Election Fraud Cases
Fernando Gonzalez won a seat on the Perth Amboy City Council by 10 votes in an election where at least 13 illegal absentee ballots were cast. A Superior Court judge subsequently overturned the election results and ordered a new election be held in May 2015 for the seat.
Eleven individuals were arrested in a state investigation of possible manipulation of absentee ballots in the election of Paterson Councilman Rigo Rodriguez. They entered into pre-trial intervention, a probationary program, to avoid trial and possible prison time.
Spencer Robbins, a municipal judge in Middlesex County, was forced to resign after it was discovered he registered to vote (and actually voted in 22 elections and democratic primaries) using the address of his Woodbridge law office. Although charged with two counts of third-degree voter fraud, Robbins was allowed to enter into a pre-trial intervention program, which means the charges will be dismissed if he successfully completes the program.
Former Paterson Councilman Rigo Rodriguez and his wife were entered into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program after facing charges of conspiracy, election fraud, mail-in ballot fraud, and witness tampering. Paterson and his wife, who managed his campaign, orchestrated a scheme to take possession of absentee ballots and "assist" voters in filling them out, or fill them out fraudulently. Rodriguez instructed his volunteers to lie to officials investigating his scheme.
John Fernandez, who worked for the Essex County Department of Economic Development, was convicted of election fraud, absentee ballot fraud, and forgery. Fernandez submitted phony absentee ballots while he was working on the 2007 election campaign of state Sen. Teresa Ruiz. Fernandez's scheme involved messenger ballots, which are used by voters home-bound by illness or a disability. Fernandez fraudulently obtained the ballots, then filled them out on behalf of the voters who had never received them. He received a five-year prison sentence.
Angel Colon pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree election fraud for fraudulently submitting absentee messenger ballots on behalf of voters who never received the ballots or had an opportunity to cast their votes. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
Ronald Harris pleaded guilty to charges in connection with an absentee ballot fraud conspiracy, in which he and 13 others shredded ballots which cast votes for the opposition during the 2009 Atlantic City Democratic primary. He was sentenced to 181 days in prison.
Robert Tierney, a New Brunswick police officer, entered into a pre-trial intervention program (PTI), in relation to theft by deception and voter fraud charges that were filed by the New Brunswick Police Department. An investigation revealed Tierney voted four times between 2005 and 2009 in New Brunswick, while actually living in Milltown. He pleaded guilty and was recommended for the PTI program by the state's probation division. Upon completion of the diversionary program, the charged will be dismissed.
Ernest Storr pleaded guilty to committing absentee ballot fraud by tampering with ballots in the Atlantic City mayoral campaigns of Marty Small and former Mayor Scott Evans. Storr tampered with absentee ballots and instructed a Small campaign worker to do the same. Storr was one of 14 individuals arrested on various voter fraud charges involving Councilman Small's failed 2009 mayoral bid. He was sentenced to probation in May 2013.
Gianine Narvaez, a former data processing technician for the Essex County Commissioner of Registration and Superintendent of Elections, pleaded guilty to third-degree charges of absentee ballot fraud and tampering with public records or information. Narvaez was sentenced to a three-year prison term.
Rocio Rivera and Edwin Cruz were indicted for tampering with ballots and fraudulently submitting ballots in favor of New Jersey Senator Teresa Ruiz. They and a fellow co-conspirator obtained messenger ballots from the county clerk and submitted them to the board of elections as votes on behalf of voters who, in fact, never received or filled out their ballots. John Fernandez was convicted of conspiracy (2nd degree), election fraud (2nd degree), absentee ballot fraud (3rd degree), tampering with public records or information (3rd degree), and forgery (4th degree). Cruz pleaded guilty to third-degree tampering with public records or information, and Rivera pleaded guilty to third-degree absentee ballot fraud.
Samuel Gonzalez was indicted for tampering with ballots and fraudulently submitting ballots in favor of New Jersey Senator Teresa Ruiz. He and his co-conspirators obtained messenger ballots from the county clerk and submitted them to the board of elections as votes on behalf of voters who, in fact, never received or filled out their ballots. Gonzalez agreed to forfeit his seat on the freeholder board and his job as an aide to a Newark city councilman, and was admitted into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program.
Former Roselle Borough Council President Jamel Holley was charged with absentee ballot fraud for filling out and submitting more than 20 ballots in the 2006 election. The judge permitted Holley to enter into a pretrial intervention program for one year (if successfully completed, the charges would be dismissed) and to pay a $125 fine. Holley has since been elected mayor of Roselle and appointed to the New Jersey General Assembly.
Ronald Callaway, also known as Jihad Q. Abdullah, and related to the infamous Atlantic City Callaway Political Organization, pleaded guilty to voting nine times in four elections. He was sentenced to one year in jail.
Melvin Howell, of Asbury Park, pleaded guilty to a fourth degree felony charge after she filled out applications for nonexistent voters in a local school board election. According to the Union County Clerk, at least 54 ballots were tainted with irregularities. Howell was sentenced to one year of probation.