Month: July 2023

Rising Junior at Steinert High School to Perform on National School of Rock AllStars Tour and Raise Funds to Support Teen Suicide Prevention

July 21, 2023

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Dean Svecz, a 16-year-old resident of Hamilton Township and a vocal student at School of Rock Princeton, will be a member of the School of Rock AllStars, which is a touring ensemble of some of the top teen musicians from School of Rock franchises from across the country.  Dean and his AllStars bandmates will perform at venues across four midwestern states from July 31 through August 5 to support mental health awareness as well as raise funds for the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide (SPTS).

“The AllStars tour is going to be an amazing and once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says Svecz, who began as a student at SoR Princeton in 2020 and whose biggest inspirations are Elvis Presley and Freddie Mercury.  “I’m looking forward to meeting new people, performing at incredible venues, and helping to support SPTS.”

Being a member of the AllStars represents the highest level of achievement for School of Rock music students. Fewer than 1% of 62,000 SoR students from across the country are selected to join the ensemble.

Dean and his Midwest Team band will have an authentic touring experience, including traveling on a tour bus, doing publicity, and starring in nightly performances at such venues as Zanzabar in Louisville, KY;  Old Rock House in St. Louis, MO;  Reggie’s Rock Club and the Lollapalooza Fest in Chicago; Fitzgerald’s Night Club in Berwyn, IL; and Hi-Fi Annex in Indianapolis, IN.

A portion of the ticket sales and donations that are collected during the School of Rock AllStars tour will support SPTS, which is dedicated to reducing the stigma around discussing suicide and empowering teens, parents, and educators with the skills needed to help youths in crisis.

Dean Svecz from Hamilton Township. Photo: provided

64-Year-Old Woodbridge Man Charged In Seeking Sex With 14-Year-Old For Cash

July 21, 2023

FREEHOLD – A Middlesex County man has been arrested and charged with seeking a sexual encounter with an underage girl in exchange for cash, Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago announced Thursday.  

Martin Klose, 64, of Woodbridge is charged with second-degree Luring, second-degree Sexual Assault, and third-degree Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child. An investigation by members of the MCPO Special Victims Bureau and High Tech Bureau revealed that Klose was attempting to set up a sexual encounter with an individual he believed to be a 14-year-old girl via the Internet. Klose was taken into custody without incident earlier this week.  

Investigators are also seeking additional information about Klose’s activities. Anyone with information is being asked to contact Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Anthony Lacher at 800-533-7443.  

Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/1182), by calling 800-671-4400 or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.  

Convictions on charges of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of up to 10 years in state prison, along with being subject to the provisions of Megan’s Law registration and Parole Supervision for Life.   This case is assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Joseph Competello.  

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.


Pair From Trenton Busted in Connection to Hamilton Township Auto Thefts

July 21, 2023

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On Thursday July 20, 2023 at approximately 5:00 a.m., Hamilton Police were dispatched to the 800 block of South Olden Avenue on a report of two males entering vehicles in the area.  A witness was watching the suspects enter vehicles and gave a description to dispatch.  Upon arrival, Officer checked the area and located both suspects.  Officer Avanzato Jr. and Officer Mutek were able to arrest one of the suspects while the other suspect fled on foot.  Officer Fratz and Officer Aquino arrived on scene and were able to locate and arrest the other suspect.  Further investigation revealed the two suspects not only entered vehicles in the area but also were in possession of a stolen vehicle they drove to the area.  The suspects were identified as Malachi Davis, 20, of Trenton and a 16-year-old juvenile from Trenton.      

Davis and the juvenile were charged with two counts of Burglary to Auto, two counts of Theft, Receiving Stolen Property, Hindering Apprehension, and Possession of Burglar’s Tools.  Davis was transported to the Mercer County Correctional Facility pending a detention hearing.       

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Mike Durand of the Hamilton Police Division Major Crimes Unit at (609) 689-5827, Detective Tom Clugsten of the Hamilton Police Division Juvenile Unit at (609) 581-4027 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at (609) 581-4008.  


Malachi Davis, 20, of Trenton


Fatal Berkeley Township Fire Ruled Accidental

July 21, 2023

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on July 20, 2023, at approximately 1:50 p.m., the Berkeley Township Police Department and Berkeley Township Fire Departments were dispatched to a structure fire at 1 Miles Pond Road in Berkeley Township.  During fire suppression efforts, the deceased body of a 77 year-old female victim was discovered in the dining room of the structure.    

A thorough and extensive investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Arson Squad, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Berkeley Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Berkeley Township Bureau of Fire Prevention, determined that the fire originated in the kitchen of the structure – more specifically in the dishwasher – and that a failure of energized electrical equipment cannot be eliminated as the cause of the fire. The cause of the fire has been ruled accidental.    

“We have been unable to locate any next of kin for the victim that perished in this fire.  Anyone in possession of information concerning this victim who resided at 1 Miles Pond Rd., including any family members, please contact Detective John Doran of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, extension 3524,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.    

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Arson Squad, Ocean County Fire Marshal’s Office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Berkeley Township Police Department Detective Bureau, and Berkeley Township Bureau of Fire Prevention, for their combined and cooperative efforts in connection with this fire suppression and investigation.

Hamilton Informs Taxpayers of Estimated Third Quarter Tax Bill

July 21, 2023

HAMILTON, NJ – Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin and the Township Council have authorized an estimated third-quarter tax bill for residents to stay current with statutory mandates for tax collection. 

Locally, and for the third year in a row, Hamilton Township will have no local municipal tax increase. However, Hamilton Township collects property taxes for Mercer County and Hamilton Township School District. To date, Mercer County still needs to adopt its 2023 budget. For this reason, the Township will begin mailing an estimated third-quarter-only bill based on what the Township believes Mercer County’s tax rate will be once its budget is adopted.

 
“Hamilton collects property taxes for more than just your local government; we also collect for Mercer County and Hamilton Township School District. While Mercer County’s tax rate is unknown and Hamilton Township has no increase, the Hamilton Township School Board adopted a budget with a minor increase of less than $1/month for the average homeowner,” noted Mayor Jeff Martin. “Taken together, both of your local Hamilton government entities have again shown how diligently they are working to make living in ‘America’s Favorite Hometown’ affordable. Together with the NJ ANCHOR property tax rebate program, many residents are paying less in property taxes in 2023 than they did in 2019.” 


While Hamilton Township has worked hard to control the impacts of inflation, the Township knows many need help to make ends meet. If you or someone you know needs help paying your bills, programs such as the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), and the Senior Freeze Program (PTR) are available to assist. 


Residents may contact HAMStat with questions and information on the tax billing and assistance programs by calling (609) 586-0311, texting (609) 710-9600, emailing HAMStat@hamiltonnj.com or submitting a request through our mobile app or online portal at www.HamiltonNJ.com/311. Hamilton Township will mail a reconciled tax bill later this summer or early fall for the fourth quarter of 2023 and preliminary first and second quarters of 2024 after Mercer County passes its budget. 


Five Charged With Multimillion-Dollar Fraud Scheme; Defendants From Lakewood, Israel And Canada

July 19, 2023

NEWARK, N.J. – A New Jersey man whose 24-year federal prison sentence was commuted after being twice convicted of defrauding investors of a total of $230 million was charged today with four other men for committing additional crimes, including conspiring to defraud investors of more than $35 million, and with conspiracy to obstruct justice, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

A criminal complaint was unsealed today charging each of the five defendants with one count of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. The defendants are: Eliyahu “Eli” Weinstein, aka Mike Konig, 48, Aryeh “Ari” Bromberg, 49, and Joel Wittels, 57, all of Lakewood, New Jersey, along with Shlomo Erez, 55, a citizen and resident of Israel, and Alaa Hattab, 34, of Otttowa, Canada. The three defendants who were arrested are scheduled to make their initial appearances today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne Bongiovanni in Trenton federal court; Wittels and Hattab remain at large.

“As alleged in the complaint, Weinstein, along with four other individuals, has once again perpetrated a sophisticated fraud scheme causing losses of millions of dollars,” said U.S. Attorney Sellinger. “He did so by using a fake name and falsely promising access to deals involving scarce medical supplies, baby formula, and first-aid kits supposedly destined for wartime Ukraine. These were brazen and sophisticated crimes that involved multiple conspirators and drew right from Weinstein’s playbook of fraud. No matter how many times someone attempts to prey on innocent investors, my office will dedicate whatever resources are necessary to root out and punish fraudsters.”

“We allege Mr. Weinstein took part in a new scheme to rip off investors by hiding his real identity,” Special in Charge James E. Dennehy of the Newark FBI said. “He was aware his actions were against the terms of his release on a previous investment fraud conviction, and we allege he engaged in criminal activity anyway. I want to commend everyone who worked on this investigation. Cases like this can be tedious, and at times very frustrating, but the investigative team does the work to prevent more people from being victimized and to ensure career criminals face the justice they deserve.”

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

Weinstein was convicted two times in New Jersey federal court for defrauding investors. His first case involved a real estate Ponzi scheme, and his second case stemmed from additional fraud Weinstein committed while on pretrial release. For these crimes, which resulted in combined losses to investors of approximately $230 million, Weinstein was sentenced to serve 24 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. On Jan. 19, 2021, after Weinstein had served less than eight years, the President of the United States at that time commuted Weinstein’s term to time served, leaving intact the rest of his sentence.

Soon after being released from prison, Weinstein began orchestrating a new scheme to solicit money from investors through a company called Optimus Investments Inc. (Optimus). Using the fake name “Mike Konig,” Weinstein ran Optimus with Bromberg and Wittels. They kept Weinstein’s true name and identity hidden because, as Weinstein acknowledged in a secretly recorded conversation, investors wouldn’t give them “a penny” if they learned of Weinstein’s involvement.

Weinstein, Bromberg, and Wittels received the bulk of investor money through a second company, Tryon Management Group LLC, which was owned and controlled by two other conspirators. Tryon promised these individual investors – consisting mostly of friends and family – lucrative opportunities to invest in deals involving COVID-19 masks, scarce baby formula, and first-aid kits supposedly bound for wartime Ukraine. Posing as Mike Konig, Weinstein provided the information for these supposed deals. Based on that information, investors gave money to Tryon, believing the deals were legitimate and not knowing about Weinstein’s involvement. In turn, Tryon transferred those funds to Weinstein, through Optimus.

In February 2022, almost immediately after Tryon and Optimus started receiving investor money, Tryon was unable to pay its investors. Rather than reveal this information to investors, Weinstein, Bromberg, and Wittels agreed with Tryon’s owners to pool money from existing investors of both Optimus and Tryon and use it to make monthly payments to other investors in a Ponzi-like fashion. Bromberg, Wittels, and the Tryon owners concealed this arrangement from investors by falsely telling investors that the payments derived from legitimate investment returns, not other investors’ money.

In late August 2022, Weinstein revealed his true identity to the Tryon owners, admitting in a secretly recorded meeting, “I am Eli Weinstein.” In another recorded August 2022 meeting, Weinstein admitted to misappropriating Tryon investor money and making various false statements about the purported Optimus deals. Weinstein acknowledged that he was conducting a Ponzi scheme, stating, “I finagled, and Ponzied, and lied to people to cover us.”

Erez claimed to be Weinstein’s attorney and helped conceal Weinstein’s true identity by, among other things, receiving and managing money on Weinstein’s behalf.. Hattab served as a broker for Optimus and helped conceal Weinstein’s involvement from investors and his business activities from the United States Probation Office.

Once the Tryon owners learned that Mike Konig was actually Weinstein, they agreed with the defendants to continue concealing Weinstein’s identity from investors and to raise additional money to pay off existing Tryon investors, all in an effort to stop the Ponzi scheme from falling apart and to cover up the fraud.

In addition to defrauding investors, the defendants also conspired to obstruct justice. They helped hide Weinstein’s assets that should have been used to pay over $200 million in restitution that he still owes his previous victims. The defendants also concealed Weinstein’s myriad business activities, which he was required to disclose to the court and which were expressly prohibited by the terms of his supervised release. In multiple secretly recorded conversations, Weinstein discussed his intent to conceal his various assets from the government. In one such conversation, Weinstein referenced hidden assets that he “can’t touch” while on supervised release because he’d otherwise “go to jail.” Weinstein then boasted, “I just told you something that no one in the world knows because I hid money. Get it?”

The wire fraud conspiracy charge is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison. The obstruction conspiracy charge is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison. Each count is also punishable by a maximum fine of either $250,000 or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also filed a civil complaint against Weinstein, Bromberg, Wittels, Hattab, and two other individuals based on the same and additional conduct.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Dennehy, with the investigation leading to the charges in this case. He also expressed appreciation for the Securities and Exchange Commission, under the direction of Antonia Apps, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Fayer and Emma Spiro of the Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

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

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Defense counsel:
Weinstein: Eric Creizman Esq., New York
Bromberg: Ricardo Solano Esq., Newark






Mail Theft Arrest In Lawrence Township

July 19, 2023

LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On Monday, July 17, 2023, Lawrence Township Police Detective Dean Sawasky was conducting surveillance in the area of the United States Post Office (Circle Branch) located at 2601 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville, NJ. Surveillance was being conducted as a result of the recent uptick of mail theft incidents occurring from U.S. Postal mailboxes in the area.

At approximately 2:35 a.m., Detective Sawasky observed a white sport utility vehicle drop off a passenger along Brunswick Pike in front of the Post Office. The SUV then proceeded into a nearby business parking lot. The passenger of the vehicle that was dropped off was observed by Detective Sawasky attempting to enter the Post Office mailbox in the parking lot of the post office.

As Detective Sawasky approached the suspect at the mailbox, the suspect fled on foot and out of sight of the Detective. Prior to the suspect fleeing, evidence of the attempted burglary to the mailbox was left behind and recovered by police.

Detective Sawasky and assisting Lawrence Township Police Offices then approached the suspect white SUV. Yefry Hernandez-Martinez (30-year-old male, 1200 block of Woodycrest St, Bronx, NY) was arrested and charged with criminal attempt burglary. Hernandez-Martinez was released from custody on a criminal complaint summons.  

The investigation is continuing and anyone with information regarding the theft of mail is asked to contact Detective Sawasky at 609-844-7125 or dsawasky@lawrencetwp.com.


“Done Deal” Sport Fishing Boat Burns In Delaware Bay; U.S. Coast Guard Rescues Man From Water

July 19, 2023

CAPE MAY, NJ –The Coast Guard rescued a man from the water Tuesday, July 18, 2023, after his boat caught fire in the Delaware Bay. 

A Cumberland County, New Jersey, dispatcher called Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay watchstanders at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday and relayed that a 42-foot sport fisher, the Done Deal, was on fire near Delaware Bay’s main shipping channel.

Simultaneously, the Coast Guard command center received an alert that an emergency position indicating radio beacon, registered to the Done Deal, was activated near the same location. The dispatcher also reported that a nearby good Samaritan who reported the distress was providing detailed updates on the situation. The good Samaritan said the boat was fully engulfed in flames and the sole occupant was on the bow. 

An underway Coast Guard 29-foot Response Boat—Small crew, based out of Station Fortesque, New Jersey, immediately diverted to assist. The Coast Guard crew quickly arrived on-scene, located and recovered the man from the water. 

Response boat crews from the Downe Township Fire and Rescue, in New Jersey, and Little Creek Fire Company, in Delaware, arrived on-scene and fought the fire until it was extinguished.

The Coast Guard rescue crew took the survivor to Higbee’s Marina in Fortescue, New Jersey, where his care was transferred to awaiting emergency medical services personnel. No medical concerns were reported beyond possible smoke inhalation.

“It is important to highlight the teamwork involved in ensuring the safe recovery of the boater and extinguishing the fire,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Higgins, the search and rescue mission coordinator at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay. “The efficient and fast communications from everyone involved, especially from the good Samaritan, were critical in saving this man’s life today.” 

Coast Guard marine environmental responders from Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay are monitoring for environmental concerns.

The boat’s owner is arranging commercial salvage. The incident is under investigation. 

The U.S. Coast Guard, Down Township Fire Department, and Little Creek Fire Department respond to a 42-foot recreational boat fire in Delaware Bay, July 18, 2023. The mariner aboard was rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard Station Cape May 29-foot Response Boat-Small crew and safely brought to shore. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard Station Cape May/Released)


North Carolina Man With Ties To Trenton, NJ, Sentenced To 12.5 Years In Prision For Distributing Heroin And Firearms Charges

July 19, 2023

TRENTON, N.J. – A Raleigh, North Carolina, man with ties to Trenton was sentenced to 12.5 Years (151 months) in prison for distributing heroin and unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Dennis Cheston Jr., aka “Beans,” 42, previously pleaded guilty before former Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson to two counts of an indictment charging him with distributing heroin and unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Following Judge Wolfson’s retirement, the case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Georgette Castner, who imposed the sentence on July 18, 2023, in Trenton federal court.

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

From October 2017 to October 2018, law enforcement investigated a large narcotics conspiracy that operated in Trenton and elsewhere. Conspirators Jakir Taylor, aka “Jak,” and Jerome Roberts, aka “Righteous,” obtained regular supplies of hundreds of bricks of heroin from conspirator David Antonio, aka “Papi,” which Taylor, Roberts, and their conspirators then redistributed for profit in Trenton and elsewhere.

On multiple occasions, Cheston – a convicted felon with ties to the Trenton area – traveled from North Carolina to Trenton and obtained quantities of heroin from Taylor for redistribution. During one intercepted telephone call between Taylor and Cheston, Cheston advised Taylor that the heroin bearing an ink stamp that read “Top Secret” was of high quality and that Cheston’s customers in North Carolina liked it. During the course of these drug transactions, Cheston agreed to travel from North Carolina to Trenton to supply Taylor with multiple firearms in exchange for future supplies of heroin. Cheston had previously brought multiple firearms from North Carolina to New Jersey, but had provided them to other individuals instead of Taylor. In an Aug. 25, 2018, intercepted call however, Cheston promised to bring all future guns to Taylor first. On Sept. 8, 2018, law enforcement tracked Cheston as he traveled from North Carolina to Trenton. Shortly after his arrival, law enforcement officers arrested Cheston as he exited the Trenton Transit Center. During a subsequent search of Cheston’s backpack, law enforcement recovered a 9-millimeter Smith & Wesson handgun – one of the guns that Cheston had agreed to provide to Taylor over the wiretap.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Castner sentenced Cheston to three years of supervised release. Taylor and Antonio previously pleaded guilty and Roberts was previously convicted at trial.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Bryan Miller; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Steve Wilson; officers of the Princeton Police Department, under the direction of Chief Jonathan Bucchere; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief Albert Rhodes; officers of the Burlington Township Police Department, under the direction of chief John Fine; and detectives of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked officers of the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan; detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo Onofri; officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler; and members of the New Jersey State Board of Parole for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf.

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Defense Counsel: Jacqueline E. Cistaro Esq., New York

Three Injured In Early Morning Stabbing In Trenton

July 19, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Trenton Police Department, Detective Lieutenant, Nathan Bolognini told MidJersey.news that Trenton Police Communications received a 9-1-1 call at 5:51 a.m. reporting someone threatening to harm themself, with a knife at 214 Prospect Street. Trenton Police and Trenton EMS (TEMS) responded to the scene and found 3 victims. Two juveniles and one adult female sustained stab wounds and were transported to Captial Health Regional Medical Center for treatment. The condition of the victims is unknown at the time of this report. The Criminal Investigation Bureau was notified and is investigating.


Dunkin’ of Greater Philadelphia Awards $100,000 in Academic Scholarships to Regional High School and College Students

Dunkin’ awards 20 high school seniors and college students with $5,000 in academic scholarships to the institution of their choice

July 19, 2023

Dunkin’ and its greater Philadelphia-area franchisees, in partnership with Scholarship America, announced July 13, 2023, the recipients of its fourteenth annual Philadelphia Regional Scholarship Program. The program helps high school seniors and college students in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Kent and New Castle counties in Delaware pursue a part-time or full-time undergraduate degree at the institution of their choice.  

From over 1,730 applicants, Dunkin’ and Scholarship America selected 20 students to receive a $5,000 academic scholarship to an accredited two or four-year college, university, or vocational-technical school of their choice for fall 2023. Dunkin’s Philadelphia Regional Scholarship Program was open to current part-time and full-time undergraduate students and high school seniors. Dunkin’ awarded a total of $100,000 to the 20 recipients who were selected based on their academic records, demonstrated leadership skills, and overall commitment to their schools and local communities.

To date, the Dunkin’ Philadelphia Regional Scholarship Program has awarded $700,000 in scholarships to 340 outstanding high school seniors and college students. The program was founded in 2009 by Dunkin’s Philadelphia-area franchisees to ease the financial burden of college for students throughout the region.

“On behalf of my fellow Philadelphia franchisees, we are honored to award these 20 exceptional students with the 2023 Dunkin’ Philadelphia Regional Scholarships,” said Perry Shah, local Dunkin’ franchisee and Philadelphia regional advertising committee chairman. “We are proud to continue the tradition of furthering students’ educational goals in our community and help lead them to a bright future.”

The 2023 Dunkin’ Regional Scholarship recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 5, 2023, at Cherry Street Pier in Philadelphia, PA. More details on the awards ceremony to come in the following weeks.

The 2023 Dunkin’ Regional Scholarship recipients are as follows:

Atlantic County, NJ
• Olivia Palmieri: Galloway, NJ, Ocean City High School Berks County, PA
• London Cerullo: Mertztown, PA, Brandywine Heights High School


Bucks County, PA
• Laura VaBilliard: Holland, PA, Council Rock High School South
• Sophie Schenkel: Pipersville, PA, Central Bucks High School East


Burlington County, NJ
• Theodore Rumberger: Westampton, NJ, Rancocas Valley Regional High School


Camden County, NJ
• Siehra Lovett: Pine Hill, NJ, Overbrook Senior High School
• Alyssa Gallelli: Blackwood, NJ, Washington Township High School


Chester County, PA
• Leon Dang: Chester Springs, PA, Downingtown STEM Academy
• Yajat Gupta: Chester Springs, PA, Downingtown East High School


Delaware County, PA
• Tyler Debusschere: Wallingford, PA, Strath Haven High School


Kent County, DE
• Mylah Garcia: Dover, DE, Delaware State University


Lehigh County, PA
• Forum Patel: Allentown, PA, Parkland High School


Mercer County, NJ
• Ashley Wisser: Trenton, NJ, Steinert High School
• Reuben Williams: Lawrenceville, NJ, Rider University


Montgomery County, PA
• Alexandra Bari: Penn Valley, PA, William Penn Charter School


New Castle County, DE
• Maanvi Sarwadi: Bear, DE, MOT Charter High School


Northampton County, PA
• Austin Martellucci: Easton, PA, Easton Area High School


Philadelphia County, PA
• Olivia Zhao: Philadelphia, PA, Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School
• Rhea Kumar: Philadelphia, PA, Temple University
• Evelyn Huang: Philadelphia, PA, University of Pennsylvania


Ashley Wisser: Trenton, NJ, Steinert High School –

Ashley Wisser is a recent graduate of Steinert High School, where she served as a member of the Key Club, Student Government Association, dance team, field hockey team, track and field team, Environmental Club and New Jersey Future Educators Association. Ashley is a peer leader and member of the National Honor Society, National Art Society, National Spanish Honor Society and academic honor roll student. In the fall, Wisser will be attending Salisbury University, where she plans to pursue a degree in Mathematics.


Reuben Williams: Lawrenceville, NJ, Rider University –

Reuben Williams is a current student at Rider University, where he is a recipient of the Undergraduate Research Scholars Award and the Dean’s List. Reuben is an assistant coach at Greenwood Park as he helps kids learn how to swim, assists the head coach as well as a pool technician and head lifeguard. Currently, Reuben is conducting original research on housing and immigration, with a goal to compare the housing crisis that immigrants face in Trenton, New Jersey versus Medellin, Colombia. In the fall, Williams will be entering his second year at Rider University, where he pursues a degree in Political Science.


City of Trenton Awards American Rescue Plan funds to Local Nonprofit

Play Soccer Nonprofit International Receives Important Support

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Trenton City Council has approved a resolution awarding funds to local nonprofit organizations through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). Under ARP, the City can allocate federal relief funds to local organizations that seek to benefit local communities and improve children’s health. Play Soccer Nonprofit International will receive a grant of $75,000.

Play Soccer Nonprofit International, a non-profit organization located at 601 North Clinton Avenue, has operated the Trenton Youth Soccer League (TYSL) for the past seven years. The TYS is a free program providing recreational soccer opportunities to both male and female students. Funding will help support the afterschool program at nine of the districts’ schools, as well as the Saturday morning program at George Page Park, and summer programs at other parks throughout the city. More than 500 children registered with the program in 2022, and Play Soccer hopes to grow even further with the help of this funding.

“Play Soccer has been a wonderful partner for City youth for several years. We’re glad to have the ability and opportunity to give back, to thank them for their service to our City’s kids,” said Council President Teska Frisby. Mayor Reed Gusciora added, “I and many others throughout the city are continually impressed by the work of PSNI. I’m glad we’re able to use this relief funding to help Play Soccer provide more opportunities for kids to have fun and to bond with one another.”

“This grant will greatly help us continue to serve the Trenton community,” said Kurt Lituma, Vice Chair of PSNI. “We at PSNI are so very grateful to the City for awarding this funding to us, and look forward to collaborating further to spread the love of soccer throughout the City.” 

Jennifer Hernandez, a student at Trenton Central High School and a volunteer coach, shared, “Being a part of this amazing program, I’ve learned the importance of ensuring that the kids in our community are getting outside, having fun, and trying something new. In a short time, I got to know the kids really well, and fell in love with the game of soccer again. I realized how much these kids needed access to programs like this and how important the connection this sport brings is, especially in our community where people are often focused on just getting through their daily lives. The excitement of the kids when they learn something new or master a new skill means everything and makes me love being there as a coach.”


Driver Airlifted to Trauma Center After Two Vehicle Crash In Manchester

July 19, 2023

Manchester Twp NJ – On Monday, July 17, 2023, at approximately 11:13 p.m., members of the Manchester Township Police Department responded to the intersection of Commonwealth Blvd, and Northampton Blvd for the report of a two-vehicle crash.  

Upon arrival, officers observed a maroon 2009 Honda Accord, and a grey 2012 Hyundai accent with heavy front-end damage. The driver of the Hyundai, 28-year-old James Natoli of Toms River, NJ suffered an apparent head injury, and was actively seizing. First responders, aided by local Pine Lake Park residents, were able to stabilize Mr. Natoli. He was later airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center via a medevac helicopter. The driver of the Honda, 50-year-old, Thurrayya Pendleton of Forked River, NJ, sustained a non-life-threatening chest injury. Ms. Pendleton was subsequently transported via ground to Ocean University Medical Center for treatment. Both drivers appeared to have been wearing their seatbelts, and remain stable at this time.

Assisting at the scene were members of the Manchester, and Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Departments, Emergency Medical Technicians from the Manchester Township Division of Emergency Services, Robert Wood John University Hospital Paramedics, and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital LifeFlight Medevac Helicopter. The investigation into the crash is still ongoing, but at this point, a medical episode appears to be the main contributing factor. This crash is being investigated by Ptl. Keith Douglas of the Manchester Township Traffic Safety Unit.


City of Trenton Awards $20,000 Business Improvement Incentive Grant

July 19, 2023

Trenton N.J. – The City of Trenton has awarded a $20,000 business improvement incentive grant to a local Trenton business, Royal Cakes and Café, who have utilized the funds for new flooring, bathrooms, and equipment at their new location, 240 E State Street.

Royal Cakes and Café first opened in 2020 as Royal Cake Creations, a bakery-exclusive business located at 9 North Willow Street. They have since opened a second location at Quakerbridge Mall. The new location in Trenton will allow Royal Cakes and Café to function as a restaurant and café in addition to a bakery, employing and serving Trentonians fresh meals, coffee, and baked goods.

Royal Cakes and Café is co-owned by longtime Trenton residents Tiajuana Reyes and Robert Williamson, who are set to be married next month after 14 years together. The business is named after their daughter, Royal Williamson. Tiajuana acts as primary baker, while Robert manages the finances and operations. A self-taught baker, Tiajuana credits her faith and perseverance with her success, “We put God first in everything that we do. Being business owners, we work hard and never give up when things seem to fail. We learn from out mistakes and build from there” said Robert Williamson.  

“We are glad to support another Trenton-owned and operated business in our City” said Mayor Reed Gusciora. “Royal Cakes and Café’s delicious baked goods are a great addition to downtown Trenton. I wish Tijuana and Robert continuing commercial success, and a happy marriage. We are lucky to have hardworking and inspiring small business owners like them in the Capital City.”

Trenton Man Gets 25-Years In Prison For Heroin Trafficking And Firearms Charges

July 19, 2023

TRENTON, N.J. – A Mercer County, New Jersey, man was sentenced yesterday to 25-Years (300 months) in prison for heroin trafficking and firearms charges, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Timothy Wimbush, aka “Young Money,” 33, was convicted in October 2021 of conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin, distribution of heroin, possession of a firearm in furtherance of his heroin distribution, and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition by a convicted felon following a three-week trial before former Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson. Following Judge Wolfson’s retirement, the case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Georgette Castner, who imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in the case and the evidence at trial:

In 2018, defendant Wimbush and others participated in a large drug trafficking conspiracy that operated in various areas of Trenton, which sought to profit from the distribution of heroin.

On Sept. 6, 2018, law enforcement officers stopped Wimbush’s green 2002 Volkswagen Passat after observing Wimbush’s co-defendant, Taquan Williams, a previously convicted felon, enter the vehicle carrying a yellow plastic bag believed to contain contraband. The Passat was driven by and registered to Wimbush, who also was a previously convicted felon. During a subsequent search of Wimbush’s vehicle, law enforcement recovered from a secret trap compartment installed under the rear passenger’s seat 57 bricks of heroin, four semiautomatic firearms – including a .223 caliber assault rifle linked to a shooting in Trenton four days earlier – hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and the yellow plastic bag that Williams had carried into the vehicle moments earlier. Law enforcement discovered in the yellow bag two boxes of .45 caliber ammunition and three .45 caliber firearm magazines, which matched one of the semiautomatic firearms also found in the trap compartment. One of the firearms concealed in Wimbush’s secret trap compartment was used in connection with a violent and reckless shooting in the City of Trenton. On Sept. 2, 2018, four of Wimbush’s associates, including one of his co-defendants, one of his relatives, and one of co-defendant Williams’s relatives, were shot in a drive-by shooting in the area of Stuyvesant and Bryn Mawr Avenues in Trenton. Evidence also showed that a likely retaliatory shooting in the area of Lee and West State Street occurred shortly thereafter the same day. Ballistics analysis of a shell casing recovered from the site of the Lee and West State Street shooting conclusively linked the .223 caliber assault rifle Wimbush possessed in the trap compartment of his vehicle on September 6 with the Lee and West State Street shooting on September 2. Telephone communications intercepted during the court-authorized wiretap between Wimbush’s conspirators linked Wimbush and his associates to back-and-forth shootings on and after September 2 and to heroin trafficking activity in the City of Trenton.

Law enforcement identified the heroin in the trap compartment of Wimbush’s vehicle as having been supplied by Wimbush’s conspirators, including Jakir Taylor and Tacques Hall. Taylor pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and firearms charges and was sentenced by Judge Wolfson earlier this year. Hall pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and was sentenced by Judge Wolfson in 2019. Wimbush’s codefendant Taquan Williams was convicted at trial of possessing firearms or ammunition as a convicted felon and was sentenced by Judge Wolfson in 2022.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Denney in Newark; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Satellite Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Bryan Miller; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Steve Wilson; officers of the Princeton Police Department, under the direction of Chief Jonathan Bucchere; officers of the Ewing Police Department, under the direction of Chief Albert Rhodes; officers of the Burlington Township Police Department, under the direction of chief John Fine; and detectives of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked officers of the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan; detectives of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo Onofri; officers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff John A. Kemler; and members of the New Jersey State Board of Parole for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution of the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/ocdetf.

20-203 

Defense counsel: Roberto J. Espinosa Esq., Rahway, New Jersey