Team coverage by: Dennis Symons, Tyler Eckel, and Brian McCarthy
PLAINSBORO, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Firefighters, EMS, and police with over 50 pieces of apparatus took part in a hospital worker appreciation event tonight at UPenn Princeton Medical Center. Hosted by Plainsboro Fire Department and Police, many agencies came through to show their support for hospital workers.
Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and even the Grinch showed up to show their support riding in the fire department’s ladder towers and were able to see hospital employees though the windows of the hospital.
This is a partial list of those participated:
Plainsboro Fire, Plainsboro EMS, Plainsboro Police Department, West Windsor Police Department, Princeton University Pubic Safety, Kingston Fire Company, Monmouth Junction Fire Comapny, Kendal Park Fire Comapny, Hightstown Fire Department, Little Rocky Hill Fire Company, Griggstown Fire Company, Middlesex County Hazmat, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab Fire Department, South River Fire Department, Monroe Fire Company – 51, Lawrenceville Fire Company -23, North Brunswick Fire Company #1, North Brunswick Fire Comnpany #2, North Brunswick Fire Company #3, New Jersey State Forest Fire Service, NJSP Aviation Unit, East Windsor Rescue Squad, Princeton Rescue Squad, Mercer County Fire Coordinator, Hopewell Fire Department – 52
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today ordered that the U.S. and New Jersey flags be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities on Monday, November 23, 2020, in honor of U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Richard Asey Samaroo, who tragically passed away while on active duty in South Korea.
Samaroo was a resident of North Brunswick. “Senior Airman Samaroo was taken from us far too soon, at the young age of 21,” said Governor Murphy. “Richard served his community, his state, and his country with honor and distinction. Tammy and I would like to express our deepest condolences to Senior Airman Samaroo’s family, friends, and colleagues during this time.”
Rico Samaroo passed away while on active duty at Osan Air force Base in South Korea. He was 21 years old.
Rico was born in Guyana and came to the United States in 2003. He resided in New Brunswick, Parsippany, Flemington and Northampton Pennsylvania before moving back to North Brunswick where he has lived since.
He attended Livingston Park Elementary, Linwood Middle School and North Brunswick High School where he graduated class of 2017 with honors. He soon after enlisted in the United States Air Force. Rico completed his basic training at Lackland Airforce Base in Texas then completed his military schooling at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. Rico served in Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany for two years and Osan Air Force Base in South Korea since May of 2020.
He was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, The Global War on Terror Medal, the M-16 Expert Qualifying Medal and the Air Force Training Ribbon.
He was predeceased by his Grandfather Albert Samaroo.
Rico is survived by his parents Richard and Bibi Samaroo, a sister Zhane Samaroo, His grand parents along with many aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family and friends.
Friends and family may visit from 5-9 MP on Thursday evening at the Gleason Funeral Home 1360 Hamilton Street in Somerset. A brief funeral ceremony will take place on Friday morning at 8:30 AM at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Brig. General William C. Doyle Veteran Cemetery in Wrightstown, NJ. Due to cemetery restrictions, graveside services at the cemetery will be by direct invitation from the family.
Please know due to the COVID-19 outbreak we must limit capacity inside the funeral home. Face coverings must be worn at all times and social distancing must be observed.
We also ask you please enter the funeral home, pay your respects to the deceased and the family, then please take your leave so others may come inside.
By request of the family, please do not send flowers.
We thank you for your understanding in this matter.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation (A1649), which protects the home addresses and telephone numbers of judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers from public disclosure. The bill, known as “Daniel’s Law,” is named in honor of Daniel Anderl, the late son of U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas. Daniel fell victim to a senseless act of gun violence committed by an individual who had compiled a dossier of personal information about Judge Salas, including the judge’s home address.
“This is a renewed commitment to ensure our judiciary, prosecutors, and members of law enforcement who answer the call of justice can do so without fear for their personal safety, or that of their loved ones,” said Governor Murphy. “By shielding the home addresses and private contact information for those who serve on the bench and enforce our laws, we are demonstrating that in the face of unspeakable tragedy, New Jersey responds not with thoughts and prayers, but with concrete action.”
“My husband, Mark, and I would like to thank Governor Murphy and all the men and women of the New Jersey State Legislature for enacting this trailblazing legislation,” said U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas. “We hope this law can be a steppingstone to improving the security of my sisters and brothers who serve as federal judges throughout the country. Nobody should be forced to endure the kind of pain my family has experienced ever again. Together we can work to ensure that all members of the judiciary (federal, state, and municipal courts) can perform their duties without fear of retribution or harm. Daniel used to say, ‘Mom, I love talking with you.’ I know Daniel is listening now, and he is smiling down on us today because he knows that with this bill signing, we are doing our part to ensure that his death will not be in vain.”
The bill amends the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) to exclude from the definition of a government (i.e., public) record the portion of any document which discloses the home address of any active or retired 1) judge, 2) prosecutor or 3) law enforcement officer.
Further, the bill prohibits government agencies, individuals and businesses from knowingly publishing on the internet, or otherwise making available, the home address or unpublished home telephone number of any active or retired judge or any active or retired prosecutor.
The bill also enables any active or retired judge, prosecutor, or law enforcement officer whose home address or unpublished telephone number is disclosed on the internet or otherwise made available to the public, or whose immediate family member’s name, home address, or unpublished phone number is disclosed on the internet or otherwise made available to the public, to request that the information be removed. The government agency, individual or business would be required to remove the information within 72 hours of receiving such a request in writing.
“Daniel Anderl’s tragic death reminds us that the disclosure of personal information can leave judges and family members vulnerable to threats and violence,” said Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. “We are grateful to the Governor and the Legislature for taking this important step to provide common sense protections for active and retired judges and their families, along with others in the justice system, in the hope that a future tragedy can be prevented.”
“Judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers all play vital roles in keeping the public safe, but in doing so, they often jeopardize their own safety, becoming targets of vengeful criminals or litigants,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “We need to protect them as they protect all of us. This commonsense law will go a long way to ensure the privacy and security of these public servants and their families.”
“To everyone who played a role in getting this done, I thank you. However, our work does not end here. We must extend these privacy protections nationwide, so that no one lives through what Judge Salas and her husband lived through,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. “We are living in a time of endless vitriol, rising hate crimes, and increased personal attacks. And while we may not be able to eliminate hatred from someone’s heart, we can take action to better protect the men and women of our federal bench. That’s why I am proud to see Governor Murphy sign Daniel’s Law here in New Jersey– and why I remain committed to the passage of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act in Washington.”
“No person who takes on the responsibility of serving as a federal judge should ever have to live in fear that they or their family could be targeted by someone who is able to easily access their personal information,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “Judge Salas and her husband, Mark, have gone through something that no parent should ever have to endure. I am grateful for the leadership of Governor Murphy, Senator Cryan, and Assemblywoman Quijano as we honor the memory of Daniel with a commitment that this should never happen again.”
Primary sponsors of A1649 include Assemblymembers Annette Quijano, Yvonne Lopez, Craig Coughlin, and Ralph Caputo, and Senators Joe Cryan, Nicholas Scutari, Nellie Pou, and Bob Smith.
“Making tough decisions is part of the job for judges and prosecutors. Sometimes these decisions aren’t popular, and they become a target. It’s frightening to think that disgruntled individuals may be able to find their home addresses and personal phone numbers readily available at the touch of a button.” said Assemblymembers Quijano, Lopez, Coughlin and Caputo in a joint statement. “Our hearts continue to break for Judge Salas and her family. The goal of this bill is to better protect the privacy of judges and prosecutors by prohibiting their personal addresses and contact information from being shared online without their consent.”
“This law will honor the legacy of Daniel Anderl and respect the loving memories of his family,” said Senator Joe Cryan, a former Union County Sheriff who oversaw courthouse security in Union County. “This was a tragic act of violence targeted at a respected judge and her family because the gunman was able to locate their home address. It was also an attack on the justice system that was felt by everyone who serves or has served in law enforcement. They devote their lives to the safety of the public – they should be kept safe as well.”
“We must act to protect our public officials and their families from potential attacks,” said Senator Nicholas Scutari, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The targeting of Judge Salas at her private residence by a gunman, resulting in the tragic death of her son and the serious wounding of her husband, underscores the need for us to do more to protect our judges and their families. Domestic terrorism is a very real threat in today’s society. Not long ago, a gunman attempted to take the life of then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, another gunman opened fire at a congressional softball game and, most recently, there was the foiled plot to kidnap and murder the governor of Michigan. This is a vital first step in ensuring the safety of our public officials in New Jersey.”
“Judges and other court officers who serve our legal system deserve to be protected from any possible attack or retaliation for merely performing their sworn duties. What happened to Judge Esther Salas, and her family, and in particular the fatal shooting of her son, Daniel, in his own home, must never happen again,” said Senator Nellie Pou. “This law, restricting access to home addresses of judges and others who work in our court system will add a needed layer of protection for these public servants.”
“As a representative and resident from Middlesex County, I was shocked, heartbroken and angered by the home attack on Judge Salas and her family, which left her husband critically wounded and ended in the death of her son, Daniel,” saidSenator Bob Smith. “The Salas family are among my constituents, so it is important for me that I am a part of any action we take in response to this horrific incident. We have to do more to protect our judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers from violent retaliation, especially in a time when people are actually planning physical violence against civil servants.”
“This measure takes the steps necessary to obscure details about judges that could put them and their families at risk,” said Senator Robert Singer. “There is so much information exchanged online, and a reckless post or an innocuous comment can, in the wrong hands, be dangerous. Enacting this law will help increase security for judges our legal system relies on.”
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–In an update to a story MidJersey.News posted yesterday, Cineworld the parent company of Regal Cinemas had confirmed at 7:00 this morning that there will be temporary closing of 536 Regal Cinemas in the U.S. due to COVID-19. This will include several theaters in New Jersey.
The company said in a press release:
In response to an increasingly challenging theatrical landscape and sustained key market closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cineworld confirms that it will be temporarily suspending operations at all of its 536 Regal theatres in the US and its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK from Thursday, 8 October 2020.
As major US. markets, mainly New York, remained closed and without guidance on reopening timing, studios have been reluctant to release their pipeline of new films. In turn, without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in both the US and the UK – the company’s primary markets – with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theatres against the backdrop of COVID-19. These closures will impact approximately 45,000 employees. Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen.
Cineworld’s main priorities remain the safety of customers and employees, cash preservation and cost reduction. As noted in its Interim Results announced on 24 September 2020, Cineworld is assessing several sources of additional liquidity and all liquidity raising options are being considered.
Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, commented: “This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets – including meeting, and often exceeding, local health and safety guidelines in our theatres and working constructively with regulators and industry bodies to restore public confidence in our industry. We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our employees put in to adapt our theatres to the new protocols and cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was, Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen.”
Regal Cinemas in MidJersey.News coverage area are:
Regal Commerce Center & RPX 2399 US-1, North Brunswick Township, NJ 08902
Regal Independence Plaza & RPX 2465 S Broad St, Hamilton Township, NJ 08610
Regal Burlington 250 Bromley Blvd, Burlington Township, NJ 08016
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–It appeared to be “business as usual” this afternoon and tonight at Regal Cinemas 12 & RPX in the Independence Plaza on S. Broad Street.
Last night Variety Magazine published and article stating that Cineworld, Regal Cinemas parent company would shuttering all venues in the U.S. and U.K. The shuttering would happen since the James Bond film “No Time to Die” release date was pushed back to April 2021.
Since that time Cineworld has responded via Twitter “We can confirm we are considering the temporary closure of our U.K. and US cinemas, but a final decision has not yet been reached. Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can.”
It appears that the even if they do close their doors Cineworld’s Tweet points out that it would be “temporary” and (hopefully) not permanent. The entertainment industry is already struggling due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the delay of a major new release will be another blow to the movie industry.
Regal Cinemas in MidJersey.News coverage area are:
Regal Commerce Center & RPX 2399 US-1, North Brunswick Township, NJ 08902
Regal Independence Plaza & RPX 2465 S Broad St, Hamilton Township, NJ 08610
Regal Burlington 250 Bromley Blvd, Burlington Township, NJ 08016
We shared this tweet on MidJersey.News Twitter Account from the editor of Varity Magazine early this morning and Cineworld Cinemas (owner of Regal Cinemas) responded to the press in a following Tweet on their account. The Tweets are below:
NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–On September 16th 2020, it was discovered that damage had been done to the Police Officers Memorial Monument that sits just North Brunswick Police Headquarters. It was apparent that the damage was purposeful, as all electrical lighting for the Memorial had been stomped and damaged. The damage is believed to be a few thousand dollars. The subsequent investigation led to the arrest of Edwin Marroquin, 21, of New Brunswick. He was charged with several charges and is awaiting Court proceedings. The damage will be repaired by North Brunswick PBA Local 160 the caretakers of the Memorial. *All arrestees are to be considered innocent until proven guilty in Court.
Six Charged in New Jersey in $100 Million Telemedicine Scheme; Three Men Admit Guilt in Unrelated Frauds
September 30, 2020
NEWARK, NJ — Six individuals have been charged in New Jersey for their roles in a massive nationwide prescription medication and durable medical equipment telemedicine scheme, and three others admitted their roles in three other health care fraud cases. The announcements are part of a federal law enforcement effort to crack down on health care fraud nationwide.
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito, District of New Jersey, announced charges against six people: Mark Belter, 46, of North Ridgeville, Ohio; David C. Laughlin, Jr., 46, of Buckeye, Arizona; Stephen Luke, 52, of Phoenix, Arizona, were charged by complaint with conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute. In a separate complaint, Ethan Welwart, 32, of North Brunswick, New Jersey; William “Ben” Welwart, 66, of Staten Island, New York; and Elan Yaish, 51, of Tel Aviv, Israel, also were charged with conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute for their roles in the same scheme. Ethan Welwart, William Welwart, and Yaish had their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III on Sept. 3, 2020, and Belter, Laughlin, and Luke had their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre on Sept. 10, 2020.
Attorney for the United States Rachael A. Honig, District of New Jersey, announced guilty pleas from three defendants in three cases:
Andrew McCubbins, 39, of Draper, Utah, the owner of a telemedicine company, pleaded guilty by videoconference on Sept. 24, 2020, before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty to an information charging him with one count each of conspiring to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with a scheme to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute.
Christian Mohases, 38, of Santa Ana, California, pleaded guilty by videoconference on Sept. 24, 2020, before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with a scheme to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute.
Luis Roa, 51, of Santiago, Chile, pleaded guilty by videoconference on Sept. 24, 2020, before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to commit health care fraud and one count of conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with a scheme to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute.
The announcements are part of a nationwide federal law enforcement effort to combat telemedicine fraud, prescription fraud and durable medical equipment fraud. As part of this effort, the Department of Justice is announcing today the largest amount of alleged fraud loss ever charged – $4.5 billion in allegedly false and fraudulent claims submitted by more than 86 criminal defendants in 19 judicial districts around the country – related to nationwide schemes involving telemedicine: the use of telecommunications technology to provide health care services remotely.
Belter et al.
Beginning in January 2016 and continuing for more than three years, the six defendants exchanged kickbacks and bribes with each other and others. Belter, who owned and operated a marketing company in Ohio called Health Pain Solutions, identified Medicare beneficiaries and targeted them for specific prescription medications or durable medical equipment (DME) like braces. He then sent the beneficiaries’ information to Laughlin and Luke, who owned RediDoc. Belter paid Laughlin and Luke kickbacks for each signed prescription and doctor’s order for those beneficiaries that Laughlin and Luke collected from doctors under contract with RediDoc. Laughlin and Luke in turn paid those doctors kickbacks for each prescription and doctor’s order they signed. Laughlin and Luke transmitted the prescriptions to Apogee, a pharmacy owned and run by Ethan Welwart, William Welwart, and Yaish, and doctor’s orders to DME providers, who submitted claims for reimbursement to Medicare and other insurers. Ethan Welwart, William Welwart, and Yaish at Apogee subsequently paid Belter kickbacks from the reimbursements they received, in exchange for Belter’s actions in originating the beneficiaries’ claims.
After identifying target beneficiaries, Belter or his employees telephoned them, purportedly to obtain their medical history and consent to receive medications or DME. The purpose of these calls was so that Belter could record the conversations with the beneficiaries and convince them to try certain medications or DME. Belter had no medical licenses or training.
Belter purposely did not tell the beneficiaries what doctor would prescribe the medication or DME. The conspirators believed that the beneficiaries may not consent to receive medication or DME from an unknown doctor. In an email to William Welwart and another Apogee employee on Jan. 15, 2018, Belter wrote that, when he called beneficiaries, he did not provide specifics: “I think you might lose some people [beneficiaries] when you mention a Doctor name they have never heard of.”
After obtaining the beneficiary’s medical history and purported consent, Belter transmitted a beneficiary intake form, the recorded call, and a pre-filled prescription for medication or DME order to Laughlin and Luke at RediDoc. Under a contract, Belter paid Laughlin and Luke a fee of approximately $95 for each prescription that RediDoc obtained from one of its contracted doctors; $100 for each DME order; and $115 for a prescription and a DME order.
RediDoc recruited and contracted with doctors around the country to sign prescriptions and DME orders. RediDoc paid its contracted doctors anywhere from $7 to $30 per “consultation,” depending on whether they prescribed medication, DME, or both. For example, according to one RediDoc contract, RediDoc agreed to pay a doctor $15 per “consultation” by telephone with no prescription; $20 per “consultation” resulting in a medication prescription or DME order; and $30 per “consultation” resulting in a medication prescription and DME order. RediDoc had similar contracts with doctors across the country and paid them over $5.5 million during the scheme.
The defendants and other conspirators caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to health care benefit programs, including Medicare, in excess of $100 million for prescription medication and DME.
The charge of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute is punishable by a potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater.
The government is represented in this case by Senior Trial Counsel Jason S. Gould and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicole Mastropieri and Hayden Brockett of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark, as well as Senior Trial Counsel Barbara Ward of the Asset Recovery and Money Laundering Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
McCubbins owned and operated a telemedicine company based in Utah that purported to provide health care services through health care professionals to Medicare beneficiaries. McCubbins and others paid kickbacks and bribes to various parties in exchange for referrals and orders for medically unnecessary genetic cancer screening tests (CGX Tests) for Medicare beneficiaries, ultimately leading to approximately $89 million in Medicare payments.
In order to generate referrals of Medicare beneficiaries to the telemedicine company, McCubbins and others paid kickbacks and bribes to individuals operating call centers targeting Medicare beneficiaries for CGX Tests. Once the telemedicine company received the referrals, health care professionals acting on its behalf wrote medically unnecessary orders for CGX Tests for the Medicare beneficiaries. McCubbins bribed medical doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants to prescribe the CGX Tests for Medicare beneficiaries. These health care professionals wrote medically unnecessary orders for CGX Tests without performing legitimate medical consultations and after only cursory telephonic interactions with the Medicare beneficiaries. In addition, the Telemedicine Company also bribed doctors to purportedly “supervise” nurses and other health care professionals in order to legitimize the their prescriptions for CGX Tests. In reality, however, the supervising physicians had no legitimate clinical or collaborative relationship with the health care professionals they claimed to supervise.
Mohases and his conspirators owned and operated multiple call centers through which they obtained doctors’ orders for DME, namely orthotic braces, and patient referrals for genetic CGX tests for Medicare beneficiaries. Mohases and his conspirators provided these orders and referrals in exchange for bribes from certain companies that provided the braces and performed the CGX Tests, ultimately leading to approximately $8.5 million in Medicare payments for medically unnecessary DME and CGX Tests.
Mohases and his conspirators obtained the DME orders and CGX Test referrals through the use of marketing call centers and telemedicine companies. Mohases used telemedicine companies to generate DME orders that were medically unnecessary because they were generated without any legitimate physician-patient relationship and without complying Medicare’s telemedicine requirements. In order to conceal the kickback arrangements, Mohases and his conspirators entered into sham contracts that made it appear that they were providing legitimate services. Mohases generated false invoices to match the sham contracts and to conceal the kickback scheme.
Roa and his conspirators owned and operated multiple call centers through which they obtained doctors’ orders for DME, namely braces, and patient referrals for CGX tests for Medicare beneficiaries. Roa and his conspirators provided these orders and referrals in exchange for bribes from certain companies that provided the braces and performed the CGX tests, ultimately leading to approximately $6.9 million in Medicare payments for medically unnecessary DME and CGX tests.
Roa and his conspirators obtained the DME orders and CGX test referrals through the use of marketing call centers and telemedicine companies. Roa used telemedicine companies to generate DME orders that were medically unnecessary because they were generated without any legitimate physician-patient relationship and without complying with Medicare’s telemedicine requirements. In order to conceal the kickback arrangements, Roa and his conspirators entered into sham contracts that made it appear that they were providing legitimate services. Roa generated false invoices to match the sham contracts and to conceal the kickback scheme.
The charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross profit or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greater. The charge of conspiracy to commit health care fraud is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross profit or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greater. The charge of conspiracy to violate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross profit or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greater.
The government in the cases against McCubbins, Mohases and Roa is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean M. Sherman, J. Stephen Ferketic, and Ryan O’Neill of the Opioid Abuse Prevention & Enforcement Unit, and Senior Trial Counsel Ward.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito and Attorney for the United States Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch. Jr. in Newark; the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Scott J. Lampert; the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey; and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher F. Algieri with the ongoing investigations.
NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–On Saturday, September 26th, at approximately 10:03 pm, a 9-1-1 call was received from a caller that located an injured unresponsive male on Corporate Road. Units arrived moments later and discovered that severely injured male in the roadway. Despite all efforts, the male was later pronounced dead at the scene from those injuries. The man’s four wheeler/ATV was located in brush a short distance away by Officers. The incident is under investigation by our Department’s Traffic Safety Bureau, and appears at this time to be a tragic single vehicle (ATV) event leading to the drivers death. The victim has been identified as Charlie Madera, 31, of North Brunswick. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Traffic Officer Jason Vallese at 732-247-0922 x318
KENDALL PARK – SOUTH BRUNWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Daniel Mark Anderl had just celebrated his 20th birthday.
A lifelong Catholic and the only child of U.S. District Judge Esther Salas and defense attorney Mark Anderl, Daniel Anderl gave his life to protect his mother and father, taking the shooter’s first bullet directly to the chest, when a man holding a package on their front door step opened fire into the family’s home on July 19.
“All of us here remember when we heard of the horrific news of Danny’s death and how he died,” said Father Robert G. Lynam, pastor of St. Augustine of Canterbury Parish, Kendall Park, where the family are parishioners. “Jesus said ‘there is no greater love, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ (Jn. 15:13) – Danny did that. There is no question in my mind, from Mark’s testimony to me, that Daniel offered his life for his father and his mother.”
Speaking during his homily to those gathered in the church and those watching the private livestream of the Sept. 26 funeral Mass from a nearby tent, set up in order to respect social distancing measures and situated just steps away from the parochial Catholic school where Daniel Anderl spent eight years of his childhood, the pastor said that “faith is a gift.”
Since the day of their son’s death, “it has been the gift of faith that has sustained Esther and Mark. It has been the shining example of Daniel’s faith and selfless love that has sustained all of us,” he said.
As he arrived at the hospital that day, as Mark was in the operating room, the pastor said that he saw Daniel’s mother become “Mary at the foot of the cross.”
“In the blessing of Daniel’s body that night, in that room, it was Jesus being taken down from the cross,” he said. “On that night, I shared with Esther, ‘there is a woman here with us. Her name is Mary, the mother of Jesus. She knows your pain. She knows your sorrow,’” he said.
Reassuring the mourners present, Father Lynam said, “Mary is here with us. She knows faith; she knows sorrow; she knows pain, but she always knows Easter joy. Allow Mary to embrace you, as a mother, with a gift of love and the gift of her faith.”
The day after his death, Daniel Anderl’s school friends, together with Father Lynam, gathered to pray in the church, in the place where he was baptized into the Catholic faith as an infant and would later go on to celebrate his other sacraments.
Together, they shared stories about the life and friendships they had with Daniel Anderl and lit a candle in his memory, which burned on the altar for weeks until a funeral Mass could take place.
Looking toward the back of the church and then glancing again at the candle, Father Lynam said he would often see the candle’s reflection in the glass at the back of the church as he celebrated Mass and remember, “that is the light of Danny that is burning brightly now in heaven – there’s no question about that.”
As Daniel Anderl’s friends were praying in the church that day, the day after his death, his parents were in the hospital and “Esther received communion along with her family who were in her room,” said Father Lynam.
“Mark, who was in intensive care, was able to receive a small piece of the host and then he shared those powerful words to me: ‘I have forgiven the shooter,’” he said, echoing the wounded father’s words to those present.
In the past weeks, St. Peter was in the Gospels. The pastor shared how Jesus asked Peter the same question three times: do you love me? The question came as a gift of absolution for Peter, after he had already denied Jesus three times.
“Esther shared, when we had a moment at one of the Masses to quietly, privately bring an intention for the Mass, that as Jesus forgave Peter three times, she said to me, ‘I have forgiven the shooter three times and many more times since then,” he said. “Mark and Esther, there by the grace of God, you were and are able to say those powerful words.”
With a distant gaze of past reflection, Father Lynam fondly remembered his interactions with the family at parish Masses.
“Esther is a great listener when I preach. She is there with me, as is Mark, and Daniel would be walking around doing ushering and greeting people. Constantly walking, walking, walking,” he said, gesturing around the church and drawing laughter from the mourners.
The weekly Masses since with his family and friends “have truly been the Road to Emmaus,” he said, referencing the passage in the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus walks with two disciples, mourning the loss of Jesus, as they journey down the road to Emmaus.
“They were filled with sorrow, doubt, and questions. They were depressed. Has that not been our experience over the past weeks and even now as we gather today in prayer?” said Father Lynam. “He comes to them in their time of need. He comes to us now in our time of need.”
The funeral Mass for Daniel Anderl came just days after the New Jersey State Assembly unanimously passed A.B. 1649 on Thursday, legislation known as “Daniel’s Law,” that would bar the online posting of judges’ and prosecutors’ home addresses or phone numbers.
The church and outdoor tent were filled with family and friends, dignitaries and Church leaders, among them Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York; Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, who celebrated the Mass; New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez; New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal; and President John Garvey of Catholic University of America, along with countless others.
Addressing Daniel Anderl’s parents, Cardinal Dolan said, “how often have we heard you say, since that Good Friday through which you traveled, that ‘we couldn’t have done it without our faith. Our faith is what has seen us through.’”
“We know one of the essentials of that faith is that God brings good out of evil and this is an unmitigated evil, but the Lord can bring good from evil,” said Cardinal Dolan. “Esther and Mark, the whole world bowed its head in prayer when they heard the sad news about Danny and the whole country has been inspired by his selfless act of sacrifice as he reminded them of Jesus on the cross. So, you see, God has already brought some good out of this.”
Daniel Anderl was remembered for having “lived his Catholic faith,” his life a witness of selfless love and steadfast faith. He was known to spend time in prayer in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, receive the gift of God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, and attend daily Mass at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he would have been a junior this year.
It is his “great gift of faith” that leaves his loved ones behind both heartbroken and inspired, said Bishop Checchio.
“Esther and Mark, you raised such a lovely young man and the whole world can see what was in his heart by his actions,” said the bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen. “We’re so indebted to you and the good work you did, the love you brought him up with in your home, and the good work and cooperation of this parish, St. Augustine of Canterbury School, Saint Joseph High School and Catholic University of America.”
After sharing his own words of sorrow, Bishop Checchio read a letter sent to him by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio, or liaison between the Holy Father and the United States, on behalf of Pope Francis.
In the letter, Archbishop Pierre said he wished to express the spiritual closeness and paternal affection of the Holy Father and “convey his profound solidarity and assurances of prayer to Daniel’s parents and all those affected by this tragedy.”
“Conscious of the wound inflicted on your entire community, His Holiness also prays that all will be affirmed in their resolve to bring an end to senseless violence and to work for justice, healing and peace,” the letter read. “Upon Daniel’s family, his friends and all who mourn him, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in the Risen Lord.”
Also adding his own sentiments in the letter, Archbishop Pierre said he joined those in mourning “in giving thanks to Almighty God for young Daniel’s outstanding witness of faith and exemplary Christian life. Commending his soul to the infinite mercy of God, I also renew my fervent prayer that the faithful may be confirmed in charity, consoling one another with the hope in the Lord’s promise of the Resurrection.”
Once finished reading the letter, Bishop Checchio addressed those present, often seen comforting one another and wiping away their tears, one last time by saying, “Indeed, Esther, Mark and dear friends, it is only being gathered here around the altar of the Lord, being near the Lord and near our Mother, who experienced such violence in their own lives too, that we can work for that same healing, peace and justice of which the Holy Father wrote.”
NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The entire Township of North Brunswick is mourning today the death of Police Director Kenneth McCormick. Ken’s quick smile, sharp wit, intense integrity, unwavering compassion and dedication to family, friends, coworkers and officers made him a hero to those he knew and those he led.
Director McCormick was hired in September 1982 and graduated with the 38th Police Basic Training Class of the Middlesex County Police Academy. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1995 and then to Lieutenant in 2003. In 2004, while still a lieutenant, Ken was named the Director of Public Safety. He retired in 2008 but returned in 2009 to continue his public service as the Director of the Department of Public Safety.
The hallmarks of Ken’s tenure as Police Director were foresight, compassion and caring for the men and women of the department, and a dedication toward justice. Director McCormick leaves a legacy of ingenuity and integrity and his imprint upon our Township will be felt for generations to come.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 8th from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Peace Church on Route 130 Funeral Services will be held on Wednesday, September 9th at 11:00 a.m. on the Great Lawn at Community Park on Route 130. Interment will be at Van Liew Cemetery on Georges Road.
NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and Director Kenneth P. McCormick of the North Brunswick Police Department announced today that a driver has been charged with causing a serious crash and injuring multiple people in the Township last night.
Christopher L. Mertens, 40, of the Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick, was arrested and charged today with aggravated assault in the second degree, endangering the welfare of a child in the second degree, assault by auto in the third degree, endangering another person by knowingly engaging in conduct which creates a substantial risk of death in the third degree, three counts of assault by auto in the fourth degree, and obstruction of the administration of law in the fourth degree.
Patrolman Jason Zier of the North Brunswick Police Department and Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that on Saturday, August 8, 2020, at approximately 8:50 pm on Route 1 South just south of Route 130, Mertens was driving a 2018 Infiniti Coupe, accompanied by his two young children, traveling on Route 1 South at a high rate of speed while intoxicated. Mertens rear ended a 2003 Chevrolet Blazer causing it to roll over and catch on fire.
The driver of the Blazer, a 19-year old male from Chesterfield, New Jersey was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and then was transferred to St. Barnabas Hospital for the burns he sustained in the crash. His passenger, a 21-year-old woman from Suffern, New York was treated and released from Robert Wood Johnson. Mertens’ children were also taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital.
The investigation is active and is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Patrolman Zier of the North Brunswick Police Department at (732) 247-0922 ext. 316, or Detective Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4328.
As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Mertens are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone announced that a Paterson woman has been sentenced to serve 6 years in prison for causing the death of an 80-year-old man in a crash shortly after midnight on September 22, 2018.
Elizabeth Gomez, 44, of Paterson, was sentenced yesterday to serve 6 years in a New Jersey state prison. Superior Court Judge Colleen M. Flynn ordered that the defendant must complete 85 percent of the term before she can be eligible for parole.
In addition, the Judge ordered that Gomez is subject to a 10-year loss of license to begin upon her release from prison.
The sentence was imposed after Gomez pleaded guilty on December 23, 2019, in accordance with a plea agreement with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Keith Abrams, to second degree vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated which caused the death of Wen-Fu Lin, 80, of East Brunswick.
Gomez was charged following an investigation by Officer Jason Zier of the North Brunswick Police Department and Detective David Abromaitis of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office which determined that in the early morning hours of September 22, 2018, Gomez, who was intoxicated, was driving a 2007 BMW X3 on Route 1 near Fashion Plaza Drive when she ran a red light and crashed into a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu causing the death of the driver and injuring his passenger.
NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–The FBI Newark office is investigating a shooting that occurred around 5 pm on Point of Woods Drive at the home of Judge Esther Salas.
Police were reportedly looking for a white male wearing a FedEx uniform and a light grey Nissan Sentry.
Sources tell MidJersey.News that her husband defense attorney Mark Anderi was shot, originally reported as critical and after surgery is in stable condition at RJW Barnabas Hospital in New Brunswick. Her son was killed by the gunman.
If you have any relevant information involving this case you are asked to contact the FBI at 1-973-792-3000
Statement by Governor Murphy on Shooting of Judge Esther Salas’ Family
“Judge Salas and her family are in our thoughts at this time as they cope with this senseless act. This tragedy is our latest reminder that gun violence remains a crisis in our country and that our work to make every community safer isn’t done.”
Motor Vehicle Commission Wait Times A Total Disaster With Times Exceeding Three Hours, with new reports some waited 6+ hours with nothing done. Fights were reported in at least Trenton and Edison. Edison Police had to call neighboring departments for help.
July 7, 2020 posted at 4 pm, updated at 9 pm.
TRENTON, LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, (MERCER), SOUTH BRUNSWICK, (MIDDLESEX), NJ –People set up camp and waited in line, some earlier than 6 am but, they were not waiting in line for a Black Friday Sale, A Trump Rally or even concert tickets, they were just waiting for a visit to the local NJ Motor Vehicle Commission office.
It has been months since people could process an in person transaction to get or renew a license, register a car, get new plates and any other in person transaction that the MVC office processes.
The extremely long lines, snaked though parking lots, around buildings and even up the side of highways as the first day the NJ MVC opened its doors since the COVID-19 closures months ago.
Just after 8 am, a fight was reported this morning at the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission in Trenton on South Stockton Street. Trenton Police responded and reported that the line was wrapped around the building.
In South Brunswick/Dayton hundreds were in line as the line snaked back and fourth though the parking lot then eventually up Route 130. A group of people still about 100 deep at that location reported they had been in line since 6 am.
In Lawrence at Bakers Basin the scene was similar with lines wrapping around and though parking lots. People sat in chairs and under umbrellas and even a frozen dessert truck set up in the area near Route 1.
Edison, NJ we have a report of a disturbance at the Edison NJ Motor Vehicle Commission and Edison Police had to call mutual aid departments to the scene around 1:42 pm.
NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Christopher L.C. Kuberiet and Director Kenneth P. McCormick announced today that two people have been charged in a fatal three car crash that took place in the Township on May 24, 2020.
Rashawn Stevens, 33, of Newark and Garry Givens-Owens, 28, of Somerset were both charged with strict liability vehicular homicide in the third degree by driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causing the death of another.
The deceased driver was identified as Felicity Eden, 19, of Milltown who was pronounced deceased at the scene from the injuries she sustained in the fatal crash.
Rashawn Stevens was arrested today in Newark, and Garry Givens Owens was taken into custody yesterday in North Brunswick. They are both currently being held in the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center pending a detention hearing.
The crash which involved three vehicles occurred on May 24, 2020 at approximately 4:11 am on Route 1 Southbound in the vicinity of the Walmart located at 979 US 1.
During the investigation it was determined that Stevens was driving his Lincoln Sedan southbound on Route 1 when he struck the vehicle driven by the victim. Givens-Owen was driving a BMW Sedan which first struck the Lincoln, and then the vehicle driven by Felicity Eden.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Patrolman Jason Zier
of the North Brunswick Police Department at (732) 247-0922, or Detective Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4328.
As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Stevens and Givens-Owens are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Update June 7, 2020 at 10:20 am: Please be advised that the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the North Brunswick Police Department are no longer looking for the suspect vehicle noted in the attached press release from June 5, 2020. The driver has been located and the investigation is continuing. There is no additional information at this time.
NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Christopher L.C. Kuberiet and Director Kenneth P. McCormick of the North Brunswick Police Department said police are investigating a fatal hit and run which took place on Route 130 in the Township early this morning.
The deceased pedestrian has been identified as Alysa Kristjanson, 22, of Princeton.
Detective Paul Pappas Jr. of the North Brunswick Police Department and Detective David Abromaitis of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that at approximately 12:58 am, the victim was struck on Route 130 in the area of Dunkin Donuts, the vehicle fled the scene.
The investigation is active and is continuing.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Paul Pappas Jr. of the North Brunswick Police Department at (732) 247-0922, or Detective David Abromaitis of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4436.