Day: March 30, 2023

Ex-NJ State Police Sergeant Sentenced to Five Years in Prison After Using NJSP Identification While Suspended to Get Out of Traffic Stops

March 30, 2023

FREEHOLD — Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced that a former member of the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) has been sentenced to prison time without the possibility of parole, after a jury found him guilty of misusing an NJSP identification card, which he should not have had in his possession, in order to get out of a series of police traffic stops in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Ex-NJSP Sgt. Marc Dennis, 51, of Waretown, was sentenced on charges of official misconduct and a pattern of official misconduct. State Superior Court Judge Lourdes Lucas, presiding in Monmouth County, ordered Dennis to serve five years in state prison, during which he will be ineligible for parole.

When Dennis was suspended by the State Police in September 2016, he was ordered to surrender his NJSP identifications and was relieved of his law enforcement powers. But an investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and the NJSP Office of Professional Standards revealed that he improperly retained a State Police identification he had been issued, and was presenting it to officers who pulled him over on at least nine occasions, all while he was suspended from duty.

“This defendant used a State Police ID he improperly retained after a suspension to benefit himself by violating the public’s trust,” said Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “I am deeply grateful for the commitment, sacrifice and upstanding character that the vast majority of our state’s law enforcement officers exhibit on and off the job. We will not tolerate abusive behavior by one bad actor reflecting poorly on the numerous officers abiding by the law, upholding it and making New Jersey safer.”

“This ousted sergeant improperly and deceitfully posed as an active-duty member of the State Police to law enforcement during traffic stops to get favorable treatment,” said OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher. “The court’s decision in this case was a just outcome and illustrates that no one is above the law.”

Dennis’ initial suspension and charges dated to September 2016, stemming from his job performance. He was accused of failing to follow State Police procedures while claiming otherwise in official records and certifications.

When he was suspended, Dennis was told to hand over his NJSP identifications. OPIA investigators found he surrendered most of them, but not all: he held onto a NJSP ID that he had obtained after reporting in January 2016 that he had lost his wallet. The investigation found that the defendant was making use of that ID, in spite of his suspension and pending criminal case, by presenting it to police officers who pulled him over in Marlboro, Toms River, Berkeley Township, Lakehurst and elsewhere. The defendant was stopped nine times from the date of his suspension, September 19, 2016, through April 2018, and during those stops he had shown that ID and presented himself as an active member of the NJSP.

Following his trial, on May 10, 2022, a jury convicted Dennis of one count each of second-degree official misconduct, second-degree pattern of official misconduct, and third-degree theft by unlawful taking in connection with his misuse of his ID to avoid motor vehicle citations.

After hearing extensive arguments from both sides at the Monmouth County Courthouse in Freehold on March 15, 2023, Judge Lucas sentenced the defendant on both the official misconduct and pattern of official misconduct counts, with the sentences to run concurrently, and merged the theft count. The court also ordered that the defendant forfeit his pension and job, and banned him from public employment for life.

The sentencing was handled by Deputy Attorney General Sherrod Smith and OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione, under the supervision of OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher.

Defense attorneys

Eric Todd Kanefsky, Gregory Mullens and Gianna Bove, of Calcagni & Kanefsky, Newark.

Perth Amboy Campaign Workers Indicted For Bribery, Witness Tampering And Election Law Violations

March 30, 2023

PERTH AMBOY, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announced today that three campaign workers for a Perth Amboy City Council candidate have been indicted for Bribery, Witness Tampering and Election Law Violations.

On March 30, 2023, following the presentation of evidence by Assistant Prosecutor Russell Curley, the Middlesex County grand jury returned a seven- count indictment charging campaign workers Ana Camilo, 62, Annet Sanchez, 52, and Maria Peralta, 60, all of Perth Amboy, with various offenses stemming from their involvement in efforts to offer gift cards to voters in return for completed mail-in ballots that contained votes for their chosen candidate.

Camillo was indicted on two counts of third-degree Bribery, third- degree Unlawful Possession of a Ballot, third-degree Attempt to Cast an Illegal Ballot and third-degree Election Law Violation, for her role in meeting and attempting to bribe an undercover detective, who was posing as a Perth Amboy voter.

Sanchez and Peralta were indicted on one count of third-degree Retaliation Against a Witness for their roles in engaging in harassing conduct toward a witness who provided information concerning Camilo’s involvement in the voter fraud.

New Jersey election law prohibits the offering of any inducements for voting for a particular candidate. Please visit the Middlesex County Clerk’s website for any questions regarding mail-in ballots at

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Camilo are merely accusations and she is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Former Sayreville Democratic Party Leader and Family Members Indicted

March 30, 2023

SAYERVILLE, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Daniel Plumacker of the Sayreville Police Department announced today that Thomas

V. Pollando, the former Sayreville Borough Democratic Chairman, has been indicted along with his son and daughter-in-law.

Over the course of an investigation spanning weeks in July and August of 2022, Detectives from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office were conducting electronic surveillance of a business in Sayreville. While conducting surveillance, detectives observed Pollando accept several thousands of dollars in cash and heard him claiming that he would attempt to use his political clout to influence an ongoing criminal case. Further investigation into Pollando revealed that he directed another candidate’s campaign funds for Sayreville Borough Council to be used to pay for personal expenditures and he also directed that election records be falsified to cover up that payment.

On March 30, 2023, Following the presentation of evidence by Assistant Prosecutor Russell Curley, the Middlesex County Grand Jury returned a fourteen-count indictment charging Thomas V. Pollando, 73, David Pollando, 42 and Lizmarie Pollando, 29, all of Sayreville, with various offenses. Thomas Pollando was charged with three counts of second-degree Bribery, second-degree Acceptance of an Unlawful Benefit by a Public Official, third-degree Hindering His Own Apprehension, fourth-degree Theft by Deception, fourth-degree Falsifying Public Records, second-degree Official Misconduct and second-degree Pattern of Official Misconduct. David Pollando was charged with second-degree Conspiracy, second-degree Witness Tampering, second-degree Retaliation Against a Witness and third- degree Terroristic Threats. Lizmarie Pollando was charged with second- degree Conspiracy and third-degree Hindering the Apprehension of Another.

The counts against David and Lizmarie Pollando stem from an encounter in November 2022 that occurred in Old Bridge, wherein it is alleged that David Pollando threatened a witness. The investigation further revealed

that Lizmarie Pollando alerted her husband to the witnesses’ location and thereafter lied to police when questioned about the incident.

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Thomas, David, and Lizmarie Pollando are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Medford Man Charged With Murdering Wife, Medical Examiner Concludes Homicide Due To Compression Of Victim’s Neck

March 30, 2023

MEDFORD, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw and Medford Township Police Chief Arthur E. Waterman announced that a Medford Township man has been charged with killing his wife in their Regent Court home last week.

Babu Natarajan, 40, was charged with Murder (First Degree). He was taken into custody yesterday at his residence and lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly pending a detention hearing in Superior Court.

The case will be prepared for presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.

The investigation began on the afternoon of March 21, when officers from the Medford Township Police Department were called to the residence for a report of an unconscious and unresponsive female adult.

Upon arrival, they found the body of Angammal Babu, 41, on the bed in the upstairs master bedroom. The 911 call was placed by the defendant, who indicated to responding officers that his wife had taken a nap because she was tired.

An autopsy performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood concluded that the manner of death was homicide, and the cause of death was due to compression of the victim’s neck.

The investigation was conducted by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the Medford Township Police Department. The lead investigators are BCPO Detective Al-Jerome Burnett-Crawford, BCPO Detective Melyssa Alonso, MTPD Detective Sergeant Jeff Samalonis and MTPD Detective Mark Hunsinger.

Natarajan will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Bob Van Gilst, supervisor of the BCPO the Major Crimes Unit.

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

Babu Natarajan, 40, was charged with Murder (First Degree). He was taken into custody yesterday at his residence and lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly pending a detention hearing in Superior Court.

Car Crashes Though Fence On Route 29 In Trenton

March 30, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Around 8:47 a.m. Trenton Police Department and Trenton Fire Department responded to Route 29 between Lee Avenue and Sanhican Drive for a accident with reported entrapment. Upon arrival of the fire department it was reported that a car crashed through a fence, and everyone was out of the vehicle walking around with no reported life-threating injuries. Trenton fire units remained on scene for a short time. Trenton Police is investigating the crash. No further information is available.

Photos by: Brian McCarthy

Ewing Firefighters Extinguish Rubbish Fire With Exposure To Residence

March 30, 2023

EWING TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 8:54 a.m. Ewing Township Fire Departments responded to the first block of Farrell Avenue for a reported rubbish fire with exposure to the home. Firefighters arrived and quickly extinguished the fire. Fire Investigators were called to the scene. No additional details are available at this time.

Photos by: Brian McCarthy

Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich From Princeton, NJ Detained In Russia On Espionage Claim

March 30, 2023

PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–The Wall Street Journal reported that one of their reporters, Evan Gershkovich, a U.S. citizen, was detained by Russia on Russian claims of espionage.

Evan Gershkovich was a 2010 graduate of Princeton High School and was captain of the boy’s soccer team his senior year.

It is the first time a U.S. correspondent has been detained on spying accusations since the Cold War. The Wall Street Journal  “vehemently denies” the allegations and seeks his immediate release.

According to Gershkovich LinkedIn profile he is a reporter with the Wall Street Journal since January 2022. He has also worked for AFP Agence France-Presse, The Moscow Times, The New York Times and Fellow Princeton in Asia. He graduated Bowdoin College in 2014.

Evan Gershkovich, a reporter with the Wall Street Journal detained in Russia on claims of espionage. Photo from LinkedIn profile.

Gottheimer Statement on American Journalist and New Jersey Native Evan Gershkovich Detained in Russia

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, March 30, 2023, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, released the following statement regarding the Russian detainment of American citizen, Wall Street Journal reporter, and New Jersey native Evan Gershkovich:

“Not since the Cold War has a foreign journalist been charged with espionage in Russia, but ruthless dictator Vladimir Putin has continued his egregious acts of aggression — this time targeting American journalist and New Jersey native Evan Gershkovich. Putin must be held accountable for his horrific war of aggression against Ukraine and for the unjust detainment of an American citizen.

Putin and his cronies will do everything in their power to suppress free speech and the press in an attempt to cover up their atrocious and inhumane war crimes. There cannot be proper accountability without freedom of the press.

I will do everything I can to help secure Mr. Gershkovich’s freedom. I have requested an immediate briefing from the House Intelligence Committee and will continue to be in communication with the State Department. 

We must stand united against Russia’s vicious attack on democracy and freedom of the press.” photos:

Photos of Evan Gershkovich a Princeton High School Graduate played on the soccer team for the high school.