Day: January 26, 2023

Former Hillsborough School District Buildings And Grounds Director Admits To Paying Kickbacks For Fraudulent Overtime Payments

January 26, 2023

Trenton, N.J. – A Somerset County, New Jersey man yesterday admitted to paying kickbacks in return for fraudulent overtime payments that he received in connection with his former role as the Director of Buildings and Grounds for the Hillsborough Township School District, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Anthony DeLuca, 61, of Raritan, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to one count of embezzling, stealing, and obtaining by fraud more than $137,000 of funds belonging to and under the care, custody and control of the Hillsborough Township School District, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(A).

According to the documents filed in this case:

DeLuca, a long-term employee of the Hillsborough Township School District, was promoted to the position of Director of Buildings and Grounds in approximately July 2019, a salaried position that did not entitle him to overtime pay. Nevertheless, shortly after assuming this position, the School District employee to whom DeLuca reported (referred to as “Individual 1” in the Information) began directing DeLuca to claim that DeLuca was entitled receive overtime payments, including for hours which substantially exceeded those that DeLuca actually worked. DeLuca submitted these claims to Individual 1 who then authorized overtime payments for DeLuca in return for cash kickbacks.

DeLuca admitted in court yesterday that upon receiving the overtime payments approved by Individual 1, DeLuca would typically withdraw cash from his bank account to provide kickbacks to Individual 1. DeLuca stated that Individual 1 would designate the location to which DeLuca should deliver envelopes containing the cash kickbacks, including the console of Individual 1’s vehicle and a drawer in Individual 1’s office desk. DeLuca admitted that through this scheme he received in excess of $137,000 in overtime payments to which he was not entitled and that he provided Individual 1 with at least $39,800 in kickbacks between July 2019 and January 2022.

DeLuca faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and maximum fine of 250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for June 1, 2023.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel in Newark; and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor John P. McDonald, with the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. McCarren of the Office’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the Information pertain to Anthony DeLuca and any other individuals referenced are presumed innocent unless and until those individuals are proven guilty.

23-025 

Defense counsel: S. Emile Lisboa IV, Esq., Hackensack, NJ



Police Identify 60-Year-Old Hamilton Man Killed In Yesterday’s Accident In Ewing Township

January 26, 2023

EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Ewing Police have identified Michael Roche, 60, of Hamilton as the victim of yesterday’s accident on Route 31.

Police, Fire and EMS responded to Pennington Road and Summerset Street at 5:48 p.m. for a motor vehicle crash involving a pedestrian. The investigation revealed that Michael Roche, 60, was struck by a single vehicle. He was transported to The Trauma Center at Captial Health Regional Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries.

The Ewing Township Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is investigation the crash. Any witnesses are asked to contact Detective Justin Quinlan at 609-882-1313 extension 7512 or by email at jquinlan@ewingnj.org Information can also be sent by text or the confidential tip line to 609-882-7530 or emailed to policetipline@ewingnj.org



New Unit Within Division of Criminal Justice to Investigate and Prosecute Human Trafficking in New Jersey

January 26, 2023

TRENTON – As crimes involving forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation continue to grow nationwide, Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced a new unit within the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) that will focus exclusively on investigating and prosecuting these types of human trafficking crimes in New Jersey.

The newly established Human Trafficking Unit will spearhead New Jersey’s fight against human trafficking through aggressive pursuit of criminal networks that trade in people and exploit them for profit. 

 “Human Trafficking is a despicable crime that exploits the most vulnerable members of society, subjecting them to unspeakable emotional, physical, and psychological trauma. Today we are sending a message to those engaged in these heinous acts: your days are numbered,” said Attorney General Platkin. “Our newly created Human Trafficking Unit has but one mandate, to identify and dismantle human trafficking networks operating in New Jersey and bring justice for those they’ve harmed.”

Attorney General Platkin announced the new unit during his remarks at DCJ’s 13th annual Human Trafficking Awareness Event at the Trenton War Memorial today. The day-long event, held each year during January’s National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, brings together members of law enforcement, community partners, advocacy groups, and survivors of human trafficking to educate and raise awareness of this global health issue and collaborate on ways to end it.

“Victims of human trafficking are subjected to the most reprehensible physical and emotional abuse that results in psychological scars that last a lifetime,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). “The creation of the Human Trafficking Unit allows us to partner with the Division of Criminal Justice and shows our dedication to utilize every resource at our disposal to bring these criminals to justice. We remain committed to working with our partners to aggressively target these offenders, but we remind everyone to remain vigilant and report these heinous crimes to law enforcement.”

DCJ Director Pearl Minato said the creation of the Human Trafficking Unit is a game changer. 

“I want to thank Attorney General Platkin for prioritizing our mission to end modern day slavery in New Jersey by providing DCJ with the resources needed to tackle the problem of human trafficking head on,” said Director Minato. “This team of seasoned litigators and investigators, under the leadership of Deputy Director Theresa Hilton, will be capable of pursuing complex trafficking networks across jurisdictional boundaries and bring charges that result in significant prison sentences.”

Deputy Director Theresa Hilton, a veteran litigator with extensive experience prosecuting sex assault crimes, was brought on by the Attorney General in September to oversee sexual and domestic violence prevention policy and criminal enforcement work – a role General Platkin created within the Division of Criminal Justice. In that role she will also now lead the new unit. Prior to joining DCJ, Hilton led the domestic violence unit at the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, where she revamped policies to remove artificial barriers to justice, including those that unfairly placed the weight of prosecutions on the shoulders of victims. 

“I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to lead the Human Trafficking Unit in spearheading statewide efforts to identify criminal trafficking rings, hold perpetrators accountable, and empower survivors with tools for recovery,” said Deputy Director Hilton. “I look forward to working with all levels of law enforcement, government and community stakeholders, and trafficking survivors to bring an end to the scourge of human trafficking in our state.”

Every year, millions of men, women, and children in the world, including in the U.S., are bought and sold for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation. Human Trafficking is a crime whose victims are often hidden in plain sight and signs of human trafficking often go unnoticed because the relationship between trafficker and victim masquerades as consensual romantic or familial relationships or as legitimate employment relationships. Often times, human trafficking victims have been so coerced or traumatized they don’t view themselves as victims at all. For these reasons, it’s difficult to estimate the extent to which the problem exists in New Jersey. However, the FBI considers New Jersey to be a “hub” for this type of activity, in part because the state is positioned between several major metropolitan areas including New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.

The Attorney General, DCJ, and NJSP work collaboratively to combat human trafficking through education, collaboration, and prosecution. Those efforts include: training and assisting federal, state, and local law enforcement officers to identify the signs of trafficking and its victims; coordinating statewide efforts to identify and provide services to victims; investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases; and raising public awareness through public outreach and educational materials.

NJSP administers a NJ Human Trafficking Hotline to identify and intervene in human trafficking cases. Last year, the hot line received 97 tips on suspected human trafficking. All tips are screened and forwarded to DCJ or other appropriate law enforcement entities, including municipal police departments and county prosecutors’ offices.

To better understand and address the problem of human trafficking in New Jersey, the Attorney General and DCJ convened the New Jersey Human Trafficking Task Force (NJHTTF) in 2005. Comprised of state and federal law enforcement agencies, state regulatory departments, advocacy groups, and social service providers, the NJHTTF shares intelligence and insight into where and how traffickers target victims in New Jersey. That information is used to coordinate and drive investigations, law enforcement training, and victim outreach and public awareness efforts.

Since January 2018, approximately two dozen human trafficking cases in New Jersey have been prosecuted by county prosecutors’ offices and the Division of Criminal Justice. The new Human Trafficking Unit was created to enhance and expand New Jersey’s efforts to end human trafficking by assembling a select group of professionals within DCJ who are uniquely qualified and experienced investigate and prosecute these crimes.


Deputy Director Theresa Hilton, a veteran litigator with extensive experience prosecuting sex assault crimes, was brought on by the Attorney General in September to oversee sexual and domestic violence prevention policy and criminal enforcement work – a role General Platkin created within the Division of Criminal Justice. In that role she will also now lead the new unit. Prior to joining DCJ, Hilton led the domestic violence unit at the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, where she revamped policies to remove artificial barriers to justice, including those that unfairly placed the weight of prosecutions on the shoulders of victims. 


Police Seek Public’s Assistance In Neptune Township Fatal Crash

January 26, 2023

FREEHOLDLaw enforcement officials are requesting the community’s help from anyone who may have witnessed a fatal crash on Route 66 in Neptune Township Tuesday night, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Thursday.

On January 24, 2023, at approximately 9:56 p.m., the Neptune Township Police Department responded to a crash at the intersection of Route 66 and Neptune Boulevard. The investigation revealed that a 33-year-old female driver was driving a 2014 Honda Civic eastbound on Route 66 through the intersection of Neptune Boulevard. Simultaneously, a 52-year-old male resident of the Wanamassa section of Ocean Township was riding an Ecotric Starfish Electric Bicycle southbound on Neptune Boulevard through the intersection of Route 66 when he collided with the front driver’s side corner of the Civic, propelling him onto the hood and windshield of the vehicle.

The male bicyclist was transported to a local hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries at 1:13 a.m. on Wednesday, January 25.

The female driver was uninjured in the crash and remained on scene. No summonses or criminal charges have been issued at this time.

The crash is under investigation by members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County Serious Collision Analysis Response Team (SCART), and the Neptune Township Police Department. Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is urged to contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Brian Boryszeswki at 800-533-7443 or Neptune Township Police Department Sergeant James MacConchie at 732-988-8000.