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Police Arrest 11 in Connection With Alleged Voter Fraud in May 2010 Paterson City Council Election December 1, 2010

Posted by jefhenninger in News.
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11 people have been arrested since yesterday in connection with alleged voter fraud schemes involving the May 2010 Paterson city council election.  The following people were arrested on charges of second- and third-degree voter fraud and third-degree tampering with public record: Belkis M. Cespedes, 50, of Paterson; Ana Vely-Gomez, 47, of Paterson; Lucia A. Guzman, 41, of Paterson; Inocencio Jimenez, 55, of Paterson; and Jose Ramon Ruiz, 62, of Prospect Park. In addition, Dalila Rodriguez, 60, of Paterson, and Wilson A. Torres, 29, of Paterson were arrested yesterday on charges of third-degree voter fraud and third-degree tampering with public records.

The following people were arrested today and charged with third-degree voter fraud and third-degree tampering with public records: Octavio A. Dominguez, 47, of Elmwood Park; Juana A. Gil, 43, of Paterson; Jose E. Gonzalez, 42, of Paterson; and Loudes Inoa, 37, Paterson.  In addition, Ricardo A. Fermin-Cepeda, 24, of Paterson, was charged with second- and third-degree voter fraud and third-degree tampering with public records. Fermin-Cepeda is currently a fugitive.

The defendants arrested today and yesterday, as well as Fermin-Cepeda, all allegedly acted as bearers/messengers for mail-in (absentee) ballots. The complaint summonses allege that the defendants tampered with mail-in ballots and/or voted mail-in ballots on behalf of voters who did not receive the ballots or who did not authorize them to vote for them.  It is also alleged that Cespedes voted twice – once using her married named of Belkis Cespedes and once using her maiden name of Belkis Nunez.

Following the May 2010 city council election, the Division of Criminal Justice received complaints of possible voter fraud. The Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau and the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Unit launched an investigation approximately one week after the election.  Clearly, this was an lengthy investigation and the question is, who knows what about whom?  With 11 defendants, it will be tough for any of them to get PTI (for those not charged with 2nd degree).  Those facing 2nd degree charges are looking at prison and the defendants must move right away to cut a deal or risk going to prison.  Should be an interesing case.

Two Charged with Voter Fraud in Atlantic City June 5, 2009

Posted by tsclaw2209 in News.
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I should move my office to Atlantic City.  It seems like white collar crime is really picking up there.  The latest involves the recent primary election that usually functions like a general election due to the demographics of the city.  In other words, whoever wins the primary, is pretty much the mayor with the general election being a moot point.

The state Attorney General’s Office allege that David Callaway of Pleasantville, and Luquay Q. Zahir of Atlantic City commited voter fraud and tampered with public documents by submitting absentee ballots purporting to be votes for Marty Small, a city councilman running for mayor.  The State alleges that those voters never actually voted for either candidate due to the actions of both men. 

It seems like incumbent Mayor Lorenzo Langford may have alerted the State to this fraud as he went to court a few days before the primary alleging ballot fraud on behalf of Small’s campaign.  He asked a judge to impound more than 500 disputed absentee ballots but the judge declined.  Seems like he was right at least according to the State.

David Callaway, the brother of Craig Callaway, the former City Council president now serving a federal prison term for bribery, is awaiting trial for his alleged role in another Atlantic City corruption scandal that happened after Crag had pleaded guilty to bribery but was awaiting sentencing.  The Callaways and others are charged with trying to blackmail a council rival.  

This is going to be a tough case for both men.  The key focus should be on who the main player was here and thus, the other man is less culpable and deserves a better plea deal.  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.

I hate to sound like there is no real defense, but there are ballots that say one thing and the voters says they didn’t vote like that.  Thus, someone did this.  The only question is who.  Unless you can show how it was impossible for you to have done this, a total defense of this case would be difficult.

Story is here.