Day: December 9, 2021

Multi-Vehicle Accident on NJ Turnpike Sends Two to Hospital

December 9, 2021

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Fire Department along with Allentown-Capital Health EMS responded to the NJ Turnpike south bound inner roadway at mile marker 59.2 for a multi-vehicle accident with injuries at 8:06 p.m. Upon arrival firefighters reported that multiple vehicles were involved and checking for injuries. At least four cars were involved, and it appears that two people were sent to local hospitals with non-life-threating injuries. Bordentown Township EMS also responded to the scene. New Jersey State Police is investigating the crash. No further details are available at this time.

Middlesex County Man Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Prison for Paycheck Protection Program Fraud Scheme and Obtaining Funds from Stolen and Altered U.S. Treasury Check

December 9, 2021

TRENTON, N.J. – A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for fraudulently receiving Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and depositing a stolen and altered U.S. Treasury check, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.

Bernard Lopez, 40, previously pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to an information charging him with one count each of bank fraud and theft of government funds. Judge Sheridan imposed the sentence today by videoconference.

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

Lopez devised a scheme to commit bank fraud through which a stolen and altered U.S. Treasury check was deposited into a corporate bank account Lopez created in the name of Pezlo Management LLC. The check was altered to be made payable to Pezlo in the amount of $211,886 and was then deposited into Pezlo’s corporate bank account. Lopez later withdrew or transferred the stolen proceeds from Pezlo’s bank account before the bank could detect the fraud.

On June 24, 2020, Lopez caused to be submitted a fraudulent PPP loan application to a lender on behalf of Company-1, a purported business that Lopez controlled. The Small Business Administration oversees the PPP, which is designed to provide forgivable loans to small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Applicants for PPP loans apply directly to banks or financial institutions participating in the program; in those applications, applicants make affirmative certifications about their average monthly payroll expenses and number of employees. Applicants also certify their intent to spend PPP proceeds on permissible business expenses, such as payroll costs, rent, utilities, and interest on mortgages. PPP loans may be entirely forgiven if the recipient spends the loan proceeds on these permissible expenses within a designated period after receiving the proceeds.

Lopez’s PPP application falsely represented that Company-1 employed 25 employees, had a monthly payroll expense of approximately $192,000, and had mortgage/lease and utilities expenses. Company-1 did not, in fact, employ any employees, nor did it incur payroll or utility expenses. Based on Lopez’s misrepresentations, the lender approved Lopez’s PPP loan application and provided Lopez’s purported business with $481,502 in federal COVID-19 emergency relief funds meant for distressed small businesses. Lopez then converted a portion of the proceeds for his own use.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Lopez to three years of supervised release and ordered restitution of $137,000 and forfeiture of $481,502.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents and task force officers of the U.S. Department of the Treasury-OIG, under the direction of Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Sally D. Luttrell, with the investigation leading to the charges. She also thanked special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina in Newark, and special agents of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patricia Tarasca for assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Perry Farhat of the Government Fraud Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Newark.


Defense counsel: Nicole Westmoreland Esq. Marietta, Georgia

Vegetation Management along Power Lines to Commence in Robbinsville Township Ahead of Winter Storm Season

December 9, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Vegetation management along power distribution lines in Robbinsville Township will be performed by Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) tree contractors beginning this week to help enhance electric service reliability ahead of the 2021-22 winter storm season.

The bulk of the work includes removing approximately 93 trees – the majority of which are Ash trees damaged by the Emerald Ash Borer (beetle) – along four JCP&L circuits throughout the Township. These areas include potentially high incident parcels where storm impacts could cause damage to electrical infrastructure resulting in possible outages, road closures and other public safety concerns. Residential areas within the project scope include, but are not limited to, Hankins Road, Tindall Road, Woodside Road, Perrineville Road and Main Street. Work is expected between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with a targeted completion date by month’s end.

Other trees of some concern not marked for removal will be trimmed or pruned. Although it is not possible to predict all tree-related problems, JCP&L’s vegetation management program is designed to maintain proper clearances around electrical equipment and to help protect against outages caused by ice and heavy, wet snow on tree branches.

“We have been in consistent contact with JCP&L over the past year, and this effort is a priority that we expect will enhance electric service to their customers and our residents,” Mayor Dave Fried said. “We are very pleased with the increased communication with the current JCP&L team assigned to address our needs, and each is committed to doing whatever is necessary to mitigate power disruptions not only this winter, but years into the future.”

When appropriate, the Township will begin replacing the removed trees with plantings in less vulnerable areas using JCP&L’s “Right Tree, Right Place” guidelines. Named a “Tree City USA” community for the 10th time in 2021, Robbinsville has planted close to 13,000 trees since 2013.JCP&L serves 1.1 million customers in Central and Northern New Jersey, including approximately half of Robbinsville’s 5,259 homes and numerous commercial properties.

Allentown FFA Fall 2021 Activities

December 9, 2021

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–We are happy to announce that the Allentown FFA Chapter participated in its first sponsored leadership event for the 2021-2022 academic year through the LEAD leadership conference held on October 1st at Rutgers University. The chapter saw many people attend the conference that encompassed COLT (chapter officer leadership training), LOC (leadership and opportunities conference) and SGC (state greenhand conference), and then meeting at the Ag building the next day to virtually complete the conference conducted with the New Jersey State Officer Team. In regards to development activities, the members of the FFA continue practicing for Fall CDEs in Fruit & Vegetable Identification, Milk Quality and Products, Turf Management, and Land Evaluation competitions. Competitions will be held in November at Rutgers University. The Allentown FFA Chapter would like to wish good luck to all the teams competing!

The Allentown FFA team also is pleased to announce the success of the Flower Bulb Sale that concluded on Wednesday October 20th, and the successive annual fruits sale that kicked off on October 15 that will continue until November 22, 2021; so get your fruit and cheesecake while they’re still in stock. If you have any questions or would like to pick up an order form, please see an officer or advisor.

The Allentown FFA Chapter conducted it’s Halloween Poster Contest at Newell Elementary School with the objective of informing kids on how to be safe during Halloween which finished successfully with many enthusiastic participants from the elementary school. Starting with Halloween, the October chapter meeting say many people dress and have lots of fun with the activities such as pumpkin painting and the haunted escape room that was made in the Agricultural building. For staying informed on FFA events and activities, continue to view the FFA website for the monthly newsletter for all updates on the Allentown FFA Chapter and we wish luck for all members for the month of November. We would love to invite anyone who wishes to come to the November Chapter Meeting that will be held on November 18, 2021, and for all questions regarding anything FFA, don’t hesitate to contact an FFA officer or advisor.

Honor Society Inductions: The Allentown FFA Chapter assists the National Honor Society advisors by attending the National Honor Society induction ceremony and handing out programs and acting as ushers the guests. The chapter also provided the stage floral decorations for the Honor Society Inductions- Latin, English, History, Fine Art, Math, Spanish, French, Science and Italian- as well as the National Honor Society Induction.

Thanksgiving Floral Arrangement Sale: The Allentown FFA sold flower arrangements that were Thanksgiving themed. We sold them to community members and staff of UFRSD. Single candle arrangements are $20.and cornucopias were $24.

Popcorn Park Zoo Donation Collection: Every year, the Allentown FFA hosts the Popcorn Park Pet Supply Drive to assist animals in the shelter. We do this by placing bins in various locations, including the 3 UFRSD schools, Ag stores in Allentown and Millstone, and other locations. For the drive, make flyers to show what types of supplies are needed by the shelter. We typically leave the bins at their location for a month and check them periodically to see if they need to be emptied. All officers must receive approval from their location before placing a bin there. After the donation drive is over, we pack a vehicle with the donations and deliver them to the zoo.

New Jersey FFA Assocation Officer Visit to Allentown FFA on November 15, 2021:

On December 4, 2021, Allentown FFA participated in the New Jersey FFA Association Mission Conference! Members learned about personal development!

Mount Holly Man Sentenced 3.5 Years in Prison for Role in Fraud Scheme

December 9, 2021

CAMDEN, N.J. – A Burlington County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 42 months in prison for stealing more than $350,000 from a special needs trust, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Eugene Young, 70, of Mount Holly, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud. Judge Rodriguez imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.

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

A special needs trust was established to provide for the supplemental care, maintenance, support, and education of a disabled individual and, in December 2017, had more than $1 million in assets in two bank accounts. In December 2017, Young caused the trust’s trustee, a senior citizen, to execute a power of attorney appointing him as the trustee’s agent.

Young used the power of attorney to gain access to the trust’s bank accounts and, between December 2017 and June 2019, used a variety of means to divert funds from the trust. Young used a debit card associated with the bank accounts to make more than 650 purchases and approximately 200 ATM withdrawals. He also wrote checks from the accounts to himself, made other withdrawals from the accounts, and cashed portions of annuity checks that were the property of the trust. The funds were not used for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiary, as required by the terms of the trust, but rather for Young’s personal use. Young misappropriated more than $350,000 from the trust before his scheme was discovered.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Rodriguez sentenced Young to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $359,560.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of FBI’s Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; special agents of the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Northeast Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Hegarty; and special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel A. Friedman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Camden.


Defense counsel: Thomas Young Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Camden

Trenton Drug Dealer Charged with Death of Eastampton Customer

December 9, 2021

EASTAMPTON, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina and Eastampton Township Police Chief Joseph Iacovitti announced that a 35-year-old Trenton drug dealer has been charged with causing the death of an Eastampton man who fatally overdosed on fentanyl last year at his residence.

Robert Rentas, of the 100 block of Calhoun Street in Trenton, was charged with Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death (First Degree) and Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Third Degree).

He was lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly after being arrested on December 1. A detention hearing will be held tomorrow in Superior Court. The case will be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The investigation began on November 12, 2020, after Emergency Medical Services personnel and officers from the Eastampton Township Police Department were dispatched to a residence for a report of a 34-year-old unresponsive male. Narcan was administered and chest compressions were performed, but it was determined by EMS workers on the scene that he was deceased and beyond resuscitative efforts.

An autopsy performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood determined the death was caused by fentanyl toxicity.

The investigation revealed that the drugs that led to the fatal overdose had been purchased from Rentas.

The case was investigated by the Eastampton Township Police Department and the Prosecutor’s Office Gang, Gun and Narcotics Task Force, with assistance from the BCPO High-Tech Crimes Unit and the New Jersey State Police.

Rentas will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Laura Heisman.

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

2021-103 Eastampton Drug-Induced Death Arrest

Robbinsville Ice Hockey Comes Back from Deficit to Beat Hopewell 4-2

December 9, 2021

WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Last night at Mercer County Park Skating Center Robbinsville Ice Hockey was down by 2 goals with nothing on the board after 2 periods against Hopewell Valley. In the 3rd period Robbinsville scored 3 goals and 1 ENG empty netter goal to bring the final score Hopewell 2, Robbinsville 4.

Hopewell Valley / Montgomery Ice Hockey vs. Robbinsville / Allentown Ice Hockey are cooperative teams with a combination of players from each school.

Note if any students want to try their hand at sports writing or photography to build their portfolios while attending high school or college use the contact form above and send in your information.

Driver Injured When Car Hits Parked Car on Mercer Street in Hightstown

December 9, 2021

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–Hightstown Police, Hightstown Fire Company, and Robbinsville EMS responded to Mercer Street between South Street and Academy Streets for a car that hit a parked car around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, December 8. The driver of the vehicle was treated by EMS responders and transported by EMS to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton. Hightstown Fire Company responded for reports of wires down but upon arrival it was phone and cable wires across the roadway. Hightstown Police are investigating the crash.

UPDATE: Police say that the subject was Adlai Barber, a 32-year-old male of Panama City, Florida; the subject was charged with DWI, Reckless Driving, and Failure to Maintain Lane.  Subject remained in the custody of the hospital pending court.