Category: Burlington

Man Incarcerated At Fort Dix Prison Sentenced To 39 Months In Prison For Fraudulently Obtaining Unemployment Benefits Under CARES Act, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

September 21, 2022

NEWARK, N.J. – An Illinois man was sentenced to 39 months in prison for using other individuals’ personal identification information to fraudulently obtain unemployment insurance benefits while he was incarcerated, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Devontae Stokes, 28, of Country Club Hills, Illinois, previously pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo to an information charging him with conspiring to commit wire fraud. Judge Arleo imposed the sentence by videoconference on Sept. 19, 2022.

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

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law. The CARES Act created a new temporary federal unemployment insurance program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provided unemployment insurance benefits for individuals who were not eligible for other types of unemployment (e.g., the self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers). The CARES Act also created a new temporary federal program called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (FPUC) that provided an additional weekly benefit to those eligible for PUA and regular unemployment insurance benefits.

Between August 2020 and November 2020, Stokes was incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix, a federal correctional institutional with an adjacent satellite camp located in Fort Dix, New Jersey. Stokes and his conspirators obtained personal identification information (PII), including names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers belonging to other individuals without those individuals’ knowledge and consent. Stokes and his conspirators then used the PII to make fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits applications and obtained more than $140,000 in benefits.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Arleo sentenced Stokes to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $143,290 and forfeiture in the amount of $143,290.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Mellone, in New York; special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark; special agents with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard W. Reinhold in Newark; and special agents of the United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Dale Forrester, Cybercrime Investigations Division, with the investigation leading to the sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Kogan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Cybercrime Unit in Newark.

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Defense counsel: K. Anthony Thomas Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark


Firefighters From 3-Counties Flow Over 2,000 Gallons Per Minute During Training Exercise

September 10, 2022

ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)-ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)—Hope Fire Company of Allentown-Upper Freehold hosted a “large diameter” hose drill this morning at Mercer Corporate Park. Firefighters were able to flow over 2,000 gallons per minute from a drafting point, though several relay engines and finally to a discharge point consisting of ladders or an engine. The training was designed to unify tactics between three counties and started with over an hour of classroom training at Hope Fire Company then the firefighters went to Mercer Corporate Park for practical training. Other departments participating were: Robbinsville Fire Department, Hamilton Fire Department, Consolidated Fire Association (Bordentown City), Jacobstown (North Hanover), Chesterfield, Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office, Monmouth County Fire Coordinators.




Body Found in Pennsylvania Preliminarily Identified as a Person of Interest in Florence Homicide

Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw and Florence Township Police Chief Brian Boldizar announced that the last known person to have seen Sheila Maguire alive before she was killed inside her Florence home is believed to have been found dead yesterday in Pennsylvania, perhaps from an apparent suicide.

A body preliminarily identified as Peter Lestician, 53, who had been in a relationship with Maguire, was discovered in a vehicle by an abandoned barn near an ATV trail in Cooper Township in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania State Police troopers were called to the scene yesterday at approximately 4 p.m. by two men riding four-wheelers in the area. Upon arrival, they discovered the body of an adult male in the front seat of the vehicle, which was locked. The troopers reported no signs of foul play.

Lestician’s New Jersey driver’s license was located in the vehicle. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause and manner of death, and also to confirm the identity.

Maguire, 54, was found dead late Monday afternoon after family members requested a wellness check at her residence because they had been unable to reach her for a few days. Maguire and Lestician lived together at the home in the 200 block of Birch Hollow Drive.

An autopsy performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood determined that she died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Lestician, a teacher at South Brunswick High School, had not made contact with family members since August 26. While he was a person of interest in Maguire’s homicide, there was no evidence linking Lestician directly to the crime and charges had not been filed against him.

The investigation into Maguire’s homicide will continue. BCPO Crime Scene Unit detectives are coordinating with the local district attorney’s office in Pennsylvania to gain permission to forensically examine the vehicle.

The investigation is being conducted by the Florence Township Police Department, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the PA State Police. The lead investigators are FTPD Detective Chris Powell and BCPO Detectives Shawn McDonough and Andrew Ridolfi.


According to the Pennsylvania State Police Public Information Unit the Punxsutawney Patrol Unit, Clearfield County, Officer R. Green investigated a suspicious vehicle on Peale Road in Cooper Township. The occupant of the vehicle was discovered to be deceased white non-Hispanic male, 53 years of age from Bordentown, NJ. The nature of the incident listed was suicide. The report says the investigation is active and no further information can be provided at this time. Note: The policy of the Pennsylvania State Police is to not release the names of victims of suicide or of those suffering a mental health crisis.


The couple reportedly lived in the 200 Block of Birch Hollow Drive in Florence Township

Florence Woman’s Death Ruled A Homicide

August 31, 2022

FLORENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw and Florence Township Police Chief Brian Boldizar announced that the death of a Florence woman whose body was found inside her home earlier this week has been ruled a homicide.

Police discovered Sheila Maguire, 54, late Monday afternoon after family members requested a wellness check at her residence in the 200 block of Birch Hollow Drive because they had been unable to reach her for a few days.

The autopsy was performed yesterday by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood. The cause of death is being withheld at this time.

No arrests have been made.

The investigation is being conducted by the Florence Township Police Department and the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office. The lead investigators are FTPD Detective Chris Powell and BCPO Detectives Shawn McDonough and Andrew Ridolfi.

Anyone with information concerning this crime is asked to call Burlington County Central Communications at 609-265-7113, or send an email to tips@co.burlington.nj.us.




Suspicious Death Investigation In Florence Township, Burlington County

FLORENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–The Florence Township Police Department and the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office are investigating the death of a woman whose body was discovered late this afternoon inside a residence in the 200 block of Birch Hollow Drive in Florence Township. The death is considered to be suspicious.  

No arrests have been made. There is no reason for members of the general public to fear for their safety based upon this incident. No further information is expected to be released tonight.  


Menendez, Booker Announce Over $220K to Protect Trenton’s Firefighters

August 26, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) today announced $226,939.92 in federal Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) funding to improve safety and operations in Trenton’s fire departments. The AFG program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The City of Trenton will use the funds to install exhaust extraction systems in firehouses to improve the health and safety of firefighters.

“This funding is critical and will ensure our firefighters can continue to protect Trenton’s families and businesses,” said Sen. Menendez. “The best way to show our gratitude to the men and women who risk their lives is by providing them with the tools, resources, and support they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently.”

“Trenton’s firefighters run into danger and risk their lives to protect us,” said Sen. Booker. “I’m proud to secure funding that will provide them with the equipment and resources they need to perform their jobs safely and effectively, and protect their community.”

“The men and women who put themselves on the front line to protect this city every day, deserve safe conditions when they aren’t responding to the call. That is exactly what these funds are going to do,” said Mayor W. Reed Gusciora. “These are necessary improvements for our fire houses and I’d like to thank Sentor Menendez and Sentor Booker for continuing to advocate for the City of Trenton.”

The AFG program provides direct financial assistance to eligible local professional and voluntary fire departments, emergency medical services organizations, and state fire training academies to equip and train first responders. Since it was established in 2001, New Jersey has received over $180 million in funding from the AFG program to enhance response capabilities, as well as to more effectively protect the health and safety of the public and emergency response personnel.


The following departments have been awarded AFG funding:

  • $437,217.96 Teaneck
  • $226,939.92 Trenton
  • $170,870.00 Englewood
  • $170,076.36 West New York
  • $143,032.72 Atlantic City
  • $142,857.14 Westampton Township Emergency Services
  • $123,145.71 Pennsville Township
  • $87,765.71   North Wildwood
  • $84,425.69   Neptune
  • $80,360.00   West Deptford Township
  • $74,214.28   Demarest Borough
  • $63,521.44   Oldwick Fire Department, Tewksbury
  • $61,904.76   Auburn Volunteer Fire Co, Swedesboro
  • $45,000.00   Egg Harbor City
  • $42,857.14   Sergentsville Volunteer Fire Co
  • $38,617.03   Secaucus
  • $38,304.54    Hoboken
  • $37,363.63   Hillside
  • $37,285.71   Quakertown Fire Co
  • $35,238.09   Morristown
  • $29,294.09   Monmouth Beach Fire Co
  • $18,609.52   Absecon City Fire Company 1


2-Alarm Fire In Mansfield Township

August 21, 2022

MANSFIELD TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)– A two-alarm fire destroyed at residence at 11 Sheffield Drive this evening around 6:44 p.m. Witnesses from the scene told MidJersey.News that the person in the home was able to make it out on their own after an off-duty firefighter that lives in the neighborhood kicked the door in. The fire went to two alarms before being brought under control. There was an extensive list of fire departments on scene and part of the list included Mansfield, Bordentown Township, Florence, Chesterfield, Westampton.

The off-duty firefighter that kicked the door in was from Hamilton Township, Mercer County.


Henry Roldan, an off duty Hamilton Firefighter (E14), lives a couple doors down from the fire and was first to arrive. He was told someone was still inside the burning home. He kicked in the door and alerted the occupant who was able to escape uninjured. Great work Henry! — Hamilton Township Professional Firefighters



Photos and video courtesy of Greg Zanoni – WZBN-TV.




Youth Pastor Indicted for Online Sexual Exploitation of Young Males

Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw announced that a Palmyra man has been indicted on charges related to coaxing underage boys on social media to send him nude pictures and videos, then using that material to blackmail his victims into performing sexual acts on themselves for his enjoyment.

A grand jury indicted Sean Higgins, 31, on 75 total counts that included charges of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Criminal Sexual Contact, Cyber Harassment, and Obscenity to a Minor. Thirteen of the counts were first degree charges.

Higgins is accused of committing these crimes in 2020 while serving as the youth pastor and music leader at Harbor Baptist Church in Hainesport, and serving as a teacher at the Harbor Baptist Academy, a private K-12 school that is housed in the same facility.

The indictment includes 13 victims, ranging in age from 12 to17, who resided in Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Tennessee. It was returned on August 16 and signed by Prosecutor Bradshaw. An arraignment will be scheduled soon in Superior Court in Mount Holly.

The crimes for which he was indicted did not include physical contact with the victims, and did not involve any members of the church congregation or students at the school.

He has been lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly since being taken into custody at his residence in October 2020. With the assistance of the New Jersey State Police, search warrants were executed at that time on his home as well as the church, and multiple electronic devices were seized.

The investigation revealed that Higgins would adopt the persona of a teenage girl and utilize Snapchat and Instagram to begin a conversation with a juvenile male, introducing himself as Julie Miller. After establishing a rapport, he would suggest that they trade photos. Higgins would then send pictures of an unidentified female teenager.

In return, Higgins would often receive nude photos that the victims took of themselves. Immediately upon receiving those images, he would take a screenshot of the victim’s friends list that was visible on the forward-facing social media platform. Higgins would send that screenshot back to the victim and threaten to send the nude photos he had just received to the list of the victim’s friends unless the victim did exactly what Higgins demanded.

In most of the cases that were investigated, Higgins then demanded that his victims go into the bathroom at their residence and place the phone on the floor, or at an angle looking up, and would instruct the victims to masturbate or perform sexual acts on themselves. Higgins would record what was transpiring.

According to the videos made by Higgins that were obtained during the investigation, victims would often beg Higgins to be allowed to stop engaging in sexual conduct, but Higgins would demand that they complete his instructions, or face the consequences of having the recordings he was making of the incident be sent to their list of friends.

The investigation began after a youth in Berks County, Pa., contacted Snapchat and reported that he sent nude photos of himself to someone he believed to be an unknown female. The unknown female, who in actuality was Higgins, had threatened to expose his nude photographs after they exchanged pictures. An underage male in Alabama also reported his communications with Higgins to law enforcement authorities.

The investigation was conducted by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office High-Tech Crimes Unit, the Cinnaminson Township Police Department and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations – Cherry Hill. Multiple state and local agencies assisted in confirming the identities of additional victims once investigators became aware of their existence.

The BCPO High-Tech Crimes Unit, Cinnaminson Township Police Department and HSI – Cherry Hill are members of the New Jersey State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (NJ ICAC Task Force). The BCPO also belongs to the New Jersey State Police Cyber Terrorism Task Force.

Higgins is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Stephen Eife, supervisor of the BCPO Special Victims Unit.

Anyone who believes their child has had inappropriate interaction on Snapchat or Instagram with someone going by the user name of Julie Miller, Julia Miller, or some variation of that name, is asked to call Burlington County Central Communications at 609-265-7113, or send an email to tips@co.burlington.nj.us.

An indictment is an accusation. Defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.

Bordentown Twp. Police Ask For Help Identifying Suspect Wanted For Assault

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–The Bordentown Township Police is seeking the public’s assistance with identifying a suspect wanted for an assault.

On Thursday, August 11th, a white male suspect described as being in his mid-20’s with a scruffy appearance committed an alleged assault in the parking lot of the Acme Commons located on Dunns Mill Rd. in Bordentown Township. This male was operating a white Acura TL and was accompanied by a white female with blonde hair believed to be in her early 20’s.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Ptl. Hess of the BTPD at 609-298-4300, ext. 2201, or via email at ehess@bordentowntownshippd.org

Anonymous tips are welcome and will be kept confidential.



3-Alarm Fire At Mt. Holly Kawasaki Suzuki – Mt. Holly Motorsports

August 17, 2022

SOUTHHAMPTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Firefighters were dispatched at 2:47 a.m. to 2044 Route 206 at Mt. Holly Kawasaki Suzuki known as Mt. Holly Motorsports. Multiple fire departments from all over Burlington County responded to the scene. The entire building is approximately 260 feet x 115 feet with a rear section measuring 115 feet by 80 feet that was on fire. It appears that the rear section was a total loss and the fire wall was holding and keeping the fire from spreading out of the rear section into the front section. It was reported that firefighters had four 2.5″ lines, two 2″ lines and 2 ladders in operation for the firefight.

The fire went to 3-Alarms before being brought under control. Firefighters and investigators are still on scene and not additional details are available.

According to NJ State Police the fire at Mt. Holly Motorsports was reported at 2:51 a.m. Multiple fire departments responded to the scene to extinguish the fire. The northbound lane of 206 remains closed that this time. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

Photo sent into MidJersey.News


Thirteen Individuals Charged With Drug Trafficking And Firearms Offenses In Trenton, NJ

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Thirteen individuals were charged today with various drug trafficking and firearms offenses arising from an investigation targeting unlawful activities in a northeast neighborhood in the city of Trenton, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Jamal Wilson, aka “Vill,” and Theodore Meekins, aka “Meech,” both of Trenton, were among 12 defendants charged in a 16-count criminal complaint unsealed today. Ten of the defendants were arrested this morning as part of a takedown coordinated by federal and local law enforcement authorities. One defendant is currently detained on related charges. One defendant remains at large. A 13th defendant, Alterrick Livingston, 42, of Trenton, was arrested and charged today in a separate one-count complaint following law enforcement’s court-authorized search of his Trenton apartment and the recovery of five privately made firearms (PMFs), two fully drilled frames, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and numerous tools and accessories used for manufacturing and assembling firearms.

Wilson was charged with three counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, including 100 grams or more of heroin, 28 grams or more of cocaine base, and additional quantities of cocaine. Meekins was charged in three counts with distribution and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, as well as possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Livingston was charged with possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. The remaining defendants were charged with varying counts of distribution or possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, including heroin, cocaine base, and cocaine. Those arrested today are scheduled to make their initial court appearances this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni in Trenton federal court.

According to the two federal criminal complaints:

Beginning in July 2020, law enforcement agencies investigating drug trafficking in the area of Garfield, Cleveland, and Logan avenues in Trenton executed numerous controlled purchases of narcotics from multiple defendants, including Wilson and Meekins. On multiple occasions, law enforcement officers made multiple seizures of unlawfully trafficked narcotics, including, suspected heroin, cocaine base and a firearm from a vehicle driven by Meekins, a previously convicted felon. Communications that law enforcement intercepted revealed that Wilson was a significant drug trafficker of heroin, cocaine base, and cocaine in the area, specifically in the area of the Grand Court Villas apartment building, East State Street and South Olden Avenue; Garfield Avenue Playground; and other locations. In connection with today’s coordinated operation, law enforcement conducted a court-authorized search of Livingston’s Trenton apartment, and recovered multiple firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and numerous tools and accessories used for manufacturing and assembling firearms.

The charges of distribution and possession with intent to distribute 100 grams of heroin and/or 28 grams of cocaine base carry a statutory mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years, a maximum potential penalty of 40 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $5 million. The remaining narcotics charges carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $1 million. The firearm and ammunition counts with which Meekins and Livingston are charged each carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The charges filed today are the result of an investigation by the Greater Trenton Safe Streets Task Force. Led by the FBI, the Task Force is comprised of various federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and its mission is to combine the resources and intelligence of the participating agencies to enhance the identification, apprehension, and prosecution of individuals involved in gang-related activities, violent crime, and drug distribution in and around the greater Trenton area.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Trenton Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy; special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Satellite Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Matthews; officers of the Trenton Police Department, under the direction of Director Steve Wilson; officers of the Burlington City Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police John Fine; officers of the Burlington Township Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Bruce Painter; officers of the Willingboro Township Police Department, under the direction of Acting Public Safety Director Ian Bucs; and detectives with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri with the investigation leading to today’s charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley Super Pitts and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Matthews of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

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


DefendantAgeResidence
Jamal Wilson, aka “Vill” 46Trenton
Theodore Meekins, aka “Meech” 40Burlington, New Jersey
Louis Williams, aka “Bake” 38Trenton
Clinton Rodriguez, aka “C-Rod” 46Morrisville, Pennsylvania
Kai Bowman Jr. 45Trenton
Glenn Moore 29Levittown, Pennsylvania
*Rashied McKines 48Trenton
Michael Williams, aka “Ice” 45Trenton
Derrick Jiles 59Trenton
Dion Morris 36Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Jerry Farmer 46Trenton
James Edwards 27Ewing, New Jersey
Alterrick Livingston42Trenton 



Multiple Fiery Truck Crashes Make NJ Turnpike Highway To Hell

August 16, 2022

CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP (BURLINGTON) – HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER)–Two separate fiery truck crashes involving multiple trucks sent firefighters from Burlington, Mercer and Monmouth to the two scenes on the New Jersey Turnpike between Exit 7A and Exit 7 this morning. Firefighters were sent from Bordentown Township, Robbinsville Township, Hamilton Township, Allentown-Upper Freehold – Hope Fire Company, and Chesterfield-Crosswicks.

Sgt. Philip Curry from the New Jersey State Police, Public Information Unit told MidJersey.News the first crash was at 9:48 a.m. a dump truck was involved in a crash on the NJ Turnpike southbound on the inner roadway at Mile Post 55.6 in Chesterfield.  As a result of the crash, the dump truck became fully engulfed.  The occupants of the truck were able to exit and did not report any injuries.  The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

The second crash occurred at 11:17 a.m. on the NJ Turnpike at Mile Post 59.3 on the southbound outer roadway in Hamilton Township.  Two tractor trailers and a box truck were involved in a crash causing one of the tractor trailers and the box truck to become fully engulfed.  The occupants of the trucks were able to exit and did not report any injuries.  The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Google Maps had delays of up to 5 miles going south bound south of Exit 7A.








Photos from the fiery Chesterfield crash on the NJ Turnpike:


Photos from the fiery truck crash on the NJ Turnpike in Hamilton Township:


Bordentown, NJ Woman Sentenced To, One Year And A Day, In Prison For GoFundMe Scam

July 21, 2022

CAMDEN, N.J. – A Burlington County, New Jersey, woman was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison for her role in a GoFundMe scam that gained nationwide attention, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Katelyn McClure, 32, of Bordentown, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle to an information charging her with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.

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

In November 2017, McClure and Mark D’Amico, 43, allegedly created a crowd-source funding page on GoFundMe’s website titled “Paying It Forward.” The campaign solicited donations from the public purportedly for the benefit of a homeless veteran, Johnny Bobbitt, 39, of Philadelphia. McClure and D’Amico posted a story that McClure was driving home from Philadelphia on Interstate 95 and ran out of gas. Bobbitt acted as a “good Samaritan” and rescued McClure by using his last $20 to buy gasoline for her. The website stated that funds were being solicited to get Bobbitt off the streets and provide him with living expenses, setting a goal of $10,000.

In reality, McClure never ran out of gas and Bobbitt never spent his last $20 for her. D’Amico and McClure allegedly conspired to create the false story to obtain money from donors. The story was quickly picked up by local and national media outlets and went viral and raised approximately $400,000 from more than 14,000 donors in less than three weeks.

The donated funds were transferred by D’Amico and McClure from GoFundMe into accounts that they controlled. The majority of the money allegedly was quickly spent by D’Amico and McClure on personal expenses over the next three months.

In mid-November of 2017, when the donations had reached approximately $1,500, D’Amico and McClure told Bobbitt about the campaign and the false gas story. In December of 2017, after setting up a bank account for Bobbitt, D’Amico and McClure deposited $25,000 of proceeds of the scheme into Bobbitt’s account.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Hillman sentenced McClure to three years of supervised release and ordered her to pay $400,000 in restitution. D’Amico previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced in April 2022 to 27 months in prison; Bobbitt pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited assistant prosecutors and detectives of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Lachia L. Bradshaw; officers of the Florence Township Police Department; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Tammy Tomlins; and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Bender of the Criminal Division in Camden.

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Defense counsel: James J. Gerrow Jr. Esq., Hainesport, New Jersey


Related story:


State Grand Jury Declines to Criminally Charge Officer Involved in Fatal Motor Vehicle Pursuit in Mansfield Township, N.J., on October 27, 2020

July 12, 2022

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON) – A state grand jury has voted not to file any criminal charges at the conclusion of its deliberations regarding the death of Keron Roundtree, 23, of Trenton, New Jersey, who was injured in a crash as he accelerated away from Bordentown Township Police Officer Keith Alexander after an attempted traffic stop on October 27, 2020. Mr. Roundtree succumbed to those injuries on November 17, 2020, at which time the investigation transferred from the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office to the Attorney General’s Office, pursuant to P.L. 2019, c.1.

The fatal police encounter was investigated by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and presented to New Jersey residents called to serve on the grand jury in accordance with Directive 2019-4, the “Independent Prosecutor Directive” issued in 2019. In July 2021, OPIA issued standard operating procedures (“SOPs”) to ensure that these grand jury presentations are conducted in a neutral, objective manner, and with appropriate transparency regarding the process, consistent with the Independent Prosecutor Directive.

The investigation included interviews of witnesses, collection of forensic evidence, review of video footage and autopsy results from the medical examiner. After hearing testimony and evidence from the investigation, the grand jury concluded its deliberations yesterday July 11, and voted “no bill,” meaning the grand jury concluded that no criminal charges should be filed against the officer involved in the fatal encounter.

According to the investigation, on the night of October 27, 2020, Officer Alexander was on patrol on Route 206 Southbound in Bordentown in a marked police vehicle when he saw a Nissan Maxima traveling southbound in the left lane brake abruptly. The car, which was driven by Mr. Roundtree, resumed traveling southbound. While stopped at a traffic light, Officer Alexander observed the Maxima’s temporary Pennsylvania license plate and suspected it was fictitious. Officer Alexander then followed Mr. Roundtree and observed him commit several motor vehicle infractions, including an illegal U-turn.

At approximately 8:51 p.m., about two minutes after he began following the Maxima, Officer Alexander activated his overhead lights and siren to make a motor vehicle stop. At that point, Mr. Roundtree failed to obey a stop sign and sped off down Route 206 South, traveling at speeds that reached in excess of 100 mph. Approximately one minute later, and without coming into contact with another car, Mr. Roundtree drove onto the shoulder of the highway to maneuver around other cars, swerved back onto the road, lost control of the car, and crashed into the woods by the side of Route 206. The car traveled into and out of the woods, coming to rest on the right shoulder of Route 206 Southbound.

Officer Alexander exited his vehicle and located the Maxima, which was heavily damaged. Both Mr. Roundtree and an adult male passenger were stuck inside. Two bystanders assisted Officer Alexander in removing and rendering aid to both. Once ambulances arrived, the occupants of the Maxima were transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, N.J. Mr. Roundtree remained in the hospital until life support was removed on November 17, 2020, when he was pronounced deceased. The passenger was admitted for treatment and released approximately one week later.

The investigation later revealed that the Maxima had been stolen from an apartment complex in Philadelphia, and the temporary license plate on the car had been forged.

A 2019 law, P.L. 2019, c. 1, requires the Attorney General’s Office to conduct investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody. It requires that all such investigations be presented to a grand jury to determine if the evidence supports the return of an indictment against the officer or officers involved.

A conflicts check was conducted pursuant to the Independent Prosecutor Directive and no actual or potential conflict of interest was found involving any individual assigned to the investigation. Prior to presentation to the grand jury, the investigation was reviewed by OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher in accordance with the policies and procedures established for these presentations in the SOPs.

At the conclusion of these investigations, pursuant to the Independent Prosecutor Directive and SOPs, OPIA determines whether any principal should be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for administrative review in accordance with the AG’s Internal Affairs Policy & Procedures. OPIA monitors any resulting review and takes such actions as are necessary to ensure that the review is completed in a timely fashion, and that appropriate actions are taken based on the results of the review.

Further information about how fatal police encounters are investigated in New Jersey under the directive is found at this link:

http://www.nj.gov/oag/independent-prosecutor/



Two Charged With Firearms And Narcotics Offences In Bordentown Twp., NJ

July 8, 2022

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Police say that on July 2, 2022, at approximately 5:25 p.m. when Detective Sergeant Pavlov stopped a Toyota Scion on Rt. 206. Following a K9 alert a search was conducted of the vehicle which led to the seizure of a 9mm Smith and Wesson handgun loaded with two (2) hollow point bullets. The vehicle passenger was additionally found to possess ten (10) wax folds of suspected heroin and a small black digital scale.

Both vehicle occupants were arrested and are identified as:

Najee Dormevil, age – 24, Olive St. Trenton NJ 08610 (Vehicle Driver).

Amani Nelson, age – 24, Railroad Ave. Florence NJ 08054 (Vehicle Passenger).

Both subjects were charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a drug offense, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a prohibited weapon or device, possession with the intent to distribute CDS, possession of CDS and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Nelson was released on summons complaints and Dormevil was lodged in the Burlington County Jail.

Ptl. Foglia and his K9 “Hollywood” of the Lumberton Township Police Department assisted in this incident.

All subjects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


Truck Overturns On Route 206 At Connector Road In Bordentown Spilling 8,000 Gallons Of Asphalt Emulsifying Agent

July 7, 2022 UPDATE: Route 206 has been reopened

July 6, 2022

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–A tanker truck overturned on Route 206 South Bound turning onto Connector Road spilling its load of 8,000 gallons of asphalt emulsifying agent around 6:10 p.m. Bordentown Township Fire Department and EMS responded for an overturned truck with a reported male lying in the middle of the roadway with unknown injuries. Burlington County Hazardous Materials Team and a request for Joint Base McGuire Hazardous Materials Team was made. Bordentown Township Police, NJ State Police were on scene. A Burlington County Fire Police Strike Team was called to direct traffic for an extended period while the cleanup was being made. NJ Department of Transportation sent several sand trucks to the scene and other equipment. Haines Towing Inc. of Bordentown was on scene with several heavy duty trucks to upright the vehicle. Route 206 South in Bordentown was closed for an extended period of time and has since reopened.





Bordentown Township Police NIXLE:

Connector Rd. closed, expect delays on Rt. 206.

Be advised that Connector Rd. is currently closed due to an overturned tractor trailer. Expect delays on Rt. 206 in this area as a result and if possible plan an alternate route.



Large Scrap Yard Fire In Fairless Hills, PA, Sends Smoke Billowing Into New Jersey

June 30, 2022

FALLS TOWNSHIP/FAIRLESS HILLS, PA (BUCKS)–A large fire at a scrap yard in the Fairless Hills section of Falls Township send smoke billowing into Mercer and Burlington Counties this afternoon. The fire appeared to be coming from behind Mazza Iron & Steel a family owned and operated metal recycling company based in Fairless Hills. A large column of smoke could be seen for miles and 9-1-1 centers fielded calls about the smoke condition. Falls Township Fire Company along with many mutual aid fire departments were on scene combating the fire. Fire departments called it a “rubbish” fire on Solar Drive in Falls Township.


A video from Levittown Fire Company Facebook page here:




Another Wildfire Contained In NJ; 315-Acres Burned In Brendan T. Byrne State Forest

June 27, 2022

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service reports that a wildfire at Brendan T Byrne State Forest – Brickworks Wildfire – Manchester and Woodland Townships has been contained.

As of 10:00 a.m. Monday, June 27, 2022 the New Jersey Forest Fire Service has achieved 100 percent containment of a 315-acre wildfire near Pasadena Road in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest.

Forest Fire Service staff will remain on scene to continue improving containment lines and monitor the area to ensure public safety. Smoke conditions may remain for several hours.

The fire’s cause remains under investigation.

Just last week the New Jersey Forest Fire Service contained a 13,500-acre fire in Wharton State Forrest you can read about that fire here.


Photos from NJ Forest Fire Service Facebook Page


NJ Forrest Fire Service Reports 95% Containment Of 13,500-Acre Wildfire In Wharton State Forest

June 22, 2022

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service reports that the Wharton State Forest – Mullica River Fire has reached 95 percent containment of a 13,500-acre wildfire at the Wharton State Forest in Washington, Shamong, Hammonton & Mullica Townships.

There is an ongoing investigation into an illegal campfire which has been determined to be the cause of the fire. Anyone with information can contact our Division B office at 609-726-9010.

✅ Road closures have been lifted.

✅ Atsion Recreation Area has reopened.

✅ Batsto Village has reopened.

⚠️ Hiking trails between Atsion and Batsto remain closed due to active fire activity.

⚠️ Kayaking and canoeing along the Mullica and Batsto Rivers remains closed between Atsion and Batsto. Pinelands Adventures has suspended kayak and canoe trips.

⚠️ Wharton State Forest’s Mullica River Campground remains closed.

The fire was first spotted at 10:06 a.m. Sunday by a Forest Fire Service observer at the Batsto Fire Tower. The fire was fueled by breezy conditions and low humidity.

Structure protection was provided by local volunteer fire departments from Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean counties, we thank them for their assistance.

The public is advised that smoke may be visible for an extended period while firefighters continue to patrol and mop-up this wildfire. Motorists traveling in the area should remain cautious of smoke, firefighters and fire vehicles that may be working on nearby roadways.

This will be our final update on this fire unless there are significant developments.

———————–

Helpful Wildfire Terminology

🔥 Wildfire – An uncontrolled fire burning the different types of vegetation that cover the land. A wildfire is considered a “major wildfire” after it exceeds 100 acres in size.

🔥 Containment – When reporting on a wildfire a percentage of containment will be given, which will state how much of the fireline has been completed.

🔥 Backfire – A fire intentionally set along the interior edge of a fireline by Forest Fire Service staff to consume fuel in the path of a wildfire and/or to change the direction of force of a fire’s convection column.

🔥 Fireline – The part of a containment or control line that is scraped or dug to mineral soil.

🔥 Threatened – Critical infrastructure, roads, homes and commercial buildings that are in the vicinity of a wildfire.



Wildfire Update: NJ Forrest Fire Service Reports 13,500 Acre Fire Now 85% Contained, Routes 206 and 542 Reopen

June 21, 2022

The New Jersey Forrest Fire Service is reporting that continue to make substantial progress in containing a wildfire in Wharton State Forest – Washington, Shamong, Hammonton & Mullica Townships – which has reached 13,500 acres in size and is 85% contained.

ROAD CLOSURE UPDATES

✅ Route 206 – Reopened 11 a.m.

✅ Route 542 – Reopened 10 a.m.

Batsto Village, Atsion Recreation Area and all associated hiking and mountain bike trails remain closed to visitors. The Mullica River Campground and Lower Forge Campground are closed. Kayak and canoe launching along the Mullica River is closed from the Atsion Recreation Area to Batsto Village. These closures will remain in effect until further notice. Pinelands Adventures has suspended kayak and canoe trips.

18 structures are threatened. There are no reported injuries.

Motorists traveling in the area should remain cautious of smoke and watch for firefighters and fire vehicles that may be working on nearby roadways. Smoke impacts will remain elevated into the evening hours as winds diminish, and partial cloud cover moves over the area.

Please remember, “No Drones in Fire Zones – If YOU fly, WE can’t!”


Helpful Wildfire Terminology

🔥 Wildfire – An uncontrolled fire burning the different types of vegetation that cover the land. A wildfire is considered a “major wildfire” after it exceeds 100 acres in size.

🔥 Containment – When reporting on a wildfire a percentage of containment will be given, which will state how much of the fireline has been completed.

🔥 Backfire – A fire intentionally set along the interior edge of a fireline by Forest Fire Service staff to consume fuel in the path of a wildfire and/or to change the direction of force of a fire’s convection column.

🔥 Fireline – The part of a containment or control line that is scraped or dug to mineral soil.

🔥 Threatened – Critical infrastructure, roads, homes and commercial buildings that are in the vicinity of a wildfire.




NJ Forest Fire Service Reports 12,000 Acre Wildfire 70% Contained

June 20, 2022

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service reports they are making substantial progress in containing a wildfire in Wharton State Forest – Washington, Shamong, Hammonton & Mullica Townships – which has reached 12,000 acres in size and is 70% contained.

Yesterday June 19, 2022 at just after 12:00 p.m. the fire was reported at 100 acres in size and the wildfire has grown to 12,000 acres in a short time.

ROAD CLOSURES
⚠️ Route 206 – from Chew Road to Atsion Road
⚠️ Route 542 – from Green Bank Road to Columbia Road

Batsto Village and all associated hiking and mountain bike trails are closed to visitors. The Atsion Recreation Area is also closed. The Mullica River Campground, Lower Forge Campground, Mullica River Trail and boat launches along the Mullica River are closed from the Atsion Recreation Area to Batsto Village. These closures will remain in effect until further notice. Pinelands Adventures has suspended kayak and canoe trips.

18 structures are threatened. Structure protection is in place and provided by local volunteer fire departments from Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean counties, we thank them for their assistance. There are no reported injuries.

Motorists traveling in the area should remain cautious of smoke and watch for firefighters and fire vehicles that may be working on nearby roadways. Smoke impacts will remain elevated into the evening hours as winds diminish, and partial cloud cover moves over the area.

Please remember, “No Drones in Fire Zones – If YOU fly, WE can’t!”



Local volunteer fire companies from Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean counties are protecting 18 structures from the fire. These photos are from the Basto area. Photos by: Michael Kamer



The smoke plume from the Mullica River Fire is visible on National Weather Service Radar.


National Weather Service GOES-16 satellite is designed to aid in fire detection. While wildfires, mostly of small size, are not uncommon in our region, a satellite signature like this is highly unusual around here according to the National Weather Service.


Bensalem, PA Man That Sustained Fatal Injuries On NJ Turnpike Early Yesterday Morning Identified

June 18, 2022

CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Sgt. Alejandro Goez from the New Jersey State Police Public Information Unit told MidJersey.News that an accident was reported at 3:33 a.m. north bound in the inner roadway at Mile Post 56.8

The preliminary investigation indicates that a tractor trailer traveling north struck a disabled Ford Ecosport in the right lane, which was unoccupied and disabled from a previous accident. The tractor-trailer then went off the road to the right, struck the guardrail and entered the outer roadway, where it struck a pedestrian standing in the left shoulder and became engulfed.

The pedestrian, William Beczo, 47, of Bensalem, PA sustained fatal injuries. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured. The accident remains under investigation by the New Jersey State Police.





Serious Crash On New Jersey Turnpike North Of Exit 7 Bordentown Under Investigation

June 18, 2022

CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Sgt. Alejandro Goez from the New Jersey State Police Public Information Unit told MidJersey.News that an accident was reported at 3:33 a.m. north bound in the inner roadway at Mile Post 56.8

The preliminary investigation indicates that a tractor trailer traveling north struck a disabled Ford Ecosport in the right lane, which was unoccupied and disabled from a previous accident. The tractor-trailer then went off the road to the right, struck the guardrail and entered the outer roadway, where it struck a pedestrian standing in the left shoulder and became engulfed.

The pedestrian, William Beczo, 47, of Bensalem, PA sustained fatal injuries. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured. The accident remains under investigation by the New Jersey State Police.


June 17, 2022

CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–At 3:40 a.m. June 17, 2022, the Bordentown Township Fire Department and Robbinsville Township Fire Departments were dispatched to a vehicle fire on the New Jersey Turnpike. The accident was reported north of Exit 7 near the Burlington – Mercer County Line. Responding units were advised that this fire was involving a serious accident and additional EMS units were added to the call. First arriving units reported an accident and a well involved truck fire.

Unofficially, from photos of the scene, the crash scene appears to be about 1/4 mile long. It is unclear exactly what happened, but it appears that there was a serious collision between a truck and a couple of smaller vehicles. After the initial collision with smaller vehicles, it appeared that the truck crashed through the guardrail between the inner and outer lanes and came to rest, stopping about 1,000 feet later and was completely consumed in fire. The truck appeared to be carrying utility poles and the utility poles were smoldering most of the day until the truck was towed away.

* Update: New Jersey State Police indicate a pedestrian, William Beczo, 47, of Bensalem, PA sustained fatal injuries. (See update above) — From other reports it was believed that Beczo stopped to help at the accident and then was killed as the tractor-trailer went though the guardrail he was standing on the other side of. MidJersey.News has reached out for a clarification of why the pedestrian was there. *




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19-Year-Old Bordentown (Formerly of Hamilton) Man Already Under Felony Indictment In Mercer County Was Charged With Firearms Trafficking And Unlawful Transportation Of Firearms

June 11, 2022

TRENTON, N.J. – A Burlington County, New Jersey, man already under felony indictment was charged with conspiracy to engage in firearms trafficking and unlawful transportation of firearms in interstate commerce following law enforcement’s seizure of 11 firearms, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Dominic Maloney, 19, of Bordentown, New Jersey, was arrested on June 8, 2022, in Salem County, New Jersey, and charged in a three-count criminal complaint with conspiracy to engage in firearms trafficking; unlawful transportation of firearms in interstate commerce while under felony indictment; and unlawful transportation of firearms obtained in another state into Maloney’s state of residence. Maloney made his initial appearance today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois H. Goodman and was detained.

According to the criminal complaint and statements made in court:

On Feb. 22, 2022, Maloney was indicted in Mercer County, New Jersey, Superior Court on felony charges of unlawful possession of a handgun; possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose; aggravated assault; and making terroristic threats. As a result of the pending felony indictment, federal law prohibits Maloney from transporting firearms in interstate commerce. Maloney maintained and used an identified Instagram account. Law enforcement review of that account and an associate’s Instagram account indicated that, as of June 1, 2022, Maloney was in the state of Georgia to obtain firearms and intended to transport those firearms to New Jersey to distribute them to others for profit. On June 8, 2022, law enforcement officers identified a silver 2007 Nissan Armada driving northbound on Interstate 95 in Maryland. Maloney was a passenger, along with three other occupants. Officers stopped the vehicle on Interstate 295 in New Jersey. A search of the vehicle recovered 11 firearms from the trunk, including eight semiautomatic pistols, one semiautomatic rifle, and two shotguns.

The conspiracy count and the two unlawful transportation counts each carry a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross amount of gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Trenton Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Matthews in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s charges. He also thanked special agents of ATF, Philadelphia Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Matthew P. Varisco; special agents of ATF, Wilmington Field Office, Baltimore Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Crosby; special agents of the ATF, Washington Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson; special agents of the ATF, Savannah Field Office, Atlanta Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ben Gibbons; troopers of the New Jersey State Police Trafficking Central, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan, and troopers of the Pennsylvania State Police, under the direction of Col. Robert Evanchick, for their assistance with the investigation.

In July 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice launched five cross-jurisdictional strike forces to help reduce gun violence by disrupting illegal firearms trafficking in key regions across the country. Leveraging existing resources, the regional strike forces will better ensure sustained and focused coordination across jurisdictions and help stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms from source cities, through other communities, and into five key market regions: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area/Sacramento Region and Washington, D.C. According to gun trace data, a significant number of firearms recovered in the New York/northern New Jersey area originate from outside the area. The strike force will help ensure sustained and focused coordination between law enforcement and prosecutors in the New York/ New Jersey area with their counterparts in those other locations.

The government is represented by J. Brendan Day, Attorney-in-Charge of the Trenton Office.

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

22-219

Defense counsel: Scott A. Krasny Esq., Trenton



2021 Hamilton Township Police Department news release photo of Dominic Maloney formerly of Hamilton Township, New Jersey. 18-years-old at the time of the April 1, 2021, incident in Hamilton, now 19-years-old.




April 3, 2021 — Hamilton Officers developed information to charge 20 year old, Chesterfield resident, Christian Elley and 20 year old Hamilton resident, Mario Cruz with Aggravated Assault and various Weapons Offenses. Hamilton Police Detectives Patrick Quick and Robert Whartenby, additionally charged 18 year old Hamilton resident, Dominic Maloney, with Terroristic Threats, and Various Weapons Offenses including the Community Gun Offense.


Below MidJersey.News file photos from a April 1, 2022 incident in Hamilton Township NJ:


MidJersey.news file photos from the scene. On April 1, 2021 at approximately 11:00 pm, Hamilton Police were detailed to the area of Barnt Deklyn Road and Andrew Street for a disturbance involving several people fighting. Responding Officers located several people still in the area and learned that two handguns were involved in this incident. Investigating officers located a spent handgun shell casing at the scene. Once victim was located with a head injury from being struck with the butt of a gun. He was treated for his injuries and released from the hospital.



Acting AG Platkin Announces Charges Against Six Correctional Police Officers in Ongoing Investigation Surrounding Inmate Assault at the Garden State Youth

Correctional Facility

June 3, 2022

TRENTON – Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced criminal charges against six correctional police officers in connection to an incident in which an unjustified use of force was used against an inmate at the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility in Chesterfield Township on April 8, 2020.

A total of 6 defendants—including Correctional Police Sergeant Michael Emmert and five Senior Correctional Police Officers—have been charged in an ongoing joint investigation by the Department of Corrections (DOC) Special Investigations Division (SID) and the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA), stemming from information obtained and developed by the DOC SID.

At approximately 12:05 a.m. on April 8, 2020, DOC officers assigned to the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility in Township of Chesterfield, N.J. allegedly conducted a forced cell extraction of an inmate. The 6 defendants allegedly participated in a forced cell extraction and filed false reports intended to deceive others within the DOC into believing that the use of force was justified. 

During an initial approach, Sergeant Emmert allegedly sprayed the victim with Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) spray, without giving the victim any opportunity to comply, and despite the victim offering to be handcuffed. The remaining defendants allegedly joined a five-person suited team, which re-approached the victim’s cell. Sergeant Emmert allegedly sprayed the victim with OC again without giving the victim an opportunity to comply. The defendants then allegedly entered the cell and forcibly removed the victim. 

According to the complaints filed, the victim screamed in pain and left his cell covered in blood, was given an inhaler and oxygen in the infirmary, and was treated for lacerations on his face. DOC policy permits use of force that is objectively necessary and reasonable; it requires that an inmate be given an opportunity to comply before a forced cell extraction proceeds.

“Correctional police officers are entrusted with great authority over the inmates in their custody, and when they abuse that power, they must be held accountable,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “I want to thank the Office of Public Integrity & Accountability and Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division for investigating and bringing charges in this matter.”

“When corrections officers abuse their authority, as alleged here, we will ensure that they are fully investigated and prosecuted,” said OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher. “The Office of Public Integrity and Accountability is committed to ensuring justice for all by maintaining the highest standard of public service through effective investigations and prosecutions.”

We must hold correctional officers to the highest standards and any form of abuse will not be tolerated,” said New Jersey Department of Corrections Commissioner Victoria L. Kuhn. “Individuals within the custody of the New Jersey Department of Corrections deserve to be treated with decency and dignity and I recognize the hard work of the Special Investigations Division and Office of Public Integrity & Accountability to bring accountability for these actions.”


The following individuals were charged on May 25, 2022 by complaint-summons as follows:


Correctional Police Sergeant Michael Emmert, 37, of Toms River, N.J.

  • Aggravated Assault (2 counts – 3rd degree)
  • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd degree)

The complaint against Emmert alleges the following conduct:

Emmert was the leader of the extraction team, and approached the cell of Victim 1 with two other officers. Victim 1 offered his hands and stated his intent to be handcuffed, but Emmert did not allow Victim 1 to leave the cell voluntarily and gave no orders. Rather, Emmert sprayed Victim 1 in the face with Oleoresin Capsicum (OC). Emmert left and returned with a five-person suited team. Again without offering Victim 1 an opportunity to comply, Emmert deployed OC spray on Victim 1 a second time, then supervised as the team entered the cell and forcibly removed Victim 1.

In his preliminary incident report, Emmert falsely stated that Victim 1 refused orders to be handcuffed, blocked a food port, and attempted to “mule kick” a shield, which is contradicted by video and photographic evidence. By filing a false report, Emmert intended to deceive others within the DOC into believing that his use of force on Victim 1 was justified. 


Senior Correction Police Officer Christopher Toth, 37, of New Egypt, N.J.

  • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd degree)

The complaint against Toth alleges the following conduct:

Toth approached the cell of Victim 1 in a team of two other officers, led by a Sergeant. Toth was holding a shield. Victim 1 offered his hands and stated his intent to be handcuffed. Rather than handcuffing and allowing him to leave the cell voluntarily, the Sergeant sprayed Victim 1 with Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) in the face. Toth used his shield to hold Victim 1 in his cell as the door closed. Toth left and returned as part of a five-person suited team; Toth was the first officer in the stack.

In his special custody report, Toth falsely stated that Victim 1 was sprayed with OC “in order to gain compliance, which was not effective” knowing that Victim 1 was not given any opportunity to comply. Toth also falsely stated “As I entered the cell, [Victim 1] tried to kick me and turned to hit me.” By filing a false report, Toth intended to deceive others within the DOC into believing that the use of force on Victim 1 was justified. 


Senior Correction Police Officer Raymond Quinones, 43, of Beachwood, N.J.

  • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd degree)

The complaint against Quinones alleges the following conduct:

Quinones joined a five-person suited team, after Victim 1 was sprayed with OC during an initial approach, which re-approached Victim 1’s cell. The Sergeant sprayed Victim 1 with OC again without giving Victim 1 an opportunity to comply. Quinones then entered the cell and forcibly removed Victim 1.

In his special custody report, Quinones falsely stated that when the team arrived at Victim 1’s cell he “refused to cuff up” and “[w]hen the cell door opened, [Victim 1] was combative,” knowing that Victim 1 was not given any opportunity to comply. By filing a false report, Quinones intended to deceive others within the DOC into believing that the use of force on Victim 1 was justified. 


Senior Correction Police Officer Michael Gaines, 56, of Willingboro, N.J.

  • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd degree)

The complaint against Gaines alleges the following conduct:

Gaines joined a five-person suited team, after Victim 1 was sprayed with OC during an initial approach, which re-approached Victim 1’s cell. The Sergeant sprayed Victim 1 with OC a second time, again without giving Victim 1 any opportunity to comply. Gaines then entered the cell and forcibly removed Victim 1.

In his special custody report, Gaines falsely stated that when the team arrived at Victim 1’s cell he “was ordered to comply” and was sprayed, knowing that Victim 1 was not given any opportunity to comply. By filing a false report, Gaines intended to deceive others within the DOC into believing that the use of force on Victim 1 was justified. 


Senior Correction Police Officer Mark Sadlowski, Jr., 44, of Sewell, N.J.

  • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd degree)

The complaint against Sadlowski alleges the following conduct:

Sadlowski joined a five-person suited team, after Victim 1 was sprayed with OC during an initial approach, which re-approached Victim 1’s cell. The Sergeant sprayed Victim 1 with OC a second time, again without giving Victim 1 any opportunity to comply. Sadlowski then entered the cell and forcibly removed Victim 1.

In his special custody report, Sadlowski falsely stated that when the team arrived at Victim 1’s cell he “refused to handcuff” and that “[w]hen the door opened, the inmate was combative,” knowing that Victim 1 was not given any opportunity to comply. By filing a false report, Sadlowski intended to deceive others within the DOC into believing that the use of force on Victim 1 was justified. 


Senior Correction Police Officer Michael Ambrozaitis, 58, of Southampton, N.J.

  • Tampering with Public Records or Information (3rd degree)

The complaint against Ambrozaitis alleges the following conduct:

Ambrozaitis joined a five-person suited team, after Victim 1 was sprayed with OC during an initial approach, which re-approached Victim 1’s cell. The Sergeant sprayed Victim 1 with OC a second time, again without giving Victim 1 any opportunity to comply. Ambrozaitis applied leg irons to Victim 1.

In his special custody report, Ambrozaitis falsely stated that when the team arrived at Victim 1’s cell and the cell door opened, Victim 1 “refused to comply,” knowing that Victim 1 was not given any opportunity to comply. By filing a false report, Ambrozaitis intended to deceive others within the DOC into believing that the use of force on Victim 1 was justified. 


The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Attorneys General Samantha Thoma, Adam Gerken, and Samuel Rubinstein of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Peter Lee and OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione. The investigation was conducted by detectives of the Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division and OPIA North Squad.

Third-degree aggravated assault charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, and third-degree tampering with public records charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison, including a mandatory two-year term of parole ineligibility, and a fine of up to $15,000.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Defense Attorneys:

For Sadlowski and Toth: Stuart Alterman, Alterman & Associates, LLC, Marlton, N.J.

For Others: Unknown.


21 Men Arrested in Undercover Operation Targeting Child Predators Using Social Media to Lure Children for Sex

Charges Stem from “Operation Risky Business,” a Collaborative Investigation Led by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations

May 26, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–New Jersey Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri today announced the arrests of 21 alleged child predators in “Operation Risky Business,” a multi-agency undercover operation targeting individuals who allegedly were using social medial in an attempt to lure underage girls and boys for sexual activity.  The defendants will be prosecuted by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and the Division of Criminal Justice.  

The underage “children” were, in fact, undercover officers.  Most of the defendants in Operation Risky Business were arrested at either the undercover residence in Hamilton Township or another meet-up location, including the Hamilton Train Station. Those who went to the undercover house allegedly expected to find their victims home alone. Instead, they found law enforcement officers prepared to arrest them and process any evidence seized.  Those arrested include four Megan’s Law registrants, an injury lawyer from Georgia, an information technology worker, a dump truck driver, and a pastry chef from the Pocono Mountains region. One defendant was arrested and charged in two cases because he was chatting online with two separate undercover officers.

The operation was led by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Financial and Cyber Crimes Bureau, and the New Jersey State Police, in collaboration with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, and additional federal, state and county law enforcement agencies listed below.

“Operation Risky Business is a great example of how successful law enforcement agencies can be when they collaborate across all levels like they did here by proactively investigating and arresting predators who sought to sexually exploit children,” said Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “We are committed to working collaboratively in order to aggressively investigate and prosecute sex offenders. But we also need parents to talk to their children about the dangers of social media and let them know not everyone who they encounter online is who they initially claim to be.”

“Not in Mercer.  Not our children.  Not under my watch.  That’s the message we are sending to sexual predators with collaborative efforts like Operation Risky Business,” said Prosecutor Onofri.  “Social media sites have become hunting grounds for individuals looking to exploit children.  Law enforcement will continue to use every investigative tool at our disposal to aggressively pursue and prosecute these predators that attempt to exploit our most innocent victims, but we can’t do it alone.  Parents and guardians can do their part by remaining vigilant.  Talk to your children about the dangers that exist on social media and gaming apps, and monitor their online activity.”

“Through collaborative efforts like this, we are sending a strong message to parents that we must remain vigilant and do our part to protect children by keeping communication open and warning them about the dangers of the Internet,” said Director Lyndsay V. Ruotolo of the Division of Criminal Justice. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners across all levels to investigate, apprehend, and prosecute offenders who attempt to sexually exploit children. There is no higher priority than keeping our children safe.”

“Operation Risky Business was a complete success; however, it is also a sobering reminder that there is no shortage of online predators willing to exploit children.” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We remain committed to seeking out these criminals but remind parents and guardians that they need to be aware of the dangers that exist online and do their part to actively monitor and safeguard their children’s activity.”

“HSI is committed to supporting coordinated operations, helping ensure the children of our communities are protected from dangerous predators,” said Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina of HSI Newark.

About half of the arrests in Operation Risky Business were made over a four-day period from April 7 through April 10.  The defendants were from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and one from Georgia.  They are variously charged with offenses including second-degree attempted luring, second-degree attempted sexual assault, third-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child, and fourth-degree attempted criminal sexual contact.  Arrest warrants for the remainder of the suspects were forwarded to the U.S. Marshals Service, who tracked down the rest of the alleged predators over the last few weeks.

The undercover law enforcement members who conducted the chats with the defendants were specially trained members of the New Jersey ICAC Task Force. The defendants typically initiated contact based on profiles posted on social media platforms by the undercover detectives and agents. The social platforms that were used in these encounters included Kik, Skout, Whisper, Grindr, GROWLr, and MeetMe.  Once chatting began, the undercover officers clearly identified themselves as underage girls or boys.  Despite that information, the defendants allegedly engaged the purported “children” in conversations about sex, and all 21 defendants are alleged to have made arrangements to meet the “children” for sex.  Some of the chats were conducted over a period of several weeks leading up to the “meet-up” week when arrests were made.

Prosecutor Onofri advised parents to familiarize themselves with the apps their children use, as well as signs that their children may be targets of online exploitation.  “Spending an increasing amount of time online, becoming secretive about their online conduct, switching screens or closing tabs or windows whenever a parent is close, using sexual language they would not be expected to know and becoming emotionally volatile, these are all red flags,” he said.

The undercover house was staffed with dozens of law enforcement officers, analysts and attorneys.  Attorneys and detectives drafted search warrants for electronic devices that were seized from the defendants.  These devices were taken to the forensic computer laboratory at the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office for full forensic examinations.  These examinations, which are ongoing, will enable investigators to determine if the devices contain evidence of any prior encounters by the defendants with underage victims, which might constitute additional cases of luring, sexual assault or child endangerment.

The defendants were lodged in the Mercer County Correction Center until detention hearings were held.  Three defendants – Gregory Barger (who is a registered sex offender in Pennsylvania), Justin Wann, and James Hendryx – were ordered detained in jail pending trial.  The other defendants were released subject to stringent pre-trial monitoring conditions, including at a minimum reporting regularly to Pre-Trial Services staff and prohibitions from using the internet except for work or having any unsupervised contact with children under 18.

The following 21 men were arrested in Operation Risky Business and are charged as indicated.  They allegedly believed they were communicating with a minor as described in parentheses.  The prosecuting agency is also specified.


  1. Laurentiu Tonea, 41, East Windsor, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Tonea is an information technology worker in Edison, NJ.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted criminal sexual contact, attempted luring.  The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) is prosecuting.

  2. Richard Parsons, 42, Cumming, GA.  (Girl, 14)  Parsons is an injury lawyer.  Charges: Two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted criminal sexual contact.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  3. Michael Kramer, 52, Philadelphia, PA.  (Girl, 15)  Kramer is a dump truck driver. Charges: Attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted sexual assault, attempted possession of child pornography, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  4. Robert Franklin, Gloucester City, NJ.  (Girl, 13)  Charge: Attempted endangering the welfare of a child. MCPO is prosecuting.

  5. Jesus Clavel Villa, 49, Trenton, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Villa is a cook in Trenton.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  The Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) is prosecuting.

  6. Moises Cortes Diaz, 35, New Brunswick, NJ.  (Girl, 13)  Diaz is a self-employed painter.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  DCJ is prosecuting.

  7. Joseph Roman, 31, Denville, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Roman is unemployed and a registered sex offender.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  8. Emanuel Rodriguez, 25, Trenton, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Charges: Two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography. MCPO is prosecuting.

  9. Gregory Barger, 37, Morrisville, PA.  (Girl, 14)  Barger is a self-employed painter and a registered sex offender in Pennsylvania.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted kidnapping.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  10. Justin Wann, 35, Paulsboro, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Wann is a self-employed painter.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted kidnapping, attempted criminal sexual contact, attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  MCPO is prosecuting. (Also see # 16 for second case)

  11. Frank Duggan, 54, Bordentown, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Duggan is unemployed.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  DCJ is prosecuting.

  12. Nestor Alonso Chappuis, 37, Hamilton, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Chappuis is unemployed and a registered sex offender.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  13. Evan Sluka, 27, Blakeslee, PA.  (Girl, 14)  Sluka is a chef in Stroudsburg, PA.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted criminal sexual contact.  DCJ is prosecuting.


  14. James Hendryx, 26, Hamilton, NJ.  (Boy, 14)  Hendryx is unemployed.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  15. Kyle Zang, 31, Stewartstown, PA.  (Girl, 14)  Charges: Two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  16. Justin Wann, 35, Paulsboro.  (Girl, 14)  Wann is a self-employed painter.  Charges: Four counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  MCPO is prosecuting.  This second case is based on an additional chat with another undercover officer.

  17. Christopher Baez, 36, New York, NY.  (Girl, 14)  Baez is a restaurant worker.  Charges: Two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  18. Joseph Zekas, 49, Williamstown, NJ.  (Girl, 13)  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted criminal sexual contact, attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  19. Taylor Picillo, 29, Hamilton, NJ.  (Boy, 14).  Picillo is employed by a solar energy equipment supplier in Rocklin, CA.  Charges: Attempted sexual assault, attempted luring, attempted endangering the welfare of a child, resisting arrest.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  20. William Oldham, 45, Williamstown, NJ.  (Girl, 14)  Oldham is a fence installer. Charges: Two counts of attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted manufacturing of child pornography.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  21. Charles Amer, 50, Maple Shade, NJ.  (Girl, 13)  Amer is a warehouse laborer and a registered sex offender.  Charges: Attempted endangering the welfare of a child, attempted luring.  MCPO is prosecuting.

  22. Yohann Rigogne, 41, Philadelphia, PA.  (Girl, 14)  Rigogne is unemployed.  Charge: Attempted endangering the welfare of a child.  MCPO is prosecuting.

Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three of five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.  Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Prosecutor Onofri commended all of the individuals and agencies who conducted Operation Risky Business.  He thanked the members of the ICAC Unit who led and coordinated the operation for the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, particularly Sergeants Joe Paglione and Michael Castaldo, under the direction of Chief of Detectives Jessica Plumeri.  He also thanked Assistant Prosecutor Alycia Beyrouty, chief of ICAC, and Chief Jillian Carpenter of the state Division of Criminal Justice Financial and Cyber Crimes Bureau.

He further commended all of the members of the New Jersey State Police who worked on Operation Risky Business, under the direction of Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, particularly Lieutenant Stephen Urbanski and Detective Sergeant Paul Sciortino, and all of the special agents of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations – Cherry Hill Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina, particularly Supervisory Special Agent John Fitch.

Prosecutor Onofri also thanked the following federal, state and county agencies that assisted in Operation Risky Business:

  • New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Financial and Cyber Crimes Bureau
  • New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Mercer County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Mercer County Central Motor Pool

The charges against the defendants in Operation Risky Business are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.  Because they are indictable offenses, they will be presented to a grand jury for potential indictment.



Scenes from Trenton Navy Week 2022

May 9, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Sailors of the U.S. Navy visited the Greater Trenton Area as part of Trenton Navy Week. The Navy sent 100 sailors into the area last week, to met with students to talk about the importance of STEM education, volunteering at local non-profits, and holding community events. Trenton was chosen as one of 14 cities to host Navy Week across the country this year and that took place May 2-8, 2022. This was the first time a Navy Week has been held in the state of New Jersey in the history of the program. A planned Trenton Navy Week in 2020 which had to be scrapped due to COVID.



Fire Controlman (Aegis) 2nd Class Jacob Gagliardi from Trenton, NJ attached to USS Gettysburg (CG-64) greets the crowd at TD Bank Ballpark, home field of the Somerset Patriots, as part of Navy Week Trenton.


Trenton Central High School:


Steinert High School:


Salvation Army:


Crockett Middle School:


Trenton Thunder:



TRENTON, N.J. — (MAY 5, 2022) U.S. Navy Religious Programs Specialist Michael Declaro from San Leandro, Calif. sends a shout out to his ship, USS Princeton, (CG-59) for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Roger S. Duncan

Boys and Girls Club:


Community Middle School Plainsboro: