The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is aware of a scam using letters claiming to be from a fictitious Tax Assessment Securities division of Mercer County. This is not an official notice from the Mercer County Board of Taxation.
It is believed that this is an attempt to scam residents into paying a fake tax debt. The fraudulent notice has a bold heading claiming the notice is a distraint warrant and a toll- free number listed on the letter, which may lead recipients to believe this is a legitimate piece of communication. These letters attempt to scare residents to respond by stating it is a final judgmental notice and that the recipient must call within 15 days of receiving the letter to avoid enforcement and additional penalties, fees or interest.
Residents should not take any action or call the number listed on the notice.
Property owners with questions can contact the Mercer County Board of Taxation at (609) 989-6704, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or email email@example.com.
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office reported that the autopsy report on Misrach Ewunetie, the Princeton University student whose body was discovered outside on the Facilities grounds behind the tennis courts on October 20, 2022, is complete.
The autopsy was conducted by the Middlesex Regional Medical Examiner’s Office. Ms. Ewunetie’s death was ruled a suicide. The cause of her death was determined to be “Bupropion, Escitalopram and Hydroxyzine Toxicity.”
Out of respect for Ms. Ewunetie’s family, and at their request, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office will not be providing additional information.
A massive multi-day search was conducted of the Princeton University Campus as well as surrounding areas including Carnegie Lake. Those participating in the search were the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, the Princeton University Department of Public Safety, the Princeton Police Department, the New Jersey State Police, the New Jersey State Park Police, the West Windsor Township Police Department, the Hamilton Police Division, the Lawrence Township Police Department, the Princeton Fire Department, West Windsor Emergency Services, the Princeton First Aid Squad and the Trenton Fire Department Dive Team.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri reported today this his Cyber Crimes Unit is investigating recent telephone scams where callers spoof the non-emergency telephone numbers for various police departments within Mercer County in an attempt to scam residents. The scammers falsely claim the resident has a warrant for their arrest. As a reminder, law enforcement will never ask for payment of any type over the phone nor will they ask for personal identifying information that could be used for fraudulent purposes. Law enforcement and government agencies will also never ask you to pay by unusual methods, such as gift cards, wire transfers or cryptocurrency.
Scammers research potential victims on the internet and social media. Then they call and deceive their victims into thinking the callers are law enforcement officers, prosecutors or police employees. Scammers may spoof a law enforcement telephone number, falsely showing on the victim’s caller ID. They threaten victims with arrest for outstanding warrants or other legal issues.
Should you receive a call from a police department within Mercer County or the Prosecutor’s Office, please confirm who you are speaking with. If you believe you received a scam telephone call, hang up and call the number back. If the call is legitimate, you’ll be connected with a police dispatcher or receptionist who can verify the caller’s identity. Report any scam calls to your local law enforcement agency. Please share this message with your family and friends, especially the elderly, to help prevent phone scams.
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad (PFARS) urges families throughout our community to enjoy a safe and happy holiday season by brushing up on home safety tips that will help minimize risks and hazards.
“With all the decorations, cooking, and activities that come with the holidays, it is important to be safe while also having fun. Taking a few simple and preventative steps can keep your holiday festivities from going from joyful to tragic this season,” said PFARS Chief Matt Stiff.
Starting from December into the new year, hospitals and emergency departments tend to see a sharp increase in accidents and injuries relating to the holidays. According to American Medical Response, the number of cardiac deaths is higher on December 25 than any other day of the year, second highest on December 26, and third highest on January 1. The risk rises due to holiday stress, over-exertion, skipping medications and dietary mistakes. Accidental burns from cooking, falling from a ladder, and allergic reactions from food choices can sometimes lead to injuries and even hospitalization.
Decorate Safely When decorating follow these tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
• Keep potentially poisonous plants – mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis – away from children • If using an artificial tree, check that it is labeled “fire resistant” • If using a live tree, cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption, remember to water it and remove it from your home when it is dry • Place your tree at least three feet away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources, making certain not to block doorways • Avoid placing breakable ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower tree branches where small children or pets can reach them • Only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors, and choose the right ladder for the task when hanging lights. Ladders are responsible for hundreds of holiday-related fall injuries every year. When hanging Christmas lights outdoors, be sure that the ladder is on a steady, dry surface. Clear the area of things that might cause the ladder to fall over, and wear non-skid shoes. It is best to have someone “foot” the ladder, their feet against the two beams of the ladder so it does not slide out with you on it! • Replace light sets that have broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections • Follow the package directions on the number of light sets that can be plugged into one socket • Never nail, tack or stress wiring when hanging lights and keep plugs off the ground away from puddles and snow • Turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house
Make Food Safety a Priority Good food goes hand-in-hand with good company during holiday celebrations. And good food starts with safe preparation and ends with proper leftover storage to reduce the potential for food poisoning and other safety concerns. Consider these simple tips for handling food safely:
• Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces frequently when preparing or handling food • Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other foods • Cook food until it reaches a safe temperature. Keep food hot (140° F or above) after cooking if you aren’t serving it right away. • Store leftovers properly by refrigerating perishable foods within two hours. • Don’t forget to consider the eating abilities of young children when preparing their holiday food. Foods like grapes, hot dogs, and raw vegetables should be cut into age-appropriate sizes to reduce choking hazards
Stay Safe on the Roads If you’re traveling by car during the holidays, you are at greater risk of injury or fatality than other forms of transportation. You might encounter weather hazards, increased traffic on the roads, and distracted or impaired drivers along your route.
• Prepare your vehicle for winter weather conditions in your area • Stock an emergency kit in your car, complete with a first aid kit, vehicle emergency supplies (e.g. jumper cables), flashlight and batteries, warm clothes, nonperishable foods, and drinking water • Avoid drowsy or impaired driving and remove distractions such as cell phone use • Check the weather conditions and planning accordingly
Take Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Seriously Carbon monoxide is a “silent killer” as it is odorless and colorless, and poses a real risk all year long. However, during the holiday months, people might unintentionally put themselves in harm’s way when trying to heat their home or vehicle. Protect your family by installing carbon monoxide detectors (as well as smoke alarms) in your home. In addition:
• Don’t leave your car running in your garage • Don’t use a gas range or oven to heat your home • Don’t use a generator in an enclosed space (inside the home or garage) • Don’t forget to have your fuel-burning appliances and chimney serviced annually.
Give Safely Gifts and toys should inspire joy, not cause injuries. Thousands of children are seriously injured in toy-related incidents every year. Avoid safety hazards while gifting with these tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:
• Toys are age-rated for safety, not for children’s intellect and physical ability, so be sure to choose toys in the correct age range • Choose toys for children under 3 that do not have small parts which could be choking hazards • For children under 10, avoid toys that must be plugged into an electrical outlet • Be cautious about toys that have button batteries or magnets, which can be harmful or fatal if swallowed • When giving scooters and other riding toys, give the gift of appropriate safety gear, too; helmets should be worn at all times and they should be sized to fit • Stay up to date on holiday toy recalls
Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad wishes your and your family a safe and happy holiday season! Find out how you can get involved as a volunteer member. Applications are currently being accepted for spring, summer, and fall 2023 training programs at https://pfars.org/volunteer/.
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Princeton Police are still searching for a missing 60-year-old man, Emmanuel Lafontant, who has been missing for the past three weeks. He was last seen on Johnston Avenue in Hamilton, NJ approximately 3-weeks ago. If you have any information on his whereabouts please contact the Princeton Police Department at 609-921-2100.
** Mr. Lafontant was located.***
** Mr. Lafontant was located.***
The pictured individual, Emmanuel Lafontant, was reported missing to the Princeton Police Department by his family. He was last seen in the area of Johnston Avenue in Hamilton, NJ approximately 3 weeks ago. Lafontant is a 60-year-old male, 6’2″ and weighs approximately 190lbs. If you have any information on his whereabouts please contact the Princton Police Department at 609-921-2100.** Mr. Lafontant was located.***
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)—Princeton Police Department reports that on Tuesday November 8, 2022, at 1:52 p.m., a 2019 Hyundai Kona driven by Elmer Hsu was traveling east in the eastbound lane of Princeton-Kingston Road. Hsu swerved to the right out of the eastbound lane and struck a tree located near the corner of Princeton-Kingston Road and Riverside Drive. Hsu was transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, NJ for treatment. On Sunday November 13, 2022, Hsu succumbed to his injuries.
The Police Department is requesting that anybody who witnessed the crash contact Sgt. Michael Strobel at (609) 921-2100 extension 1815.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Further information will be provided when new information becomes available.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–In the wake of numerous issues with voting and counting on Election Day, challenges that are still under investigation, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is calling for a thorough public review of what went wrong and a comprehensive overhaul of the elections process in Mercer County.
“After issues in the last two elections, I have come to the conclusion that we must fundamentally change the management of the election process in Mercer County because it is clearly not working,” the County Executive said. “There are legal limits to what I can do as County Executive but rest assured that I will do everything within my power to ensure the integrity of elections in Mercer County and will tolerate nothing less.”
In Mercer County, three separate entities, the Board of Elections, the Superintendent of Elections, and the Office of the County Clerk each plays a role in elections. Board of Elections commissioners are appointed by the respective County Chairs of the Republican and Democratic Parties, the Superintendent of Elections is an appointee of the Governor, and the County Clerk is an elected position.
“I am happy that Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello requested that the County Prosecutor look into the election. But we also need a more thorough and public review. We’ve got too many people in control and the quality of our elections has suffered as a result, undermining peoples’ faith in the democratic process,” Mr. Hughes said.
Moving forward, County Executive Hughes proposes the following:
Request a special meeting of the Commissioner Board to bring together the Clerk, Superintendent and Election Board Chair explain to the public what went wrong.
Reform and simplify our election process by merging and unifying the Office of the Superintendent and the Board into one, and having an experienced Executive Director oversee our elections.
Call on legislators to enact changes that will allow Mercer County to reform our system.
Pledge any county resources needed to ensure every vote is counted and help get to the bottom of what went wrong hasten and conclude investigation.
“I pledge to you that we will get to the bottom of this and that every vote will be counted,” Mr. Hughes said. “I have listened to the people of Mercer County and have spoken with election officials, and we are committed to finding out how we can improve the election process and to prevent future incidents as the one on Election Day.”
In Mercer County, the Office of the County Executive does not supervise the Board, their offices, nor does it have jurisdiction. The board is responsible for selecting polling places, training board workers, receiving and counting vote-by-mail ballots, and counting and certifying provisional ballots. The Superintendent of Elections handles voter registration, renews registration records, investigates provisional ballots, and is the custodian of voting machines. The County Clerk designs and prints all election ballots, processes vote by mail applications, and officially certifies the election results.
File photo: Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes
File photo: Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried
Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried said in a Facebook post:
“Regarding the events of Election Day, here is what we know so far.
Either the machine scanners did not work, or the ballots were printed incorrectly and the machines did their jobs and correctly spit them out as invalid. An investigation is reportedly under way, and Robbinsville will join other elected officials across Mercer County to see that the investigation is complete and transparent.
Let me be clear: I am not blaming anyone. Honestly, I do not know how this happened. Pointing fingers without all the facts is not productive. We do know that this is the second straight year the County process did not work as it should have, and I am not happy with much of what I saw.
One of the basic tenets of our democracy is the right to vote, and that every vote will be counted.
As of today, it appears our District 5 ballots (Library) have been found after having been misplaced. That information was given directly to our Municipal Clerk Michele Seigfried from the County.
Just a quick note about our clerk’s office. Michele and her team of Deputy Clerk Kaitlyn Macellaro and Sandy DeLorenzo performed exceptionally under extremely difficult conditions this past week. I cannot thank them enough for their service to our Township. The same goes for our Administration team, led by B.A. Joy Tozzi, each of whom worked all hours of the day and night in the chaotic aftermath of Election Day.
Over in Princeton, it seems they discovered ballots still in their machines. During in-person voting on Election Day, two slots for placing ballots were used. The first was the so-called emergency slot. This was used in the early part of the day because officials had hoped the scanner problems could be fixed before polls closed. As the day went on, that emergency bin became full and the scanners were removed so the main bin could be used. They discovered Princeton’s ballots were still in some of those containers since both sides were not emptied. It also appears that the documentation of the chain of custody regarding our ballots was quite poor, allowing the ballots to be apparently misplaced for a time.
The courts have ordered all the machines returned to the Mercer County Board of Elections for inspection to ensure there are no more ballots in those machines, including the ones deployed in Robbinsville.
I DO NOT believe there was any type of fraud, and I DO NOT believe there are any conspiracies at work here. I do believe mistakes were made at a time in our nation when it can ill-afford to stumble on Election Day.
We have spent millions of dollars on these machines and ballots, and they clearly did not work as advertised. It is time to reassess and come up with a better system. Those of you who voted early did not seem to have any issues. Perhaps we need to consider moving entirely in that direction. I will be attending all upcoming Mercer County Commissioner’s meetings until we have a real and fortified plan. Together, I am hopeful we will come up with a solution. Robbinsville has no intention of paying for this process unless real change is implemented.
I have no reason to believe, even with ballots that may or may not still be out there, that our local results will change.
Thus, I sincerely congratulate our three new Board of Education members – Jeffrey Pierro, Raghu Nandan and Peter Oehlberg. I wish each of you the best of luck, and I am sorry your first election was fraught with so much turmoil.
I have always said putting your name on a ballot is one of the most difficult – but potentially rewarding things – a person can do. Although no candidate should have to wait days for results in 2022, each of you earned your rightful place among your other BOE members.
While Ballot Question #1, which sought to combine our Planning and Zoning Boards into a consolidated Land Use Board, did pass, Ballot Question #2 regarding an increase in our Open Space tax to preserve more land and slow development did not. I know times are tough. That is why we put items such as these questions on the ballot. Sometimes we think we know what the residents want, but this process helps us know for certain.”
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello told MidJersey.News in an email, “Although this is under the board of elections, I have been informed that they were all found by them and are being counted.”
As reported yesterday by MidJersey.news a bag of Robbinsville emergency ballots went missing, and also 3 Princeton districts also appeared to be missing as of this morning.
The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Spokesperson Casey DeBlasio, told MidJersey.news in an email, “I can confirm the county clerk did reach out to the prosecutor today. We are reviewing her concerns to determine what further action should be taken.”
MidJersey.news did reach out to Mercer County Board of Elections this morning and have not received a reply yet.
Check back with MidJersey.news we will update as information becomes available.
*Results are not official until all votes are counted and certified. This includes ballots cast by mail, provisional, and ballots requiring a signature cure. These first two reports above must be ADDED for a cumulative total (until further notice)! –Note the PDF files below and the above link must be added together to get the most accurate until updated by County Clerk’s Office
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Robbinsville Township reported on social media that due to a Mercer County-wide system outage, all voting machines are currently down in each district across the County.
Voters can still report to their respective polling locations and vote on a standard ballot and insert their ballot into the “emergency slot” in the machine. However, Mercer County officials will be unable to tally those votes tonight and are working to fix the system issue.
8:00 a.m. UPDATE:
Mercer County Clerk Paula Sollami Covello posted on Facebook that there is a glitch with the Dominion scanners. Voters can still vote by completing their ballots and placing them in the top of the scanning machine in the slot where the emergency ballots are placed. Everyone can vote manually, so rest assured no one will be disenfranchised.
8:08 a.m. UPDATE:
Mercer County reports: The Board of Elections has advised the county of issues with voting machines. Poll workers will be on hand to walk voters through the process. The board is working with Dominion, the machine maker, to resolve the issue.
“All votes cast in this General Election will be scanned on high capacity scanners by the Mercer County Board of Elections, at their central location, instead of at the polling locations by the voters. The Board of Elections is a bipartisan commission. Fortunately, we have hand-marked paper ballot system.
The Mercer County Clerk’s Office does not oversee voting machines or the voting equipment, but all three offices work together to make sure that the process is secure and transparent.
We made it through Hurricane Sandy, through 2020 and we will make it through this one too and no one will be disenfranchised.”
Update from the Mercer County Superintendent of Elections Nathaniel Walker
November 8, 2022 – 2 p.m.
Soon after polls opened this morning, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, poll workers became aware of an issue with the voting machine scanners. Voters are being asked to fill out the ballot as they normally would. A contingency plan is in place for all ballots cast at all locations to be scanned at the secure Board of Elections office.
Again, ballots will be scanned just as they would at the polling location. Every ballot that has been cast will be counted, no voter will be disenfranchised, and the integrity of the election is intact and secure.
Additionally, provisional ballots are available to those who would prefer to vote provisionally. A provisional ballot can be obtained at a voter’s polling location.
Further information will be reported as it becomes known.
– Nathaniel Walker, Mercer County Superintendent Of Elections
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)– Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad (PFARS) has launched a full-scale volunteer recruiting effort, seeking candidates from Princeton and surrounding communities to join its training programs. Applications are currently being accepted for spring, summer and fall 2023 recruit classes. Interested candidates are invited to attend a virtual information session on Monday, Nov. 21 at 6:00 p.m.
“Many residents don’t realize that PFARS is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is independent of the Municipality of Princeton and not supported by taxpayers. Funding for our operations depends on contributions made by individuals, corporations, and foundations to fulfill our mission to save lives, relieve the suffering of the sick and injured, and promote safety,” said PFARS Chief Matthew Stiff.
The need for emergency services volunteers across the country has significantly increased throughout the pandemic.
According to the United States Census Bureau’s 2019 population survey data measuring civic engagement and volunteering, New Jersey ranks 45th among U.S. states, with a volunteer rate of just 26.1 percent. According to the data, 1,863,865 volunteers contribute 162.7 million hours of service worth an estimated $3.9 billion to the state. (Source: census.gov)
“When I joined the squad in 2012 as a high school junior, I saw it as a chance to learn more about the medical field as a possible career path,” said Allie Persky, PFARS Vice President and EMT Rescue Member. “Volunteering throughout high school, college, and now my work as a healthcare consultant, brings me an incredible sense of purpose. For many of us, the big draw is the close personal friendships we’re able to cultivate within the organization. I also enjoy being able to get out and give back to the community that I grew up in, having meaningful daily interactions with people that may just need a comforting conversation when something is out of the ordinary.”
PFARS responded to more than 2,500 calls in 2021 including nearly 200 mutual aid calls to many surrounding municipalities. The organization maintains an average in-town response time of 6 minutes and 11 seconds from dispatch to on-scene arrival – well below the industry standard 9-minute response time.
“At the onset of the pandemic, our recruiting program was temporarily put on hold along with so many other organizations’,” said Stiff. “Currently, we have 62 volunteers working side-by-side with eight career staff and a full-time chief to deliver the highest quality of care possible to Princeton residents and visitors. We take great pride in maintaining top standards, which is only possible with a strong volunteer base.”
PFARS career and volunteer staff members are highly-trained Emergency Medical Technicians prepared to deliver care in a wide variety of life-threatening situations, including childbirth, allergic reactions, respiratory emergencies, traumatic injuries, and cardiac arrest. EMTs engage in continuing education classes and regular training sessions to ensure they are ready to serve our community with the highest quality care possible. Crews are scheduled in the station 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with off-duty members available by pager to respond to additional or large-scale incidents.
“Our volunteer members have a deep connection with the Princeton community,” said Stiff. “The service they provide directly impacts people daily, which cultivates an incredible sense of purpose. Our volunteers enjoy a sense of accomplishment and pride in the work they do.”
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Princeton Police Department reports that on October 28, 2022, at 10:38 a.m., a 2010 Kia Forte driven by Linda Simmins, 73 of Lawrenceville, was traveling south on Mercer Road. The pedestrian/victim, Salvatore Esposito-Dimarcant, 70,of Ewing was performing landscaping work in the 900 block of Mercer Road. Preliminary on-scene investigation revealed that Esposito-Dimarcant was standing in the southbound lane of Mercer Road when he was struck by the Kia Forte. Esposito- Dimarcant was transported to the Bristol Myers Squibb Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries
The Police Department is requesting that anybody who witnessed the crash contact Ptl. Jonathan Myzie at (609) 921-2100 ext. 1875
The cause of the crash remains under investigation. An additional press release will follow when new information becomes available.
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri and Kenneth Strother Jr., Princeton University assistant vice president for public safety, announced that at approximately 1 p.m. on Thursday, October 20, 2022, authorities located the deceased body of missing Princeton University student Misrach Ewunetie.
Ms. Ewunetie’s body was found outside on the Facilities grounds behind the tennis courts at approximately 1:00 p.m. on Thursday by a Facilities employee. An autopsy by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office will determine Ms. Ewunetie’s cause and manner of death, however there were no obvious signs of injury and her death does not appear suspicious or criminal in nature.
Prosecutor Onofri expressed his deepest condolences to Ms. Ewunetie’s family and the Princeton campus community.
He also thanked the many agencies who provided assistance and resources this week, including the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, the Princeton University Department of Public Safety, the Princeton Police Department, the New Jersey State Police, the New Jersey State Park Police, the West Windsor Township Police Department, the Hamilton Police Division, the Lawrence Township Police Department, the Princeton Fire Department, West Windsor Emergency Services, the Princeton First Aid Squad and the Trenton Fire Department Dive Team.
Misrach Ewunetie, 20, was seen in the area of Terrace F. Club, 62 Washington Road, the night of the disappearance.
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Princeton Police, Princeton Fire Department, Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad were continuing a search today for a Princeton University Student, Misrach Ewunetie, 24, who has been reported missing. The focus of today’s search was in and around Carnegie Lake for most of the day. Trenton Fire Department responded with their fire boat that is equipped with side scan sonar.
Princeton University Tweeted “As part of the continuing efforts to locate missing undergraduate student Misrach Ewunetie ’24, there is an increased law enforcement presence on and around campus including the use of a helicopter, drones and watercraft.
The Department of Public Safety is seeking information on the whereabouts of an undergraduate student, Misrach Ewunetie, who has been reported missing. Anyone with information on Ewunetie’s whereabouts should contact the Department of Public Safety at (609) 258-1000.
As of this evening the student has not been found.
The Princeton University, Department of Public Safety is seeking information on the whereabouts of an undergraduate student, Misrach Ewunetie ’24, who has been reported missing.
Misrach Ewunetie, 20, was seen in the area of Terrace F. Club, 62 Washington Road, the night of the disappearance.
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri and Princeton Police Chief Christopher Morgan announced today that a former employee of the Princeton Public Schools has been charged with stealing and selling more than $95,000 of school district property for personal gain.
A criminal complaint was signed charging April Taylor, 58, of Philadelphia, PA, with two counts of second-degree official misconduct, second-degree pattern of official misconduct, second-degree theft by deception, second-degree theft by unlawful taking, second-degree impersonation and second degree and third-degree financial facilitation of criminal activity. Taylor was employed by the Princeton Public Schools from 2000 to 2021, most recently as a purchasing agent. She was arrested on Monday, October 3, 2022, and released pending future court proceedings.
Taylor’s criminal acts were uncovered in July 2021 when the Princeton Public Schools business administrator became aware she had purchased a MacBook computer using a forged purchase order and sold it on eBay. After several months of investigation, the Princeton Board of Education commissioned a forensic audit. According to the 44-page forensic audit report, Taylor used her position as a purchasing agent to create fraudulent purchase requisitions totaling $95,640.04 under state security or technology funds specifically allocated for the Princeton schools from various vendors. She ordered items and either kept them for her own personal benefit or sold them for a profit. Electronic devices sold by Taylor were recovered in Colorado, South Carolina, Cherry Hill, NJ, and Pittsburgh, PA. Video evidence of Taylor picking up custom interior doors at a building supply store in Hamilton was also obtained.
The charges are the result of an investigation by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Public Corruption Unit and the Princeton Police Department, specifically Princeton Detective Eric Dawson. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Taylor S. Hicks. Second-degree crimes carry a penalty of five to 10 years in state prison and a $150,000 fine. Third-degree crimes carry a penalty of three to five years in state prison and a $15,000 fine.
Taylor was suspended from the school district in July 2021 and resigned her position a few months later.
Despite having been charged, every defendant is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–On Wednesday, July 6, 2022 at 3:19 p.m., the Princeton Police Department responded to TD Bank, 883 State Road, on the report of an armed robbery. Investigation revealed a male entered TD Bank and approached the teller counter. There was no teller present at the counter and the suspect attempted to jump over the counter but was unsuccessful. The male suspect tried to jump over the counter a second time and was again unsuccessful. The suspect then exited TD Bank and fled on a black motorcycle towards Princeton Avenue. He was last seen stopped at the intersection of Princeton Avenue and Route 206. The suspect did not brandish a weapon, did not make any threats and nothing was stolen from the bank. The suspect was described as a male, approximately 5’4” – 5’5” in height, wearing green pants, a black shirt, black gloves, grey New Balance sneakers, a chest harness with a GoPro style camera attached to it, a black half shell motorcycle helmet and a gas mask. We are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has additional information, to contact Det. Robert Allie at (609) 921-2100 extension 2123.
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Princeton Police say that on June 2, 2022 at approximately 9:20 a.m., a 17-year-old female victim was entering her vehicle that was parked in the Franklin Avenue Parking Lot (located across from Harris Road). While entering her vehicle, a male approached her from behind and grabbed her left leg in an apparent attempt to grab her buttocks.
An investigation was conducted by Princeton Police Department’s Detective Bureau which led to the arrest of Melecio Xecchay, 49-years-old, from Hopewell, NJ. Xecchay was charged with Attempted Criminal Sexual Contact (a 4th degree crime) and Endangering the Welfare of a Child (a 3rd degree crime). Xecchay was processed and subsequently lodged in the Mercer County Correctional Facility.
There are several open criminal sexual contact cases which may be related to this case. The Detective Bureau is continuing to investigate all open cases. At this time, there is no additional information available. When more information is available, we will put out an additional press release.
We are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has additional information, to contact Det. Eric Dawson at (609) 921-2100 extension 1832.
Update: As of 4:00 p.m. Traffic in the area appears to be subsiding and returning to normal.
April 26, 2022
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Just before 3:00 p.m. police and EMS were sent to Washington Road near Faculty Road, by the boathouse/bridge for a pedestrian strike. It was reported over the radio that the roadway was closed, and CPR was in progress. According to Google traffic there is a large traffic delay in the area and it appears that roads may be closed and detoured.
This is a breaking news report. Once official information is released the story will be updated.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)– Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes has presented to the County Board of Commissioners his administration’s proposed 2022 budget, a $358 million spending plan that stays within the state-mandated 2-percent cap and would result in no increase to the tax levy.
Mr. Hughes on Feb. 22 presented an overview of his administration’s budget proposal to the commissioners, who will review the document over the coming weeks before voting on its adoption.
Of the total budget, $269 million would be collected through property taxes, the same levy as last year.
“This document represents our effort to provide the best possible government in the most cost-effective manner to the taxpayer,” Mr. Hughes said. “The ongoing pandemic has tested us as never before. While we may have changed the way we deliver some services, I am proud of the fact that we have continued to provide resources our residents expect, and I applaud the creativity of our county workforce, including this board, for their flexibility.”
A resident’s actual tax rate will rise or fall depending on his or her municipality once the county rate is equalized to reflect the difference between municipal property assessments and property market values.
The budget proposes that $6.5 million of the County’s surplus be used, leaving a $33 million balance, along with $22 million from the federal American Rescue Plan fund to “help offset the enormous expenditures incurred during the unprecedented pandemic response,” Mr. Hughes said. The spending plan “reflects our continued response to the challenges brought by the pandemic and the toll it has taken on the health of our residents, as well as our county finances, and as a result of our responsible planning, we can propose a budget that is considerate of our taxpayers and offers relief by holding the line,” Mr. Hughes added.
Free tax preparation assistance available in Mercer County
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)— Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes reminds residents that many sites throughout Mercer County offer free income tax preparation assistance to help them prepare and file their 2021 taxes. The deadline for filing 2021 tax returns for both state and federal taxes is April 18, 2022. Below is a list of sites where free income tax preparation assistance is being provided to qualified individuals. Call the site for required paperwork.
AARP Tax-Aide program sites in Mercer County
The AARP Foundation provides Tax-Aides to assist people with low to moderate incomes with 2018 tax preparation at Mercer County Connection, libraries and other sites. For more information, including a list of documents to bring to the Tax-Aide site, visit www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide/.
Ewing Branch, Mercer County Library System, 61 Scotch Road, Ewing Wednesdays, 1:30 to 5 p.m. Appointment necessary; call (609) 882-3148.
Lawrence Headquarters Branch, Mercer County Library System, 2751 Brunswick Ave., Lawrence Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointment necessary; call (609) 882-9246.
Lawrence Senior Center, 30 East Darrah Lane, Lawrence Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointment necessary; call (609) 844-7048. Seniors preferred.
Mercer County Connection, through United Way, 957 Route 33 (Acme shopping center), Hamilton Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Appointment necessary; call (609) 890-9800. Mercer County residents only.
Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon St., Princeton Mondays, 10:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointment necessary; call (609) 924-9529, ext.1220
Princeton Senior Resource Center, 45 Stockton St., Princeton Fridays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Appointment necessary; call (609) 924-7108.
RWJ Fitness and Wellness Center, 3100 Quakerbridge Road, Mercerville Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Appointment necessary; call (609) 584-5900.
West Windsor Senior Center, 271 Clarksville Road, Princeton Junction Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointment necessary; call (609) 799-9068.
IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program sites in Mercer County
The VITA Program generally offers free tax help to people who make $54,000 or less, people with disabilities, and limited-English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in local communities. For more information, visit www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers.
Boys & Girls Club of Trenton, 212 Centre St., Trenton Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, noon. to 3 p.m. Walk-ins welcome; call (609) 392-3191 for required paperwork.
Boys & Girls Club of Mercer County, 1040 Spruce St., Lawrence Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, noon. to 3 p.m. Walk-ins welcome; call (609) 392-3191 for required paperwork.
Catholic Charities of Trenton, 39 North Clinton Ave, Building 1, Side Door, Trenton Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, noon to 3 p.m. Walk-ins welcome; call (609) 394-5181 for required paperwork.
United Way of Greater Mercer County, 3150 Brunswick Pike, Crossroads Corporate Center, Suite 230, Lawrence Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 5 to 8 p.m., Thursdays, 9 a.m. to noon, and Saturdays, noon to 3 p.m. Appointment required; call (609) 896-1912, for required paperwork.
WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville-Allentown High School Cooperative Ice Hockey Team defeated Princeton 2-1 this afternoon at the Mercer County Skating Center. Princeton outshot Robbinsville with 53 to 22 shots on goal but, Robbinsville’s Daltan Tilghman (AHS) was able to put 2 in the back of the net. Robbinsville’s goalie Zander Wiley like a brick wall stopped 52 of 53 shots on goal. It was the first time Robbinsville has defeated Princeton since 2016.
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Around 3:15 p.m. the Princeton Fire Department was dispatched to an apartment fire at 37 Wiggins Street. Firefighters arrived to find heavy fire showing from the 3rd floor and roof area in the rear of the building and a full first alarm was called. Fire departments including Princeton Junction, Plainsboro, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, Hamilton, Rocky Hill, Montgomery, Kingston, Kendall Park, Hopewell, West Windsor Fire and Emergency Services and others were sent to the scene. Princeton First Aid Squad and West Windsor Emergency Services stood by for EMS services. Princeton was covered by Lawrenceville and Pennington Fire Departments.
By 3:30 p.m. most of the fire was knocked down but there was extensive overhaul to be done.
There were no injuries reported and five occupants were displaced.
The fire is under investigation by the Princeton Fire Marshal. No further information is available at this time. Check back for further information and updates.
WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 10:00 p.m. January 4, 2022, a pedestrian was struck by the Princeton Junction “Dinky” train. West Windsor Emergency Services and West Windsor Fire Departments responded to the Princeton Junction Train Station. Firefighters and EMS responded to a wooded area near the “Dinky” line off Station Drive.
Just after 12:00 a.m. Jan 5, 2022, the pedestrian was removed from the wooded area and was being “treated” in the back of the ambulance. EMS units transported the patient to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton at 12:35 a.m., and a “Trauma Alert” was called En route to the hospital.
New Jersey Transit reported that service was suspended due to a pedestrian strike and that substitute bus service was being provided to the riders of the Dinky Train.
The Dinky connects downtown Princeton, NJ and the Princeton University campus with Princeton Junction Station on the Northeast Corridor, the train superhighway connecting Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.
New Jerseyans Invited to Drumthwacket for Open House Tours to View Holiday Decorations
December 10, 2021
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy today announced the return of The Holidays at Drumthwacket, a longstanding tradition of open house tours at the Governor’s official residence in Princeton to celebrate the holiday season. New Jerseyans are invited to attend the open house tours to view the holiday decorations on display. The Drumthwacket Foundation, in partnership with six garden clubs from across New Jersey, have decorated each room using fresh arrangements and greenery to complement the architecture and decor of the historical property. “The holiday season is a wonderful time to celebrate with loved ones and reflect on our blessings,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy, President of the Drumthwacket Foundation. “After a challenging year for all, we are thrilled to open the People’s House and invite everyone to safely tour the beautiful décor and magical holiday displays created by New Jersey’s renowned garden clubs. Phil and I look forward to this tradition every year, and we are grateful that we can once again open Drumthwacket’s doors to share in this joyous season with all New Jerseyans.” The tours are self-guided and there will be several docents stationed throughout Drumthwacket to answer questions and provide historical information about the property. The open house tours will be held on the following dates:
Thursday, December 16, 2021, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 18, 2021, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Monday, December 20, 2021, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Admission and on-site parking are free of charge, but reservations are required to ensure proper social distancing. All visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask. To make tour arrangements, visit https://drumthwacket.org/visit/open-houses/. TheHolidays at Drumthwacket includes the following display presentations located throughout the first floor of the residence: Entrance Gate & Window Wreaths Decorated by Belvidere Garden Club Simplistic elegance characterizes the Entrance Gate wreaths decorated with pinecones, berries, and pheasant feathers with splashes of crystal and gold and complimented by rich red velvet ribbon trim. The 29 window wreaths are festooned with bows of rich red velvet ribbon.
Foyer Decorated by Keyport Garden Club The theme of this room is pearl, gold, and silver elegance. The Pearl represents Keyport itself as it is often called the “Pearl of The Bayshore” and the gold and silver speak to the elegance. The staircase is adorned with tear drop garland adorned with cream, gold, and silver ribbons. The tree in the foyer is decorated with ornaments representing Keyport. The sideboard is adorned with both a Menorah, honoring Chanukah, and a Nativity, honoring Christmas. The dried florals in the foyer have been harvested from Keyport Garden Club member gardens.
Dining Room Decorated by Garden Club of Long Valley The stunning Tiffany silver punch bowl is filled with orchids, anthurium, western cedar, and magnolia branches with white ferns, pampas grass, lunaria, and dried Chinese lanterns. Each table setting features small botanical packages. The mantles are adorned with garlands and white magnolia branches. The room’s magnificent 9 foot tree is decorated with dried hydrangea and ornaments inspired by the room’s hand-painted wall panels.
Parlor Decorated by Warren Garden Club The parlor’s theme is a “Tribute to the State Forests and State Parks of Warren County.” Faux flora and fauna are aesthetically interspersed with fresh plant materials providing a glimpse of the wonders of nature which may inspire visits a State Forest or State Park in the future.
Music RoomDecorated by West Trenton Garden Club The theme for this room is “Gingerbread Wonderland.” Several gingerbread houses and ornaments adorn the carved mantle and period tables. The room’s central round table resemble a town center with a large tree in the middle surrounded by a gingerbread village.
Library Decorated by Allentown Garden Club The theme in this room is “Peace,” which is symbolized by white doves and feathers, olive branches and origami cranes in addition to white orchids and peace lilies. To create a welcoming and peaceful holiday atmosphere, the Library celebrates both Christmas, with traditional decorations and trees, and Kwanzaa, with décor representative of this annual celebration of African-American culture.
Governor’s Study Decorated by Allentown Garden Club Co-Chair Debi DeLorenzo & Chris Endris The Governor’s study is adorned with natural arrangements and mementoes of Christmas past.
EWARK, N.J. – A New Jersey pathology practice will pay $2.4 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by making false representations in connection with submissions to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.
According to the government’s contentions in the settlement agreement:
Princeton Pathology Services P.A. (Princeton Pathology) submitted claims to Medicare under Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code 85390-26 from Jan. 1, 2015, through Dec. 31, 2020. This CPT code requires written analysis by a pathologist, but Princeton Pathology submitted claims using this code without written substantiation in medical records. As a result, Princeton Pathology billed Medicare for analysis of tests that did not require analysis, causing Medicare to significantly overpay.
Contemporaneous with the civil settlement, Princeton Pathology also entered into a three-year Integrity Agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), which requires, among other things, training, auditing, and monitoring designed to address the conduct at issue in the case as well as evolving compliance risks on an ongoing basis.
“Federal health care programs rely on practitioners to accurately bill for services they perform,” Acting U.S. Attorney Honig said. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey will hold accountable physician practices that seek payment for unnecessary or unsubstantiated services.”
“Submitting claims for unsubstantiated services threatens the integrity of the Medicare program and will not be tolerated,” Scott J. Lampert, HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge said. “We will continue to protect patients and taxpayers by holding accountable providers who endanger the integrity of federal health care programs and the beneficiaries they serve.”
The allegations arose from a lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Jayant Barai M.D. The False Claims Act permits private parties to sue for false claims on behalf of the United States and to share in any recovery. Dr. Barai will receive $456,000 from the federal share of the settlement.
The government’s pursuit of this lawsuit illustrates its efforts to combat healthcare fraud. One of the most powerful tools in this effort is the False Claims Act. Tips and complaints from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement can be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services, at 800‑HHS‑TIPS (800-447-8477).
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the HHS-OIG, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Lampert; and special agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas Mahoney, with the investigation leading to the settlement.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Meyler of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.
The lawsuit is captioned United States ex rel. Barai v. Princeton Pathology Services, P.A., et al. (D.N.J.). The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.
Counsel for Relator: Daniel R. Miller & Jonathan DeSantis, Walden Macht & Haran LLP Counsel for Princeton Pathology: John Hogan & Grace Mack, Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer P.A.
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Princeton Police report that on Tuesday November 23, 2021 at 6:14 p,m,, the Princeton Police Department was dispatched to the area of Moore Street and Park Place for a report of a criminal sexual contact. The victim stated she was walking south on Moore Street and crossed Park Place. While she was on the sidewalk on the southwest corner of the intersection of Moore Street and Park Place, the suspect approached her from behind and grabbed her buttocks. The suspect then ran west on Park Place.
The victim described the suspect as a Hispanic male, possible in his 30’s, 5’04” tall with a medium to slightly heavy build, wearing a dark colored beanie style winter hat, a white surgical mask and a navy blue jacket.
It is unknown if this incident is related to the prior criminal sexual contacts that occurred in the past. At this time, there is no additional information available. When more information is available, we will put out an additional press release.
We are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has additional information, to contact Det. Don Mathews at (609) 921-2100 extension 2137.
November 8, 2021 — Updated with official information from Princeton Police Department and Rutgers University:
The School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University is sad to announce the passing of our colleague Jodi Marcou. Jodi joined the school in January of 2018 as a Development Specialist and was a true asset to the school adding great value to the school’s development operation. Jodi was highly regarded by colleagues, donors, and alumni.
Dean Jonathan Potter expressed his deepest condolences to her family and friends upon hearing of the loss of Jodi saying that words are insufficient to express our deep sorrow for the loss of our colleague. We express our deepest sympathies and condolences to Jodi’s family and friends.
PRINCETON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On November 7, 2021 at 12:40 p.m., the Princeton Police Department was dispatched to a residence on the 100 block of Clover Lane for an attempted motor vehicle theft. The victim reported that three unknown suspects entered his vehicle in an attempt to steal the vehicle, which was parked in the driveway. The suspects were driving a 2015 black Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was later determined to be stolen out of Pequannock Township, NJ.
While Princeton Police were on scene investigating the attempted theft, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was observed traveling west on Clover Lane, followed by a 2015 Land Rover Range Rover. It was reported at that time that the Range Rover was just stolen from a residence on Dodds Lane.
The investigating officer returned to his vehicle and followed behind the Range Rover on Clover Lane. The Jeep Grand Cherokee drove away in an unknown direction.
The Range Rover suddenly accelerated at a high rate of speed and the officer attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop. A motor vehicle pursuit ensued but was terminated on Snowden Lane due to the reckless driving of the Range Rover. The Range Rover was last observed driving south on Snowden Lane, and made a left turn onto Princeton-Kingston Road. The Range Rover was later found abandoned in Newark, NJ.
At 1:09 p.m., Princeton Police were dispatched to Princeton-Kingston Road in the area of Carnegie Drive for a motor vehicle crash. Preliminary investigation revealed that the Jeep Grand Cherokee, driven by a 15 year old juvenile was traveling east on Princeton-Kingston Road and crossed over the double yellow line and struck head-on a 2016 Acura RDX driven by Jodi Marcou that was traveling west. Marcou and the 15 year old driver were both pronounced dead at the scene. The 14 year old passenger was transported to Capitol Health Regional Medical Center in Princeton, NJ and is in critical condition.
The crash is being investigated by the Princeton Police Department and Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. PPD is requesting that anybody who witnessed the crash to contact Traffic Safety Bureau supervisor Sergeant Thomas Murray at 609-921-2100 ext. 1879.
An additional press release will follow when new information becomes available.
Jodi Marcou (Driver) Kendall Park,, NJ 08088 61 years old (Deceased)
15 year old juvenile (Driver) Newark, NJ (Deceased)
PRINCETON, NJ (MERCER)–Around 1:15 p.m. a serious accident occurred in the 600 Block of Princeton-Kingston Road Rt 27 between Riverside Drive and Carnegie Drive. There were reported serious injuries and the road is currently closed for an accident investigation. Please check back later the story will be updated once official information becomes available.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–As Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to an end, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office would like to remind the community that we are here to help. Domestic violence transcends all boundaries: age, gender, race, ethnic, geographical, economic and sexual orientation. Applications for temporary restraining orders are available Monday through Friday during business hours at the Mercer County Civil Courthouse located at 175 South Broad Street in Trenton. After business hours and on weekends, TRO applications can be made at your local police department. Our Office of Victim Witness Advocacy is here to assist you at (609) 989-6428. If you are in imminent danger or an emergency situation, always call 9-1-1.
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