Category: Edison

Edison Man Charged With Conspiracy To Defraud NJ Banks With $1+Million Stolen And Counterfeited Checks

June 25, 2021

A Middlesex County, New Jersey, man was indicted today for his role in a scheme to defraud banks of more than $1 million using stolen and counterfeited checks and stolen identities, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Benjamin Rich, 37, of Edison, New Jersey, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Rich and two other men, Felix Alamo and Frank Ambrosio, both of Brooklyn, New York, were previously charged by complaint with conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

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

Rich, Alamo, and certain conspirators agreed to defraud banks across New Jersey by using the stolen personal identification information of other individuals to open fraudulent bank accounts and deposit stolen and counterfeited checks. Rich used stolen identities, which included Social Security numbers belonging to minors, to create sham businesses. Rich, Alamo, and others opened bank accounts for the sham businesses and deposited stolen or counterfeited checks into the accounts and attempted to withdraw or transfer the funds before the banks could detect the fraud. Rich and his conspirators deposited approximately $1 million in fraudulently obtained checks into the fraudulent business bank accounts, resulting in at least $250,000 in losses to the various banks.

The charge of bank fraud carries a maximum of 30 years in prison and a statutory maximum fine $1 million, or twice the gain derived or loss loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.

The charge of aggravated identity theft carries a statutory minimum term of two years in prison, which must run consecutively to any term of imprisonment imposed on the bank fraud charge, and a statutory maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gain derived or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest.
Alamo previously pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on July 21, 2021.

Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Rodney Hopkins, and special agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew McKay, with the investigation leading to today’s indictment.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Perry Farhat of the Government Fraud Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.

The charges and allegations against Rich and Ambrosio are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

21-285 

Defense counsel: Mitchell Elman Esq., Garden City, New York


Eight arrests made by Internet Crimes Against Children Unit

May 14, 2021

Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announced today that six County residents have been arrested for their possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of children.

          On May 13, 2021, officers of the East Brunswick, Edison, Highland Park, Monroe, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Perth Amboy, and Sayreville Police Departments along with detectives of the New Jersey State Police and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office executed search warrants at six residences across the County. 

          The investigation resulted in the following arrests:

  • Edison was arrested and charged for  second-degree Using a File-sharing Program to Store Items Depicting the Sexual Exploitation or Abuse of Children, second-degree Possession with the Intent to Distribute Child Pornography, and first-degree Possession of Child Pornography after having been found to be in possession of 100,000 items of material depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of children.
  • Hongpeng Zheng, 24, of New Brunswick was arrested and charged for  second-degree Distribution of Child Pornography, third-degree Possession of Child Pornography, and second-degree Using a File-sharing Program to Store Items Depicting the Sexual Exploitation or Abuse of Children. 
  • Ali Armas-Iriarte, 58, of Highland Park was arrested and charged for third-degree Possession of Child Pornography, second-degree Possession with the Intent to Distribute Child Pornography, and second-degree Using a File-sharing Program to Store Items Depicting the Sexual Exploitation or Abuse of Children. 
  • Jeff Caramella, 21, of the Parlin section of Sayreville was arrested and charged for third-degree Possession of Child Pornography.
  • James Walden, 50, of North Brunswick was arrested and charged for third-degree Possession of Child Pornography. 
  • A juvenile, 17, of Monroe was charged for third-degree Possession of Child Pornography. 

          Additionally, on May 6, 2021, Kenneth Godfrey, 41, of Woodbridge Township was also arrested and charged with third-degree Possession of Child Pornography. 

          On May 10, 2021, a juvenile, 14, of Edison was also charged for second-degree Possession of Child Pornography.     

          All of the aforementioned individuals were arrested and charged following separate investigations by Detective Daniel Lojek and Detective Stephanie Redline of the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, which revealed the individuals possessed material depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of children.  Presently, the investigations appear to be unconnected and the individuals are unknown to one another.

          Nie is presently lodged at the Middlesex Adult Correction Center pending a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court.  The remaining defendants individuals are likewise lodged at the Middlesex Adult Correction Center pending their initial appearances in Superior Court this afternoon. 

The investigations are active and continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Lojek at (732) 745-5924 or Detective Redline at (732) 867-1496 .

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Zheng, Nie, Armas-Iriarte, Caramella, Walden, Godfrey, and the juveniles are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty or, as in the case of the juveniles, adjudicated delinquent.

BAPS Mandir: Class Action Lawsuit Filed On Behalf Of Workers Lured From India Paid As Little As $1.20 hr., Stop Work Issued By NJDOL, As Federal FBI Probe Continues

May 11, 2021

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–This morning FBI Spokesperson Doreen A. Holder, told MidJersey.news in a statement: “The FBI is there on court authorized law enforcement activity.  No further comment.” when asked about the FBI and other law enforcement activity at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir located at 112 N Main St. in the township.

At the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir FBI agents in unmarked vehicles could be seen leaving and entering the compound. Four large tour busses with what appeared to be workers were leaving the Mandir along with an Monmouth County EMS Taskforce Bus. Up to five of ambulances were also seen at the gate according to witnesses.

Law enforcement sources would not say what they were looking for in the activities at the property.

About the same time as the law enforcement activity at BAPS a class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court District of New Jersey with several allegations against the the religious organization over labor practices.

According to the complaint, after being trafficked to the U.S. under false pretenses, the workers’ passports were confiscated, and they were forced to live and work in a fenced, guarded compound. They were not allowed to leave the grounds unaccompanied, and they were under constant monitoring, threats of being fined for infractions, and arrest.

Plaintiffs allege that the trafficked workers were forced to work 12-13 hours a day with only rare days off, performing arduous and sometimes dangerous work for approximately 31,000 – 35,000 rupees (approximately $425 – $450 USD) per month, or less than $1.20 per hour.

See full lawsuit below for details.

On April 30, 2021 New Jersey Department of Labor issued a Stop Work Order for Newark-based Cunha’s Construction Inc. was ordered to halt work at current and future projects for the duration of the order, which will remain in effect until the contractor complies with state wage and hour laws and all outstanding back wages and penalties have been paid.  

The NJDOL’s Division of Wage and Hour Compliance conducted site visits at two of the company’s current worksites, BAPS Temple in Robbinsville and BAPS Temple in Edison, after learning of the projects from workers. These inspections found the contractor was paying workers in cash off the books and did not have workers’ compensation insurance.  

Other violations involve the misclassification of construction workers by paying them in cash off the books, failure to pay overtime, failure to keep records, hindrance of the investigation, and unpaid or late paid wages.  See press release below for full details.

A BAPS representative Matthew Frankel of MDF Strategies told MidJersey.news “We were first made aware of the accusations early Tuesday morning, we are taking them very seriously and are thoroughly reviewing the issues raised.”

This is sill a developing story follow MidJersey.news for the latest.


A emailed statement John Nalbone from Robbinsville Township Office of Communications & Public Information said, “Based upon media reports, the Township was made aware of federal law enforcement activity this morning on the BAPS property located in Robbinsville.  The Township’s jurisdiction over the property is limited to land use and Uniform Construction Code (UCC) matters.  At no time in approving BAPS’s land use applications, or in conducting UCC inspections on the property, did Robbinsville Township officials witness, or become aware of any labor issues that may have been present.  The Township was aware of temporary housing on the site and conducted inspections of that housing in April and June of 2020, until in-person inspections were suspended due to COVID-19.  As to not interfere with this ongoing federal investigation, the Township will have no further comment.” 




Press release provided from the law firms of the class action lawsuit:

Class Action Lawsuit filed in NJ again Major Hindu Temple

Today, workers’ rights attorneys filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Indian workers who were trafficked and faced rampant wage theft and shocking abuses by Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Inc. (“BAPS”), reportedly the largest Hindu temple in the United States.    

In addition to the six named plaintiffs – Mukesh Kumar, Keshav Kumar, Devi Laal, Niranjan, Pappu, Brajendra – the case, Kumar v.  Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, Inc., is brought on behalf of approximately 200 other Indian nationals who have worked at the temple. According to the complaint, after being trafficked to the U.S. under false pretenses, the workers’ passports were confiscated, and they were forced to live and work in a fenced, guarded compound. They were not allowed to leave the grounds unaccompanied, and they were under constant monitoring, threats of being fined for infractions, and arrest.

Plaintiffs allege that the trafficked workers were forced to work 12-13 hours a day with only rare days off, performing arduous and sometimes dangerous work for approximately 31,000 – 35,000 rupees (approximately $425 – $450 USD) per month, or less than $1.20 per hour.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey by attorneys Patricia Kakalec of Kakalec Law PLLC, Daniel Werner of Radford & Keebaugh, LLC, and Andrew Glenn of Jaffe Glenn Law Group, P.A., outlines the defendants’ violations of federal and state laws including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (“TVPA”), the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), and New Jersey wage and hour laws.  Besides BAPS, defendants in the case are BAPS Mercer LLC, BAPS Robbinsville LLC., BAPS Fellowship Services, Inc., Bharat Doe a/k/a Bharat Bhai, Pankaj Patel, Kanu Patel, and Swami Prasanand.  

“This is a horrific case of worker exploitation and it is even more disturbing that it has gone on for years in New Jersey behind the temple’s walls,” said Werner. “These workers were coerced through lies to come to the United States to work and then suffered tremendously – they were basically forced into servitude.” 

The plaintiffs were brought to the United States under R-1 or religious visas, which are available to those who minister or who work in a religious vocation or occupation, but the workers solely performed manual labor.

“These workers came to work in New Jersey to earn wages and help their families,” says Kakalec. “They were taken advantage of and cheated out of millions of dollars in wages. They deserve justice.”

Swati Sawant, an attorney for individuals who worked in the temple, says: “These individuals have suffered greatly – financially as a result of the wage theft, physically as a result of the grueling work they were forced to undertake, and mentally as a result of being forced for stay within the temple compound for months, and for many, years.  They are brave for standing up for their rights.”

The lawsuit seeks the workers’ unpaid wages, an award of money for other damages, and a court order preventing the defendants from continuing to violate the law.

A copy of the complaint can be viewed HERE.


Radford & Keebaugh, LLC. is a Georgia based law firm focused on civil rights and employment litigation specializing in areas such as employment discrimination, wage and hour violations, constitutional claims including false arrest and malicious prosecution, sexual harassment, Americans with Disabilities Act, and whistleblower retaliation. 
For more information, visit: 
https://decaturlegal.com.

Kakalec Law PLLC is a New York based law firm which represents employees in wage and hour, discrimination, and other employment matters, and also represents individuals with disabilities in civil rights and access matters. For more information, visit: https://kakaleclaw.com

Jaffe Glenn Law Group PA is a New Jersey and New York based law firm which represents employees specializing in overtime claims, minimum wage violation cases, as well as other employment related cases.   For more information visit https://jaffeglenn.com.


NJDOL Issues Stop-Work Order Against Construction Contractor, Halting All Current and Future Work

April 30, 2021

TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has issued a company-wide stop-work order to Cunha’s Construction Inc. and owner Nuno Cunha based on repeated and ongoing violations of state wage and hour laws. This is the first time the NJDOL has used its authority to pause all work by a single entity rather than on a per project basis.   

Newark-based Cunha’s Construction Inc. was ordered to halt work at current and future projects for the duration of the order, which will remain in effect until the contractor complies with state wage and hour laws and all outstanding back wages and penalties have been paid.  

The NJDOL’s Division of Wage and Hour Compliance conducted site visits at two of the company’s current worksites, BAPS Temple in Robbinsville and BAPS Temple in Edison, after learning of the projects from workers. These inspections found the contractor was paying workers in cash off the books and did not have workers’ compensation insurance.  

Other violations involve the misclassification of construction workers by paying them in cash off the books, failure to pay overtime, failure to keep records, hindrance of the investigation, and unpaid or late paid wages.  

The company has eight unpaid judgments for back wages and penalties dating back to 2007 that have not been resolved by way of compliance or restitution to workers. In addition,  NJDOL concluded the company was not paying its workers on numerous job sites and was not maintaining proper payroll for any projects across the state. 

“With the authority to issue stop-work notices, we can better protect workers from bad actors who repeatedly skirt the law,” said Assistant Commissioner Joseph Petrecca of the Division of Wage and Hour Compliance. “Now more than ever, it is important to keep our workers safe, and ensure they are treated fairly.”   

The NJDOL first served the company-wide stop-work order to Cunha’s Construction Inc. on April 1, upon which owner Nuno Cunha appealed the decision to the director of NJDOL’s Division of Wage and Hour Compliance  through his attorney. The NJDOL was represented during the appeal process by Section Chief and Deputy Attorney General Peter A. Basso and Deputy Attorney General Micauri Vargas of the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General’s Division of Law, Affirmative Civil Rights & Labor Section. After the presentation of evidence and witness testimony, the appeal determination upheld the actions of the NJDOL.   

“This stop-work order from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development is the first of its kind under a law signed by Governor Murphy to strengthen our ability to enforce the state’s labor laws,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “The message to employers should be clear: We are committed to using all of the tools at our disposal to protect New Jersey’s workers.” 

As of July 2019, the NJDOL has the authority to require any employer to cease business operations when significant pay, benefits, or other workers’ rights violations are documented. As Cunha’s Construction Inc. is not a registered public works contractor, the department previously had few options to ensure compliance and payment of restitution.  

For more information on New Jersey’s wage and hour laws, please visit myworkrights.nj.gov


Photos by Brian McCarthy, OnScene News



It was reported that on August 17, 2017 a fatal accident occurred where a 15 year old “volunteer” at the temple was killed in a 45 foot fall. Rescue personnel from Robbinsville Township arrived and performed CPR on the 15 year old and was later pronounced dead at RWJ University Hospital in Hamilton. OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened and investigation and closed the investigation on August 23, 2017 with no notes listed available from the OSHA website. You can access that information at the link below:

https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.inspection_detail?id=1255956.015

Inspection: 1255956.015 – Baps Northeast Development, Inc
Inspection Information – Office: Marlton
Nr: 1255956.015Report ID: 0213900Open Date: 08/17/2017
Baps Northeast Development, Inc
112 N Main Street
Robbinsville, NJ 08691
Union Status: NonUnion
SIC:
NAICS: 236220/Commercial and Institutional Building Construction
Mailing: 112 N Main Street, Robbinsville, NJ 08691
Inspection Type:Referral
Scope:No Insp/OtherAdvanced Notice:N
Ownership:Private
Safety/Health:SafetyClose Conference:08/23/2017
Emphasis:L:FallClose Case:08/23/2017
Related Activity:TypeIDSafetyHealth
 Accident1254250  
 Referral1254231Yes 
Case Status: CLOSED


One-Time
Monthly

Help MidJersey.news continue to bring you this type of coverage with a one-time donation

Help MidJersey.news continue to bring you this type of coverage with a monthly donation

Choose an amount

$15.00
$25.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthly

AG Grewal And NJ DEP File 9 New Environmental Enforcement Actions Across NJ, Including KAARS, Inc., In Trenton

Locally, the State’s lawsuit against Trenton auto recycling facility KAARS, Inc., and its owner Isam Abuhumoud alleges violations of the Water Pollution Control Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Spill Compensation and Control Act. 

May 10, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Acting Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today the filing of nine new environmental enforcement actions across the State, including seven to hold polluters accountable for contamination in environmentally overburdened communities.

The seven lawsuits focused on overburdened communities address pollution in Camden, Trenton, Kearny, Secaucus, Edison, Bridgeton and Egg Harbor City. The two additional cases are based in Butler and Vineland.

Collectively, the Complaints involve a broad range of alleged environmental abuses by the defendant property owners and other responsible parties, including:

  • Illegal dumping that allowed massive quantities of contaminated soil, construction and demolition debris — along with contaminated old tires and other refuse — to accumulate in near residences;
  • The release of gasoline and other toxic chemicals from underground storage tanks, contaminating soil and groundwater; and
  • Releases of chemical and food waste contaminants into stormwater drains and, ultimately, surface bodies of water.

These cases represent yet another component of the Murphy Administration’s comprehensive effort to address harms disproportionately affecting the health and well-being of the state’s most vulnerable populations.

Including the lawsuits announced today, Attorney General Grewal and the Department of Environmental Protection have filed 39 environmental justice cases since 2018. The lawsuits have yielded nearly $20 million in judgments.  More important, many of these cases also have resulted in court orders requiring responsible parties perform cleanup activities to protect human health and the environment. These orders also achieve cost savings to the taxpayers by holding polluters and other responsible parties financially accountable.

“From Day One of the Murphy Administration, we’ve been committed to ensuring that all New Jersey residents can enjoy clean air, clean drinking water and a safe environment,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “That’s environmental justice, and everyone deserves it.  The cases we’re announcing today are only the latest actions we’ve taken to deliver on our commitment to environmental justice, and the latest reminder to polluters that they will be held accountable – whether they’re illegally dumping waste in our cities or polluting our fields and rivers.”

“To further the promise of environmental justice, we must aggressively enforce our laws in communities disproportionately burdened by pollution,” said Acting DEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette. “Enforcement actions like these embody our commitment to protecting vulnerable communities and make clear the consequences for creating or contributing to environmental injustice. My DEP colleagues and I are grateful to Attorney General Grewal and his team for their passion for equity and their partnership in action.”

The contaminants at issue in all of today’s lawsuits are linked to serious health problems including respiratory distress and certain lung illnesses, cancer, neurological disorders, kidney disease, liver disease and eye damage.

Today’s nine Complaints seek a variety of remedies, including clean-up of the contaminated properties, compliance with DEP Administrative Orders and other outstanding DEP requirements, payment of civil penalties, and reimbursement to the State for the cost of site investigation, remediation, monitoring and other related work.



Today’s lawsuits include seven cases located in environmental justice communities and two located outside environmental justice communities:

Yaffa & Sons Property, Camden (Environmental Justice)

The State’s Complaint alleges that S. Yaffa and Sons, Inc. and its owner, William Yocco, unlawfully imported and stockpiled solid waste — including contaminated soil, construction and demolition debris, and waste tires — at its property in the City of Camden for years before selling the site to Weyhill Realty Holdings in July 2019.  Weyhill Realty Holdings allegedly failed to remove the waste, and continued to allow illegal dumping on site, receiving more construction and demolition debris and comingling it with contaminated soil. In addition, the State’s Complaint alleges that a 500-gallon underground fuel storage tank potentially remains on the property, which, because of its potential to leak gasoline, would pose a danger.

The Complaint alleges violations of New Jersey’s Solid Waste Management Act and the Underground Storage of Hazardous Substances Act, and seeks to enforce a prior DEP order and collect penalties for non-compliance.


Delta Service Station, Edison (Environmental Justice)

The State’s Complaint stems from the operations of a former gas station at 1065 Amboy Avenue – and specifically from issues related to underground tanks used to store gasoline. On multiple occasions over the years, DEP has detected gasoline contamination on the property and confirmed the presence of such harmful chemicals as benzene, methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), and xylenes in soil and groundwater. The Complaint alleges violations of the Spill Act, the Water Pollution Control Act, and the Underground Storage of Hazardous Substances Act.

Named defendants in the suit include former property owner James Mezey; Cherokee Equities, LLC; 1065 Amboy Avenue, LLC; ERC7, LLC; 19 Petroleum Distributors, Inc.; G&V Fuel Corporation, Inc., and NJ Petroleum Distributors, Inc. The site currently operates as an auto repair garage and auto body shop, and those business are not defendants.


Thomas Dailey, 885 N. Pearl Street, Bridgeton (Environmental Justice)

The State’s Complaint alleges that defendant Thomas Dailey purchased the property at issue in 1992 and subsequently had two underground fuel storage tanks removed without a required tank decommissioning plan and site investigation. In 2015, DEP inspectors found a third underground fuel storage tank still on the property. The Complaint alleges violations of the Underground Storage of Hazardous Substances Act in connection with all three tanks by Dailey and/or 330 Angle Sea LLC, a company which Dailey owns and to which he sold the property in 2017. Among other things, the Complaint seeks to compel the removal of the remaining underground storage tank, the hiring of a Licensed Site Remediation Professional to investigate and remediate any hazardous discharges, payment of a civil penalty, and compensation to DEP for any costs it has or will incur in connection with the property.

Wilenta Feed, Inc., Secaucus (Environmental Justice) 

The State’s Complaint against defendant Wilenta Feed, Inc., alleges violation of the State’s Water Pollution Control Act. Wilenta operates a food waste recycling business at 46 Henry Street in Secaucus that involves converting food waste — largely bakery products — into animal feed or animal feed ingredients. According to the Complaint, Wilenta has been unlawfully storing its food waste in open-air piles, thereby exposing the waste to stormwater, which enters the sewer system and, ultimately, into such surface water bodies as Penhorn Creek, a tributary of the Hackensack River. In addition to seeking a court order directing Wilenta to halt its open-air storage of food waste, today’s lawsuit seeks civil penalties against Wilenta and reimbursement to the State for costs it has incurred, or will incur, to investigate, inspect and monitor the property.


KAARS, Inc., Trenton (Environmental Justice)

The State’s lawsuit against Trenton auto recycling facility KAARS, Inc., and its owner Isam Abuhumoud alleges violations of the Water Pollution Control Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Spill Compensation and Control Act. 

According to the Complaint, activity at KAARS involves dismantling cars and trucks to salvage certain parts for sale, which among other things yields solvents, greases and such fluids as brake fluid, anti-freeze and motor oil. Under DEP permitting requirements, KAARS must manage its stormwater run-off so that pollutants generated by its operations do not end up in the sewer system serving the property, which carries stormwater to Assunpink Creek and, eventually, to the Delaware River. The State’s lawsuit alleges that KAARS’ poor management of auto scrap, chemicals and other wastes has resulted in uncontrolled pollutant discharges that threaten water quality in the area, which includes a city park, residences, and an elementary school.


Arlington Diner, Kearny (Environmental Justice)

The State’s Complaint against Isaac Moradi centers on a former gas station at 941 Passaic Avenue in Kearny that backs up to an embankment of the Passaic River and that was contaminated with petroleum products including gasoline prior to Moradi’s acquisition of the property in 2016. According to the State’s Complaint, an investigation of the property in 2007 revealed significant contamination of groundwater and soil, much of it ultimately traced to an out of service, 12,000-gallon underground fuel storage tank. The State’s lawsuit alleges violation of the Spill Compensation and Control Act and the common law of public nuisance.

Gulf Gas Stop, Egg Harbor City (Environmental Justice)

The State’s Complaint centers on a “gas-and-go” service station property at 501 White Horse Pike in Egg Harbor City, and names property owner Arjun Goyal, of West Deptford, as the sole defendant. Five fuel storage tanks containing unleaded gasoline once existed on the property, and although they have been removed, DEP has found evidence that the tanks leaked into the soil. Groundwater sampling has detected excessive levels of such petroleum-related chemical toxins as benzene, ethyl benzene, xylenes, methyl tertiary butyl ether, tertiary-butyl alcohol, toluene and lead. The Complaint seeks enforcement of, and penalties for non-compliance with, a prior DEP order to remediate the site, among other relief.

Main Road Citgo, Vineland

The State’s Complaint against Avalon-based Sasdelli Oil Company, Inc.; its owner, Terry Sasdelli of Asheville, NC; and corporate entities Vineland 820 Main Road, LLC and Vineland Chestnut Avenue, LLC centers on a contaminated gas station property at 820 N. Main Road in Vineland. According to the Complaint, excessive levels of petroleum-product-related contaminants have been found in soil and groundwater on the property, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, lead, methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) and naphthalene.

The State’s Complaint alleges violations of the Spill Compensation and Control Act and Water Pollution Control Act, and also claims each defendant was unjustly enriched through their failure to perform or fund required remediation work on the property. The Complaint seeks a court order directing the defendants to remediate the property, pay civil penalties and reimburse DEP for related costs incurred by the State.

The Car House, Butler

The State’s Complaints alleges that The Car House, a Morris County used auto dealership, sold a Nissan 350-Z coup in August 2019 that had been tampered with through removal of the catalytic converters that were part of the vehicle’s original emissions control system. The purchaser only learned of the unlawful modification when the car failed an inspection, according to the Complaint.

New Jersey law prohibits the sale of a gasoline-fueled motor vehicle in which an emissions control device installed by the original vehicle manufacturer has been disconnected, detached, deactivated, or in any other way altered or modified from the original design. According to the State’s Complaint, tailpipe emissions from such vehicles cause increased levels of harmful pollutants like hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and carbon monoxide — pollutants known to trigger or aggravate human respiratory diseases.

Today’s lawsuit alleges that dealership violated New Jersey’s Air Pollution Control Act by selling an unlawfully tampered vehicle, and that it has failed to pay a civil penalty imposed two years ago. The suit seeks payment of that civil penalty, as well as restitution to the buyer of the tampered Nissan.

Today’s enforcement actions are being handled by the Environmental Enforcement and Environmental Justice (EEEJ) Section within the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group, including Assistant Attorney General Aaron Kleinbaum, Section Chief Gary Wolf, Assistant Section Chief Paul Stofa, and Deputy Attorneys General Bethanne Prugh, Willis Doerr, Robert Kinney, Thomas Lihan, Daniel Resler, Matthew Novak, Andrew Verdone, Mark Fisher, Matthew Knoblauch and Pragya Singh.

Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages


Move slider to 3:41 for President Joe Biden’s remarks on the Colonial Pipeline.


May 10, 2021

Update — Monday, May 10, 12:25 p.m.

Colonial Pipeline continues to dedicate vast resources to restoring pipeline operations quickly and safely. Segments of our pipeline are being brought back online in a stepwise fashion, in compliance with relevant federal regulations and in close consultation with the Department of Energy, which is leading and coordinating the Federal Government’s response.

Restoring our network to normal operations is a process that requires the diligent remediation of our systems, and this takes time. In response to the cybersecurity attack on our system, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems. To restore service, we must work to ensure that each of these systems can be brought back online safely.

While this situation remains fluid and continues to evolve, the Colonial operations team is executing a plan that involves an incremental process that will facilitate a return to service in a phased approach. This plan is based on a number of factors with safety and compliance driving our operational decisions, and the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week. The Company will provide updates as restoration efforts progress.

We continue to evaluate product inventory in storage tanks at our facilities and others along our system and are working with our shippers to move this product to terminals for local delivery. Actions taken by the Federal Government to issue a temporary hours of service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting refined products across Colonial’s footprint should help alleviate local supply disruptions and we thank our government partners for their assistance in resolving this matter.

Our primary focus continues to be the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We appreciate the patience of the traveling public and the support we have received from the Federal Government and our peers throughout the industry.


The FBI confirms that the Darkside ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks. We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation. 



REGIONAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION
UNDER 49 CFR § 390.23 

No. 2021-002

ALABAMA, ARKANSAS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DELAWARE, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, KENTUCKY, LOUISIANA, MARYLAND, MISSISSIPPI, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, NORTH CAROLINA, PENNSYLVANIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, TENNESSEE, TEXAS, AND VIRGINIA

In accordance with the provisions of 49 CFR § 390.23, the Regional Field Administrators for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Eastern, Southern, and Western Service Centers hereby declares that an emergency exists that warrants issuance of a Regional Emergency Declaration and an exemption from Parts 390 through 399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCSRs), except as otherwise restricted in this Emergency Declaration.  Such emergency is in response to the unanticipated shutdown of the Colonial pipeline system due to network issues that affect the supply of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products throughout the Affected States.  This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products and provides necessary relief.  Affected States and jurisdictions included in this Emergency Declaration (“Affected States”) are:  Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

By execution of this Emergency Declaration, motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance to the emergency in the Affected States in direct support of relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system are granted relief from Parts 390 through 399 of Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations except as restricted herein.   

This Emergency Declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations while providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products into the Affected States during the emergency from shortages due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system.  Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services not in support of emergency relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown, and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system in the Affected States, or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.  (49 CFR § 390.23(b)).  Upon termination of direct assistance to emergency relief efforts related to the shortages of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products due to the shutdown, partial shutdown and/or manual operation of the Colonial pipeline system in the Affected States, the motor carrier and driver are subject to the requirements of 49 CFR Parts 390 through 399, except that a driver may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location without complying with Parts 390 through 399.  When a driver is moving from emergency relief efforts to normal operations a 10-hour break is required when the total time a driver operates conducting emergency relief efforts, or a combination of emergency relief and normal operation, equals 14 hours.  

All other applicable safety requirements remain in place and will be enforced by the FMCSA.  Specifically, nothing contained in this Emergency Declaration shall be construed as an exemption from the controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements (49 CFR Part 382), the commercial driver’s license requirements (49 CFR Part 383), the financial responsibility (insurance) requirements (49 CFR Part 387), the hazardous material regulations (49 CFR Parts 100-180), applicable size and weight requirements, or any other portion of the regulations not specifically authorized pursuant to 49 CFR § 390.23. 

Motor carriers or drivers currently subject to an out-of-service order are not eligible for the relief granted by this declaration until they have met the applicable conditions for its rescission and the order has been rescinded by FMCSA. 

In accordance with 49 CFR § 390.23, this declaration is effective immediately and shall remain in effect until the end of the emergency (as defined in 49 CFR § 390.5) or until 11:59 P.M. (ET), June 8, 2021, whichever is earlier.  FMCSA intends to continually review the status of this Emergency Declaration and may take action to modify or terminate the Emergency Declaration sooner if conditions warrant.


Taft Kelly, Regional Field Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Eastern Service Center


Darrell L. Ruban, Regional Field Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Southern Service Center


Scott G. Hernandez, Regional Field Administrator
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Western Service Center


Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages

Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Cyber Attack Shuts Down Colonial Pipeline


Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Update — Sunday, May 9, 2021

On May 7, 2021 Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack and has since determined that the incident involved ransomware. Quickly after learning of the attack, Colonial proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat. These actions temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of our IT systems, which we are actively in the process of restoring.

Leading, third-party cybersecurity experts were also immediately engaged after discovering the issue and launched an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident. We have remained in contact with law enforcement and other federal agencies, including the Department of Energy who is leading the Federal Government response. 

Maintaining the operational security of our pipeline, in addition to safely bringing our systems back online, remain our highest priorities. Over the past 48 hours, Colonial Pipeline personnel have taken additional precautionary measures to help further monitor and protect the safety and security of its pipeline.

The Colonial Pipeline operations team is developing a system restart plan. While our mainlines (Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4) remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational. We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations.

At this time, our primary focus continues to be the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We appreciate the patience and outpouring of support we have received from others throughout the industry. 


Related MidJersey.news coverage on Colonial Pipeline incident here:

Colonial Pipeline Works To Restore Service, US FMCSA Issues Emergency Declaration In 18 States To Control Shortages

Update: Colonial Pipeline System Disruption

Cyber Attack Shuts Down Colonial Pipeline


Edison And Toms River Residents Arrested And Charged In $4.5 Million Health Care Fraud Conspiracy

January 28, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER) – Three New Jersey residents were arrested today for allegedly participating in a long-running scheme to defraud the New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury Fund (TBI Fund), a publicly funded health care benefit program, of more than $4.5 million, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Harry Pizutelli, 62, of Edison, New Jersey, and C.R. Kraus, 55, and Maritza Flores, 43, both of Toms River, New Jersey were arrested by special agents of the FBI and IRS this morning and are charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit health care fraud. They are scheduled to appear later today by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tonianne J. Bongiovanni.

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

The TBI Fund is a publicly funded program run by the New Jersey Division of Disability Services, a component of the New Jersey Department of Human Services. The TBI Fund’s purpose is to provide New Jersey residents who have suffered a traumatic brain injury with services and support in order to maximize their quality of life when funding from insurance, personal resources, or other programs is unavailable to meet their needs. Services funded by the TBI Fund include physical, occupational, and speech therapy; service coordination; assistive technology; cognitive therapy; neuropsychological services; pharmaceuticals; wheelchair ramp installation and other home modifications; and general home management and maintenance.

After a prospective patient applies for services, TBI Fund personnel review the application and, if approved, the patient is authorized to secure designated services from a third-party vendor. Once a patient receives services approved by the TBI Fund, the vendor or service provider submits an invoice to the TBI Fund for payment. When an invoice is received, TBI Fund personnel review the invoice to ensure that the patient had been approved to receive the services. If the invoice is approved, an internal payment voucher is generated, authorized by TBI Fund personnel, and then submitted to the New Jersey Department of the Treasury for payment, which issues a check directly to the vendor.

Pizutelli was the manager of the TBI Fund and was responsible for the its day-to-day operation. He supervised, managed, and oversaw the process by which third-party vendors were paid for services rendered to eligible TBI Fund patients. From 2009 through June 2019, Pizutelli, Kraus, Flores, and others conspired to defraud the TBI Fund by misappropriating more than $4.5 million in fraudulent vendor payments for purported services that were never actually provided. Pizutelli orchestrated the distribution of fraudulent vendor payments to Kraus, Flores, and others by generating and processing false invoices and internal payment vouchers. Pizutelli generated these invoices and vouchers to give the appearance that Kraus, Flores, and other conspirators had provided approved services to eligible patients when, in fact, they had not provided any services. Pizutelli then approved and transmitted the internal payment vouchers so that his conspirators received vendor payments even though they had performed no services to eligible patients. Pizutelli orchestrated these fraudulent payments to maintain and further romantic and/or sexual relationships with Flores and other conspirators.

Pizutelli orchestrated the fraudulent payment of more than $4.5 million from the TBI Fund to members of the conspiracy, including more than $4 million in fraudulent distributions to Kraus and Flores, which they used for their own personal benefit and enrichment. To obscure their fraudulent conduct, Kraus and Flores also made material misstatements on their federal income tax returns, by significantly underreporting the income they had derived from the fraudulent scheme.

The health care fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and of $250,000 or twice the gross receipts to the defendants or gross loss sustained by any victims, whichever is greater.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division, Red Bank Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr., and special agents of the IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez, with the investigation leading to the charges. She also thanked the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Division of Law, and the New Jersey Department of Human Services, for their assistance.

The government is represented by J. Brendan Day, Attorney-in-Charge of the Trenton Branch Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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

21-034

Defense counsel:
Pizutelli – Benjamin West Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton
Kraus – Bruce L. Throckmorton Esq., Trenton
Flores – Aidan P. O’Connor Esq., Hackensack, New Jersey


Edison Man Sentenced For New Brunswick Man’s Murder

January 14, 2021

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announced an Edison man was sentenced today for the murder of a 23-year-old New Brunswick man who he fatally shot in the City.

Christopher “C-Dub” Thompson, 29, of Edison, was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas J. Buck, J.S.C. to thirty years in prison for the murder of Larenz O’Garro.  Thompson was sentenced to an additional eight years in prison for the attempted murder of another man.  This term is subject to the No Early Release Act, meaning he must serve 85% before being eligible for parole.  Thomson was also sentenced for his unlawful possession of a handgun, and the hindering of his own apprehension for fleeing to Georgia after the murder.  Those sentences are to run concurrent to the murder and attempted murder.  He was also convicted of possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose.

Thompson was also separately sentenced to ten years in prison for being a certain person not to be in possession of a handgun due to a prior conviction with a five-year period of parole ineligibility.  In total, Thompson will have to serve forty-one years and eight months of his forty-eight-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.

At trial, Executive First Assistant Prosecutor Bina Desai and Assistant Prosecutor Deanna Himelson presented evidence and testimony establishing that, on October 26, 2018, Thompson fatally shot O’Garro shortly after an altercation involving the second victim and codefendant Eric “E-Z” Inman who was ultimately sentenced to three years in prison.

Thompson fled after the shooting, leading to an extensive search which included the coordinated efforts of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the New Brunswick Police Department.  On November 15, 2018, members of the U.S Marshals Service apprehended Thompson in Lithonia, Georgia.

Thompson and Inman were charged after an investigation by Detective Kenneth Abode of the New Brunswick Police Department and Sergeant David Abromaitis of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.  Agent Jennifer Morelli and Victim Witness Counselor Marlene Valdez were also vital to the prosecution.

UPDATE: Stolen Vehicle Pursuit On NJ Turnpike Between Exits 10 and 8A, Leads Host Of Charges Including: DUI, Aggravated Assault, Marijuana, Drug Paraphernalia And More

November 25, 2020

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Sgt. Philip Curry of the New Jersey State Police Public Information Bureau told MidJersey.News that yesterday at approximately 9:51 p.m., NJ State Troopers attempted to stop a Chevrolet Tahoe, later discovered to be stolen from New York, for a traffic violation on the New Jersey Turnpike inside of Interchange 10, Edison Twp., Middlesex County. 

The driver refused to stop and fled onto the Turnpike southbound inner roadway at a high rate of speed.  The vehicle continued south before exiting the Turnpike at Interchange 8A and proceeded to intentionally strike a NJ State Police vehicle before becoming disabled on Cranbury South River Road in South Brunswick, N.J. 

Troopers removed the two occupants from the vehicle and placed them under arrest.  There were no serious injuries reported. 

The driver, Ryan Williams, 25, of Bronx, N.Y., was charged with receiving stolen property, eluding, possession of marijuana, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, possession of a distributable amount of drug paraphernalia, money laundering, criminal mischief, resisting arrest, aggravated assault, and driving under the influence.  The passenger, Twinkle Murray, 29, of Bronx, N.Y., was charged with receiving stolen property.  Williams was lodged in the Middlesex County Jail pending a detention hearing, and Murray was released pending a court appearance, according to NJ State Police.

Last night’s MidJersey.News story here: Developing: Pursuit Off NJ Turnpike Ends Off Exit 8A

AG Grewal Moves to Intervene in Suit Accusing Telecommunications Contractor of Failing to Pay Prevailing Wages and Submitting False Claims to State

Contractor Allegedly Billed UMDNJ, Successor Entities for Prevailing Wage Work But Failed to Pay Prevailing Wage Rates, Denying Workers at Least $392,000 in Wages Owed

September 10, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Seeking to hold accountable a company that allegedly defrauded the State while denying workers hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today filed court papers to intervene in a lawsuit being pressed against the company by a former employee.

In a motion to intervene and proposed complaint filed in New Jersey Superior Court, the State alleges that Adalex Enterprises Corp. (which does business as Adalex Communications) and its affiliate, Advance Telecom Resources, Inc., (together, “Adalex”) committed multiple violations of the New Jersey False Claims Act between 2010 and 2017, while contracted to perform telecommunications work for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (“UMDNJ”) and UMDNJ’s successor entities (collectively, “State Entities”).  UMDNJ was restructured in 2013, with most of its units being integrated into Rutgers University. 


Adalex Communications | 145 Talmadge Road Ste 15 Edison, NJ 08817


The complaint alleges that Adalex submitted nearly 1,400 false claims to the State Entities in invoices for work subject to prevailing wage laws. According to the State, Adalex impliedly represented that its workers were being paid in accordance with the prevailing wage laws, while, in fact, the company paid its workers only a fraction of the required rates, shorting them by at least $392,046 in the aggregate. 
 

“Through this action, we seek to hold accountable a company that allegedly pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars that should have been paid to its workers,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We are committed to protecting New Jersey workers by ensuring they receive the wages they’re due under the law, and we will take action against any contractor who tries to defraud the State – and take advantage of New Jersey taxpayers – with falsehoods about its costs.”
 

Among the categories of telecommunications services that Adalex provided to the State Entities between 2010 and 2017 were infrastructure work, such as cable installation and repair; day-to-day operational support; and other work based on purchase orders.
 

Each of these categories included work to be performed by either a “journeyman” electrician or a “foreman,” with workers required by law to be paid the prevailing wage for work they performed.
 

The State’s complaint notes that UMDNJ’s Request for Proposal (RFP) on the contract included language indicating the winning bidder must pay its workers prevailing wages for prevailing wage work. The complaint also asserts that, as early as November 2010, UMDNJ’s manager of purchasing sent a letter to Adalex making plain that prevailing wage laws applied under the contract.   
 

Nevertheless, today’s court filings allege that, throughout the course of the contract, Adalex paid its employees well below prevailing wages for their prevailing wage work. 
 

The complaint includes multiple examples illustrating how Adalex paid workers at an effective rate of less than $30 per hour, including benefits, while billing the State Entities in excess of $100 per hour for their labor. Under prevailing wage laws, the employees should have been paid more than twice as much.
 

The alleged fraud came to light after former Adalex employee Russell Mollica, who served as a project manager on the UMDNJ contract, filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Adalex in 2016. Mollica alleges that he was terminated in June 2015, shortly after advising his employer in writing that it was not in compliance with prevailing wage laws governing the UMDNJ contract.
 

The State initially declined to join Mollica’s lawsuit, but with today’s filing seeks permission to participate in the wake of intervening developments, including an attempt by Adalex to settle Mollica’s lawsuit without compensating the State for its fraud.
 

The State is represented in this matter by Assistant Attorney General Janine Matton of the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group and Deputy Attorney General and Section Chief Lara Fogel, Deputy Attorney General and Assistant Section Chief Kenneth Levine, Deputy Attorney General Carla Pereira, Deputy Attorney General Dana Vasers, and Attorney Jedediah Pencinger, all of the Government and Healthcare Fraud Section.

UPDATE: SITUATION IS UNDER CONTROL-HAZMAT IN EDISON SHELTER IN PLACE GAS CLOUD, SHUT DOORS CLOSE WINDOWS AND VENTS

UPDATE: THE SITUATION IS UNDER CONTROL, NO LONGER NEED TO SHELTER IN PLACE, CAN OPEN WINDOWS AND DOORS

Edison Residents no longer need to Shelter in place and CAN open their doors, windows and use their Air Conditioners. Thank you!

Edison FD & PD advise that the situation on Meadow Road is now over and deemed safe by local and state officials on the scene.  Residents no longer need to Shelter in place and CAN open their doors, windows and use their Air Conditioners.  Emergency vehicles will remain on the scene to ensure safety.  Thank you for your cooperation and patience during this event.

Instructions:

Edison Residents no longer need to Shelter in place and CAN open their doors, windows and use their Air Conditioners. Thank you!


UPDATE: The “Unofficial Edison Fire Department” Facebook Page reports situation under control, continue to shelter in place and close all windows and doors.

August 23, 2020

EDISON, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Sources tell MidJersey.News that there is a chemical spill creating a gas cloud in the area of 340 Meadow Road. The fire department has called for multiple hazardous materials teams one patient has been transported to RWJ Hospital in New Brunswick.

Edison Township Police Department is alerting residents by NIXLE to “Shelter In Place” and “Close All Windows And Doors” and that further instructions will follow once situation is assessed.

See Below:

EDISON PD & FD is alerting residents of a Hazmat situation in the area of Meadow Road and surrounding neighborhoods.  A gas leak has occurred in the area of Meadow Rd and Executive Ave. at this time we are instructing all residents in that area to do the following:
1. SHELTER IN PLACE
2. CLOSE ALL WINDOWS AND DOORS
There will be updates and further instructions as the event progresses.

Instructions:

Neighborhoods around the Meadow Road area should:
1. SHELTER IN PLACE
2. CLOSE ALL WINDOWS AND DOORS


All Residents are to avoid Meadow Rd and Mill Rd area Due to Fire Dept Activity. No Fire , Hazmat Situation that appears to be contained . The area is blocked off . Family and Friends on Meadow Rd are all ok and safe . At 9:30 pm, this incident is under control!!! All companies will be on scene operating for an extended period of time . This was a chemical Reaction causing a vapor cloud that headed towards industrial area . No need to worry as Hazmat, Edison OEM , and Fire Department are all monitoring air . ****All residents in the area are advised to shelter in place and close all windows ***


BREAKING: Indian Classical Music Legend Pandit Jasraj Dies At 90

August 17, 2020

EDISON, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–MidJersey.News is learning from multiple sources of the death of Pandit Jasraj who has reportedly died in New Jersey from cardiac arrest around 5:15 am.* (cause and time of death from Wikipedia)*

Pandit Jasraj was a musical legend, living in New Jersey and started the Pandit Jasraj Institute for Music Research, Artistry and Appreciation in Edison – Colonia, NJ, Brooklyn, NY, Mars, PA and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India “The unfortunate demise of Pandit Jasraj Ji leaves a deep void in the Indian cultural sphere. Not only were his renditions outstanding, he also made a mark as an exceptional mentor to several other vocalists. Condolences to his family and admirers worldwide. Om Shanti.”


Pandit Jasraj from his website:

SANGEET MARTAND PANDIT JASRAJ
Recipient of Padma Vibhushan
 
Indian Classical Music today, is one of the greatest gifts of India to the world.

And a blessed few, much beyond their fame and fortune, have devoted their lives to bolster this claim far and wide.

While renowned instrumentalists have done it through their chosen instruments, like the Sitar and the Sarod, Pandit Jasraj has done it through that one God-gifted instrument: His Voice.

Pandit Jasraj’s achievements are beyond compare more so because vocal music is the most intimate and direct medium according to India’s musical treatise and tradition. And almost beyond belief is also the fact that he has carved out his monumental global following without depriving his many million domestic admirers. He has been passionately loyal to his soil, while his music has scaled ethereal heights all over the planet. He has single-handedly paved the way for Indian vocal classical music to resonate across the world.
 
Humble Beginnings
Born in a family of outstanding musicians over four generations, Pandit Jasraj was initiated into music by his revered father, Pandit Motiram, until the age of three, when his father passed away. Thereafter he underwent intensive tutelage under his elder brother and Guru, Pandit Maniram. Later, along his turbulent path of hard-earned maturity, he was guided by his spiritual Guru Maharaja Jaiwant Singh.
 
Unique Musical Attributes
Blessed with a soulful and sonorous voice, which traverses masterfully over all four and a half octaves, Jasraj’s vocalizing is characterized by a harmonious blend of the classic and opulent elements projecting traditional music as an intense spiritual expression, at once chaste and yet densely coloured. This gives his music a unique and sublime emotional quality, reaching out to the very soul of the listener. Perfect diction, clarity in sur (musical notes), and gayaki (creative musical progression), command in all aspects of laya and rhythm, depth of composition and an unmistakable interplay between notes and words to evoke the desired mood and emotion, are the hallmark of Panditji’s music. This sensitivity, added to the pure classical approach, has given his singing a lyrical quality, the quintessential of the Mewati tradition of singing.
 
Pandit Jasraj the Guru….Mentor
As a mentor and guru, Pandit Jasraj has already presented to the world an impressive number of illustrious disciples whom he has nurtured and trained in accordance with India’s rich tradition of the Guru-Shisya Parampara, the ideal teacher-student relationship. Today, his frontrunner disciples too are zealously carrying the flag of Indian music to every corner of the world.


Criminal Charges Brought In Edison Fatal Motorcycle Crash

July 1, 2020

EDISON, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Chief Thomas Bryan of the Edison Police Department announced today that a driver has been charged for striking and killing a motorcyclist on June 27, 2020.

Roland Q. Lyles, 31, of Orange, was arrested and charged on June 27, 2020 with aggravated assault in the second degree. The charges were upgraded today, following the death of the victim, to aggravated manslaughter in the first degree, vehicular homicide in the second degree, and driving with a suspended license and causing the death of another person in the third degree. He was also issued motor vehicle summonses including driving while intoxicated and driving with a suspended license.

 The deceased motorcyclist was identified as Richard Diaz, 51, of Brooklyn, New York.

During the investigation it was determined that on June 27, 2020 at approximately 2:19 am, Lyles was driving a white Nissan Sentra traveling northbound on Route 1 near Grandview Avenue at a high rate of speed when he struck the victim’s motorcycle. Diaz was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick following the crash. He died on June 30, 2020 from his injuries.

The investigation is active and is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Dominick Masi of the Edison Police Department at (732) 248-7400, or Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4328.

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


ADVERTISEMENT: TRY JUST CBD AT A 20% DISCOUNT: at Buy CBD Online – CBD Oil, Gummies, Vapes. Use coupon code dennis during checkout.

ADVERTISEMENT: TRY JUST CBD AT A 20% DISCOUNT: at Buy CBD Online – CBD Oil, Gummies, Vapes. Use coupon code dennis during checkout.


NJ First Responders Who Passed From COVID-19 As Of April 19, 2020

April 19, 2020 (updated)

New Jersey First Responders Who Passed From COVID-19

 As of 4/19/2020 not all families make COVID-19 deaths public. I know of a few that did not want public and are not listed. If you know of any that need to be included use contact link above and send in information with verification.

Firefighters:

March 2020

March 31, 2020 Israel Tolentino, Passaic Fire Department/St. Claire’s EMS**Also listed under EMS has 2 jobs.

April 2020

April 14, 2020 John Ferrarella, NJSEA EMS, retired Paterson Fire Captain and member of Wayne Fire Company No. 3  Listed 2 times multiple positions Fire and EMS.***

April 15, 2020 Michael Burke, Singac Fire Company #3, Little Falls Fire Department

April 16, 2020 Richard Campbell, Edison Fire Department

April 16, 2020 Robert Weber, Middletown, Port Monmouth Fire Company and Middletown First Aid Squad**Also listed under EMS has 2 jobs.

April 18, 2020 David Clark, Bay Head Fire Company

Police:

April 2020

April 1, 2020 Bernard Waddell, Sr., Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, Correction Officer.

April 3, 2020 Tolbert A. Furr, Newark Police Department.

April 10, 2020 Nelson Perdomo, NJ Department of Corrections, East Jersey State Prison, Avenel, Woodbridge.

April 12, 2020 AlTerek Patterson, Sergeant, Bedminster Police Department.

April 12, 2020 Francesco Scorpo, Sergeant, Paterson Police Department.

April 14, 2020 Daniel Francis, Newark Police Department.

April 16, 2020 Alex Ruperto, Union City Police Department

April 17, 2020 John Careccia, Chief, Woodbridge Township Ambulance & Rescue Squad

EMS:

March 2020:

 March 31, 2020 Israel Tolentino, Passaic Fire Department/St. Claire’s EMS** Also listed under fire department works 2 jobs.

April 2020:

April 1, 2020 Reuven Maroth, Hackensack Volunteer Ambulance

April 5, 2020 Liana Sá, EMT, Watchung Rescue Squad

April 8, 2020 Kevin Leiva, EMT, North Bergen, Prime Healthcare EMS, Saint Clare’s Hospital.

April 9, 2020 Robert Tarrant, EMS Educator, Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health

April 9, Frank Molinari, MD, NJSEA EMS

April 10, 2020 Terry Billington, MONOC EMS (Retired)

April 10, 2020 Solomon Donald, Trinitas EMS

April 13, 2020 Scott Geiger, Atlantic Ambulance Corp.

April 14, 2020 John Ferrarella, NJSEA EMS, retired Paterson Fire Captain and member of Wayne Fire Company No. 3  Listed 2 times multiple positions Fire and EMS.***

April 15, 2020 Robert Weber, Middletown Township First Aid & Rescue, Port Monmouth Fire Company**Also listed under Fire since having 2 jobs.

April 17, 2020 John Carrecia, Woodbridge Township Ambulance & Rescue

Medical:  

March 31, 2020 Doctor Frank Gabrin, East Orange General Hospital, and NYC.

March 31, 2020 Kim King-Smith, EKG Technician, Newark University Hospital.

Military:

March 30, 2020 Captain, Douglas Linn Hickok, NJ Army National Guard, Physician’s Assistant

AG Grewal and Colonel Callahan Issue Daily COVID-19 Enforcement Update April 16, 2020

April 16, 2020

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced the following recent enforcement actions related to COVID-19, including those involving individuals in violation of Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107: Theft of Personal Protective Equipment

  • Kevin R. Brady, 49, of Point Pleasant Beach, was charged today with theft by unlawful taking and conspiracy to commit theft, both third-degree charges, in connection with the theft of up to 1,600 respirator masks from Prudential Financial in Iselin.  He was charged in an ongoing investigation by the New Jersey State Police, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Woodbridge Police Department, and Point Pleasant Beach Police Department, based on a referral from the National Hoarding & Price-Gouging Task Force headed by New Jersey U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.  Brady is an on-site electrical contractor who had access to storage areas in the Prudential Financial facility.  Between March 27 and April 1, Brady allegedly stole seven to eight cases of N95 respirator masks, each case containing 200 masks.  Prudential Financial had intended to donate the masks to a local hospital.  The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office will be issuing a press release.

Bias Incidents

  • Juvenile Charged. A juvenile female was arrested on April 14 and charged with bias intimidation (3rd degree), riot (4th degree), simple assault (disorderly persons offense), harassment and disorderly conduct (both petty disorderly persons offenses). In addition, the juvenile has been charged with violating the emergency orders.  The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Edison Police Department are continuing to investigate pursuant to the Attorney General’s Bias Incident Investigation Standards.  The investigation determined that on April 4, the juvenile and a group of others surrounded an Asian woman.  The juvenile allegedly yelled racial slurs at the victim related to the origins of the coronavirus.  The juvenile then allegedly punched the woman in the back of the head.  The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office will be issuing a press release.

Assaults on Law Enforcement Officers

  • Eric Rock, 35, of Jersey City, was arrested at about 6 a.m. this morning by the Jersey City Police Department and charged with two counts of second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency (2nd degree), two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer (4th degree), two counts of throwing bodily fluid at an officer (4th degree), criminal mischief (disorderly persons offense), and harassment (petty disorderly persons offense).  Rock allegedly went to a relative’s home and kicked in a window of the house when she would not let him inside.  Rock does not live at the home or have any belongings there.  Police were called and found Rock in front of the house. As he was being arrested, he coughed on police officers and claimed he had the coronavirus and would infect them.  He allegedly said, “If I’m going to die, you’re going to die.”
  • Jason Reiner, 44, of Atlantic City, was charged yesterday, April 15, by the Atlantic City Police with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer (3rd degree), shoplifting (disorderly persons offense), resisting arrest (disorderly persons offense), obstruction (disorderly persons offense), and violating the emergency orders.  Police were called to a CVS store on Atlantic Avenue on a report that Reiner was shoplifting.  When officers approached Reiner, he began acting erratically and said he was on drugs.  EMS was called but Reiner refused treatment. As officers then attempted to arrest him for shoplifting, Reiner allegedly resisted and intentionally and repeatedly coughed on police officers to spread germs and obstruct his arrest.
  • Kayla Kraus, 22, of Point Pleasant, was arrested on Tuesday, April 14, by the Point Pleasant Police and charged with two counts of terroristic threats (3rd degree) and aggravated assault on an officer (4th degree).  Kraus allegedly punched officers and threatened to infect them with COVID-19 when police responded to the Point Pleasant Inn on a report of an emotionally disturbed woman.

Other Criminal Charges Involving Indictable Offenses

  • Charles Coward, 49, of Camden, was charged yesterday, April 15, with burglary (3rd degree), possession of an imitation firearm for an unlawful purpose (4th degree), criminal mischief (disorderly persons offense), trespassing (disorderly persons offense),  and possession of burglary tools (petty disorderly person offense).  He also was charged with violating the emergency orders.  The Pennsauken Police responded at 11:48 a.m. to an alarm at Forman Mills. They found a broken side window with a hammer on the ground nearby.  Coward was inside the closed store.  Police found two coats on the ground, one of which contained a black airsoft gun. 
  • Patrick McFadden, 44, of Budd Lake – who was charged on April 14 by the Mount Olive Police Department with violating a restraining order (4th degree), trespassing (4th degree), and violation of the emergency orders – faces two new counts of each of those charges for allegedly returning to the victim’s residence twice yesterday, April 15, at mid-day and again last night.

Other Violations of Executive Orders, Including “Stay at Home” Order

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 72 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered one non-essential business closed in enforcement actions yesterday, April 15.
  • Jeffrey Brady, 62, of Cherry Hill, the owner of Corrado’s Pizza in Sicklerville, was charged yesterday, April 15, by the Winslow Township Police with violating the emergency orders because his employees were not wearing facial masks or gloves.  Brady advised it was too hot near the ovens for his employees to wear masks and customers could not understand them on the phone with their mouths covered.
  • Ali Siyam, 59, the owner, and Abdel Siyam, 21, an employee, were charged yesterday, April 15, by the Union City Police Department, with violating the emergency orders at the grocery store owned by Ali Siyam on Bergenline Avenue, New Way Supermarket.   The employee and several customers were not wearing facial masks.  The defendants had been warned by police at least three times on prior days that they needed to comply with the order to wear masks.
  • Kevin Beneventa, 35, of Clementon, was charged by the Mount Ephraim Police with violating the emergency orders after he was involved in an accident yesterday, April 15.  He also was ticketed for driving without a license, failure to keep right, and failure to wear a seatbelt.  Police responded to a report of an accident at 6:05 a.m. with a car overturned on West King’s Highway.  Beneventa told police he fell asleep while driving.  His vehicle struck a parked car and rolled, ending up in the middle of the road. He was taken to Cooper University Hospital for treatment.
  • Stalin Paulino, 39, and Mark Rombowski, 65, of West New York, were charged by the West New York Police with violating the emergency orders for loitering in a bus stop shelter with no legitimate purpose and failing to maintain social distance.  Both had been warned previously about violating the orders.

 The defendants who were charged strictly with violating the emergency orders and who do not face more serious charges were charged by summons— they were not arrested.  Those cases will be adjudicated in municipal court.  “Our police officers are working bravely and tirelessly every day to protect us during this health crisis.  Regrettably, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the emergency orders— or what is more egregious, people using the virus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “Staying home and maintaining social distance isn’t just the best advice to stay healthy, it’s the law.  Make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to keep our residents and officers safe, and that means we won’t hesitate to file charges against violators.”    “Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Because lives are at stake, enforcement action will be taken without hesitation against those who are blatantly placing the lives of others at risk.” Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses. On April 1, Attorney General Grewal announced enhanced charges against six individuals who were charged with assaulting law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders.  Specifically, those enhanced charges included making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, which is a second degree offense and carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.  Defendant Eric Rock is similarly charged for his conduct against law enforcement officers. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes.  Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.

3 NJ Firefighters 1 Police Officer Lost To COVID-19 Within 24 Hours, April 16, 2020 COVID-19 Updates

April 16, 2020

3 NJ Firefighters we know of have been lost to COVID-19 as reported within the past 24 hours, if you know of other NJ first responder, police, fire, EMS passings please use contact tab on top of page.

Michael Burke was a 48-year member of Singac Fire Company #3,

Captain Richard P Campbell, Edison Fire Department

Robert Weber, was a member of Middletown, New Jersey’s First Aid and Rescue Squad, a member of Port Monmouth Fire Company and the Middletown Fire Department’s Air Unit. 


World: Cases: 2,134,265 Deaths: 142,148 Recoveries: 540,656

United States of America: Cases: 654,301 Deaths: 31,628 Recoveries: 53,697 Tested: 3,262,921

Follow Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Tracker Here

New Jersey: Cases: 75,317 Deaths: 3,518

We now have 75,317 confirmed #COVID19 cases.


• Atlantic: 344
• Bergen: 11,409
• Burlington: 1,326
• Camden: 1,734
• Cape May: 186
• Cumberland: 223
• Essex: 9,084
• Gloucester: 624
• Hudson: 9,165
• Hunterdon: 373
• Mercer: 2,037
• Middlesex: 6,994
• Monmouth: 4,299
• Morris: 3,701
• Ocean: 4,272
• Passaic: 7,317
• Salem: 95
• Somerset: 2,103
• Sussex: 578
• Union: 7,904
• Warren: 501
• Under Investigation: 1,048

We’ve now lost 3,518 precious New Jerseyans to COVID-19.
• Atlantic: 13
• Bergen: 668
• Burlington: 52
• Camden: 60
• Cape May: 10
• Cumberland: 3
• Essex: 642
• Gloucester: 18
• Hudson: 365
• Hunterdon: 15
• Mercer: 87
• Middlesex: 278
• Monmouth: 190
• Morris: 216
• Ocean: 185
• Passaic: 211
• Salem: 4
• Somerset: 121
• Sussex: 43
• Union: 301
• Warren: 33
• Unknown: 3


Monmouth County has 4,299 positive cases 
of COVID-19

FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone and Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley have announced that, as of April 16, the State is reporting 177 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Monmouth County, bringing the total to 4,299.

The breakdown by municipality is as follows:

  • Aberdeen: 121
  • Allenhurst: 2
  • Allentown: 3
  • Asbury Park: 79
  • Atlantic Highlands: 16
  • Avon-by-the-Sea: 9
  • Belmar: 8
  • Bradley Beach: 17
  • Brielle: 22
  • Colts Neck: 50
  • Deal: 23
  • Eatontown: 126
  • Englishtown: 16
  • Fair Haven: 17
  • Farmingdale: 10
  • Freehold Borough: 135
  • Freehold Township: 357
  • Hazlet: 161
  • Highlands: 19
  • Holmdel: 145
  • Howell: 386
  • Interlaken: 1
  • Keansburg: 70
  • Keyport: 53
  • Lake Como: 12
  • Little Silver: 26
  • Loch Arbour: 1
  • Long Branch: 236
  • Manalapan: 319
  • Manasquan: 23
  • Marlboro: 303
  • Matawan: 112
  • Middletown: 336
  • Millstone: 51
  • Monmouth Beach: 14
  • Neptune City: 23
  • Neptune Township: 223
  • Ocean: 178
  • Oceanport: 39
  • Red Bank: 85
  • Roosevelt: 2
  • Rumson: 24
  • Sea Bright: 7
  • Sea Girt: 9
  • Shrewsbury Borough: 25
  • Shrewsbury Township: 7
  • Spring Lake: 6
  • Spring Lake Heights: 15
  • Tinton Falls: 82
  • Union Beach: 29
  • Upper Freehold: 28
  • Wall: 151
  • West Long Branch: 48
  • Unknown: 39

Monmouth County news updates and information regarding the COVID-19 situation are posted at www.visitmonmouth.com.


Covid-19 Total Cases (4254) In Ocean County:

Total as of Thursday, 4/16/2020 at 11:30 am

Effective as of March 28, 2020, the data represented below identifies the municipality or mailing address which was self-reported by the resident at the time of testing. It may not necessarily represent the municipality of residence.

Town NameNumber of Cases
Barnegat134
Barnegat Light2
Bay Head5
Beach Haven5
Beachwood59
Berkeley323
Brick534
Eagleswood3
Harvey Cedars0
Island Heights5
Jackson362
Lacey113
Lakehurst13
Lakewood1214
Lavallette7
Little Egg Harbor64
Long Beach Township15
Manchester264
Mantoloking0
Ocean Gate6
Ocean Twp. (Waretown)23
Pine Beach6
Plumsted30
Point Pleasant Beach24
Point Pleasant Borough88
Seaside Heights19
Seaside Park3
Ship Bottom6
South Toms River47
Surf City4
Stafford131
Toms River739
Tuckerton6
Total Positive Cases: 4254

AG Grewal: Police Are Cracking Down on Violators of COVID-19 Orders

April 3, 2020

Police Throughout New Jersey Are Filing Criminal Charges Against Violators of Orders to Stay at Home, Close Non-Essential Businesses, and Stop Gatherings

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that law enforcement officers across New Jersey have ramped up enforcement efforts over the past week by filing criminal charges against violators of the Governor’s Executive Orders (or “emergency orders”), including hundreds of offenders in Newark, where the Newark Police Department deployed a large COVID-19 task force. “Last week, I said we were done with warnings and would take strong law enforcement action against anyone who failed to heed the Governor’s COVID-19 related emergency orders,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “This crackdown will continue until everyone gets the message that they need to stop these violations, which are putting lives at risk, including the lives of the law enforcement officers who are striving courageously each day to protect us during this emergency. I especially want to commend Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose and Chief Darnell Henry, as well as the men and women of the Newark Police Department, for their extraordinary efforts to protect the residents of Newark and this state. Their work and the work of all our dedicated officers is saving lives.” “Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Because lives are at stake, enforcement action will be taken without hesitation against those who are blatantly placing the lives of others at risk.” During the past nine days, law enforcement agencies across New Jersey took the following actions to enforce the Governor’s COVID-19 related Executive Orders: 

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 416 summonses for violation of the emergency orders and ordered 24 non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions by their between March 30 and April 1.
  • Joseph Figueroa, 18, Hailey Leavens, 19, Alejandra Aguirre-Lopez, 22, Itayezci Pena-Noyola, 22, and Isais Pena, 20, all residents of Atlantic City, except Leavens, who lives in Mays Landing, were arrested on April 2 on second-degree weapons charges and violations of the executive orders after a loaded .38-caliber revolver was found in their vehicle during an investigation and motor vehicle stop by the Atlantic City Police Department.
  • Craig O’Neill, 42, of Gloucester City, was charged on March 28 in Gloucester City with violating the emergency orders and trespassing at a business, both disorderly persons offenses.
  • Edward Montero, 33, of Bridgeton, was charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders for holding a health supplement sales presentation at a gym with over 10 people.
  • Rama Igbarra, 36, of Clifton, was charged on March 26 with violating the emergency orders for opening the business he manages, Bobby’s Discount Home Furnishings store in Orange, N.J., after police warned him that the store had to be closed.
  • Matthew Shrewsbury, 34, of Milford, was charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders, terroristic threats, aggravated assault, risking widespread injury, and endangering another person.  He allegedly became combative with staff at Hunterdon Medical Center, where he was taken following a motor vehicle accident.  Shrewsbury allegedly removed a protective surgical mask from his face, yelled and coughed at nurses and other staff, and threatened to spit on nurses and patients.  He allegedly said he had COVID-19 and did not care if he gave it to others.
  • Wade Jackson, 54, of Ewing, was charged on March 28 with obstruction of administration of law and violation of the emergency orders for holding a party with a DJ and nearly 50 guests inside his one-bedroom apartment in Ewing.
  • Willi Rojas, 42, of Woodbridge, was charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders for opening his barbershop in Woodbridge to customers.
  • Joseph H. Benigno, 56, of Holmdel, was charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders for holding an auction with 15 to 20 people at a warehouse in Edison.
  • Steven P. Cato, 20, of Edison, was charged on April 1 with terroristic threats during an emergency, obstruction, resisting arrest, three counts of aggravated assault on an officer, and criminal mischief.  When police were called to his house for a domestic incident, he allegedly coughed at officers and claimed to have COVID-19.
  • Juan Ocampo-Quiceno, 29, of Wharton, was charged on April 1 with violating the executive orders for opening his business, Mine Hill Sports Complex in Wharton, after he was warned to close it.  Police found youths playing soccer and men lifting weights at the facility.
  • Christian Enriquez, 29, of North Plainfield, was charged on April 1 with violating the emergency orders.
  • Anekia Dawkins, 35, of Morristown, was charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders.
  • Anthony J. Lodespoto, 43, of Matawan, allegedly sent messages through social media threatening to attack Jewish residents in Lakewood with a baseball bat.  He was charged on March 26 with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency.
  • William J. Katzenstein, 39, of Lakewood, was charged on March 26 with violating the emergency orders for holding a wedding with 20 to 30 people in his backyard.
  • Eliezer Silber, 37, and Miriam Silber, 34, of Lakewood, were charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders and five counts of child neglect for holding a bat mitzvah with 40 to 50 adults and children outside their home.
  • David Gluck, 48, and Abraham Haberfield, 32, of Lakewood, were charged on March 30 with maintaining a nuisance for holding a gathering of approximately 35 males in a school facility that Gluck owns and Haberfield manages.
  • Yaakov Kaufman, 47, and Eti Kaufman, 45, of Lakewood, were charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders and six counts of child neglect for holding an engagement party at their home with a large number of adults and children.  Thirteen adult guests also were charged with violating the emergency orders.
  • Samuel Manheim, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and 16 other individuals were charged on April 1 with violating the emergency orders for attending an outdoor funeral in Lakewood.  Manheim was also charged with hindering apprehension for initially refusing to identify himself to police.  Approximately 60 to 70 people were present for the funeral.
  • Ephraim Adler, 42, and Sarah Adler, 18, of Lakewood, were charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders for opening the Brooklyn Southwest clothing store in Lakewood to customers.  A sign on the door stated “Maximum of 50 People.”
  • Nathan Kline, 66, of Lakewood, was charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders for illegally selling alcohol out of a rental truck in a residential neighborhood where more than 10 people were present.
  • Rafael Medina, 21, Robert Feliz, 18, Edwin Valera, 25, Miguel Lopez, 22, and Angel Gonzalez, 18, were charged on March 31 with disorderly conduct for violating the emergency orders after police stopped the vehicle in which they were riding in Passaic.
  • Joyce Billings, 59, of Columbia, was charged twice by police for opening her business, Post Time Pub in Blairstown, in violation of the emergency orders.  She was charged with obstruction on March 27 and violation of a law intended to protect public health on April 2.
     
  • Jacqueline Maltese, 48 of Hackettstown, was charged on April 2 with simple assault and filing a false police report.  During a domestic violence incident, Maltese repeatedly yelled at officers that she had tested positive for COVID-19.  That was not true.
  • Louis A. Nunez, 52, of Manalapan, was charged on April 2 with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency and throwing bodily fluid at an officer.  As he was being booked at the Monmouth County Jail on an unrelated matter he became belligerent and allegedly threated to spit on a corrections officer, stating he had the coronavirus.

 While a number of defendants identified above were also charged with indictable offenses that carry greater penalties, violations of the Governor’s emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense that carries a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  In addition, earlier this week, Attorney General Grewal announced enhanced charges against six individuals who were charged with assaulting law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders.  Specifically, those enhanced charges included making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, which is a second degree offense and carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Defendants Cato and Nunez are similarly charged for their conduct against law enforcement officers.  If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes.  Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.