Day: December 7, 2022

Police Investigate Shooting In Trenton

December 7, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Last night December 6, 2022, just before 8:00 p.m. shots rang out in the area of Washington and Liberty Streets.

City of Trenton, Public Information Officer, Timothy J. Carroll told MidJersey.news that a victim was shot twice in the lower leg at Washington street and Liberty streets. The victim was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center Fuld and does not appear to have life threatening injuries. The Trenton Shooting Response Team was notified and is investigating.

No additional details are available at this time.



Former Middlesex County New Jersey Sheriff’s Deputy Sentenced To 15-Years In Federal Prison For Producing, Distributing and Possessing Child Pornography

December 7, 2022

PHILADELPHIA — An investigation led by Homeland Security Investigations’ Philadelphia field office — commonly called HSI Philadelphia — landed a former Middlesex County, New Jersey sheriff’s deputy in federal prison for 15 years, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for producing, distributing and possessing child pornography. Joshua Padilla, 37, of Eatontown, New Jersey, was also ordered to pay $15,300 in special assessments when he received the lengthy prison sentence Friday.

The HSI-led investigation resulted in multiple child exploitation convictions for Padilla, who was charged with those federal offenses in July 2019. He was also charged with multiple related state felonies in February 2019. Padilla pleaded guilty to one count each of producing, distributing and possessing child pornography in December 2021.

The investigation revealed that Padilla, who was a sheriff’s deputy, drove a 17-year-old girl to Northampton County, Pennsylvania, and recorded himself having unlawful sexual contact with her; he later uploaded some of that video to a social media platform.

“Rescuing the victims of exploitation will always be one of HSI’s most sacred responsibilities, especially those in vulnerable populations such as minor children. The fact that this crime occurred at the hands of a sworn law enforcement officer makes it that much more egregious,” said HSI Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge William S. Walker. “HSI and our partners in the Pennsylvania State Police will relentlessly pursue child predators, especially those in positions of trust and authority. I am very proud of the HSI special agents, PSP troopers, and assistant U.S. attorneys that brought this investigation to a conclusion and ultimately served justice for the victim.”

The investigation was led by HSI Philadelphia with significant assistance from federal, state and local law-enforcement partners.

“While child exploitation cases are always horrendous, the conduct in this case is particularly offensive because of Padilla’s position of authority and trust in the community as a law enforcement officer,” said U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero. “We stand ready with our federal, state and local partners to identify and prosecute those who would prey upon minor children — no matter who they are.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States attorneys’ offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

“As a member of law enforcement, Padilla was trusted and sworn to protect his community. He lost that trust when he violated a minor and put children’s safety at risk,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “I am thankful for the hard work of my office and the U.S. attorney’s office to hold Padilla accountable for his crimes and get a sexually violent predator off the streets. This sentencing is a reminder that being in a position of public trust does not put you above the law.”

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.



Neptune NJ Woman Charged With Stealing $146K From Former Employer

December 7, 2022

FREEHOLD – A local woman has been criminally charged with stealing more than $146,000 from her former employer over the course of about five years, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Wednesday.

Jodi L. Vanaman, 47, of Neptune Township is charged with second-degree Theft by Unlawful Taking.

The charge marks the result of an investigation by the MCPO Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau, initiated by a referral from the Neptune City Police Department. The investigation revealed that at various times from 2016 into 2021, while employed as an office manager for All Coast Service, a heating and air conditioning company headquartered in Neptune City, Vanaman allegedly made numerous unauthorized purchases using company credit cards and operating accounts, spending stolen funds on personal expenses of her own and those of a relative.

Vanaman turned herself in to authorities without incident yesterday. She was served with a summons complaint pending future proceedings to take place in Monmouth County Superior Court.

This case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer. Vanaman is being represented by Ryan Clark, Esq.

Anyone with information about this or related matters is urged to contact MCPO Detective Debra Bassinder at 800-533-7443 or Neptune City Police Department Detective Andrew Hallgring at 732-775-1615.

Convictions on second-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by up to 10 years in state prison.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.


Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset Raises First Steel Beam on Orthopedic Center of Excellence

The 76,600-Square-Foot Expansion Will Also House An Emergency Department Rapid Decision Unit

December 7, 2022

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Somerset, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, has raised the first steel beam on the new 76,600 square-foot expansion housing its new Orthopedic Center of Excellence. The vertical expansion above the hospital’s existing Orthopedics Pavilion and Emergency Department building will house 35 fully private patient rooms and a state-of-the-art rehab gym for orthopedic patients, and a 10-room ED Rapid Decision Unit.

“This expansion will continue to make RWJUH Somerset a premier destination in the region for orthopedic care, and we are excited to raise the first beam to get the project underway,” said Tony Cava, President and CEO of RWJUH Somerset. “Our Orthopedic Center of Excellence will create a preeminent facility to house all of our orthopedic patients in one area, further enhancing the care patients experience from our nationally recognized program. Additionally, the new space will facilitate future growth opportunities as we continue to evolve with the health care needs of our local community.”

The self-contained Orthopedic Center of Excellence will ensure that joint surgery patients can receive the highest quality pre-and post-operative care close to home, eliminating the need for patients to travel for surgery and rehabilitation. Patients will experience privacy and comfort through 35 thoughtfully furnished private inpatient rooms featuring amenities such as convertible sleeper sofas, USB ports and work surfaces, and a state-of-the-art rehabilitation gym. 

The project will also include a 10-room Rapid Decision Unit for RWJUH Somerset’s ED. Patients who require additional observation will occupy these rooms, helping reduce wait times in the ED providing increased comfort for patients and their families.

The project is slated to be complete in late 2024. For more information on RWJUH Somerset visit, www.rwjbh.org/somerset.

Robbinsville New Jersey Man Among 4 Indicted In $3.5 Million COVID-19 Kickback Conspiracy

December 7, 2022

NEWARK, N.J. – Four people have been charged for their roles in a kickback conspiracy involving COVID-19 testing that defrauded federal health insurance programs, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Abid Syed, 45, of East Hanover, New Jersey; Tariq Din, 55, of Saddle River, New Jersey; David Weathers, 59, of the Bronx, New York; and Muhammed Aurangzeb, 45, of Robbinsville, New Jersey, are each charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to violate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute for their roles in a scheme to defraud Medicare and the Health Resources and Services Administration COVID-19 Uninsured Program. Weathers and Aurangzeb had their initial appearances via videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge José R. Almonte. Aurangzeb was released on $100,000 unsecured bond and Weathers consented to detention. Syed and Din were charged by criminal complaint on April 11, 2022.

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

From April 2021 to April 2022, Syed and Din operated and controlled Metpath Laboratories, a clinical laboratory located in Parsippany, New Jersey, that conducted testing to detect the presence of COVID-19 in samples obtained from patients. Through Metpath, Syed and Din paid kickbacks to “marketers” – including Weathers and Aurangzeb – for referrals of COVID-19 test samples to Metpath. Weathers and Aurangzeb were each paid $5 to $30 per referral.

The conspirators tried to make the payments appear to be for legitimate business expenses. For example, Syed altered the amount of the kickback payment to make it appear as if the marketer was a “consultant” for Metpath with legitimate business expenses. In another instance, Weathers’ company – MedtechCares Inc. – issued invoices to Metpath to make it appear as though the kickback payments from Metpath were legitimate business expenses, when in fact the payments were entirely for the referrals.

Metpath received more than $3.5 million in insurance reimbursements from federal health insurance programs for COVID-19 test samples referred by Weathers and Aurangzeb.

The charge of conspiracy to violate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. The maximum fine for each count is $250,000, or twice the gross profit or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney DeNae M. Thomas of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

22-457 

Defense counsel:
Syed: Lee Vartan Esq., West Orange, New Jersey
Din: Amy Luria Esq., Michael Critchley Esq., and Armando Suarez Esq., Roseland, New Jersey
Aurangzeb: Bruce Levy Esq., Hackensack, New Jersey
Weathers: Jeff Greco Esq., New York



NJ Fish And Wildlife Announces New State Record Albacore Tuna

December 7, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–NJ Fish and Wildlife has announced that a new record albacore tuna was caught in October. The new record fish, caught by angler, Matthew Florio, broke the previous record for albacore tuna which had been caught in 1984 by 3.4 ounces. Matthew was chunking off the boat Luna Sea at the east elbow of Hudson Canyon when he reeled in the fish.

Matthew was using a Kevin Bogan 30 Stand Up rod and Penn 30 reel with 60-pound monofilament when he landed the fish. A butter fish served as the bait.


The new record albacore tuna measured 48 and 3/8 inches in length and had a girth of 37 inches.

New Jersey State Record Saltwater Fish


Angler Matthew Florio caught the new record albacore tuna in October, breaking the previous 1984 record by 3.4 ounces.