Day: August 27, 2020

Serious Accident On I-195, Trauma Alert Called

August 27, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Around 9:54 pm the Robbinsville Township Fire Department was sent to I-195 west bound at the NJ Turnpike overpass for a serious motor vehicle crash.

Upon arrival Robbinsville firefighters and EMS found a vehicle into the bridge safety wall that keeps vehicles from driving off the bridge. The crews treated the person and Robbinsville EMS took the victim to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton. A trauma alert was called en route to the hospital.

New Jersey State Police are investigating.

No further information was available about the accident.

Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Allowing Gyms and Indoor Amusement and Water Parks to Reopen Effective Tuesday, September 1, 2020

August 27, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 181, which permits gyms and health clubs, as well as amusement and water parks, to reopen their indoor premises to the public on Tuesday, September 1 at 6:00 a.m., provided these facilities comply with the health and safety standards issued by the Department of Health.

“Gyms are among the most-challenging indoor environments to prevent the transmission of COVID-19,” said Governor Murphy. “Given where we are in this fight and the overwhelming personal responsibility demonstrated by gym owners and gym members over the past several months, we can confidently take this important step on our road back.”

“Exercise is very important for the body and the mind, but it needs to be done in a healthy environment to protect not only those in the facility, but the community at large,“ said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Given the potential for transmission indoors, this guidance provides strict guidelines for staff and customers to follow closely to stay healthy while enjoying their workout or class.”

Under the Department of Health’s Executive Directive, gyms and health clubs who reopen will be required to adhere to the health and safety standards listed in the “Guidance for Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers”.  These standards, which will also apply to other recreational businesses that offer fitness classes and activities, include the following, among others:

  • Limit occupancy of any indoor premises to 25 percent of the stated maximum capacity;
  • Conduct a temperature screening and questionnaire of staff and clients upon entrance to the facility; 
  • Limit indoor group activities (e.g., classes) to no more than 1 individual per 200 square feet of accessible space or less, with all individuals being able to maintain 6 feet of distance from other individuals during the entire class;
  • Require workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings at all times, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health, such as when in the water and in other situations where the presence of a mask would pose a risk to the individual’s health, or where the individual is under two years of age;
  • Demarcate six feet of distance between equipment, or blocking off equipment (e.g. every other machine) to maintain six feet of distancing between individuals using equipment;
  • Require that reservations, cancellations and pre-payments be made via electronic or telephone reservation systems to limit physical interactions;
  • Limit occupancy in restrooms to avoid over-crowding;
  • Inform clients to arrive dressed to workout/train and bring their own hand towel, water, yoga mat, boxing gloves, and any other equipment;
  • Not permit the use of showers, with the exception of gyms with pools, which can have individually partitioned showers or communal showers with installed barriers/partitions at least six feet apart;
  • Limit locker room use to hand washing and restroom use only; and
  • Adopt infection control practices and enhanced sanitization protocols.

Activities such as swimming in an indoor pool, tanning, outdoor dining, pick-up of food or beverage, and retail sales, which are otherwise permitted but which are not governed by the guidance, remain subject to applicable standards outlined in Executive Orders, Executive Directives and guidance.

For a copy of Executive Order No. 181, please click here.

For a copy of the Department of Health’s Executive Directive, please click here.

For a copy of the Department of Health’s Guidance for Health Clubs/Gyms/Fitness Centers, please click here.

Trenton Man Busted For Heroin, Fentanyl and Crack Cocaine During Traffic Stop In Bordentown Twp.

August 27, 2020

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–The New Jersey State Police have arrested Jason Reeves, 40, of Trenton, N.J. and seized $2000 worth heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine during a traffic stop in Bordentown Township, Burlington County.

On Monday, August 24, at 8:20 p.m., Trooper Francis Morris stopped Reeves for a traffic violation southbound on Interstate 295 at milepost 55.7 in Bordentown Township.

During the stop, Tpr. Morris discovered that Brown was in possession of 226 wax folds heroin, fentanyl and crack cocaine. The wax folds seized by troopers were marked with various different stamps. Drug traffickers market their “brand” of drug by ink-stamping the outside of a wax fold with a unique image or phrase such as “Road Runner” and Scorpion King ” which are examples recovered from the motor vehicle stop.

Jason Reeves was charged with possession of CDS, posession of CDS with intent to distribute and distribution of prescription legend drugs. He was released pending a future court date.

Charges are mere accusations, and the accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.

Developer Faces Criminal Charges over Riverside Watch Case Project

August 27, 2020

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Riverside Township Police Chief William T. Eliason announced that a New York developer who purchased a historic Riverside commercial building to create luxury apartments in the seven-story landmark has been charged with using the credentials of a potential subcontractor to fraudulently gain approval for electrical permits from the township construction office.

Raphael S. Weiss, 60, of East 18th Street in Brooklyn, was charged with Computer Criminal Activity (Second Degree), Impersonation (Second Degree), 36 counts of Forgery/Making (Third Degree), and 36 counts of Forgery/Uttering (Third Degree).

He was taken into custody this morning at the Riverside Township municipal building and lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly pending a hearing in Superior Court. The case will now be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The investigation began after a contractor who was negotiating with Weiss to be the electrician of record on the Keystone Watch Case Co. redevelopment project noticed that electrical work had begun at the North Pavilion Avenue site, even though no formal agreement had been finalized and he had not applied for any permits.

After being denied access to the construction site by Weiss, the electrician went to the township construction office and was told that 36 permits had already been issued in his name and in the name of his business for work to be done at the property. Further examination revealed that the electrician’s signature had been forged on the permits, which were applied for by Weiss, and a counterfeit version of the contractor’s state-issued embossing seal had been used to make an imprint.

It is alleged that Weiss initiated the scheme as a way to reduce construction costs by fraudulently utilizing the credentials of the licensed electrician to obtain the necessary permits, then hiring unlicensed, unqualified laborers to complete the work at a much less expensive rate.

Not only was the action illegal, but it also jeopardized the safety of the project, as demonstrated by the fact that the electrical work completed after the fraudulent permits were obtained failed to pass inspection.

The Keystone Watch Case Co. building was constructed in 1908 and manufactured gold cases for watches. The company employed more than 1,000 employees in 1918, making it the largest watch case manufacturer in the world. The business was treasured as a strong engine in the local economy, with many employees living close enough to walk to work.

The company closed in 1956, and the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. It was purchased in 2016 by Brooklyn-based SimShabs Capital Partners LTD, of which Weiss is owner and president.

The plans submitted by Weiss to Riverside Township indicated that the iconic landmark, which has a prominent, highly visible clock tower rising above the roofline, would be converted into 64 luxury apartments.

“This is a heartbreaking setback for Riverside officials who for years have been working to jumpstart a renaissance in their township, with this property as the centerpiece,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “This defendant has dimmed the hopes of an entire town by his selfish actions for illegal, personal financial gain, and he will face strong penalties as a result.”

Weiss will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Andrew McDonnell, supervisor of the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit.

The investigation, which remains active, is being conducted by detectives from the BCPO Financial Crimes Unit and the Riverside Township Police Department. The lead investigators are BCPO Detective Nicholas Schieber and Riverside Lt. Louis Fisher.

All persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Department of Justice Requesting Data From Governors of States that Issued COVID-19 Orders that May Have Resulted in Deaths of Elderly Nursing Home Residents

Data will help inform whether the Department of Justice will initiate investigations under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) regarding New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan’s response to COVID-19 in public nursing homes

August 27, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Today the Justice Department requested COVID-19 data from the governors of states that issued orders which may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan required nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients to their vulnerable populations, often without adequate testing. 

For example, on March 25, 2020, New York ordered: “No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to [a nursing home] solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. [Nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”

“Protecting the rights of some of society’s most vulnerable members, including elderly nursing home residents, is one of our country’s most important obligations,” said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband. “We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, New York has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States, with 32,592 victims, many of them elderly. New York’s death rate by population is the second highest in the country with 1,680 deaths per million people. New Jersey’s death rate by population is 1,733 deaths per million people – the highest in the nation. In contrast, Texas’s death rate by population is 380 deaths per million people; and Texas has just over 11,000 deaths, though its population is 50 percent larger than New York and has many more recorded cases of COVID-19 – 577,537 cases in Texas versus 430,885 cases in New York. Florida’s COVID-19 death rate is 480 deaths per million; with total deaths of 10,325 and a population slightly larger than New York.

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is evaluating whether to initiate investigations under the federal “Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act” (CRIPA), which protects the civil rights of persons in state-run nursing homes, among others. The Civil Rights Division seeks to determine if the state orders requiring admission of COVID-19 patients to nursing homes is responsible for the deaths of nursing home residents.

On March 3, 2020, the Attorney General announced the Justice Department’s National Nursing Home Initiative. This is a comprehensive effort by the department, led by the Elder Justice Initiative and in strong partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that uses every available tool to pursue nursing homes that provide substandard care to their residents.  As announced on April 10, 2020, the department is also investigating the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where COVID-19 has taken the lives of at least 76 residents.  https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/federal-investigation-conditions-nursing-home-veterans-massachusetts-announced

The data requests and Soldiers’ Home investigation are not accusations of fault or wrongdoing by the states or any other individual or entity, and the department has not reached any conclusions about these matters.



Trenton Man Sentenced To 10 Years For Role In Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy

August 27, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Mercer County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 120 months in prison for his role in a large drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed more than one kilogram of heroin in Trenton and the surrounding area, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Davias Taylor, a/k/a “Vicey,” 28, of Trenton, previously pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. Chief Judge Wolfson imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In October 2018, Taylor and 25 other members of a drug trafficking conspiracy operating in Trenton were charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin. On Feb. 27, 2020, a grand jury returned a 10-count second superseding indictment charging Jerome Roberts, a/k/a “Righteous,” a/k/a “Lee”; David Antonio, a/k/a “Papi,” a/k/a “Pop,” a/k/a a/k/a “Santiago Ramirez”; Timothy Wimbush, a/k/a “Young Money”; Taquan Williams, a/k/a “Trip”; Jubri West; Dennis Cheston Jr., a/k/a “Beans”; and Wayne K. Bush with various crimes relating to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, as well as firearms offenses. To date, 23 defendants have pleaded guilty in connection with their participation in the conspiracy.

From as early as October 2017 to October 2018, the defendants and others engaged in a narcotics conspiracy that operated in the areas of Martin Luther King Boulevard, Sanford Street, Middle Rose Street, Southard Street, Hoffman Avenue, and Coolidge Avenue in Trenton, and that sought to profit from the distribution of heroin and numerous other controlled substances. Through the interception of telephone calls and text messages pursuant to court-authorized wiretap orders, controlled purchases of heroin, the use of confidential sources of information, and other investigative techniques, law enforcement learned that defendants Jakir Taylor and Jerome Roberts obtained regular supplies of hundreds of “bricks” of heroin from defendant David Antonio, to whom they referred as “Papi.” The investigation revealed that during the conspiracy, Davias Taylor met David Antonio and introduced him to his conspirators, Jakir Taylor and Jerome Roberts, so that Antonio could supply the conspiracy with significant quantities of heroin. Davias Taylor himself also obtained and redistributed significant quantities of heroin for profit.

In addition to the prison term, Davias Taylor was sentenced five years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr.; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Sheilah Coley; officers of the Princeton Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Nicholas Sutter; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police John P. Stemler III; officers of the Burlington Township Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Bruce Painter; and detectives of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked officers of the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan; detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo Onofri; officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler; and members of the New Jersey State Board of Parole for their assistance in the case.

The government is represented by J. Brendan Day, Attorney-in-Charge of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Trenton Office, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

This case was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the FBI’s Greater Trenton Safe Streets Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to enhance the identification, apprehension, and prosecution of individuals involved in gang-related activities, violent crime, and drug distribution in and around the greater Trenton area. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

The charges and allegations against the remaining defendants are merely accusations and those defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Defense counsel: Victor A. Afanador Esq., Newark

Hamilton Man Arrested for Possessing and Distributing Child Pornography

August 27, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–A Hamilton Township man has been arrested and charged with possessing and distributing thousands of files of child pornography, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported. 

Arnulfo Santana Jr., 21, of Hamilton, NJ, is charged with two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child for possession with the intent to distribute and distribution of child pornography, as well as one count of third-degree possession of child pornography.  Santana is being held in the Mercer County Correction Center in Hopewell pending a detention hearing.

“We want offenders to know we are out there online, protecting our children,” Prosecutor Onofri said.  “We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to aggressively pursue and prosecute these predators that attempt to exploit our most innocent victims.”

An investigation into the sexual exploitation of children online ensued after the prosecutor’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit received a cyber tip.  On Thursday morning, ICAC detectives, with assistance from the prosecutor’s Special Victims Unit and Homeland Security Investigations, executed a search warrant at Santana’s Hamilton home and took him into custody without incident.

20 Year Old Lakehurst Man Arrested On Numerous Charges In Toms River

Jaylin Evans, 20, was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault, Terroristic Threats, Criminal Mischief, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, False Imprisonment, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Simple Assault, Possession of a Large Capacity Magazine.

August 27, 2020

TOMS RIVER, NJ (OCEAN)–On Wednesday August 26, 2020 at approximately 12:00 PM multiple police units responded to the Main Street Apartments in reference to a civil matter involving a handgun. The victim stated suspect Jaylin Evans, 20 of Lakehurst, pointed a handgun at her during an argument. He then struck her in the head and pushed her into the walls of the residence, blocking her path and not allowing her to leave, stating numerous times that he would kill her. Before fleeing the residence, he damaged the victim’s cellular phone and television.

Police officers located the suspect in a neighboring apartment and he was placed under arrest. A consent to search the apartment was signed by the tenant and revealed a backpack owned by the suspect. Inside the backpack was a loaded 9MM handgun which had an extended magazine. An additional magazine containing 4 rounds was located in the backpack as well. Jaylin Evans was arrested and charged with Aggravated Assault, Terroristic Threats, Criminal Mischief, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, False Imprisonment, Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, Simple Assault, Possession of a Large Capacity Magazine. He is lodged on Ocean County Jail.

The media and the public are reminded that criminal charges are accusations only. Every criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

Man Makes Terrorist Threats In Hamilton

August 27, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On August 26, 2020 at approximately 2:21 PM, Hamilton Police were dispatched to the area of the Hamilton Township Library located at 1 Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. Way, on a report of a male calling 9-1-1 multiple times claiming he was going to shoot somebody on August 27, 2020. Officers checked the area but were unable to locate anybody. Officers checked the phone number and were able to find a subscriber name. Detectives then located the subscriber and were able to identify the male on the phone as William Gonzalez-Abad. Gonzalez-Abad was later located and placed under arrest. He is charged with Terroristic Threats and Improper Use of Emergency 9-1-1.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Tom Clugsten of the Hamilton Police Division’s Criminal Investigations Section at 609-581-4027 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at 609-581-4008.

Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Arrest Made For Cyber Harassment Calls Made To Local Restaurants

Sudeep Khetani, 34, of Kendall Park also involved in another incident here: Previous MidJersey.News article here from April 10, 2020 here: South Brunswick Police Charge Suspect Exploiting the Goodwill of Local Pizzerias During Pandemic

August 27, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–On August 25th, 2020, following an extensive investigation by the South Brunswick Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, an arrest was made relating to numerous cases of cyber harassment committed between January 15th and April 9th, 2020.

Sudeep Khetani, 34, of Kendall Park, made several hundred calls to numerous local restaurants using false phone numbers, ordered thousands of dollars worth of food without intent to pay for or pick up the food, and used harassing, threatening, sexually explicit, and biased comments against employees who answered the phone. In addition, Khetani is a suspect in similar incidents in several surrounding townships.

South Brunswick Police Department Chief Raymond J. Hayducka praised Detective Tim Hoover’s tenacity in the case. “Detective Hoover filed many subpoenas, conducted numerous interviews, and exhausted all investigative means to bring this case to a successful conclusion. His hard work put an end to Khetani’s alarming actions.”

Khetani’s actions came at the height of the pandemic when many local restaurants were struggling to stay afloat, causing additional hardship to their owners.

Khetani was also charged with Promoting Prostitution stemming from an unrelated 2019 incident.

After Khetani was arrested, he was lodged in the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Center pending his first court appearance.

http://nixle.us/C5XB8

New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy Permanently Revokes License of Massage Therapist Who Inappropriately Touched Female Client During Massage

Board’s Action is Part of Ongoing Crackdown on Sexual Misconduct & Abuse by Licensed Professionals

August 27, 2020


www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases20/20200825_18KT00973200-Popper-Final-Order.pdf

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Furthering its efforts to protect the public from sexual misconduct and abuse in professional settings, the Division of Consumer Affairs (“the Division”) today announced that the New Jersey Board of Massage and Bodywork Therapy (“the Board”) has permanently revoked the license of a massage therapist who engaged in inappropriate and unwanted sexual contact with a female client during a massage session at a Hand and Stone spa in Somers Point. 

John R. Popper, 48, of Little Egg Harbor is permanently barred from working as a massage therapist in New Jersey under a Final Order filed by the Board this week. Popper is the third massage therapist this year — and the ninth in the last 12 months — to have his license revoked by the Board as a result of sexual misconduct in the workplace. 

Concerns about unwanted sexual contact in professional settings have prompted the Division, under the direction of Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, to undertake a sweeping review of how its 51 professional boards address allegations involving sexual misconduct and abuse by its licensees and applicants to ensure that boards uniformly adopt best practices and enforce their rules. The boards oversee approximately 720,000 active licensed professionals, from accountants and doctors to plumbers, veterinarians, and massage therapists. 

The review, which is currently underway, is evaluating how boards screen applicants for licenses, approach investigations of alleged misconduct and discipline and engage with complainants who report abuses by a licensee or applicant. “No client or patient should ever have to fear for their personal safety while interacting with a licensed professional in this state,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We are committed to ensuring that all our professional boards hold licensees to the same strict standards, and act swiftly to address allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse involving licensees. By revoking the licenses of massage therapists who prey on their clients, the Board is carrying out its duty to protect the public.”

 “When you see a massage therapist you put your trust in their hands,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Therapists who violate that trust can cause real and long-lasting damage to their victims and are a danger to our community. We are pleased that the Board, through its actions, is sending a message that this kind of conduct will not be tolerated.” 

Popper is the latest massage therapist disciplined for inappropriately touching a client. On July 31, 2020, the Board voted unanimously to permanently revoke Popper’s license, effective immediately, after Popper was criminally convicted of harassment by offensive touching in Somers Point Municipal Court for placing his hand on a client’s vagina during a massage. Popper was originally charged with criminal sexual contact but the charge was downgraded to harassment, a disorderly persons offense, and remanded to municipal court. The Board accepted the State’s argument that Popper’s license should be revoked on the grounds that, among other things, he engaged in professional misconduct and committed a crime of moral turpitude. 

In a Final Order filed on Aug. 25, 2020, the Board concluded that Popper’s conduct was “so egregious and morally reprehensible, and so fundamentally at odds with anything that we would expect of a massage therapist that nothing short of permanent revocation would be sufficient to protect the public health, safety and welfare.” 

Since July 2019, the Board has revoked the licenses of eight other massage therapists for sexual misconduct.

They are: 

  • Asad Aliyev – License permanently revoked on July 25, 2020, for allegedly touching a female client inappropriately during a massage therapy session at a Hand and Stone spa in Allendale.
  • Aaron Coile – License revoked on January 28, 2020, for allegedly inappropriately touching a female client during a massage therapy session at the Sage Body and Mind spa in Voorhees.
  • Premkumar Perumal – License permanently revoked on October 22, 2019, for allegedly touching a female client inappropriately during a massage therapy session at a Hand and Stone Massage & Facial Spa in Clark. Perumal also allegedly inappropriately touched another female client while working at a Massage Envy in Hoboken. 
  • Magdy Masek – License permanently revoked on October 22, 2019, for allegedly inappropriately touching a female client during a massage therapy session at a Massage Envy in Piscataway.
  • Frank Giordano – License permanently revoked on September 24, 2019, for allegedly touching two female clients inappropriately during massage therapy sessions at Alternative Bodyworks in Nutley.
  • Michael Egan – License permanently revoked on September 19, 2019, for allegedly inappropriately touching a female client during a massage therapy session at a Massage Envy in Closter.
  • Leonardo Drittij – License permanently revoked on September 18, 2019, for allegedly touching a female client inappropriately, engaging in a conversation of an intimate sexual nature with her, and failing to drape her properly during a massage therapy session at a Massage Envy.
  • Jonathan Higgins – License permanently revoked on July 16, 2019, for allegedly inappropriately touching a female client during a massage therapy session at a Hand and Stone Massage & Facial Spa in Brick.  Higgins has been charged with sexual assault in connection with that alleged incident.

 In addition to taking disciplinary action against licensees for alleged sexual contact with clients, the Board has adopted new rules to help prevent and detect sexual misconduct and abuse in the industry. Those rules, among other things: 

  • Require massage therapists to notify the Board of criminal, civil, administrative, and employment actions against them. Every licensee is required to notify the Board within 10 days of action against the licensee by criminal authorities, including an arrest, indictment, or conviction; within 10 days of the licensee being named in a civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding involving misconduct relating to his or her practice; within 10 days of disciplinary action by any state licensing authority; and within 10 days of action against the licensee by an employer based on client care concerns.
  • Require massage therapists to report misconduct by others. Every licensee is required to report any incident or series of incidents that the licensee believes may violate the applicable statutes and rules, including violations by other massage therapists of the rules relating to sexual misconduct. Additional reporting requirements apply if a licensee possesses information indicating that another licensee or healthcare professional presents an imminent danger to the public or any individual.
  • Protect minors from abuse. For clients under the age of 18, licensees need to obtain written consent of the client’s parent or legal guardian before providing massage or bodywork services.  For clients under the age of 16, the client’s parent or legal guardian would need to be in the room while the services are provided.

 Investigators with the Enforcement Bureau within the Division of Consumer Affairs conducted investigations in these cases. Deputy Attorney General Daniel Hewitt, of the Professional Boards Prosecution Section within the Division of Law, represented the State in the Popper matter. Deputy Attorney General Roman Guzik, of the Consumer Affairs Counseling Section within the Division of Law, represented the State in the other matters.   Clients who believe that they have been treated by a licensed massage therapist in an inappropriate manner can file a complaint online by visiting the State Division of Consumer Affairs website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200 to receive a paper complaint form by mail. * * *The mission of the Division of Consumer Affairs, within the Department of Law and Public Safety, is to protect the public from fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and professional misconduct in the sale of goods and services in New Jersey through education, advocacy, regulation and enforcement. The Division pursues its mission through its 51 professional and occupational boards that oversee 720,000 licensees in the state, its Regulated Business section that oversees 60,000 NJ registered businesses, as well as its Office of Consumer Protection, Bureau of Securities, Charities Registration section, Office of Weights and Measures, and Legalized Games of Chance section.

Box Truck Vs Pickup, NJ Turnpike At Exit 7A Leaves 1 Injured

August 27, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Fire Department, Bordentown Township Fire Department and Hightstown Fire along with EMS were dispatched to NJ Turnpike mile marker 60 south bound inner near Exit 7A for an accident with entrapment. The accident occurred around 3:00 am when a box truck and a pick up truck collided for an unknown reason. From the scene a box truck can be seen on its side and a pickup truck also damaged.

When Robbinsville firefighters and EMS arrived the occupants of the vehicles were able to escape on their own. Hightstown First Aid transported one person to RWJ at Hamilton Hospital.

NJ State Police are investigating and a towing company are still on scene at the time of this report removing the vehicles. The left and center lane are blocked and should reopen when the accident is cleared. No further information is available about the accident.

New Jersey Task Force 1 Deploys to Louisiana in Response to Hurricane Laura

See updated MidJersey.news story here: NJ Task Force 1 Returns Home From Hurricane Laura


80 Members of NJ-TFT1 left NJ early this morning deploying to Baton Rouge, Louisiana

August 27, 2020 Update August 29, 2020


NJ-TF1 Update🇺🇸

In response to Hurricane Laura, FEMA has adjusted the federal response to meet local needs.

NJ-TF1 has received demobilization orders and begun the process of heading home.

Thank you for your support!


New Jersey Task Force 1 (NJ-TF1) has been activated as members of the National Urban Search & Rescue (US&R) Response System and will be deploying to assist with the rescue and recovery efforts resulting from the effects of Hurricane Laura.

NJ-TF1 deployed as a Type 1 Team consisting of 80 team members, three tractor-trailers, two box trucks, five F-450 utility vehicles, two crew carriers, an F-250 towing vehicle, two passenger vans, two utility terrain vehicles, and a fleet service truck. A water rescue component of six boats with trailers and a water support trailer were also deployed.

NJ-TF1 is en route to the current staging area in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This will be the team’s seventh deployment as a FEMA US&R Team.


The team is en route to their current destination of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in response to Hurricane Laura.


Sunrise Update: