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NJ Forgery Attorney February 10, 2010

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New Jersey Forgery Attorneys

In New Jersey, our lawyers have seen that forgery can either be a stand alone offense or part of a group of offenses.  Forgery is often a white collar crime involving checks or other financial issues.  However, our attorneys have seen that forgery can also be related to prescription drug fraud when the defendant is accused of forging a doctor’s name on a prescription blank. 

If you are charged with forgery in any court in New Jersey, call the tough team of forgery defense  lawyers.  With 10 offices in New Jersey, our forgery defense attorneys are easy to reach from anywhere in New Jersey.  Call our lawyers today to meet with us in Newark, Freehold, Jersey City, Red Bank, Toms River, Woodbridge, New Brunswick, East Brunswick, Eatontown or Princeton.

Two New York City men arrested for Great Adventure scheme October 5, 2009

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Joshua Byrd of the Bronx and Gabriel Pierre of Jamaica, Queens were arrested and charged with forgery and theft by deception.  Both are being held in Ocean County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. 

The police were called to the park after receiving a complaint from a woman who was denied entry to the park. The woman told officers she had purchased a hand stamp for herself and nine other people from the two men.  Allegedly, they weere in the parking lot pretending to be Great Adventure employees.

After the men were arrested, the police found $200, the stamp and ink.

The bail seems a little high.  I don’t see this case going very far as the witness seems like she has some issues.  Clearly, you can’t get 1o people in the park for $200.  Thus, she was trying to scam Great Adventure herself. 

Story is here.

14 indicted in Atlantic City voter fraud case September 3, 2009

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Back in June, I blogged about the arrests of David Callaway and Luquay Zahir.  In that post I said “Another issue I would want to know as an attorney for either man is if anyone else was involved.  If so, that information could go a long way.”  Guess what?  I was right to wonder who else was involved.  What seemed like a voter fraud case involving just a couple of guys turns out to be a massive case involving over a dozen people.  Hopefully, some of these people had good attorneys that made good use out of the last few months but for some reason, I doubt much was done.

TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram announced that Atlantic City Councilman Marty Small and 13 individuals who worked on his unsuccessful 2009 mayoral campaign were indicted on charges they conspired to commit election fraud during the June Democratic primary through a variety of schemes involving messenger absentee ballots.

The Division of Criminal Justice obtained a 10-count state grand jury indictment charging Councilman Small and 13 campaign workers and operatives. Each defendant is charged with conspiracy (2nd degree), four counts of election fraud (2nd degree), absentee ballot fraud (3rd degree), tampering with public records (3rd degree), falsifying records (4th degree) and forgery (4th degree). Four defendants are also charged with hindering apprehension or prosecution (3rd degree).

The indictment alleges that Small and the other defendants conspired to commit election fraud through the following schemes:

  • They allegedly solicited applications for messenger absentee ballots from individuals not qualified to receive them and had the voters not fill in the name of the messenger, so they could fraudulently designate themselves as the authorized messengers or bearers.
  • They allegedly 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 voted the ballots or, in some cases, were given only the security envelope for the ballot and were told to sign it. Those voters were not given the opportunity to vote in most instances.
  • They allegedly picked up sealed absentee ballots from voters, unsealed them and, if they were votes for mayoral candidates other than Small, destroyed them, thereby disenfranchising those voters. If they were votes for Small, they allegedly resealed them and submitted them as votes.
  • They allegedly illegally instructed voters to fill in messenger ballots as votes for Small.
  • They allegedly submitted voter registration applications and messenger ballot applications on behalf of individuals who were not residents of Atlantic City, falsely representing they were.
  • They allegedly forged the signatures of voters on messenger ballots.
  • They allegedly fraudulently delivered messenger ballot applications and messenger ballots to voters simultaneously and instructed the voters to fill out both during the same visit.

Small and the indicted members of his campaign staff allegedly sought to maximize the number of absentee ballots messengered by the campaign by enlisting operatives and campaign workers to engage in fraud and by paying campaign workers based on how many messenger ballots they collected. The workers allegedly were told to direct voters to vote for the Small ticket, or simply have the voters sign the ballots so the workers could fill them out as votes for the Small ticket.

The campaign allegedly held an “autograph party” at which messengers selected by Small or by other defendants would fill in their own names as designated messengers on absentee ballot applications where that information had been left blank by the voters.

The indictment charges the following 14 defendants: 

  1. Marty Small, 35, of Atlantic City;
  2. Luquay Zahir, a.k.a. Luqua McNair, 34, of Atlantic City;
  3. David Callaway, 46, of Pleasantville;
  4. Floyd Tally, a.k.a. Floyd Harrell, 39, of Atlantic City;
  5. Mark Crumble, a.k.a. Johnny Crumbles, 48, of Atlantic City;
  6. Tracy PiJuan, 37, of Atlantic City;
  7. Michele Griffin, 30, of Atlantic City;
  8. Toni Dixon, 52, of Atlantic City;
  9. Demaris Jones, 27, of Atlantic City;
  10. Ramona Stephens, 48, of Atlantic City;
  11. Ernest Storr, 43, of Linwood;
  12. Thomas Quirk, 57, of Ventnor;
  13. Dameka Cross, 34, of Smithville; and
  14. Ronald Harris, 23, of Atlantic City.

Callaway, Zahir, Tally, Griffin and Dixon were previously charged by complaint in connection with the alleged illegal campaign activities.  Small, Pijuan, Storr and Quirk are the four defendants named in the count of the indictment charging third-degree hindering apprehension or prosecution. They allegedly provided false information to investigators.

There is a good chance that this case (like others going on right now) could ensnare others over time as there is still much to learn about exactly what went on, who was involved, etc.

Fifth Teresa Ruiz Campaign Worker Charged with Falsifying Absentee Ballots in 2007 race August 18, 2009

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This case is really starting to heat up.  After almost six months of having  just one defendant, four others have been added in just the past few weeks.  I really hope Ruiz has a good attorney that is taking proactive measures right now to interview witness to lock them into a story, review documents and prepare for the worst case scenario. 

Right now, there is no evidence that Ruiz did anything or had any connection  with any of these people.  However, it is clear that these five people were working together and that someone orchestrated all of this. (of course, this assumes guilt only for the purposes of writing this post)  The person that did that had to be in to reward these people with something as I am sure they were not risking prison time just to achieve good government. 

Anyone associated with this campaign needs an attorney because we are at five people when the last four have just started.  If and when some of these people plea out, this case is really going to move.

TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram announced that another person was indicted today for election fraud in connection with absentee ballots she collected and submitted as a worker for the 2007 campaign of Teresa Ruiz for the New Jersey Senate in the 29th District. Four other campaign workers for Ruiz were charged in three prior indictments.

According to Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni, Rocio Rivera, 49, of Lebanon Township, an employee of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, was charged in a state grand jury indictment with election fraud (2nd degree), absentee ballot fraud (3rd degree), tampering with public records or information (3rd degree), and forgery (4th degree).

The indictment stems from an ongoing investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

Rivera is charged with tampering with documentation for messenger ballots, which are absentee ballots intended for use by homebound voters. She is charged with fraudulently submitting such ballots as votes in the Nov. 6, 2007 general election.

“We are continuing our investigation into allegations of fraud in the November 2007 general election in the 29th District,” said Attorney General Milgram. “We will prosecute anyone found to have tampered with the election and disenfranchised voters.”

“This alleged voter fraud was brought to our office’s attention by the Essex County Superintendent of Elections,” said Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow. “Voting is a fundamental privilege that all American citizens have a right to exercise without any form of meddling. The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office will not tolerate any attempt to manipulate elections of any kind.”

Messenger ballots are for use only by those who are homebound due to illness, infirmity or disability. Such persons can complete an application designating a messenger or bearer who is a family member or a registered voter in the county. The bearer is thereby authorized to obtain an absentee ballot from the county board of elections, take it to the voter, and return a completed ballot to the county board.

Rivera allegedly solicited applications for messenger ballots from individuals not qualified to receive them and fraudulently designated herself as the authorized messenger or bearer. She allegedly obtained messenger ballots from the county board of elections, and submitted them to the board of elections as votes on behalf of voters who, in fact, never received or voted the ballots.

The investigation was led by Deputy Attorney General Vincent J. Militello, Sgt. James Scott and Sgt. Lisa Shea of the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. It was conducted for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office by Assistant Prosecutor Brandon Minde, Detective David Sanabria and Detective Elizabeth Bazan. Deputy Attorney General Militello and Assistant Prosecutor Minde presented the case to the state grand jury. Attorney General Milgram also thanked Deputy Attorney General Perry Primavera, Analyst Kathleen Ratliff, all of the detectives in the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau North, and the agents and detectives of the New Jersey Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory for their work on the case.

Essex County Superintendent of Elections Carmine Casciano and his staff cooperated fully in the investigation.

Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine, while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Essex County, where the defendant will be ordered to appear at a later date to answer the charges. The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The indictment is linked to this press release at www.njpublicsafety.com.

On Aug. 4, a state grand jury returned two indictments charging three other campaign workers for Ruiz with tampering with documentation for messenger ballots and fraudulently submitting such ballots as votes in the Nov. 6, 2007 general election.

One charged Gianine Narvaez, 36, of Belleville, a data processing technician for the Essex County Commissioner of Registration and Superintendent of Elections, with official misconduct, election fraud, absentee ballot fraud, tampering with public records or information, and forgery.

The second indictment returned on Aug. 4 charged Angel Colon, 46, of Newark, an employee of the City of Newark Office of Affirmative Action, and Colon’s fiancée, Sorinette Rosario, 31, of Belleville, an employee of the Newark Welfare Department, with election fraud, conspiracy to commit election fraud, absentee ballot fraud, conspiracy to commit absentee ballot fraud, tampering with public records or information, and forgery.

On March 23, another Ruiz campaign worker, Antonio Santana, 58, of Newark, was indicted on charges he fraudulently changed votes on absentee ballots during the election. That indictment alleges that Santana changed the votes on three absentee ballots that he collected from members of one family in October 2007.

The charges against Narvaez, Colon, Rosario and Santana are pending.

Morristown attorney will likely avoid prison for misuse of client funds August 12, 2009

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Paul Hirsh,  a former Morristown-based attorney (now out of Washington, D.C.)  pleaded guilty today to forgery and misapplying $47,500 in client-settlement funds that were supposed to be deposited in trust accounts.  The State had alleged that he improperly deposited funds from settlements involving three clients into his own personal account to help run his failing  law office.

Hirsh’s biggest problem with this case is that he forged settlement checks involving two clients.   While only a fourth degree crime, the forgery adds a criminal element to the entire case which is otherwise just an attorney ethics issue.  Its one thing to screw up a trust account, its another to forge checks.  You can’t sell your defense theory to the jury with no real defense to the forgery count. 

However, I see no reason to take this plea deal.  Why not take this case to trial?  He can’t do much worse than the probation with 364 anyway even if he was convicted.  He was only facing third and fourth degree crimes.  Although he had a great defense attorney in John Whipple so I will assume that this was well thought out.

Click here for the story.

2 park employees arrested as crackdown begins in Union County May 19, 2009

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Melissa Kolbeck, a clerk for the Union County Parks Department is accused of stealing between $15,000 and $20,000 in funds paid to the county for permits.  Union County Park maintenance worker Brian Hughes is charged with forgery and stealing more than $35,000 from the parks workers’ union, of which he is president, authorities said.  Authorities indicate that both incidents are unrelated.

Yesterday, Union County announced the creation of a new Economic Crime/Inspection Bureau, which will be in charge of investigating matters like credit card fraud, Ponzi schemes and identity theft and referring them to the prosecutor’s office. As a result, white collar crime is going to spike in Union County.  As always, anyone contacted by this agency or any other law enforcement agency should call an attorney right away.

Story is here.

Update: Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone hires an attorney April 19, 2009

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Looks like Assemblyman Anthony Chiappone got  some good advice from someone and sought out an attorney before it was too late.  Although he said he would speak with detectives before getting an attorney, it seems that he changed his mind.  He has hired Timothy Howes or Raritan. 

The more news that comes out, the worse things look as not only is there a grand jury investigationo, but “at least three former aides have been subpoenaed to testify Monday before a grand jury sitting in Trenton” according to the news story.   Anthony Chiappone story

As I’ve said before on other stories, his attorney needs to launch his own investigation now.  In addition, he needs to burn up the phone lines to get ahead of this before it gets out of control.

Colts Neck High School students accused of counterfeiting money April 14, 2009

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Two Colts Neck, New Jersey high school students are accused of counterfeiting money and then selling the fake bills to classmates.  The suspects, whose names have not been released are a 16-year-old sophomore and 17-year-old junior at the school.  Police are still trying to figure out how much money is alleged to have been sold.

Colts Neck Police Department Detective Sgt. Joseph Whitehead said the pair  sold fake $10s and $20s in exchange for real cash in smaller denominations.  Some of the money was used in the school cafeteria.  The workers there discovered the fake money and told school administrators, who called police.

Luckily, the pair is just charged with forgery.  While it could have been worse, I hope that their parents get good attorneys to deal with this.  Their is a myth that juvenile crime is no big deal because nothing bad can happen to them.  First, juveniles can and do go to jail/prison.  Second, a juvenile criminal record can have a serious impact on the person’s future contrary to the view that what happens in juvenile court, stays in juvenile court. 

Story is here.

Newark fire department employee charged with theft, tampering with public records and forgery April 11, 2009

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The definition of insanity: average person steals $70,000.  If convicted, will most likely get probation.  Newark fire department clerk allegedly embezzles $1,000 and will face 5 to 10 years in prison, with 3 years being the most likely outcome though a plea bargain.  The difference between the two?  Unlike the average person, Eric Smith, the clerk in this example, is charge with official misconduct due to his public employment. 

Smith worked at the fire department since 1996.  As a clerk, he sold permits to the public for using flammable materials. He allegedly told customers to leave money orders blank as they submitted permit applications.  He then allegedly added his own name to the money orders and used them at a Rent-A-Center store on Lyons Avenue in Newark. 

The forgery charge is from a fake permit that he allegedly issued.  This official misconduct charge is crazy.  Our law makers really need to do something to fix this mess.  Let’s assume he is guilty.  Does he really deserve to go to prison for $1000? 

Story is here.