FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A Monmouth County grand jury has returned a 20-count indictment against a former Middlesex County Sheriff’s Officer charged with videotaping violent sexual assaults of multiple unconscious women over the span of three years, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey announced Monday.
Joshua Padilla, 36, was indicted Friday and is now charged with eight counts of first-degree Aggravated Sexual Assault, seven counts of third-degree Invasion of Privacy, four counts of third-degree Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact, and one count of second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
In February 2019, members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Bureau arrested Padilla, a resident of Berkeley Place in Eatontown, in relation to an investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.
As a result of the investigation, Padilla was found to be in possession of numerous videos of himself performing sexual acts upon women who were clearly unconscious and unresponsive. Additionally, the defendant was found to be in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Many of these crimes took place at the defendant’s home in Eatontown, with others occurring in Middlesex County.
The sexual assault charges outlined today relate to three different adult victims and crimes taking place from 2016 into 2018, but investigators continue to seek additional information about Padilla’s activities. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Brian Hammarstrom of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-431-7160, Ext. 6413. “These were truly unspeakable crimes against utterly helpless victims,” Acting Prosecutor Linskey said. “We are encouraged by the progress made so far in shepherding this case through the criminal justice system, but troubled by the prospects
of other victims being out there who have yet to come forward – and who may not even have known they were victimized. We urge anyone with any information about the activities of this defendant to step forward and tell us what they know.”
Anyone who wishes to make an anonymous report about this case can call the Monmouth County Crime Stoppers’ confidential tip line at 1-800-671-4400. Tipsters can also text “MONMOUTH” and their tip to 274637, or they can email a tip via the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com.
The investigation into Padilla has thus far resulted in criminal charges in three different jurisdictions; in July 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania announced that it was indicting him for producing, distributing, and being in possession of child sexual abuse materials after he allegedly recorded himself engaging in unlawful sexual contact with a 17-year-old girl in Pennsylvania and later uploaded the video online. In March 2021, Padilla pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual contact with a minor in relation to the aforementioned investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, admitting to attempting to meet with an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old girl and digitally sharing with her sexually graphic images of himself.
If convicted on the charges filed in Monmouth County Superior Court, Padilla would face up to 20 years in state prison on each count of Aggravated Sexual Assault, up to five years on each count of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact, up to five years for each count of Invasion of Privacy, and up to 10 years for Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Additionally, he would be subject to Parole Supervision for Life and would be required to register under Megan’s Law.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendants have all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
The defendant remains incarcerated in federal prison in Pennsylvania, and is no longer employed by the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office.
This case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Zanzuccki.
Photos and Story by: Marcy Sanchez, LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
LANDSTUHL, Germany – Growing up in a small town, MaryCatherine Innace’s sports experience was limited to what her high school had to offer. Still, she enjoyed being active and was eager to try new activities when the opportunity arose, including weightlifting, powerlifting, and track and field throughout high school.
While in college, a random social media message allowed Innace to tackle a new sport she still adores.
“I went from a really small high school to a huge university so I had absolutely no idea what rugby was,” said the Eatontown, New Jersey native. “I showed up to a practice and immediately just felt at home. (The team) was really accepting, kept me involved and four years later, I was looking for my next team.”
Following graduation, the Rutgers University alumna searched for new ventures and enlisted in the Army. Now a nutrition care specialist with the rank of sergeant assigned to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, Innace is making new headlines with the sport she so adored in college.
“By my second weekend (in Germany), I was playing with (a local rugby team) in a tournament and eventually coached the team,” recalls Innace. “Now I get to play at a new level.”
In June, Innace was selected as a team member for the All-Army Women’s Rugby Team. The team was tested against teams from the Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force (with Space Force personnel) and Coast Guard during the second-ever Armed Forces Women’s Rugby Championship, and went undefeated, winning top honors at the championship.
Although Innace’s contributions on the field are obvious, her goals go beyond the goal line with hopes to directly impact Soldiers across the Army.
“Fitness has pretty much always been in my life. I’ve played sports since I was little,” said Innace. “Learning what I could do with my body, in terms of strength training, just made me realize the term ‘athlete’ means so much more than just somebody who plays for the NBA, the WNBA, professional football, etc. It can be anyone who’s training for something.”
Armed with her bachelor’s degree in exercise science and her lifelong experience in fitness, Innace has her eyes set on earning a master’s degree in public health through the Army’s Green to Gold Scholarship. Following school, she will commission as an Army officer and hopes to help Soldiers reach their full potential through the Army’s Holistic Health and Fitness System, a program which aims to empower and equip Soldiers to take charge of their health, fitness, and well-being in order to optimize individual performance, while preventing injury and disease.
“I want to work with Soldier-athletes. I want to help design programs to help Soldiers think of themselves as athletes, regardless if they participate in sports or not,” explains Innace. “(Service Members) are in the military, (they) are athletes. (I want to teach them) how to live as one.”
Additionally, Innace believes an athlete’s mindset is just as critical to their performance, a notion tested last year when COVID-19 shut down most sporting events and training activities across the world.
“I’ve been able to keep myself busy, keep myself active, keep working out, being in the military has helped out with that. You are constantly training,” said Innace. “I always want to have a goal and be in that mindset, it’s helped me a lot. That’s what mission readiness is about, regardless if you know you have a mission coming up or not. (Soldiers) are always preparing for what could happen. If you take that mindset to a team sport atmosphere, you’re combining training with other people and you’re having fun doing it.”
WILMINGTON, NC — Army goes undefeated to win their second consecutive title at the 2021 Armed Forces Women’s Rugby Championship held in conjunction with the Cape Fear 7’s Rugby Tournament in Wilmington, N.C. from June 25-27, 2021. U.S. Army Sgt. MaryCatherine Innace of Eatontown, New Jersey is part of the team.
Army 2nd lt. Samantha Sullivan of Fort Carson, Colo. led the championship with 24 total points, scoring two trys and a conversion against Air Force, and Army’s only try against Marine Corps to solidify the gold.
In the opening night, Army defeated Air Force 17-5 despite a torrential downpour right at kickoff.
“It felt a little like déjà vu on Friday night”, said Army coach Capt. Kaitlyn Kelly of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. referencing their 19-5 win over Air Force in the rain in 2019.
“Air Force always brings top caliber athletes. We came together as a squad and played our system and game.”
On opening night, Marine Corps dominated Coast Guard and Navy winning 25-0 and 38-0 respectively. In the opening minutes against Army, a key injury slowed down the Marines, with Army taking advantage to win 5-0.
Army defeated Coast Guard and Navy to seal the deal and take the gold.
Despite their opening loss to Army, Air Force women beat Navy 26-0 and followed up with a hard fought win over Marine Corps 14-5 and Coast Guard (26-7) to capture the silver medal.
Marine Corps finished the tournament 2-2 for third place. Coast Guard went 1-3 for fourth, followed by Navy placing fifth (0-4).
At the end of the Championship, seven of the best players were selected to the All-Armed Forces Tournament Team. They are:
Capt Gianna Khoudary, Creech AFB, NV – USAF LCpl Ubaida Ahmed, MCAS Cherry Point, NC – USMC Maj Stephanie Iacobucci, MCB Camp Pendleton, CA – USMC PO2 Michal Williams, NIOC Texas – Navy 2LT Samantha Sullivan, Fort Carson, CO – Army CPT Lauran Glover, Army Reserves – Army CPT Danielle Deshaies – Fort Stewart, GA – Army
Armed Forces Women’s Rugby is the newest Armed Forces Championship beginning in 2019 and is the only sport to feature a women’s team from the Coast Guard. Coast Guard typically combines with the Navy, with the exception of rugby.
Riders of the 2021 Police Unity Tour Chapter 10 biked hundreds of miles over a period of three days, despite not being able to ride into Washington, DC.
Organized in May 1997, The primary purpose of the Police Unity Tour “We Ride For Those Who Died” is to raise awareness of Law Enforcement Officers who have died in the line of duty. They also raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC.
This years ride began on May 9. Bikers began their first day by riding from Eatontown, NJ to Atlantic City, NJ, totaling 97 miles. During this ride, they made stops at the Ocean County Police Academy for a memorial ceremony, and did a ride-by at the Trooper Castellano Memorial on Route 195 in Howell, before ending their first day in Atlantic City.
The next day, riders began in Atlantic City, and ended their day in Lewes, DE, including the ferry from Cape May, NJ to Lewes. On this day, bikers rode a total of 72 miles.
On day three, the last day of the tour, riders continued from Lewes, DE to Annapolis, MD, totaling 90 miles.
All together, bikers rode nearly 260 miles to honor law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.
The Police Unity Tour usually consists of four days, however this year the fourth day was stolen from them by officials of Washington, DC. Unfortunately, officials would not grant the organization permits for the ride, nor ceremony at the memorial, claiming covid concerns and that it could “incite unrest.”
Despite politics stealing their ride through DC, riders did a great job this year to raise support for the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice when they left their families to protect ours.
Mercer County agencies that participated in the ride are Princeton Township Police, East Windsor Township Police, Robbinsville Township Police, Trenton Police, Ewing Township Police, and New Jersey State Police.
FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Separate investigations have netted fifteen Monmouth County individuals for possessing and or trafficking child sexual abuse materials, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Between July 21, 2020 and October 15, 2020, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Computer Crimes Unit and Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force arrested individuals. Assisting in this Operation were members of the New Jersey State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit (DTIU), the New Jersey ICAC Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Monmouth County Sherriff’s Office, The Monmouth County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which includes members from the following police departments: Eatontown, Howell Township, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlboro, Neptune Twp., Spring Lake, Tinton Falls, and Holmdel; and support from the following Monmouth County Police Departments: Asbury Park, Aberdeen, Middletown, Highlands, Freehold Township and Freehold Borough.
These arrests were designed to reduce online threats to Monmouth County to decrease the market for child sexual exploitation by focusing on those individuals seeking out and trafficking in child pornographic-materials.
The following individuals were arrested:
Antonio Mejia, 38, of 806 5th Avenue, Asbury Park. Mejia was arrested on July 21, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he transmitted numerous images of child sexual abuse materials and engaged in sexual conversations with 3 males under the age of 16. Mejia was charged with one count second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual abuse materials, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i), one count of Attempted Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Manufacturing an Image of Child Exploitation Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(3), one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)iii, three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, N.J.S.A 2C:24-4a(1) and three counts of Attempted Obscenity to Minors, 2C:34-3. On July 30, 2020, defendant appeared for a detention hearing before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. was released on the condition that he have no contact with the victims, no access to social media and no contact with anyone under 18. Mejia is represented by Joy Anderson, Esq. of Eatontown.
Brody Sullivan, 20, of 2 Ithaca Court, Aberdeen was arrested on July 22, 2020 following an investigation that revealed that he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Sullivan was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexaul Abuse Material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)ii and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Sullivan is represented by Anthony Palumbo, Esq. of Cranford.
Anthony Lichtenau, 36, of 72 Brentwood Road, Eatontown was arrested on July 24, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he was in possession of child sexual abuse materials. Lichtenau was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and no internet access. Lichtenau is represented by Mitchell Ansell, Esq. of Ocean Township.
Matthew Fahmie, 33, of 30 Northover Place, Middletown, was arrested on September 10, 2020 following an investigation which revealed that he possessed over 1,000 images of child sexual exploitation material. Fahmie was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii) and was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and restricted internet access. Fahmie is represented by Richard Incremona, Esq. of Freehold Township.
Valentin Valdetano, 20, of 359 North Bath Avenue, Long Branch, was arrested on July 31, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed and traded images of child sexual abuse materials using a chat platform. Valdetano was charged with second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i) and third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Valdetano was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that he not use the internet. Valdetano is represented by Charles Moriarty, Esq. of Long Branch.
Zachary Barnett, 24, 984 Twilight Way, Aberdeen, was arrested on August 7, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Barnett was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Barnett was released on a summons. Barnett is represented by Allison Friedman, Esq. of Freehold.
Brian Wioncek, 62 of 317 Shore Drive, Apartment C, Highlands, was arrested on September 9, 2020 following an investigation that he possessed child sexual abuse materials. Wioncek was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Wioncek was released on the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18 and that his internet usage is restricted.
John Hynes, 21, of 90 Bannard Street, Freehold, was arrested on August 21, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Hynes was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of disorderly persons possession of a controlled dangerous substance contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4). Hynes was released on a summons. Hynes is represented by Charles Clark, Esq. of Freehold.
Michael Townend, 19, 203 Colts Neck Road, Howell, was arrested on August 25, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Townend was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Townend was released on a summons. Townend is represented by Steven Nelson, Esq. of Neptune.
Robert Sherman, 62, of 112 Route 36, Highlands, was arrested on September 1, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. Sherman was charged with one count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4B(5)(b(iii). Sherman was released on a summons. Sherman is represented by Michael Polloway, Esq. of Red Bank.
Michael Pipitone, 38, of 157 Rutledge Drive, Middletown, was arrested on September 2, 2020 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared over 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Pipitone was charged with one count of first degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Pipitone was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by John Hogan, Esq. of Woodbridge.
George Ichkitidze, 39, of 27-08 Whistler Drive, Freehold Township, was arrested on September 25, 2020 following a proactive investigation which revealed he shared over 1,000 images and/or videos of child sexual abuse material. Ichkitidze was charged with one count of first degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(iii) and second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii). Ichkitidze was released on the condition of home detention, no internet usage and no contact with anyone under 18. Pipitone is represented by Kevin Clark, Esq. of Ocean Township.
Juvenile, of Freehold Borough, was arrested on September 11, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he possessed images of child sexual abuse materials. The juvenile was charged with one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Materials), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(ii).
Thomas Vilanova, 49, of 133 Newbury Road, Howell, was charged on October 13, 2020 following an investigation that revealed that he possessed images of child sexual abuse material. Vilanova was charged with one Count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is currently on probation for a 2017 conviction for third Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii). Vilanova is scheduled to appear in court before the Honorable Paul X. Escandon, J.S.C. for a detention hearing on October 22, 2020. Vilanova is represented by Michael Wenning, Esq. of Bradley Beach.
Jamie Khan, 43 of 19 Oxford Drive, East Windsor, was charged on October 15, 2020 following an investigation that revealed he was viewing and sending child sexual abuse material while working for his employer in Freehold Township. The investigation further revealed that he was also in possession of child sexual abuse material at his home in East Windsor. Khan was charged with one Count of third degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b)(iii) and one count of second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material), contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(a)(i). Khan was released on the condition of no internet usage and no unsupervised contact with anyone under 18.
If convicted of the first degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in New Jersey State Prison, Megan’s Law, and Parole Supervision for Life. If convicted of the second degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of ten years in New Jersey State Prison Megan’s Law and Parole Supervision for Life. If convicted of the third degree Endangering charge, a defendant will face a maximum sentence of five years in New Jersey State Prison and Parole Supervision for Life. A conviction for disorderly persons Possession of Less than 50 Grams of Marijuana exposes a defendant to a maximum sentence of six months incarceration.
Ichkitidze’s case is assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Diane Aifer, Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit; the remaining cases are assigned to Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Dugan, Computer Crimes Unit.
Anyone who feels the need to remain anonymous but has information about a crime can submit a tip to Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling their confidential telephone tip-line at 1-800-671-4400; by downloading and using the free P3 Tips mobile app (available on iOS and Android – https://www.p3tips.com/1182), by calling 800-671-4400 or by going to the website at www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.
EWING TOWNSHIP-WEST TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)– The New Jersey State Police have arrested Mario Mondragon, 21, of Long Branch, N.J., and Genaro Guzman, 21, of Shrewsbury Township, N.J., for committing 2 armed robberies and approximately 100 vehicle burglaries spanning 5 Monmouth County municipalities between April and June.
During a five-month investigation, State Police detectives with the Troop “C” Criminal Investigation Office (CIO) along with members of the Eatontown Borough Police Department, Tinton Falls Police Department, Ocean Township Police Department, and Long Branch Police Department, identified Mondragon and Guzman as the suspects in armed robberies in Shrewsbury Township and Eatontown Borough.
On Saturday, May 16, Mondragon and Guzman were burglarizing a vehicle at a Shrewsbury Township residence when they were confronted by the homeowners. During the confrontation, the suspects allegedly brandished a handgun and taser before fleeing. On Saturday, June 6, in Eatontown Borough, the duo sprayed a deliveryman with oleoresin capsicum (pepper) spray and physically assaulted him during a robbery.
Through various investigative means and by using evidence recovered by the Troop “C” CIO and State Police Crime Scene Unit, investigators were able to link Mondragon and Guzman to an additional 100 vehicle burglaries in Monmouth County. On Thursday, October 8, detectives from the Troop “C” CIO, State Police Fugitive Unit, K9 Unit, along with members of the U.S. Marshals Service NY/NJ Task Force located and arrested Mondragon in Long Branch, N.J., and Guzman in Shrewsbury Township, N.J.
Mondragon and Guzman were charged with armed robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon – handgun without permit, unlawful possession of a weapon – other weapon, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose – firearm, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose – other weapon, aggravated assault by pointing a firearm, burglary, and theft. They were lodged at the Monmouth County Correctional Institute pending a bail detention hearing.
Mondragon and Guzman were charged separately by our partnering agencies.
This case is being prosecuted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Charges are mere accusations, and the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–As you may be aware, this year’s November General Election in New Jersey is being conducted primarily by mail-in ballots, per State mandate. On November 3, 2020, Election Day, limited polling locations will be open for voting on paper provisional ballots only, except for disabled voters.
Voters across Monmouth County are receiving their mail-in ballots this week and are encouraged to contact the County Clerk’s Election Office at 732-431-7790, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with any questions about the delivery of their ballots.
Due to this unprecedented change in our election process, Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon has provided a comprehensive webpage on MonmouthCountyVotes.com, explaining this year’s election process.
In addition, our office has provided video tutorials, including an animated step-by-step video informing Monmouth County voters of how to properly complete and return their mail-in ballots. The tutorial also explains how the paper ballots are reviewed and verified by the Monmouth County Board of Elections.
The video can be viewed on our Facebook and YouTube pages. We encourage you to share this important information with your friends and neighbors.
Election Hotline Established to Secure Election Integrity
To help ensure free and fair elections in Monmouth County, the County Election Offices and Prosecutor’s Office have established an election hotline. To report any issues of voter fraud or misconduct in Monmouth County, residents can call the County Prosecutor’s Office hotline at 855-786-5878.
“Our democratic system of government depends on free and fair elections and, as such, election integrity and security is important to all of us,” said County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni and County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon. “For these reasons, our offices are working together to further safeguard the electoral process.”
Upcoming Dates and Voter Deadlines
Monday, October 12th: All County Offices closed in observance of Columbus Day
Tuesday, November 3rd at 8 p.m.: Close of the polls; Deadline to deliver mail-in ballot by U.S. Postal Service mail, Drop Box, or in-person to the County Board of Elections at 300 Halls Mill Road in Freehold or at assigned Polling Place.
ALLENTOWN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An Allentown resident told MidJersey.News that around 11 pm last night a delivery crew installed a Vote-By-Mail Drop Box in front of Allentown at Borough Hall on Main Street. There are currently 17 Vote-By-Mail Drop Box locations for Monmouth County, this is the furthest west serving Western Monmouth County.
Pursuant to State law, the November 3, 2020 General Election will be conducted primarily by Mail-In Ballot in New Jersey.
If you wish to place your Mail-In Ballot in a secure drop box, below are the locations throughout the County which will be available starting the week of September 15. Addresses in the list below are clickable and will bring up Google Maps.
Voters can drop their voted Mail-In Ballot into these Board of Elections Drop Boxes anywhere in the County up until 8 p.m. on November 3, 2020. You do not have to be a resident of the town where the drop box is located. Be advised that these drop boxes are under video surveillance and are monitored by the Monmouth County Board of Elections, which can be reached at 732-431-7802.
For more information about the General Election process, click here.
Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Imposes Record-High $4 Million Penalties on Wholesalers Allied Beverage Group & Fedway Associates Following Two-Year Investigation into Their Misuse of Rebate Programs.
September 1, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) today announced that New Jersey’s two largest wine and spirits wholesalers will pay $4 million each to resolve findings that they engaged in discriminatory trade practices that unfairly favored their largest retail customers. In addition, twenty retailers statewide will pay a total of $2.3 million for their part in the unlawful scheme.
In separate Consent Orders with ABC, wholesalers Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates agreed to pay record-high monetary penalties and change their business practices to resolve trade violations uncovered during a sweeping two-year investigation by ABC’s Enforcement and Investigations Bureaus.
The investigation found that the wholesalers – which together account for approximately 70% of all wine and 80% of all spirits sold at wholesale in the State – unfairly favored 20 of the State’s largest wine and spirits retailers and put smaller retailers at a competitive disadvantage by manipulating the retailer incentive program (RIP), granting credit extensions and interest-free loans, and engaging in other discriminatory practices.
“Simply put, Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates rigged the market in favor of a handpicked group of powerful retailers, leaving smaller businesses struggling to compete. The unprecedented monetary penalties imposed reflect the egregiousness of this conduct and the widespread negative impact it had on New Jersey consumers and retailers,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “This settlement sends a clear message that we will not tolerate this manipulative and anticompetitive behavior.”
The RIPs provide cash rebates payed to retailers by wholesalers for purchasing certain quantities of alcoholic beverages. ABC regulations control the program by making RIPs available to all retailers on a non-discriminatory basis, by keeping the RIP payments to retailers relatively small, and by not allowing wholesalers to substitute RIPs for interest-free loans.
The investigation found that Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates were giving chosen retailers a financial advantage by issuing rebates more often and in greater amounts than allowed. They also failed to wait the required 30 days before issuing rebates, thus allowing those retailers to use that money to pay for the orders for which the rebates were issued, which is against ABC regulations. Retailers who do not pay for orders within 30 days are put on an industry-wide cash-only delivery status, so the early rebates ensured that the larger retailers would have a ready cash flow to pay for their orders on time, giving them an unfair edge over smaller retailers who had to use their own money to pay for their wine and spirits orders within the required 30-day window. The investigation also found that Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates falsified records related to RIPs and/or used undocumented gift cards to make cash payments to chosen retailers that were not accounted for.
“Retail incentives are a legitimate marketing tool as long they are above board and available equally to all retailers. Discriminatory practices like these foster instability in the market by harming smaller retailers,” said James Graziano, Acting Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. “If left unchecked, the ability of small retailers to remain in business may have been jeopardized and consumers would have less access to retail stores and the specialized product selections that they offer. We will continue to monitor industry practices to ensure an equal playing field in New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage retail industry and hold violators accountable for noncompliance.”
The monetary payments from Allied and Fedway are the largest in ABC’s history, and in addition, both entities each agreed to adopt a corrective action plan; employ a compliance monitor for two years; make upgrades to their computer systems; and facilitate the retirement, resignation and/or termination of certain employees.
The following retailers were charged with ABC violations that included accepting the delivery of alcoholic beverages from Allied and/or Fenway upon terms that violated ABC regulations; accepting a loan from a wholesaler to pay a wholesaler and/or avoid being placed on cash-on-delivery status; receiving a RIP before paying the invoice, receiving a RIP in excess of allowed maximum on a product. Each retailer entered a Consent Order with ABC to resolve the charges, with the following settlement terms:
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.
March 31, 2020 Israel Tolentino, Passaic Fire Department/St. Claire’s EMS**Also listed under EMS has 2 jobs.
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
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
March 31, 2020 Israel Tolentino, Passaic Fire Department/St. Claire’s EMS** Also listed under fire department works 2 jobs.
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
March 31, 2020 Doctor Frank Gabrin, East Orange General Hospital, and NYC.
March 31, 2020 Kim King-Smith, EKG Technician, Newark University Hospital.
March 30, 2020 Captain, Douglas Linn Hickok, NJ Army National Guard, Physician’s Assistant
FREEHOLD, NJ – On behalf of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone and Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley held a press conference today to provide updates on the COVID-19 situation and additional support that the County will supply the business community.
“Since the start of the Take Out in Monmouth initiative last week, we have complied well over 750 businesses, which can be found at www.takeoutinmonmouth.com,” said Freeholder Director Arnone, liaison to the Divisions of Economic Development and Tourism. “Today, we are now adding breweries and wineries to this online list to further boost the local economy. These business owners are our friends, neighbors and community leaders and we owe our support to these individuals and their employees during this difficult time.”
Visit the Screaming Hill Brewery page for barnside pickup. Orders placed the day before will be ready the next day for pickup. Try the “Blood Orange” a midjersey.news favorite.
Heavenly Havens Has Ice Cream Takeout Window:
LaPiazza Delivers now, you might be lucky enough to have DJ Nebbs deliver for you:
Together, Monmouth County municipalities, local chambers as well as the County Divisions of Economic Development and Tourism continue to research and identify all food grocers, breweries, wineries and restaurants open. While the County works to maintain an updated list, email TakeOutInMonmouth@visitmonmouth.com to be listed or request a change in listing.
“As a result of mounting cases and more and more residents becoming increasingly frightened to leave their own home, the Monmouth County Aging Disability Resource Center has prepared the COVID-19 Resource Guide to assist seniors and residents with disabilities who may be struggling to acquire basic needs during this health pandemic,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Kiley, liaison to the Department of Human Services. “The County has been extensively collaborating with local officials and the guide will be frequently updated to reflect the most current services and resources offered by municipality.”
In addition to Monmouth County ADRC (Aging Disability Resource Center), Monmouth ACTS (Assisting Communities Through Services) has been directing residents to Monmouth Resource Net, an online directory of community and health resources and services, information about residential mortgage relief as well as mental health support.
The Freeholders also discussed the Executive Order signed on Thursday, April 7 by the Governor, closing all Monmouth County parks indefinitely.
“I would like to publicly state that I do not support the indefinite closure of all county parks in New Jersey. I also find it unacceptable that we have no input as to when they will reopen. There are a number of options that could have been considered as an alternative to completely closing county parks, including limiting hours, days, et cetera,” said Freeholder Director Arnone. “The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders has felt, throughout this entire pandemic, that our County parks are essential for our residents’ mental health and a great choice for passive recreation.I promise that we will open our parks immediately as soon as the Executive Order is lifted.”
All public is restricted from parks and golf courses. Park and golf course entrances and parking lots are gated or barricaded and visitors who gain park access by foot or bike will be directed to leave, as the parks will still be patrolled. Marina services are suspended but owners will have access to their boats.
Monmouth County news updates and information regarding the COVID-19 situation are posted at www.visitmonmouth.com.
FREEHOLD – Three men are facing charges related to the shooting of a 20-year-old Eatontown man last month, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
John Carozza, 18, of the 400 block of South Laurel Avenue in Middletown; Rashahn Tucker, 19, of the 100 block of Seabreeze Avenue in Middletown; and Leo Morabito, of the first block of North Shore Street in Keansburg, are each charged with two counts of first degree attempted murder, one count of second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. All three men are being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution pending a future court date.
Eatontown Police were dispatched to 174 Main Street on Friday, March 13, 2020 at 4:54 p.m., in response to a 911 call for a man shot. Upon arrival police found a 20-year-old Eatontown man with gunshot wounds. He was transported to an area hospital where he was treated for a serious injury.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to call Detective Stephen Cavendish of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443, or Detective Brett Paulus of the Eatontown Police Department at 732-542-0100
If convicted of Attempted Murder, each of the men faces a minimum sentence of 20 years in a New Jersey state prison, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring them to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. Each would also be under parole supervision for five years following release from state prison.
If convicted of the second degree crimes, they each face a sentence of five to ten years in prison. Each of these crimes is subject to the Graves Act, which requires a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of one half of the custodial sentence imposed, or 42 months, whichever is greater.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Decker, Director of the Office’s Major Crimes Bureau.
Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.