Historic City News reported on October 30, 2015 that 46-year-old St Johns County Deputy Sheriff Shane Tolerico, Sr., an 18-year veteran of the department, surrendered himself at the St Johns County Detention Facility, in response to a felony warrant that had been issued for his arrest.
Suspicions at the department were raised when Tolerico made a claim for widow’s benefits afforded to employees and their qualified spouse. In processing the claim after the September 24th death of his wife, it was discovered that Tolerico had been legally divorced from 45-year-old Natalie E. Tolerico on August 24, 2011, according to records from the office of Judge Wolfe.
In an unexpected announcement and in televised news reports, Historic City News verified through documents on file with the St Johns County Clerk of Court that all charges against Tolerico were dropped on Friday, August 5th. There was no explanation as to why the Office of the State Attorney for the Seventh Judicial Circuit dropped the charges, however, court documents show Tolerico’s case has been closed.
Tolerico lived in Ponte Vedra Beach. As a law enforcement deputy, he earned $56,567.06 annually. Long after his divorce was final, the sheriff’s office reported that Tolerico continued to falsify his marital status; enabling him to receive out of pocket savings on his insurance premiums of about $14,000 – passing those costs to the county.
That misrepresentation resulted in the county paying over $60,000 in prescription and medical payments for his former spouse, according to investigators, which led to the grand theft charges and organizing a scheme to defraud.
When Sheriff’s Office personnel contacted the county’s insurance provider, they learned that an additional $600,000 in bills had been received on Tolerico’s policy. Payment of the claims was suspended.