Category: Middlesex County

$1.87M Verdict for Woman Injured at Cranbury Inn

Debra Forman, 62, suffered traumatic brain and orthopedic injuries after a fall

March 17, 2023

CRANBURY, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The Lawrenceville-based law firm of Stark & Stark announced that Shareholder Evan J. Lide has secured a verdict totaling $1.87 million for 62-year-old Debra Forman after she tripped and fell at the historic Cranbury Inn in Cranbury, NJ.

At the date of the incident, Nov. 4, 2017, Ms. Forman was attending a wedding and tripped and fell on a fireplace that had been erected in the newer part of the building. Ms. Forman fell forward, landing on her face, resulting in non-displaced fractures on her nose and a non-displaced right humerus fracture. A few days after being discharged from the hospital, she exhibited post-concussion symptoms and later developed knee pain. It was also later determined that she had suffered a traumatic brain injury from the accident.

The Inn served as its own general contractor on the hearth extension that caused Ms. Forman’s fall, which was raised 1.375 inches. The building’s site inspection by a liability expert after the accident determined the hearth was a tripping hazard and was five times what the ASTM standards, the ADA, and the building code required (.25 inches).

This case was presided by the Honorable Christopher D. Rafano, J.S.C., in New Brunswick, NJ. After two weeks of trial, Debra Forman was awarded $1.35 million for pain and suffering, $402,596 for her loss of earning capacity, and her husband was awarded $120,000 for his loss of consortium.

“I am thankful that the jury saw the truth in this case and that her reputation was vindicated,” stated Mr. Lide. “When Debbie tripped over the raised fireplace hearth extension, she did in fact suffer a traumatic brain injury that has had devastating consequences for her and her family. This verdict means so much to Debbie and her family and I am proud of the work and resources dedicated by our team.”

Some of Ms. Forman’s injuries were not immediately known and many of her symptoms developed over time. Some of her pre-existing conditions (like migraines and a knee injury) returned or were exacerbated by the fall, and other injuries, like one to her bicep tendon that required surgery three years after the incident, were directly related to the injuries suffered immediately following the accident. The Defense argued that Ms. Forman was faking many of her injuries.

Another interesting component of this case was the fact that the ASTM and ADA standards are voluntary, and the Township of Cranbury, where the Inn is located, did not adopt them and they were therefore not legally binding. The plaintiffs, however, were able to argue that the legality of the standards ultimately did not matter because the hearth posed a dangerous condition that lacked any visual cues which would have drawn attention to the potential hazard.

Evan J. Lide is a Shareholder and member of Stark & Stark’s Personal Injury Group. He is also an expert Civil Trial Attorney as certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. He has dedicated his career to seeking justice on behalf of those who have been wronged. Mr. Lide focuses his practice on representing people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other catastrophic injuries, including death resulting from automobile crashes, product liability, and premises liability.

About Stark & Stark:
Since 1933, Stark & Stark ( has developed innovative legal solutions to meet our clients’ needs. Boasting one of the oldest law practices in New Jersey, Stark & Stark offers a full range of legal services for businesses and individuals. After 90 years, our attorneys continue to deliver practical, efficient solutions to clients in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and throughout the United States.

Cranbury Inn Facebook Photo

South Brunswick Police Make Arrest In Threats Against Volusia County, Florida Sheriff

March 14, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond J. Hayducka announced the arrest of a Monmouth Junction man in connection to threats against a Florida sheriff. At 1:05 PM Monday members of the South Brunswick Police Department and Middlesex County Prosecutors Office executed a search warrant at a Tanglewood Court home. Police seized electronic devices and took Richard Golden age 38 into custody. Golden is wanted by Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in Florida for threatening Volusia Sheriff Mike J. Chitwood.
Golden was lodged at the Middlesex County Correction Center on a fugitive from Justice Warrant. He will be held pending extradition to Florida.
Chief Hayducka credited the cooperation between all the law enforcement agencies involved in tracking down the threats to Sheriff Chitwood. “The anonymous nature of the internet may make people feel they can say anything, but if you make threats or put people in fear we will use all our resources to track you down. Yesterday showed that being 974 miles away from the Volusia Sheriff’s Office was no distance too great for the teamwork of law enforcement,” said Chief Hayducka.

17-Year-Old Driver Totals Parent’s Corvette In South Brunswick

March 11, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–South Brunswick Police say that a contributing factor in a 1:00 a.m. crash on Georges Road that totaled a 2000 Corvette when a 17-year-old driver from Edison, lost control and damaged the entrance to Pierres Deli. The teen was driving the parent’s vehicle and was issued a summons.

No further information is available about the crash.

Car Fire Extinguished Near South Brunswick High School

March 9, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MERCER)–South Brunswick Police reported that there was a car fire near South Brunswick High School at the start of school today. No injuries were reported in the fire. Monmouth Junction Fire Department quickly extinguished the fire.

Boonton Police Captain Allegedly Steals Computer Towers, Internal Affairs Records from BPD, Conceals Them in Homes in Edison, Toms River

March 8, 2023

BOONTON — Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced charges against a Boonton police captain who allegedly stole his own internal affairs records and computer hardware containing police data from the Boonton Police Department.

Stephen Jones, 42, of Toms River, has been charged by complaint with computer theft, tampering with public records, and other offenses in connection with the April 2022 incident. The charges are a result of an investigation by the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability’s (OPIA) Corruption Bureau.

The investigation revealed Jones removed at least five computer towers from the Boonton Police Department, three of which contained police information, including files on internal affairs (IA) matters. Additionally, he allegedly stole his own personnel file and IA file, stashing the computer towers in his Toms River home and the files at his in-laws’ home in Edison.

Then the officer-in-charge of the Boonton Police, Jones was allegedly captured on surveillance video late at night on April 13, 2022 removing containers and computer towers from the police department. According to the investigation, Jones removed the computer hardware and files without authorization and in violation of Boonton Police policies.

Jones is charged with one count of each of the following offenses:

• second-degree computer theft

• third-degree theft by unlawful taking

• third-degree tampering with public records

• fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records

Second-degree crimes carry a five- to 10-year prison term with a $150,000 fine upon conviction. Third-degree crimes can carry a prison sentence of three to five years and a $15,000 fine. Fourth-degree offenses could lead to up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Deputy Attorney General Eric Cohen is prosecuting the case for the OPIA Corruption Bureau under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Jeffrey Manis, Bureau Chief Peter Lee, OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione and OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher.

These charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Defense counsel: John Bruno, Esq., Rutherford

AG Platkin, Division on Civil Rights Take Enforcement Action to Hold Municipalities Accountable for LGBTQIA+ Discrimination in Marriage Licensing

28 Municipalities Receive Notices of Violation for Publishing LGBTQIA+ Exclusionary Marriage License Application Forms On Their Websites

DCR has issued Notices of Violation to the following 28 municipalities: Audubon, Carney’s Point, Chester Township, Commercial, Delran, Fair Haven, Farmingdale, Hi-Nella, Lopatcong, Lumberton, Manasquan, Milltown, Morris Plains, Morristown, Ocean Gate, Oceanport, Old Bridge, Pemberton, Pennsauken, Pohatcong, Raritan Borough, Stockton, Sussex Borough, Vineland, West Cape May, Westhampton, Westville, and Woodlynne.

March 8, 2023

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Division on Civil Rights (DCR) announced today that DCR has issued Notices of Violation to 28 municipalities across the state for allegedly violating the Law Against Discrimination by publishing marriage license application forms on their websites that exclude certain LGBTQIA+ individuals seeking to obtain marriage licenses.

The Notices of Violation announced today have been issued to 28 municipalities that have posted marriage license application forms on their websites that do not permit nonbinary people to apply for marriage licenses unless they misgender themselves, under oath, as either “m” (male) or “f” (female). That practice is inconsistent with the marriage license application currently published by the New Jersey Department of Health, which has included a third gender option for nonbinary applicants and other people with undesignated or unspecified gender identities since 2019.

DCR has issued Notices of Violation to the following 28 municipalities: Audubon, Carney’s Point, Chester Township, Commercial, Delran, Fair Haven, Farmingdale, Hi-Nella, Lopatcong, Lumberton, Manasquan, Milltown, Morris Plains, Morristown, Ocean Gate, Oceanport, Old Bridge, Pemberton, Pennsauken, Pohatcong, Raritan Borough, Stockton, Sussex Borough, Vineland, West Cape May, Westhampton, Westville, and Woodlynne.

In each case, the Notice of Violation advises that the exclusionary gender options in the municipality’s marriage application form violates New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD). The LAD prohibits places of public accommodation from discriminating on the basis of real or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and gender expression. Under the LAD, it is also unlawful for a place of public accommodation to display or post any communication or notice indicating that any of their offerings are unavailable based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression.

“Marriage equality is not just the law. It is a fundamental right,” said Attorney General Platkin. “The marriage equality enforcement actions we are announcing today reflect our continued commitment to ensuring that municipal governments do not discriminate against couples seeking marriage licenses on the basis of their gender, gender identity, or gender expression.”

“The law in New Jersey is crystal clear: No one can be denied the fundamental right to marry based on their gender identity,” said DCR Director Sundeep Iyer. “Municipalities have an obligation to ensure that they are not excluding LGBTQIA+ individuals from applying for marriage licenses. Today’s enforcement actions underscore our ongoing commitment to ensuring that marriage equality remains a reality for our State’s LGBTQIA+ residents.”

The Notices of Violation announced today are the latest enforcement actions taken as part of DCR’s Marriage Equality Enforcement Initiative, which was launched in October 2022. The Marriage Equality Enforcement Initiative seeks to ensure that municipal governments across New Jersey comply with the LAD by providing gender-inclusive and non-discriminatory marriage licensing applications and instructions to the general public.

The discriminatory language used by municipalities to describe marriage licensing requirements was first flagged in Marriage Equality in New Jersey: A Latina/o/x Perspective, a joint report issued in July 2022 by the Latino Action Network, Hudson P.R.I.D.E., and Garden State Equality. The report found that the websites of certain municipalities violated the LAD by expressly limiting marriage licenses to “opposite-sex couples.” DCR’s investigation identified other discriminatory language employed by municipalities, including the exclusionary gender options identified in the Notices of Violation announced today.

Among other things, the Notices of Violation issued by DCR warn each municipality that the marriage license application form published on their websites violates the LAD, and that such violations could result in financial penalties of up to $10,000.

The Notices of Violation also contain an offer of settlement. If the municipality does not contest the facts as set out by DCR, it can resolve the matter by entering into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance agreement. That agreement requires, among other things, that the municipality:

  • Update its websites to state that marriage licenses are available to qualifying couples of all gender compositions;
  • Ensure that its website does not contain gender-restrictive language regarding who may obtain a marriage license, and that the services the municipality offers will be open to all persons on an equal basis without regard to sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression;
  • Adopt a written policy prohibiting discrimination against persons using or seeking to use the municipality’s offerings and services;
  • Provide LAD training on compliance with the written anti-discrimination policy to all municipal employees involved in drafting website language and in issuing licenses; and
  • Remit to DCR a payment in lieu of penalty.

The Marriage Equality Enforcement Initiative will continue to investigate other possible violations related to the posting of marriage licensing information by municipalities across the State. The Initiative is being led by DCR’s Strategic Initiatives and Enforcement Unit, including Interim Chief Aarin Williams and Legal Specialist Iris Bromberg.


DCR is the state agency responsible for preventing and eliminating discrimination and bias-based harassment in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation (e.g., places open to the public like schools, businesses, hospitals, etc.). DCR enforces the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), the New Jersey Family Leave Act, and the Fair Chance in Housing Act (FCHA).

DCR has developed various fact sheets about the LAD’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression in housing, employment, and places open to the public. To learn more, visit


Monroe Township Resident To Be Honored At Women Of Achievement Event

March 7, 2023

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Karyn Miller, Market Manager and Managing Director of regional commerce banking for Capital One in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, will be honored by the Tri-County Scholarship Fund at their 10th Annual Women of Achievement Luncheon on March 21, 2023 at the Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

“We are thrilled to be honoring Karyn,” said Tri-County President, Prudence Pigott. “Each year the event recognizes outstanding women whose career accomplishments and community service make them leaders in the community, and role models for our scholarship students.”

The luncheon raises funds to support Tri-County’s Freedom Scholars Program. Candidates for the program are high school students who have demonstrated both great academic potential and financial need. Freedom Scholars is a partnership between high schools, families and the Fund, enabling students to choose values-based, high performing independent high schools. 100% of Freedom Scholars graduate from high school and go on to attend college.

2023 marks the 10 year anniversary of the Tri-County Scholarship Fund Women of Achievement Luncheon. The event will also honor Nikki Sumpter, Executive VP, Chief Administrative Officer of Atlantic Health System; Heather Sperduto, VP of Sales Operations Account Channel for ADP;  and Betsy McNeilly, Executive Director, Wealth Management and Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley.  

2023 Women of Achievement Honoree, Karyn Miller, Market Manager and Managing Director of Regional Commerce Banking, Capital One

Karyn Miller is Managing Director and Market Manager of regional commercial banking for Capital One, responsible for growing Capital One’s presence in the commercial space, focusing on customized banking solutions for the bank’s commercial clients.

A graduate of the Rutgers University School of Business, Miller has three decades of experience in building business segments and brands, and 25 years working in management positions within the banking business. Prior to joining Capital One, Miller served as a commercial banker for JP Morgan Chase where she was Executive Director and the National Head of Beverage Finance, before also being tasked with rebranding the apparel team to become a national specialized discipline.

Her work in the beverage space connected her to the founder of Bai Brands, who hired her as Chief Strategy Officer for a new line of alcoholic sparkling beverages, Crook & Marker. After establishing a national route to market for the brand, she was promoted to Chief Financial Officer, where she continued building and managing the now national brand’s accounting, finance, legal, and human resources teams.

“As the first in my family to graduate from college, I know firsthand how transformative educational opportunity can be for one’s life and career,” Miller said. “I am impressed with the Tri-County Scholarship recipients and their parents who work hard for this opportunity, and am proud to help raise funds for high school scholarships that open doors for local students.”

Miller is a board member of Family Connections and NJ Chamber of Commerce. Her past service includes serving as a board member and past chairman of Coordinated Family Care in North Brunswick Twp., past member of the Planned Giving Committee for Ronald MacDonald House in New Brunswick and Long Branch, engagement with the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America’s Women’s Leadership Council and CohnReznick’s Women’s Executive Forum.

Miller and her husband and three children reside in Monroe Township, NJ.

About Tri-County Scholarship Fund

Tri-County Scholarship Fund was founded in 1981. Alarmed by the failing public school system and the mounting inequities in educational choice for families in poorer communities, The Most Reverend Bishop Frank Rodimer, Bishop of Paterson (now deceased) and Ed Hennessy, (retired) CEO of Allied Signal, joined forces to create an organization that would provide scholarship assistance based upon financial need, for students to attend independent K-12 schools.

Since 1981, over 34,000 scholarships have been awarded, amounting to more than $36 million dollars. Families in the lowest income levels are able to choose quality educational opportunities for their children in safe schools that offer a sense of family and a disciplined learning environment. For the current school year In 2022, Tri-County has awarded 820 scholarships to financially disadvantaged students in grades K-12.  The waiting list of equally deserving applicants is comprised of 1600 more children, waiting for their opportunity.

Karyn Miller at a recent mentoring session and school visit with Mary Help of Christians Academy students in North Haledon, NJ

Fatal Amtrak Train Pedestrian Strike Near Princeton Junction Station Under Investigation

March 1, 2023 Update:

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The person who was struck Tuesday night was a 39-year-old man per Plainsboro police Lt. John Bresnen. His identity is not being released pending notification of family.

February 28, 2023

WEST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–According to Amtrak representatives, on February 28, 2023, Amtrak train 178 was traveling from Washington D.C., to Boston at approx. 6:54 p.m. when an individual who was trespassing on the track came into contact with the train east of Princeton Junction. There have been no reported injuries to the passengers or crew onboard. Amtrak is working with local law enforcement to investigate the incident. There was a hold on all four tracks as far as PHL. Track 4 was opened at 8:47 p.m.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), trespassing along railroad rights-of-way is the leading cause of rail-related deaths in America, and railroad crossing incidents are the second leading cause of rail-related deaths in America. These incidents can affect everyone involved—those who are injured or die and their families, our train crews, and our passengers. They also serve as critical reminders about the importance of obeying the law and of exercising extreme caution around railroad tracks and crossings. Amtrak continues to work closely with Operation Lifesaver (OLI) to #STOPTrackTragedies by emphasizing the obvious dangers of being on railroad property or disregarding warnings at rail crossings. For more railroad safety information, please visit

Two Drunk Drivers Arrested After Crashes and Driving the Wrong Way on the Highway

February 28, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–South Brunswick Police make arrests of drunk drivers after they crashed into cars and drove the wrong way on the highway this weekend.

On Friday, February 24, 2023, at 8:53 p.m., Yurii Kotiash, a 28-year-old man from Feasterville-Trevose in Bucks County Pennsylvania, was traveling southbound on Route 1, north of Henderson Road, in a 2018 Maserati, when he struck the rear of a 2019 Nissan, driven by a 23-year-old Kendall Park man, which had been stopped in traffic. Kotiash left the scene of the crash and continued southbound on Route 1. Moments later, he ran a red light at Henderson Road at a high rate of speed and struck a 2010 Honda driven by a 36-year-old man from North Brunswick, who had been traveling westbound on Henderson Road, crossing Route 1 with a green light. Kotiash’s Maserati went off the highway into the woods, but he escaped any injury. The driver of the Honda was transported to the hospital for treatment of moderate injuries.

Officer Daniel Stoddard administered field sobriety tests and determined Kotiash was under the influence of arrested him. At South Brunswick Police Headquarters Kotiash refused to supply breath samples for analysis. Kotiash was charged with DWI, Refusing a Breath Test, Failure to Observe Traffic, Right of Way at an Intersection, Careless Driving, and Reckless Driving, Failing to Report a Crash, and Leaving the Scene of a Crash.   

On Sunday, February 26, 2023, at 3:22 a.m. officers were clearing from the fatal accident investigation on Route 130 when a drunk driver came at them driving the wrong way. Patrolman First Class Jason Gassman was on Route 130 northbound when a grey BMW came at him traveling south in the northbound lanes. PFC Gassman was able to get the BMW to stop and questioned the driver Eric Timmons, age 47 from North Brunswick. Timmons admitted to drinking and was given roadside sobriety tests. He was arrested by Officer Kent English for drunk driving.  Timmons was charged with DWI and Careless Driving.
Chief Raymond J. Hayducka said, “This weekend was tragic with one woman being killed in a crash unrelated to these two incidents. These two cases could have created even more tragedy. To crash into cars and drive the wrong way on the highway is reckless, and it was all preventable. Each of these men faces $5,000 in costs as well as a loss of license for seven months for senseless driving while impaired. The message is simple, Don’t Drink and Drive.”

South Brunswick Police Say Fatal Crash Maybe Related To Medical Issue

February 28, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–On Monday, February 27, 2023, at 7:05 p.m., South Brunswick Police Department officers were alerted to a car under a trailer at the rear of a warehouse on Chris Court. Officers found a red 1999 Volkswagen Beetle with a driver unconscious. Monmouth Junction First Aid Squad, Monmouth Junction Fire Department, and paramedics responded to the scene and pronounced the driver John Kosarowich age 69 of Howell dead.

South Brunswick Police Traffic Safety Bureau investigators examined the scene and recovered video evidence. Investigators believe the driver was in the rear of the warehouses and may have suffered a medical issue that caused him to strike the trailer.

Anyone with information is asked to call the lead investigator PFC Bryan Sites at (732)329-4000 ext. 7472.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Recognized by New Jersey Sharing Network for Record-Breaking Organ Donation Efforts

RWJBarnabas Health Has Most Donations and Transplants Among All NJ Health Systems in 2022

February 28, 2023

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The New Jersey Sharing Network, the federally-designated non-profit organization responsible for the recovery of donated organs and tissue in New Jersey, has recognized Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) for achieving the most-ever organ and tissue donations by a New Jersey hospital in a single year in 2022.

According to its end-of-year report, RWJUH worked closely with the NJ Sharing Network to fulfill the wishes of 33 individuals who gave the gift of life donating 102 organs for transplantation. RWJUH is one of the three state-designated Level I Trauma Centers for adults in New Jersey, and The Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at RWJUH holds a Level II Pediatric Trauma designation. The hospital has quaternary-level capabilities for the critical care of patients for trauma, stroke, cardiovascular and medical conditions.

As a health system, RWJBarnabas Health hospitals work closely with the NJ Sharing Network and had 68 donors with 195 organs transplanted.

“As a state-designated Level I Trauma Center for Adult Acute Care medicine, a Level II Pediatric Trauma center, a certified Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, and a regional leader in transplantation for heart, kidney and pancreas, our partnership with the NJ Sharing Network and shared mission of saving and enhancing lives through organ donation runs deep in the RWJUH culture,” said Bill Arnold, President and CEO, RWJUH. “As an academic medical center through our longstanding partnership with Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and as one of only seven nursing programs in the world to achieve Magnet recognition six consecutive times, RWJUH is committed to facilitating the gift of life in the face of tragic circumstances. We are deeply honored to support the families of donors through this journey.”

RWJUH has an active Donor Council comprised of leaders across the hospital involved in the care of donor patients and families. The hospital also has a Donor Team, which is a volunteer, nurse-driven committee representing both the adult and pediatric emergency departments and all intensive care units throughout RWJUH. The committee provides specialized training to RWJUH’s clinical care team on the process to facilitate organ donation with the NJ Sharing Network.

Staff never approach patient families about consenting to a donation. Rather, they make a referral to the NJ Sharing Network to work directly with families if the potential exists for organ donation. There are specific criteria developed for when the NJ Sharing Network can be called in for a referral.

The Donor Team also conducts many outreach events to raise awareness and educate staff and the public about organ donation. This includes hosting an information table outside the Employee Dining Room during Donate Life Month. The Team also shares information at Somerset Patriots games, Rutgers Day, JCCs, YMCAs and National Night Out among other events. The Donor Team Committee is co-chaired by Nancy Lipschutz, RN, BSN, CCRN-CMC. and Mary Lynn Dupuis, RN, BSN, CCRN, CNIV.

“I have worked in the CCU forever and I have seen people with end-stage heart failure waiting for hearts,” said Lipschutz. “I have also seen heart transplant patients come back to visit us living and enjoying life. They treasure and honor the gift they have received – it’s never in vain.”

The Donor Team also pays tribute to organ donors and families by illuminating RWJUH’s East Tower in blue and green (the designated colors promoting organ donation awareness) for 24 hours each time a donation occurs. An image of the lit tower will also be pinned on the RWJUH Facebook to acknowledge this profound gift in 2023.

“Whenever people in our communities drive by RWJUH and see those colors illuminated on our buildings, they should know that something profound has occurred here. We can all be proud of this partnership with NJ Sharing Network and our team’s commitment to saving lives amidst grief,” Arnold added. “Publicly acknowledging this gift is healing for both our clinical teams and the donor families.”

For more information about becoming an organ donor, please visit:

Police Seek Suspect In Fatal Hit And Run In South Brunswick

February 26, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Raymond Hayducka of the South Brunswick Police Department announced today that a fatal hit and run is under investigation.

On February 25, 2023, at approximately 9:58 P.M., authorities responded to the intersection of Route 130 and Route 32 following the report of a crash. Upon their arrival, authorities located Kerri Lynn Shea, 43 of East Windsor, who died as a result of the crash. The driver of the other vehicle fled the scene on foot.

The investigation is active and continuing. At this time, law enforcement is actively pursuing the identification and apprehension of the other driver and assistance from the community is being sought. Anyone with information is asked to call Officer Bryan Sites of the South Brunswick Police Department at (732) 329-4000 X 7485 or Detective Matthew Colonna of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3354.

Hamilton Township Man Charged With Criminal Sexual Contact During Massages At Fitness Center In Plainsboro

February 23, 2023

PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Brendan McIntyre of the Plainsboro Police Department announced today that a Hamilton man has been arrested and charged with Criminal Sexual Contact.

On February 23, 2023, Jonathan Saloka, 33, of Hamilton, NJ, was arrested and charged with four counts of Criminal Sexual Contact. Saloka was charged following an investigation involving multiple women alleging that Saloka touched them inappropriately while receiving a massage at the Lifetime Fitness Center located in Plainsboro, NJ.

This is an active and ongoing investigation. Anyone with information asked to call Detective Lauren Leyva of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victim’s Unit at 732-745-4499 or Detective Justin Kowalczyk of the Plainsboro Police Department at 609-799-2333 ext. 1644.

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

On February 23, 2023, Jonathan Saloka, 33, of Hamilton, NJ, was arrested and charged with four counts of Criminal Sexual Contact. Saloka was charged following an investigation involving multiple women alleging that Saloka touched them inappropriately while receiving a massage at the Lifetime Fitness Center located in Plainsboro, NJ.

South Brunswick Police Car Totaled By Distracted Driver; Slow Down Move Over It’s The Law

February 24, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–A police car was totaled late Thursday night after a motorist ran into the back of it on Route 1. At 11:30 p.m., 17-year veteran Patrolman First Class Sean Roberts stopped a truck on Route 1 south near Raymond Road. PFC Roberts exited his patrol car and approached the passenger’s side of the truck. As he was speaking with the truck driver he heard screeching tires and a loud crash. He went to the rear of the truck and saw a vehicle had struck his patrol car and spun along the driver’s side of the truck. The vehicle a 2015 Volkswagen ended up in the lane of travel facing the wrong way with airbags deployed. PFC Roberts aided the driver and notified dispatch.

An investigation determined that the driver of the Volkswagen, George Eckert age 47 of New Brunswick, had failed to stay in his lane and struck the rear of the 2018 Ford Explorer police vehicle that was on the shoulder of the highway. There were no injuries in the crash. Eckert was issued a careless driving summons.

Chief Raymond Hayducka said, “PFC Roberts followed his training and made a passenger-side approach on his car stop which prevented this from being much worse. We were lucky last night, a patrol car was destroyed but no one is injured. Drivers must pay attention and move over.”

MOVE OVER LAW – Drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles, tow trucks, garbage trucks and other highway safety vehicles displaying red, blue and/or amber flashing lights must now move over one lane or, if not safe to move over, then slow down below the posted speed limit

A South Brunswick Police vehicle was hit last night by a distracted driver. Slow Down Move Over It’s The Law

New Jersey Statute 39:4-92.2

Procedure for motorist approaching certain stationary vehicle.

1. a. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle as defined in R.S.39:1-1 that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating red or blue light or, any configuration of lights containing one of these colors, shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection a. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

b. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary tow truck as defined in section 1 of P.L.1999, c.396 (C.39:3-84.6) that is displaying a flashing amber light, a stationary highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle that is operated by the State, an authority or a county or municipality and displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights, or a stationary sanitation vehicle displaying a flashing amber warning light pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2011, c.3 (C.39:3-54.27) shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a law enforcement officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the tow truck, highway maintenance or emergency service vehicle, or sanitation vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section would be impossible, prohibited by law or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

c. A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500.

L. 2017, c.43, s.1.

Past stories on Slow Down Move Over

South Brunswick Road Rage Suspect Arrested After 3 Months of Incidents

February 15, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–South Brunswick Police Department has charged a 40-year-old South Brunswick man after a series of motor vehicle incidents and crashes over the past three months. An investigation into the crashes by South Brunswick Traffic Safety Bureau and detectives determined the crashes were the result of intentional acts. Mark Lauri was charged with 3 counts of endangering the welfare of others and 1 count of criminal mischief.
The first incident took place on November 3, 2022, at 12:55 when Mr. Lauri was driving south on Route 1 near Finnegans Lane. He became upset with another driver, eventually cutting off the victim’s vehicle, then slammed on his brakes, which caused the victim to impact the rear of Mr. Lauri’s vehicle.
Two additional incidents took place hours apart on February 3, 2023. At 1:59 PM a driver on Route 1 called 911 to report a vehicle driving erratically and stopping suddenly (break checking) in front of multiple vehicles. Police determined Mr. Lauri was the vehicle the 911 caller was speaking of. At 3:12 PM Officers responded to the Target parking lot to investigate a crash that took place on Route 1. An off-duty New Jersey State Trooper was traveling on Route 1 and observed Mr. Lauri recklessly drive and cut off another motorist. The trooper witnessed Mr. Lauri change lanes erratically and impact another vehicle that was also headed north on Route 1. Investigators determined Mr. Lauri had also been involved in a road rage incident on January 24, 2023, at High and Bridge streets in Somerville. Mr. Lauri was charged with careless driving and delaying traffic by Somerville Police in that incident.
Mr. Lauri’s actions created widespread risk and he was charged for his reckless conduct. Mr. Lauri surrendered at police headquarters and was lodged at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center as of Wednesday morning.
Chief Raymond Hayducka said, “Mr. Lauri’s conduct put everyone at risk. Last year alone there were nearly two thousand crashes on roadways in the Township. His erratic driving and repeated sudden stopping in front of other drivers just increases the potential for crashes.” He thanked the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance.

Mark Lauri, 40 of South Brunswick was charged with 3 counts of endangering the welfare of others and 1 count of criminal mischief.

South Brunswick Police Department Promotions Announcement

February 8, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka announced the promotion of three officers yesterday to fill vacancies from retirement. “These supervisors bring decades of service, experience, and knowledge to their positions. They will uphold the high standards the South Brunswick Police Department is committed to,” said Chief Hayducka. He added, “Policing has changed over the last decade with increased accountability and transparency. These supervisors will ensure we maintain the highest level of service to our community.” The officers promoted were:
Captain Frank Lombardo
Frank Lombardo is a 28-year veteran of the Department. He previously served as a patrol officer, firearms instructor, team leader on the Emergency Response Team, patrol sergeant, and lieutenant of the Community Services, Traffic Safety, and Patrol Divisions. He is a recent graduate of the FBI National Academy, Class 283. Frank has received seven exceptional service awards, five valor awards, two senate resolutions for bravery, and the Medal of Honor. He holds a master’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University, a master’s certificate in Criminal Justice Leadership from the University of Virginia, and will soon be finishing doctoral studies at the George Washington University, where he is researching how police departments build trust and legitimacy with the community.
Lieutenant Gary Holsten
Gary Holsten is a 23-year veteran of the Department. He has served as a patrol officer, field training officer, traffic officer, and evidence technician, a member of the Emergency Response Team, an expandable baton instructor, radar instructor, patrol sergeant, and Traffic Bureau sergeant. He is an instructor for the Practical Traffic Engineering for Police Officers course at Rutgers University as well as the vice president of the New Jersey Police Traffic Officers Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He has received numerous awards and letters of commendation. 
Sergeant Michael Leung
Michael Leung is a 17 year veteran of the Department, serving his last 9 years in the Traffic Safety Division as an accident reconstructionist.  He is one of the Department’s certified police motorcycle operators.  Prior to his traffic assignment, he served in Patrol Division as a field training officer as well as a rifle team operator.  Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards and commendations, including the lifesaving medal, exceptional service award, pistol expert, and the Department’s “Top Gun” award.
Chief Hayducka said, “These officers went through a challenging process to achieve these promotions. They had to study for months, perform well on tests, and have an exhaustive file review to determine their eligibility for these positions. They now have the challenge and responsibility of leading our officers on a daily basis.” Chief Hayducka credited the Township Manager, Mayor and Council for supporting the promotions.

NJ Sharing Network Encourages Everyone to “Share the Love” on National Donor Day

Mae Howard of Monroe Township discusses NJ Sharing Network’s life-saving mission and her “Love Connection” as she looks back on 20 years since her life-saving heart transplant

February 8, 2023

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX) /New Providence, NJ – February 14 is all about sharing the love in New Jersey – and not just because it is Valentine’s Day!

National Donor Day is observed annually to spread awareness and education about organ and tissue donation. NJ Sharing Network and its local healthcare partners and volunteers throughout the state are working on activities and events to honor organ and tissue donor heroes, recognize those who have received a transplant, and provide hope for New Jerseyans currently waiting for the gift of life.

On February 13 at 6pm, all are welcome to join LIVE on Facebook and YouTube for NJ Sharing Network’s online panel discussion entitled, “Share the Love! Inspiring Stories from Those Touched by Organ and Tissue Donation.” This interactive forum will allow viewers to post questions and comments throughout the event to join the conversation. For more information on ways to get involved and share the love during National Donor Day, visit


National Donor Day is deeply personal for NJ Sharing Network’s partners, advocates and volunteers who are motivated to save and enhance the lives of those in need. Mae and Russell Howard of Monroe Township will be two of the featured guests on the “Share the Love” online panel discussion. In 2022, Mae celebrated the 20th anniversary of her life-saving heart transplant. The following is a summary of Mae and Russell’s amazing connection:

Mae and Russell Howard of Monroe Township, NJ

Making life-saving connections has always been a part of our mission at NJ Sharing Network. But NJ Sharing Network played a key role in making a true LOVE connection for Mae and Russell Howard.

“I remember we were randomly matched up to share our personal stories during a community fair at Keyport High School,” said Mae. “I knew right away there was something very special about him, and we became instant friends.”

Mae was inspired to become a volunteer a few years after her successful heart transplant surgery in 2002. She felt blessed and grateful that her health had been fully restored. At that time, she also wanted to teach her children about the importance of giving back and getting involved in our local communities.

Russell’s link to NJ Sharing Network came after his wife Patty passed away. While Russell and his two children were devastated, they found some relief in knowing that Patty’s gifts helped save and enhance the lives of others.

“By volunteering together, we could discuss all sides of donation and transplantation to fully educate others,” said Mae. “We were also able to share some common experiences.”

Mae and Russell’s friendship soon turned into true love. They recently celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary, and their loving family has multiplied with five grandchildren!

“I have always said NJ Sharing Network blessed me with two hearts – the one that beats inside me, and the other that shares my life and surrounds my new heart with love,” said Mae.


NJ Sharing Network is the federally designated nonprofit organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue in the Garden State. NJ Sharing Network provides hope for nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents currently waiting for a life-saving transplant, and it is part of the national recovery system for the over 100,000 people on the national waiting list. Last year, 283 organ donor heroes in New Jersey gave the gift of life resulting in 670 life-saving organs transplanted, an all-time high for a single year. In addition, 40,000 eye and tissue gifts enhanced the quality of life for those in need. With headquarters in New Providence, NJ, the organization has been recognized by NJBIZ as one of the state’s “Best Places to Work” for five consecutive years. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit

Mae and Russell Howard of Monroe Township, NJ

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of NJ Sharing Network)

Sayerville Councilwoman Shot And Killed Near Her Home

February 2, 2023

SAYERVILLE, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Daniel Plumacker of the Sayreville Police Department announced today that a homicide is under investigation.

Today, February 1, 2023, at approximately 7:22 P.M., authorities received a 911 call reporting shots fired in the area of Samuel Circle, in the Parlin section of Sayreville, NJ. Sayreville Police Department responded to the scene, upon their arrival, officers located town councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour, 30, of Sayreville, in her vehicle who had sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Dwumfour had succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced on scene.

This is an active and ongoing investigation anyone with information or surveillance footage of the area is asked to call Detective Rebecca Morales of the Sayreville Police Department at 732-727-4444 or Detective Michelle Coppola of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office 732-745-3477.

U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) issued the following statement:

“The tragic killing of Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour in a shooting last night is shocking and horrifying. Her death is a terrible loss not just to her family, friends, and colleagues, but to the Sayreville community and our state. My heart goes out to her loved ones and the entire Sayreville community in their time of pain.”

Statement from Governor Murphy on the Murder of Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour

“I am stunned by the news of Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour’s murder last evening in an act of gun violence. Her career of public service was just beginning, and by all accounts she had already built a reputation as a committed member of the Borough Council who took her responsibility with the utmost diligence and seriousness. I send my condolences to Councilwoman Dwumfour’s family and friends, her governing body colleagues, and the entire Sayreville community. Sayreville is a proud, tight-knit, and safe community and I know that it will come together, as it always has, in common purpose. The New Jersey State Police are supporting the ongoing investigation, and I urge anyone with information to contact either the Sayreville Police or the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.”

A statement from Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners Director Ronald G. Riosregarding the loss of Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour

“It is with deep sadness that we have been informed of the loss of a dedicated public servant in our community: Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour. My prayers, and the prayers of my colleagues on the Board of County Commissioners, are with her family and loved ones during this difficult time. My colleagues and I join the community in their grief and hope we find solace in each other. In the wake of this senseless and horrific tragedy, I ask that today and every day, we treat our family, friends, and neighbors with kindness and compassion; look out for one another; and demonstrate that senseless acts of violence do not have a place here in our County.”

Sayerville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour, 30

Trenton, NJ, Man Dies In South Brunswick Crash

January 1, 2023

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MERCER)–South Brunswick Police reported that Malachi Marseille, 23-years-old of Trenton has died in a crash. The crash happened on December 31, 2022, at 12:21 a.m. on Route 1 at Greenview Ave involving three vehicles. Marseille was driving Toyota Camry south on Route 1 and lost control, hit two vehicles and utility pole. No additional details are available at this time.

Brooklyn, NY, Man Charged With Aggravated Assault On NJ State Trooper And Other Charges, After 50 Mile Persuit On NJ Turnpike In Stolen Car

December 30, 2022

EDISON, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Sgt. Alejandro Goez from the New Jersey State Police, Public Information Unit told that yesterday December 29, 2022, at approximately 11:51 a.m., Troopers were alerted by Georgia State Police of a stolen vehicle traveling northbound on the New Jersey Turnpike. In the area of Mile Post 38.8, (prior to the James Fenimore Cooper Service Area in Mt. Laurel) Troopers located the vehicle and attempted to stop it, but driver failed to stop. Using lights and sirens troopers continued to follow the vehicle for approximately fifty miles. Troopers deployed a tire deflation device on the vehicle. Shortly after, the driver veered off the road, struck the concrete barrier and intentionally struck several troop cars. In the area of Mile Post 88.9 (just past Exit 10 and Prior to Exit 11 in Edison) the suspect vehicle became disabled, and Troopers removed the suspect from the vehicle. Isarael Bleier, 37, of Brooklyn, NY was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a trooper, eluding, resisting arrest, and receiving stolen property. He was lodged in the Middlesex County Jail pending a detention hearing.

NY Man Arrested In Philadelphia; Charged With Murdering His Mother In East Brunswick, NJ

December 27, 2022

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Frank LoSacco of the East Brunswick Police Department announced today that Jason Gordon has been arrested and charged in connection with the murder of his mother, Carmen Gordon.

As previously reported, on December 22, 2022, at approximately 11:09 A.M., authorities received a 911 call requesting a welfare check. In response, authorities made multiple welfare checks to contact Carmen Gordon, 68, at her residence on Cozzens Court, before locating her unresponsive inside her residence with fatal injuries. Ms. Gordon was pronounced deceased at the scene.

An initial investigation led by Detective Robert Thuring of the East Brunswick Police Department and Detective Kevin Schroeck of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office identified Jason Gordon, 41, of New York, as a suspect in the death. Authorities reported that this was not a random act of violence and Jason Gordon was the son of the victim, Carmen Gordon.

Today, December 27, 2022, with the assistance of East Brunswick and Philadelphia Police Departments, Jason Gordon was arrested in Philadelphia without incident. Gordon was charged with one count of first-degree Murder, one count of third-degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and one count of fourth-degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon.

This is an active and ongoing investigation anyone with information or surveillance footage of the area is asked to call Detective Thuring of the East Brunswick Police Department at 732-390-6990 or Detective Schroeck of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4194.

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

South Brunswick Fatal Crash Update

December 23, 2022

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Raymond Hayducka of the South Brunswick Police Department announced today that a fatal crash occurred on December 22, 2022, on Beekman Road in South Brunswick Township.

An investigation by Detective Bryan Garrison of the South Brunswick Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that on December 22, 2022, at 4:26 P.M., authorities responded to the intersection of Beekman Road near Old Beekman Road following the report of a multi-vehicle crash. Upon their arrival, authorities determined that a Dodge Charger was leaving the scene of a crime and ultimately crashed into three vehicles, unrelated to the crime perpetuated by the suspects of the Charger. The rear passenger of the Dodge Charger was found deceased in the vehicle, and the suspects fled the scene on foot. The occupants of the vehicles were transported to local hospitals to receive treatment for their injuries.

The suspects, which fled, have not been apprehended at this time and the deceased occupant’s identity is being withheld pending notification to his next of kin.

The investigation is active and continuing. Authorities are seeking the public’s assistance in locating a dark colored sedan that was in the area at the time of the crash.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Garrison of the South Brunswick Police Department at (732) 329-4000 X 7486 or Detective Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4328.

Fatal Crash Investigation In South Brunswick; Driver Still On The Run

December 23, 2022

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Police reported that the South Brunswick Police Department in conjunction with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding the fatal crash on Beekman Road Thursday. At 4:26 pm police received several 911 calls of a crash on Beekman Road near Old Beekman Road.  Arriving officers found four vehicles involved. A backseat passenger in one vehicle was deceased and the driver of that vehicle had fled. A search was conducted using K9 and multiple officers, but the driver was not located. Three people in the other vehicles were injured, one seriously.

The crash and ongoing investigation involved multiple agencies. South Brunswick Police thank the Kendall Park Fire Department, Kendall Park First Aid Squad, South Brunswick EMS, Monmouth Junction First Aid Squad, Middlesex County Office of Emergency Management, Franklin Township Police Department, Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, Somerset County Prosecutors Office, and the FBI for all their assistance.

Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call South Brunswick Police at (732)329-4646.

The Middlesex County Prosecutors Office may be providing additional information later.

Police Report Trespasser Looking For Fight At South Brunswick High School In Custody

December 22, 2022

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–South Brunswick Police report that at 7:55 a.m. today, South Brunswick High School administrators learned of an unauthorized juvenile from a different school district in the school building. Information indicated the juvenile was looking to fight a student at the school. School administrations in conjunction with the School Resource Officer placed the school in shelter-in-place while they attempted to locate the trespasser. Additional officers responded to the high school. Officers along with school security personnel conducted a systematic search of the school. The school was placed in lockdown while the search was being conducted. Eight minutes into the search officers located the trespasser in a second-floor room hiding. The juvenile was taken into custody and transported to police headquarters. The investigation into the incident uncovered the juvenile was allowed access into the high school as a result of a current student circumventing security procedures. That juvenile also faces charges in the incident.

Chief Raymond Hayducka said, “Today’s incident was unsettling with 2,700 students and staff having to go into lockdown. We will hold those accountable who created today’s issue.  I want to thank the students who first came forward to report the suspicious activity and the quick action by the school administration along with the SRO.”

Fatal Fire Under Investigation In East Brunswick

December 20, 2022

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Frank LoSacco of the East Brunswick Police Department announced today that authorities are investigating a fire in which one person perished.

Today, at approximately 4:50 a.m., authorities responded to a residence on Lear Court in East Brunswick Township following a report of a structure fire. Upon their arrival, first responders located an unresponsive man inside the residence. The man, whose identity is being withheld pending notification to his next of kin, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of death remains undetermined pending the completion of an autopsy by the Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office. No firefighters or police officers were injured.

While the investigation is ongoing, a preliminary investigation indicates that the fire is not suspicious in nature.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Lieutenant Donald Carruth of the East Brunswick Police Department at 908-421-3707 or Detective Kevin Schroeck of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4194.

Edison, NJ, Woman Among 6 Charged In Multi-Million Dollar Transnational Technical Support Scam Targeting 20,000 Victims

December 16, 2022

NEWARK, N.J. – Five men were charged in an indictment and a New Jersey woman pleaded guilty in connection with a transnational technical support scam that targeted more than 20,000 victims, many of whom were elderly, in the United States and Canada, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Gagan Lamba, 41, and Harshad Madaan, 34, both of New Delhi, India; Jayant Bhatia, 33, of Ontario, Canada, and Vikash Gupta, 33, of Faridabad, India, are all charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit computer fraud, and substantive violations of wire fraud and computer fraud. Lamba, Madaan, Bhatia, and a fifth defendant, Kulwinder Singh, 34, of Richmond Hill, New York, are also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity. Bhatia has been charged with offenses related to his participation in a high-tech fraud scheme.

Authorities in India arrested Madaan on Dec. 14, 2022, and Gupta on Dec. 15, 2022, on local charges for their involvement in the tech support scheme. Lamba remains at large. Bhatia was arrested by Canadian authorities pursuant to a provisional arrest request from the United States. Singh was arrested at his home in New York. Singh made his initial appearance on Dec. 14, 2022, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court and was released on $100,000 unsecured bond.

A sixth defendant, Meghna Kumar, 50, of Edison, New Jersey, pleaded guilty on Dec. 14, 2022, by videoconference before Judge Hammer to an information charging her with engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity, based on her role in the scheme.

“As alleged in the indictment, the defendants are charged with using access to personal computers to run a high-tech extortion scheme on a global scale,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said. “They frequently preyed upon senior citizens and scared them into paying for unnecessary and useless computer repair services. Working with our partners here and abroad, we will remain vigilant in protecting our citizens from these kinds of schemes.”

“Tech-support scams, and other consumer fraud schemes that frequently target elderly or vulnerable citizens are particularly egregious crimes,” Acting Inspector in Charge Raimundo Marrero, Newark Field Office, Philadelphia Division, said. “Fraudsters, who often operate from outside the United States, may think they can anonymously infiltrate their victims’ homes and lives through the mail, telephone, or computer – without any consequences. However, let today’s enforcement actions put scammers on notice. Through the investigative efforts of U.S. federal law enforcement, and our international partners, we will work together to pursue those individuals who scam, harass, and steal from our older and respected members of society.”

“Scammers are changing tactics and finding new methods to steal hard-earned money from unsuspecting victims, but it boils down to the same well-worn crime,” FBI Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said. “This investigation highlights the FBI’s and our international partners’ work in searching out and bringing these fraudsters to justice. It also shows victims that regardless of where the criminals are sitting, here or in a foreign country, we will hold them accountable using every tool we have.”

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

From 2012 through November 2022, the defendants and others were members of a criminal fraud ring that operated a technical support fraud scheme in the United States, India, and Canada. The scheme targeted victims across the United States and Canada, including New Jersey, many of whom were elderly.

The primary objective was to trick victims into believing that their personal computers were infected with a virus or malware and then convince the victims to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to the fraud ring for phony computer repair services. Over the course of the conspiracy, the fraud ring generated more than $10 million in proceeds from at least 20,000 victims.

The fraud ring caused fraudulent pop-up windows to appear on victims’ personal computers. The pop-ups were designed, at times, to “freeze” the victims’ computers, which prevented the victims from using or accessing files on their computers. The pop-ups also claimed, falsely, that the victims’ computers were infected with a virus, or otherwise compromised, and directed the victims to call a telephone number to receive technical support. Sometimes the pop-ups warned victims to not shut down their computers. The pop-ups also included, without authorization, the names of well-known, legitimate technology and antivirus companies. In reality, the pop-ups were a hoax, designed to trick the victims into believing that their computers were infected with viruses that did not actually exist.

Victims who called the technical support phone numbers appearing on the pop-ups were connected to one or more call centers in India associated with the fraud ring. Fraud ring members at the call centers falsely repeated that the victims’ computers were infected with viruses and offered to fix the purported issue for a fee. The fraud ring members would then request permission to remotely access the victims’ computers. Once granted access, fraud ring members would, at times, download and run a freely available adblocker tool, advise the victim that the “issue” had been resolved, and then leave a text file on the desktop of the computer with payment instructions.

Victims were instructed to pay the fraud ring in amounts ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars by: (a) electronically scanning checks made payable to one of several shell companies set up by the fraud ring and (b) sending, via FedEx, physical checks to addresses maintained by Singh and Kumar in New Jersey. The fraud ring often contacted certain victims again to offer additional services or lengthier service agreements that required victims to pay even more money to the fraud ring.

The wire fraud and computer fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross amount of gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greatest The money laundering charges carry a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved, whichever is greater. The transacting in criminal proceeds charges carry a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Newark, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Raimundo Marrero, Philadelphia Division, and special agents of the FBI, including the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation. He also thanked the Department of Justice Office of International Affairs, the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation, and the Delhi Police for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony P. Torntore of the U.S. Attorney’s Cybercrime Unit in Newark.

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


Multiple Accidents Reported In Cranbury

December 13, 2022 — Updated

CRANBURY, NJ (MIDDLESEX)-Late Saturday afternoon December 10, 2022 a crash occurred at the intersection of Station Road and Liberty Way. Upon arrival one vehicle was on its side and another had heavy front end damage. There were reports that this was a double fatal accident.

There was another crash at Brickyard and U.S. 130, that was a separate incident that occurred later in the evening.

Photos by: Steven Kadir

Route 130 Reopened In South Brunswick; Minor Injuries Reported In Crash

December 9, 2022

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Around 5:42 p.m. South Brunswick Police responded to Route 130 and Stults Road for a car into the back of a tractor-trailer. When officers arrived, the driver was able to get out of the car on their own power and reported a minor injury. The roadway was closed for almost two hours for the cleanup. South Brunswick Police reported the roadway was reopened around 7:36 p.m.

Additional details will be provided when they become available.

Former Middlesex County New Jersey Sheriff’s Deputy Sentenced To 15-Years In Federal Prison For Producing, Distributing and Possessing Child Pornography

December 7, 2022

PHILADELPHIA — An investigation led by Homeland Security Investigations’ Philadelphia field office — commonly called HSI Philadelphia — landed a former Middlesex County, New Jersey sheriff’s deputy in federal prison for 15 years, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for producing, distributing and possessing child pornography. Joshua Padilla, 37, of Eatontown, New Jersey, was also ordered to pay $15,300 in special assessments when he received the lengthy prison sentence Friday.

The HSI-led investigation resulted in multiple child exploitation convictions for Padilla, who was charged with those federal offenses in July 2019. He was also charged with multiple related state felonies in February 2019. Padilla pleaded guilty to one count each of producing, distributing and possessing child pornography in December 2021.

The investigation revealed that Padilla, who was a sheriff’s deputy, drove a 17-year-old girl to Northampton County, Pennsylvania, and recorded himself having unlawful sexual contact with her; he later uploaded some of that video to a social media platform.

“Rescuing the victims of exploitation will always be one of HSI’s most sacred responsibilities, especially those in vulnerable populations such as minor children. The fact that this crime occurred at the hands of a sworn law enforcement officer makes it that much more egregious,” said HSI Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge William S. Walker. “HSI and our partners in the Pennsylvania State Police will relentlessly pursue child predators, especially those in positions of trust and authority. I am very proud of the HSI special agents, PSP troopers, and assistant U.S. attorneys that brought this investigation to a conclusion and ultimately served justice for the victim.”

The investigation was led by HSI Philadelphia with significant assistance from federal, state and local law-enforcement partners.

“While child exploitation cases are always horrendous, the conduct in this case is particularly offensive because of Padilla’s position of authority and trust in the community as a law enforcement officer,” said U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero. “We stand ready with our federal, state and local partners to identify and prosecute those who would prey upon minor children — no matter who they are.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States attorneys’ offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

“As a member of law enforcement, Padilla was trusted and sworn to protect his community. He lost that trust when he violated a minor and put children’s safety at risk,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “I am thankful for the hard work of my office and the U.S. attorney’s office to hold Padilla accountable for his crimes and get a sexually violent predator off the streets. This sentencing is a reminder that being in a position of public trust does not put you above the law.”

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.