part-time work buying, renting, and selling real estate, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Friday.

Cory R. Cole, 52, of Brielle was sentenced yesterday by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley to three years of probation, after paying a total of $8,400 in restitution to two victims. Cole had previously resigned from the police department.

An investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office first revealed that Cole had forged a letter from his former matrimonial attorney in order to falsely assert that a judgment she had against him for unpaid attorney’s fees had been satisfied, and he submitted the letter to secure a $425,000 loan he used to purchase a property on Borrie Avenue in Brielle.

Additional investigation revealed that Cole had also illegally retained $4,200 security deposits from tenants at two separate properties on Fisk Avenue in Brielle; he attempted to justify it by claiming that they owed money in unpaid utility bills. To support the bogus claim, Cole provided the tenants with a forged bill from New Jersey Natural Gas falsely indicating that they had an outstanding balance.

A review of bank records revealed that Cole had deposited one of the $4,200 checks into a bank account – and that within days, he withdrew the bulk of it in cash. The investigation further revealed that to satisfy the Brielle School District’s residency inquiries with respect to one of the tenant’s children, Cole uttered a forged lease to the school district indicating that the victim had moved into a different property that he owned in Brielle, which in actuality was being rented by someone else.

Cole earlier this year pleaded guilty to three counts of third-degree Theft and one count of fourth-degree Forgery. The victims in the case asserted during yesterday’s sentencing hearing that they had initially placed trust in Cole due in part to knowing that he worked as a police officer.

“Sworn members of law enforcement are rightfully supposed to be held to a higher standard of conduct, not only on the job, but off – and this defendant’s actions were reflective of a troubling ease and willingness to lie, cheat, and steal from the very people who relied on him for the basic need of housing,” Acting Prosecutor Linskey said. “His actions were not reflective of the overwhelming majority of responsible and dedicated police officers across the county, yet they nonetheless necessitated appropriate repercussions.”

This case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crimes Unit. Cole was represented by Allison Friedman, Esq.