Day: January 13, 2022

NJ State Police Seeking Public’s Assistance with an Assault Investigation; Occurred on NJ Turnpike After Road Rage Incident

January 13, 2022

CARTERET, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The New Jersey State Police Troop “D” Criminal Investigation Office is seeking the public’s assistance with an assault investigation that occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike on Wednesday, January 12.

Based on the preliminary investigation, detectives determined that at approximately 8:45 p.m., a tractor trailer and two SUVs were involved in a road rage incident in the outer roadway of the southbound lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike in the area of milepost 96.2 in Carteret Borough, Middlesex County. The two SUVs, one white and one gray, boxed in the tractor trailer in the right lane. The two suspects and the tractor trailer driver then got out of their vehicles and engaged in a physical altercation in the right lane. After the altercation, the two suspects ran back to their vehicles and fled the scene before troopers arrived on scene.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident, the events leading up to it or just following, is asked to contact Detective Mike Silvestre of Cranbury Station Detective Bureau at 609-860-9000 ext. 4423. Anonymous tips are welcome.

“Father Jim” Msgr. James Innocenzi, who Served as Trenton Fire Department’s Chaplain Passes Away at 72

January 13, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–It was announced today that Msgr. James Innocenzi passed earlier today at his residence at Villa Vianney in Lawrenceville, NJ at the age of 72.

Msgr. Innocenzi served as Trenton Fire Department’s Chaplain, known as “Father Jim” at calls and around the fire house. He served in the position for many years and would be seen in turnout gear at many calls throughout the city.

According to Trenton Fire Department records held at Trenton Fire Department’s Meredith Havens Fire Museum “Father Jim” became Chaplain in 1983 and served well past 2006 when the last published annual report was issued. According to some senior members at the TFD it is believed he was still Chaplain as of 2022 and that would be nearly 40 years of service to the department.

See MidJersey.News file photos below:

From the Trenton Monitor:

Bishop announces death of Msgr. James Innocenzi

It is my sad responsibility to share the news of the sudden passing of Msgr. James Innocenzi earlier today in his residence at Villa Vianney in Lawrenceville.  He was 72 years old.

Born and raised in Trenton, Msgr. Innocenzi was a member of St. Joachim Parish.  He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Trenton in 1976 and served in a variety of parochial and diocesan positions, currently as Judicial Vicar (head of the Diocesan Tribunal).  Msgr. Innocenzi was the first pastor of St, Michael Parish in Trenton and one month ago attended the 100th anniversary of the Church building.  His next assignment was to serve as St. George Parish in Titusville.  In 1997, Pope St. John Paul II honored him with the title of Monsignor, Prelate of Honor.

Throughout his priestly career, Msgr. Innocenzi remained deeply devoted to his work in the Diocesan Tribunal, serving couples seeking annulments as well as dealing with other matters in canon law.  He was a chaplain for Trenton’s Fire Department and also a beloved chaplain and spiritual advisor for several divisions and councils of central New Jersey’s Knights of Columbus.

Msgr. Innocenzi’s sudden death saddens so many of his brother priests, dearest friends and co-workers and former parishioners.  One priest wrote me, “this news hurts my heart.”  And so it does, indeed, for those of us in the Diocese who knew, admired and loved him. 

May our loving God grant him eternal rest.

Governor Murphy Announces Nomination of Victoria Kuhn as Department of Corrections Commissioner

January 13, 2022

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today announced his nomination of Victoria Kuhn as the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC). Kuhn has served as Acting Commissioner since June 2021. 

“Since Victoria was first asked to lead the Department of Corrections, she has impressed myself and many others with her dedication to reform and integrity,” said Governor Murphy. “As a career corrections staffer, Victoria has the experience and knowledge to lead the Department during this pivotal time. I look forward to her confirmation by the Senate and to continuing our prison reform efforts together.” 

“I am truly grateful to Governor Murphy for entrusting me with leading the NJDOC team as we embark to establish this Department as the national model for leaders in prison reform and reintegration,” said Victoria L. Kuhn, Esq., Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections. “I do not take this honor – or responsibility – lightly.  This is the time for new beginnings – to launch new reform and reintegration initiatives, to ensure dignity and safety for our female offenders, and to establish mission-critical relationships with outside stakeholders and advocates. Equally important, we must recognize and re-invest in our dedicated staff, their welfare, and training, as they are integral to the success of the mission of the Department. We have much work to do, and I am proud to be a part of this extraordinary team.” 

As Acting Commissioner of the State’s second-largest Department, Kuhn is responsible for a budget of nearly $1 billion, approximately 8,000 employees, and the oversight of approximately 13,000 state-sentenced people housed across 11 correctional facilities, county jails, and community halfway houses. Ensuring the Department realizes its mission of operating safe and humane correctional facilities is the Department’s core focus, along with the holistic rehabilitation of people who are incarcerated through behavioral therapy, addiction treatment, vocational and educational training, and staff well-being through training and issuance of holistic health resources. 

Kuhn is a veteran corrections official, having worked for the Department of Corrections since 2007. Before she was appointed Acting Commissioner for the NJDOC, Kuhn served as the Department’s Chief of Staff, and previously as the Deputy Chief of Staff, spearheading a number of initiatives. Prior to those roles, Kuhn led the Department’s Equal Employment Division, which is charged with ensuring a discrimination and harassment-free work environment. She also oversaw the Office of Employee Relations, responsible for union labor relations, hearing employee grievances, reviewing misconduct, and imposing related discipline. Her career started as an Assistant Prosecutor, before transitioning to the Office of the Attorney General – Division of Law, where she addressed law enforcement and corrections matters, including federal and state court litigation, excessive force, Megan’s Law, conditions of confinement and the development of the protocol regarding the sexually violent predator and CSL/PSL laws. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Drew University, and earned her J.D. from the Seton Hall University School of Law.

“In the decades during which we’ve been advocates on behalf of people in prison in New Jersey, we have not – until now – had the experience of prisoner contact, transparency, and genuineness of interest and commitment evidenced by the present Acting Commissioner and her team,” said Prison Watch Program Director Bonnie Kerness. “Indeed, Governor Murphy’s team of “Acting” staff has shown the kind of leadership which should be elevated nationally. Acting Commissioner Kuhn is a model of what a real Department of “corrections” can be. Her outreach to community activists has encouraged appropriate and non-hostile communications within the prison community and improved safety on both sides of the walls.”

“On behalf of those involved with the Department of Corrections, and the State Parole Board through New Jersey Reentry Programs, I am thrilled with the announcement by Governor Murphy selecting Victoria Kuhn as his candidate for Commissioner of Corrections,” said Volunteers of America Delaware Valley President and CEO Daniel L. Lombardo. “In her acting capacity, Ms. Kuhn has been an innovator, and an outcome-driven professional committed to rebuilding the reputation of the Department. The work that Ms. Kuhn has already begun in the reestablishment of relationships with the State Parole Board, community providers, as well as departmental clients and their families is illustrative of what we can expect under her continued leadership. We applaud Governor Murphy and enthusiastically support the candidacy of Ms. Kuhn as the Commissioner of Corrections.”

Woman Saved from Icy Waters at Rosedale Lake in Hopewell Township

January 13, 2022

HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hopewell Township Police told MidJersey.News that, at approximately 12:25 p.m. today, Hopewell Township Police responded to a report of woman who had fallen through the ice in Rosedale Lake at Rosedale Park off of Federal City Road. Several callers reported the woman was in the water up to neck. Officer’s Peterson and Pauciullo were the first responding officers on the scene.

Once on scene, the officers located the woman in distress, who was approximately 25 yards from the shoreline.  The woman was flailing around and struggling to keep her head above the water.  Utilizing a water rescue throw rope, officers along with several other responding emergency personnel, were able to safely get the woman to shore.

Once safely on dry land, the woman was treated on scene for potential hypothermia by the Pennington First Aid Squad, Hopewell Valley Emergency Services, and Capital Health Paramedics.  She was later transported to Capital Health Hopewell Hospital in stable condition.          

            Multiple departments arrived to assist.  They were the Hopewell Valley Emergency Services, Pennington Fire Department and First Aid Squad, Union Fire Department, and the Mercer County Park Police.     


Governor Murphy Signs Historic Legislation to Expand and Protect Reproductive Freedom in New Jersey   

Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act Codifies Reproductive Choice into State Law   

January 13, 2022

TEANECK – Governor Phil Murphy, alongside Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Senate President Nicholas Scutari, former Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Alexis McGill Johnson, President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and many other legislative sponsors and advocates, today signed the historic Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act (S49/A6260), which codifies the constitutional right to freedom of reproductive choice in New Jersey. Governor Murphy also signed S413/A4698, which expands the contraception coverage required under private insurance and Medicaid from a 6-month supply to a 12-month supply.   

These laws expand and protect reproductive freedom in New Jersey at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to limit or overturn the ruling in Roe v. Wade. With this legislation, if Roe v. Wade were overturned, the right to reproductive choice would be protected in New Jersey.   

“In New Jersey, we trust each individual person to make their reproductive choices for themselves,” said Governor Murphy. “With Roe v. Wade under attack, today’s historic legislation makes clear that New Jersey’s position in supporting the right to reproductive choice remains protected. Together, with expanding contraception coverage, these two pieces of legislation serve to meaningfully and tangibly increase access to reproductive health care, and ensure that New Jersey residents are now, and will remain, in control of their reproductive choices.”  

“Reproductive health and the ability for women to make medical decisions about their own bodies are fundamental rights that should never be taken away. Today, we are codifying those rights into law in New Jersey,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver. “I want to thank the legislators who have championed this bill and Governor Murphy for signing it into law. Women’s rights are human rights and will always be respected and protected in New Jersey.”

“Today is a historic day for reproductive health in the Garden State,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “By ensuring that reproductive health decisions — about birth control, abortion, and pregnancy — are protected in state law, New Jersey has taken an important step forward for reproductive freedom. We are grateful for the constant advocacy by the governor, legislative champions, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey, the Thrive New Jersey Coalition, and more to ensure the state met the moment and secured access to essential health care in the state. At a time when access to reproductive health care is under attack across the country, New Jersey has shown what it means to stand up for its residents. Planned Parenthood is eager to continue working to ensure that abortion is not only a right, but accessible for all New Jerseyans, regardless of their immigration status, insurance coverage, or income.” 

Primary sponsors for S49/A6260 include former Senate Majority Leader Weinberg, former Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Senators Greenstein and Gopal. Assembly sponsors include former Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Assemblymembers Mila Jasey and Raj Mukherji.  

“With a woman’s right to choose under Roe v. Wade under attack in the U.S. Supreme Court, it is critical that we have enacted legislation rooted in the New Jersey Constitution that clearly and unequivocally protects freedom of reproductive choice, including the right to access contraception, the right to terminate a pregnancy, and the right to carry a pregnancy to term,” said former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, who was the lead sponsor of the bill.

“January 22nd is the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. With the enactment of S49 into law,  the Legislature and the Governor are sending a clear message to the nation that in New Jersey, a woman’s right to choose is, and will remain, a fundamental right,” said former Senate President Steve Sweeney, a prime sponsor of the bill. “I was proud to join Senator Weinberg in fighting to ensure that the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act would become law.”

“Enacting the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act into statute will help protect the reproductive rights of women in New Jersey against the potential reversal by the United States Supreme Court. It is rooted in the State Constitution, consistent with decisions by the New Jersey Supreme Court and written to safeguard the fundamental right of women to make their own decisions on reproductive care. We will not allow these rights to be lost to forces outside the state that run counter to the core beliefs of the people of New Jersey, including the principle of equal treatment for women by insurance companies. Coverage for contraceptives should be granted the same level of importance as other prescriptions. These laws enshrine protections and make progress for women in New Jersey,”  said Senate President Nicholas Scutari.   

“The Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act is a comprehensive bill that guarantees women will continue to have the right to make their own personal decisions on their  reproductive care, regardless of how the U.S. Supreme Court rules,” said Senator Linda Greenstein. 

“A person’s right of reproductive choice, in effect a right of control over one’s own body, remains a fundamental right enshrined in our Constitution,” said Senator Vin Gopal. “This law, the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, will protect this basic freedom under New Jersey statute and ensure individual choice on when and whether to have children in a time and place that is compatible with their lifestyles and beliefs. Self-determination is one of the founding principles of this state and this nation. That principle should and must extend to any person in New Jersey regarding reproductive rights.”

“Everyone has the right to reproductive choice, yet there have been far too many attempts throughout our country to control the decisions a person can make in that regard. Legal challenges to the reproductive rights of Americans, which have steadily increased in recent years, threaten to limit access to family planning services. This act will promote the health and well-being of the people in our state while showing the country that New Jersey stands for compassion, dignity and freedom,” said Assemblymembers Vainieri Huttle, Jasey, and Mukherji. 

Primary sponsors for S413/A4698 include Senators Shirley Turner and Teresa Ruiz, as well as former Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Assemblymembers Mila Jasey and Raj Mukherji.   

“With a woman’s right to safely choose to end an unwanted pregnancy now being threatened, we must counter that threat by putting the policies in place that help to protect the health of women,” said Senator Shirley Turner.  “This law will make it easier for women to access contraceptives to prevent pregnancy from happening in the first place, which is one of the best ways to help women maintain control over their own bodies and their lives.”

“Many other medications are available to order long term supplies to ensure individuals are able to take them without interruption. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not always willing to cover a 12-month supply of birth control,” said Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz. “There is no reason contraceptives should not be granted the same level of importance as other prescriptions. This law will ensure residents are able to get their medication in a manner that is conducive to their schedule.”

“Prescription contraceptives safeguard the mental and physical health of countless women by giving them more control over their lives,” said former Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Assemblywoman Mila Jasey and Assemblyman Raj Mukherji. “Ensuring coverage of these prescriptions for up to 12 months will allow more New Jerseyans to prepare ahead. Making it easier and more likely for women to access birth control is a crucial component of the family planning services our state is taking steps to protect.”

“Access to reproductive health care and a woman’s right to choose are fundamental rights in New Jersey,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Now more than ever, the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act is crucial.” 

“Today’s historic legislation affirms the dignity and bodily autonomy of every New Jerseyan,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Further, expanding access to and affordability of reproductive health care, including contraception, is an essential part of our efforts to solve our state’s maternal health crisis. I am incredibly proud to see New Jersey take this important step forward.”

“With Governor Murphy’s signature today, New Jersey reaffirmed and protected the right to abortion,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha. “In light of ongoing attacks on reproductive rights across the country, codifying a declaration of strong, unwavering rights is crucial. However, far too many New Jerseyans remain unable to access this fundamental right. We urge our state’s leaders, through legislation and regulatory action, to not only affirm reproductive freedom, but make it truly accessible by lifting financial barriers to ensure we do not leave any communities behind.” 

“Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey applauds the strong declaration of reproductive rights in S49/A6260, as well as the expansion of birth control access through S413/A4698,” said Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, Vice President of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. “This new legislation ensures decisions about contraception, abortion, and carrying a pregnancy to term are protected in state statute. This is a day of celebration in New Jersey. The work is far from over, and we look forward to continuing our advocacy alongside Governor Murphy to ensure that every New Jerseyan can access the reproductive health care they need.” 

“If we are to achieve equality of the sexes, we must trust women and allow them to control their reproductive cycles without governmental interference,” said Anjali Mehrotra, President, National Organization for Women of New Jersey. “Access to comprehensive reproductive health care allows women to plan out their lives, enabling them to pursue education and career opportunities, which leads to increased workforce attachment and wages over time. The codification of the right to abortion in statute is good for women, it is good for families, it is good for business, it is good for New Jersey.”  
“Abortion care is just as much about economic justice as it is about reproductive freedom,” said Sheila Reynertson, Senior Policy Analyst, New Jersey Policy Perspective. “The reality is that, for far too many families, carrying an unplanned pregnancy can have devastating financial consequences. One’s future plans are put at risk, like going to college or building a career. It’s no surprise that those who cannot access this time-sensitive care are more likely to live in poverty, raise children alone, and struggle to afford basic needs. We thank Governor Murphy and the bill sponsors for taking a stand in support of reproductive autonomy, and we look forward to working with the administration on ways to improve access to abortion care for all.” 

“BlueWaveNJ celebrates New Jersey’s passage of the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act,” said Marcia Marley, President of BlueWave. “It is a strong statement guaranteeing the full range of reproductive rights, including abortion, passed at a time when other states are eliminating or threatening these rights.  We are deeply grateful to Governor Murphy, his staff, and legislators –particularly Senator Loretta Weinberg– for their tenacity in the negotiations.  Does this bill have everything New Jersey needs?  No, but it represents an important and essential foundation we can build on. BlueWaveNJ looks forward to continuing to work with the administration and the legislature to ensure that everyone in our state can access and afford all reproductive services.”  

 “The National Council of Jewish Women, New Jersey Sections, (NCJW-NJ) applaud the passage of S49/A6260, Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, which codifies in statute the full array of reproductive rights, including abortion, and thanks Governor Murphy for his steadfast support,” said the National Council of Jewish Women, New Jersey Sections. “While personal autonomy and decision-making is a priority, so is the care of others to ensure that their access to these rights is unimpeded.  To this end, NCJW- NJ looks forward to working with the Governor and all legislators to pass needed equity and access provisions.” 

“As independent abortion providers who have served our community for over forty years, and now, through a pandemic, Cherry Hill Women’s Center recognizes that the passage of the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act is a historic moment for the people in our state, the patients who we care for every day.  Today, New Jerseyans who can become pregnant will no longer question our right to make fundamental decisions about our health, our lives, and our futures,” said Roxanne Sutocky, Director of Community Engagement for Cherry Hill Women’s Center. “Every day our fierce and fearless team of dedicated caregivers provides excellent abortion services and are called to guide our patients as they navigate the financial and logistical barriers blocking their ability to exercise their reproductive rights.  We appreciate the efforts of the legislature and the Governor to pass this historic legislation and we call on these representatives to do more to eliminate the remaining barriers which fall hardest on people working to make ends meet, people living in rural areas, undocumented people, and LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities disproportionately impacted by systemic racism and reproductive oppression.” 

New Jersey Student Loan Borrowers to Receive More than $60 Million in Relief from Settlement with Navient Corp. in State’s Lawsuit Alleging Deceptive, Misleading Tactics by the Student Loan Servicer

Settlement Is Part of $1.85 Billion Nationwide Resolution

January 13, 2022

Newark – Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced that New Jersey student loan borrowers will receive over $60 million in relief from a settlement with Navient Corp. and its subsidiary Navient Solutions LLC (Navient) that resolves a 2020 lawsuit filed by the State against the student loan servicing giant. The State’s lawsuit alleged that Navient engaged in unconscionable commercial practices, deceptive conduct, and misrepresentations when servicing thousands of New Jersey consumers’ student loans over the past decade – boosting company profits at the expense of struggling borrowers.

The Navient settlement includes approximately $57.2 million in debt relief and $3.1 million in restitution payments to New Jersey borrowers, as well as a $3 million payment to the State.

New Jersey’s settlement is part of a nationwide settlement of claims by 38 States and the District of Columbia alleging widespread abuses in Navient’s student loan origination and servicing business. The total value of the nationwide settlement is approximately $1.85 billion.

Navient, formerly known as Sallie Mae, was one of the nation’s largest servicers of both federal and private student loans, until partially exiting the business in September 2021. Student loan servicers are a critical link between borrowers and lenders. In addition to managing borrowers’ accounts and processing their monthly payments, student loan servicers are responsible for assisting financially struggling borrowers to enroll in alternative repayment plans or request a modification of loan terms from lenders.

“Too many New Jerseyans have struggled to pay off their student loans,” said Acting Attorney General Bruck. “And too many of those borrowers have had a harder time because their student loan servicer put corporate profits above their best interests. With today’s settlement, we are holding one of the country’s largest student loan servicers accountable, and we are putting millions of dollars back in our residents’ pockets.”

From 1989 to 2016, the average cost of obtaining a degree from a four-year college or university in the United States rose about eight times as fast as the average wage. Faced with the soaring cost of higher education, over 44 million people in the United States have taken out student loans. Total student loan debt is now more than $1.75 trillion nationwide, and the average New Jersey borrower carries $35,730 in student debt, among the highest in the country, according to some sources. 

Statistics show that certain groups of borrowers are particularly at risk. 

In 2019, the New York Federal Reserve found that borrowers in Black-majority zip codes are more likely to borrow to fund their education, have higher average loan balances, and fall into default at almost double the rate of white-majority zip code borrowers. Moreover, the findings show that borrowers who received Pell Grants—most of whom have family incomes below $40,000—were five times as likely to default within 12 years; borrowers whose parents did not attend college were more than twice as likely to default than borrowers whose parents did attend college; and borrowers who began their education at for-profit colleges defaulted at seven times the rate of those who attended public colleges.

“Student loan borrowers who thought college would be a path to success instead found themselves on the road to financial ruin as a result of Navient’s unlawful conduct,” said Sean P. Neafsey, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Navient’s failure to provide fair and honest services to New Jersey borrowers violated consumer protection laws and heaped more debt on individuals who could least afford it. The settlement announced today holds Navient accountable for its unconscionable conduct, and provides meaningful financial relief to the borrowers harmed by it.”

In its civil suit against Navient, the State alleged that instead of fulfilling its legal obligation to student loan borrowers Navient put its own financial self-interests first through deceptive and unconscionable tactics that at various times over the last decade have included:

  • Steering borrowers into forbearance instead of income-driven repayment plans better suited to their financial circumstances. Instead of taking the time (and incurring the operational expense) to assist borrowers experiencing long-term financial hardship choose the most appropriate loan repayment option for them, such as those setting monthly payments based on what they could afford to pay, Navient’s call center representatives steered borrowers toward forbearance—usually a costlier option for such borrowers than income-driven repayment plans. Navient incentivized its call center representatives to adopt this approach because it allowed representatives to handle calls more quickly, at less cost to the company. As a result, borrowers steered into forbearance suffered consequences including the unnecessary accrual of interest, the addition of interest to the principal, and the loss of months of timely payments that would have otherwise counted toward loan forgiveness.
  • Failing to inform borrowers of deadlines to recertify their eligibility for certain income-driven repayment plans. Borrowers in income-driven repayment plans typically must recertify their eligibility on an annual basis. Navient failed to clearly communicate to borrowers the deadline to recertify their eligibility and the consequences of non-renewal. As a result, many student loan borrowers’ repayment plans expired unnecessarily, resulting in immediate increases in their monthly payments and other financial harm.
  • Enticing borrowers to take out private student loans with a cosigner, and then making it exceedingly difficult to obtain a cosigner release. For loans originated by Navient, the company deceptively encouraged borrowers to have family members or others guarantee their loans as cosigners, which increased Navient’s chances of being repaid if the student defaulted. Navient then set various hurdles to make it difficult for borrowers to meet the company’s requirements for releasing a cosigner from a loan, which benefited Navient by maintaining additional sources of payment if a borrower failed to pay.
  • Misleading borrowers about the amount of their delinquency. Navient employees were trained to attempt to collect more than the past due amount from borrowers behind on their loans by using language that misled borrowers about how much they owed. Specifically, Navient sought to collect not only the delinquent amount, but also the next month’s payment by misleadingly calling the amount sought the “Present Amount Due.” This practice resulted in borrowers paying hundreds of dollars a month more than a borrower may have budgeted for the payment.

Under the terms of the settlement, Navient will make a total of $95 million in restitution payments of about $260 each to approximately 350,000 harmed consumers in the 39 jurisdictions, and it will cancel more than $1.7 billion in subprime private student loans owed by approximately 66,000 borrowers nationwide.

Borrowers who will receive restitution or forgiveness span all generations: Navient’s harmful conduct impacted everyone from students who enrolled in colleges and universities immediately after high school to mid-career students who dropped out after enrolling in a for-profit school in the early 2000s. Parents or grandparents who co-signed their children or grandchildren’s subprime loans will also receive relief.

Approximately 2,040 New Jersey borrowers will receive a total of $57,234,256 in debt cancellation and another 11,522 New Jersey borrowers will receive a total of $3,071,421 in restitution payments.

The settlement also requires Navient to notify borrowers of the Department of Education’s important changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which offers millions of qualifying public servants a waiver that may count past payments towards loan forgiveness. The Attorney General encourages all New Jersey residents who work in the government or non-profit sectors to review the PSLF website to determine whether they might qualify for loan forgiveness.

On October 20, 2021, Navient’s contract to service 5.6 million loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education was transferred to Maximus/AidVantage. Following completion of this transfer, Navient will continue to service its existing portfolio of private student loans and legacy Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program loans issued before the FFEL program ended in 2010.

Acting Attorney General Bruck filed the settlement as a proposed Consent Judgment today in Superior Court in Essex County. The settlement will require court approval.

Consumers do not need to take any action to receive the benefits required under the settlement. Consumers receiving private loan debt cancellation will receive a notice from Navient, and they will receive refunds of any payments made after June 30, 2021.

Consumers who are eligible for a restitution payment will automatically receive a restitution check of approximately $260 from the Attorney General’s settlement administrator in mid-2022. To ensure the settlement administrator can find you, federal loan borrowers who may be eligible for a restitution payment are encouraged to update their contact information in their account or create an account if they do not already have one. For additional information, please visit the settlement website at

Deputy Attorneys General Ana Atta-Alla, Cathleen O’Donnell, Isabella Pitt, Christina Garfield, Peter Van Brunt, and Alex Schmidt of the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, represented the State in the matter. They were supervised by Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section Chief Patricia Schiripo and Assistant Attorneys General Janine Matton and Brian McDonough. Investigators Michelle Davis, Walter Kaminski, and Jared O’Cone conducted the investigation on behalf of the Division of Consumer Affairs and the State of New Jersey.

FAA Implements More Efficient Descent Procedures to Reduce Fuel Burn, Emissions

January 13, 2022

WASHINGTON—Descent procedures that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) put in place across the country in the 2021 will save millions of gallons of fuel and reduce CO2 and other emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons. The 42 new Optimized Profile Descents (OPDs) allow planes to glide down safely from cruising altitudes into airspace for some of the nation’s largest airports instead of the fuel-consuming stair-step procedure.

“These new efficient descent procedures both save fuel and dramatically reduce emissions, moving us closer to our goal of net-zero aviation emissions by 2050,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said. 

For each group of descents used at an airport, the FAA estimates that an average 2 million gallons of fuel is saved and 40 million pounds of emissions reduced annually. That is equivalent to eliminating the fuel and CO2 emissions of 1,300 Boeing 737 flights from Atlanta to Dallas.

“When we multiply the impact by thousands of flights, we gain real fuel savings and real environmental benefits,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said.

In 2021, the FAA implemented OPDs for Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport, Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, Lakehurst Maxfield Field in New Jersey, Love Field in Dallas, Miami International Airport, North Las Vegas Airport, Orlando International Airport, Port Columbus International Airport, Portland International Jetport, Tampa International Airport and numerous mid-size airports.

Under traditional staircase descent procedures, aircraft repeatedly level off and power up the engines. This burns more fuel and requires air traffic controllers to issue instructions at each step. With optimized descents, aircraft descend from cruising altitude to the runway in a smooth, continuous path with the engines set at near idle.

Since 2014, the FAA also has developed OPD procedures at airports in Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Northern California, Southern California and Washington, D.C. More OPD procedures will be added in 2022.

The FAA employs a growing number of new flight procedures that use less fuel and reduce noise. These include NextGen initiatives such as Performance-Based Navigation (PBN). These procedures bring more precision to routes and result in less fuel burn and reductions in CO2 greenhouse gas emissions.

In November, the U.S. released its first-ever comprehensive Aviation Climate Action Plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Earlier in 2021, the FAA announced more than $100 million in matching grants to increase aircraft efficiency, reduce noise and aircraft emissions, and develop and implement new software to reduce taxi delays. The White House also announced its Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge, a government-wide initiative designed to catalyze the production of at least three billion gallons per year by 2030.

Find more information about the FAA and its environmental efforts at its Sustainability Gateway Page