JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ (OCEAN)–At approximately 12:49 am on Saturday October 10, 2020, officers responded to a residence located on Begonia Court in Sixty Acres on the report of a disturbance. While on scene investigating the incident, officers were informed that a male who had also been involved in the disturbance was at Hackensack Meridian Health Ocean Medical Center in Brick seeking treatment for a stab wound to his arm.
Police Officer Kevin Scheuerman and Det. Robert Reiff responded to the hospital to interview the victim who advised that during the course of the disturbance, a male suspect retrieved a knife in the residence and stabbed the victim in the arm. The suspect had fled the residence after the incident and was unable to be located during the investigation. Det. Reiff prepared complaint warrants charging the suspect with aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and he is currently entered as a New Jersey wanted person. The suspect was identified as: Timothy Brown (pictured) , age 53 of Begonia Court, Jackson. He also had a previous address on Justin Way in Manalapan.
Anyone who has information of Mr. Brown’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Det. Reiff at the Jackson Police Department at 732-928-1111 or through the department’s Stop It app.- The media and the public are reminded that any persons arrested or charged with any offenses or crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.
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.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Edward Chandler, 54, of Manalapan, was charged with Aggravated Assault in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b(1) relative to an incident which occurred outside the Lakeside Diner in Lacey Township during the evening hours of September 30, 2020.
On September 30, 2020, at approximately 7:30 p.m., Lacey Township Police received a 911 call in reference to a male who was reported to be unresponsive at the Lakeside Diner on Lacey Road. Responding Officers found Robert Clarke, 78, of Whiting, unconscious and bleeding from an apparent head wound. Clarke was airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center. Clarke succumbed at approximately 1:30 a.m. and was pronounced deceased at the hospital.
An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Lacey Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit revealed that an argument had taken place inside the diner between members of a motorcycle club. The owner of the diner asked everyone involved in the altercation to leave the premises. A second argument involving the same parties arose in the parking lot of the diner. During this argument, Chandler struck Mr. Clarke with a closed fist, causing the victim to fall to the ground resulting in severe head trauma. Chandler was taken into custody and transported to the Ocean County Jail where he is currently lodged pending a detention hearing.
“This is an active and ongoing investigation. We are continuing to interview potential witnesses, and are awaiting the results of Mr. Clarke’s post-mortem examination by the Ocean County Medical Examiner. I fully expect that additional charges will be forthcoming,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Lacey Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their collaborative assistance in connection with this investigation.
The press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced actions against a dozen merchants for consumer protection violations related to COVID-19, with penalties totaling tens of thousands of dollars. Among those subject to enforcement actions are two North Jersey businesses that allegedly made false or unsubstantiated claims in the sale of COVID-19 antibody tests and a Monmouth County business that was selling face masks at as much as six times the manufacturer’s retail prices.
These actions are the latest of many taken by the Division to address the unprecedented number of consumer complaints and referrals received during the current public health emergency.
To date, the Division has sent 1,884 cease and desist letters to retailers suspected of price gouging and other unconscionable business practices during the coronavirus pandemic, and issued 110 subpoenas seeking additional information in its investigations of alleged violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we made clear that we would take a tough stand on price gouging and other abuses of New Jersey consumers,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Enlisting the help of residents to report unconscionable practices works. Most businesses are following the law. For those that are not, these actions are a reminder that the penalties for violations are significant.”
The Notices of Violation (NOVs) filed in this latest round of enforcement actions carry individual penalties ranging from $500 to $12,500, depending on the severity and number of violations.
The single largest civil penalty was assessed against Performance Supply LLC, for allegedly making false and misleading statements in advertising N95 mask respirators for sale to personnel from the New York City Office of Citywide Procurement. The Division alleges that the company’s quote misleadingly suggested the company is an authorized dealer or distributor for 3M Company and offered to sell seven million face masks that retailed between $1.02 and $1.31 for $6.05 and $6.35 each.
Two businesses were cited for making false or unsubstantiated claims in the sale of COVID-19 antibody tests. Hudson Drug of Cresskill was assessed $3,000 in civil penalties for advertising that the COVID-19 antibody tests it sold were suitable for at-home use, contrary to the manufacturer’s instructions. Retro Fitness of Rockaway was assessed a $2,000 civil penalty for allegedly making unsubstantiated claims related to antibody testing made available to club members via a health and wellness center affiliated with the club.
“The Division is working tirelessly during this pandemic to protect consumers from threats to their health in the form of unsubstantiated claims and predatory pricing on personal protective equipment,” said Acting Director Paul R. Rodríguez. “We are committed to reviewing and investigating every complaint to ensure that merchants operate responsibly and refrain from unscrupulous behaviors, including violating our price gouging laws, at a time when many New Jerseyans are facing significant financial hardship.”
New Jersey’s price-gouging law, which took effect on March 9 upon Governor Murphy’s declaration of a state of emergency, prohibits excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency and for 30 days after its termination. A price increase is considered excessive if the new price is more than 10 percent higher than the price charged during the normal course of business prior to the state of emergency, and the increased price is not attributable to additional costs imposed by the seller’s supplier or additional costs of providing the product or service during the state of emergency.
Price-gouging and other consumer fraud violations are punishable by civil penalties of up to $10,000 for the first violation and $20,000 for the second and subsequent violations. Violators may also be required to pay consumer restitution, attorney’s fees, and investigative fees, and will be subject to injunctive relief.
The following merchants received NOVs and were assessed civil penalties for alleged price gouging on essential items such as bottled water, rice, face masks and disinfectant spray:
The following merchants received NOVs and were each assessed $500 in civil penalties for their alleged failure to post selling prices for merchandise such as bottled water, toilet paper and sanitizers, a violation of the Merchandise Pricing Statute:
Consumers who suspect consumer fraud violations, or believe that businesses have unfairly increased their prices in response to COVID-19, are encouraged to file complaints online to report specific details related to the increased prices. Photographs of items being sold, their price, and receipts can now be uploaded to our new price gouging complaint form.
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The mission of the Division of Consumer Affairs, within the Department of Law and Public Safety, is to protect the public from fraud, deceit, misrepresentation and professional misconduct in the sale of goods and services in New Jersey through education, advocacy, regulation and enforcement. The Division pursues its mission through its 51 professional and occupational boards that oversee 720,000 licensees in the state, its Regulated Business section that oversees 60,000 NJ registered businesses, as well as through its Office of Consumer Protection, Bureau of Securities, Charities Registration section, Office of Weights and Measures, and Legalized Games of Chance section.
Many gyms reopened this morning, check with your local gym prior to working out.
September 1, 2020
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy has allowed gyms to reopen today with a 25% capacity, you also have to wear a mask and follow other rules while working out.
In Robbinsville the crowds were light during lunch hour for the reopening of the gyms visit Jersey Stong’s web page for modified hours, cleaning schedules and other club information. It is highly recommended to download the Jersey Strong App to see what the club capacity is prior to visiting the gym. The application gives you an exact number of how many are working out in the club at one time.
The crowd was also light at Planet Fitness in Hamilton during lunch hour. Planet Fitness also has modified hours and is using a Crowd Meter available on the Planet Fitness App to give you a heads up how busy the gym is prior to arrival. There were not many cars in the parking lot at Planet Fitness during lunch hour and nothing was registering on the Crowd Meter.
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:
FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An Ocean County man pleaded guilty yesterday for his role in the shooting death of a Manalapan man in October 2019, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Gerard A. Grimes Jr., 24, of Jackson, pleaded guilty to first degree Aggravated Manslaughter and second degree Unlawful Possession of a Firearm before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Marc C. LeMieux. Grimes admitted shooting five times at the three men who were chasing after him, one of the shots struck and killed 43-year-old Narcisco Rodriguez-Corona.
Grimes is expected to return for sentencing on Nov. 20, 2020. As part of his plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend a 12-year sentence in a New Jersey state prison on the Aggravated Manslaughter charge, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA), requiring him to serve 85 percent of his imposed sentence before becoming eligible for release on parole. Grimes would also be under parole supervision for five years following his prospective release from state prison. There will also be a recommendation for a seven-year state prison term to run concurrent with the other sentence included in his plea agreement.
The case involving Grimes co-defendants, Zoey S. Monte, 21, and Tyler J. Martucci, 23, both of Jackson, are still pending. The case stems from an Oct. 5, 2019, call reporting shots fired with a victim. Manalapan police officers responded to the 9:34 p.m. call reporting a fight at 25 Fawn Run in the township. Several minutes later, police received another call for a confirmed shooting victim. Manalapan police officers arrived on scene and discovered Rodriguez-Corona suffering from a gunshot wound. He was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was pronounced deceased.
After receiving initial information regarding the incident, police began to search the area. A few hours later, police attempted a motor vehicle stop of Grimes’ vehicle, but he failed to stop. Thereafter, Grimes fled the vehicle. Monte and Martucci were also onboard the vehicle and were arrested at that time. A short time later, Grimes was found in the backyard of a neighborhood residence.
A joint investigation by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and Manalapan Township Police Department revealed Grimes came to the Manalapan residence armed with a handgun. Grimes attempted to enter the residence while Monte and Martucci remained outside. Residents of the home were alerted to Grimes’ presence and attempted to stop him from entering, resulting in a brief confrontation outside the home. Shortly thereafter, a second encounter occurred nearby, where Grimes ultimately shot the victim. Grimes, Monte and Martucci all fled the area.
Monte was indicted on charges of one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.
Martucci was indicted on one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Lawrence Nelson and Merlin Thomas.
Grimes is represented by Glenn Kassman, Esq. of Tinton Falls.
Monte is represented by John Perrone, Esq., of Long Branch.
Martucci is represented by Albert Kapin, Esq., of West Orange.
Despite these charges included in the indictment against Monte and Martucci, 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.
MANALAPAN, NJ (MONMOUTH) and MOUNT OLIVE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MORRIS)–The New Jersey State Police have arrested Dante Desadario, 21, of Manalapan, N.J., and Joseph Serpe, 37, of Staten Island, N.Y., and seized 110 bags of heroin during a traffic stop yesterday.
At 12:11 a.m., troopers from Netcong Station stopped Desadario for a traffic violation on Interstate 80 in Mount Olive Township, Morris County. During the stop, troopers determined Desadario was under the influence and arrested him for DWI. After further investigation, troopers discovered Serpe was in possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia. He was arrested without incident.
Joseph Serpe was charged with possession of heroin, criminal under the influence, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Dante Desadario was charged with DWI. Both were released pending a court appearance.
Charges are mere accusations and the accused is considered innocent until proven guilty.
MANALAPAN, NJ (MONMOUTH) and Newark, NJ–A Monmouth County, New Jersey, woman today admitted her role in a scheme to defraud a financial institution of hundreds of thousands of dollars, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Blanca A. Medina, 54, of Manalapan, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark federal court to a one-count information charging her with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From 2015 to 2018, Medina conspired with others to fraudulently obtain mortgage loans from “Mortgage Lender A” in Monmouth County to finance the purchase of properties by unqualified buyers. Applicants for mortgage loans are required to list their assets and income on their mortgage loan applications, and mortgage lenders rely on those applications when deciding whether to issue mortgage loans.
Medina, a former loan officer for Mortgage Lender A, admitted to participating in a conspiracy in which she knowingly caused completed mortgage loan applications that contained multiple misrepresentations of material facts regarding the buyers’ assets and income to be submitted to Mortgage Lender A. A conspirator provided Medina with false and fraudulent documents for potential borrowers including false and fraudulent lease agreements, bank statements, and a gift check and gift letter. Based on these lies, Mortgage Lender A issued mortgage loans to unqualified buyers, which caused Mortgage Lender A hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses.
The conspiracy charge to which Medina pleaded guilty carries a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 20, 2020.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Douglas Korneski in Newark, and Special Agents of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Manchak, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Fayer of the Economic Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlie Divine of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General.
Defense counsel: Peter J. Koulikourdis Esq., Hackensack, New Jersey
MANALAPAN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Margaret Garnett, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”), announced the arrest of RONALD ROMANO for attempting to deceive and price gouge New York City (the “City”) into paying him and his co-conspirators approximately $45 million for personal protective equipment that ROMANO did not possess and was not authorized to sell. ROMANO committed this scheme in an attempt to exploit NYC as it was trying to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and obtain these resources to help protect the lives of hospital and other frontline workers. ROMANO is charged in a criminal Complaint, unsealed today, with one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of conspiring to violate the Defense Production Act. ROMANO will be presented this afternoon in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As alleged, used car salesman Ronald Romano saw the current health emergency as an opportunity to cash in, using lies and deception in what he envisioned as a get-rich-quick scheme. Romano allegedly lied repeatedly about his authority and ability to sell large quantities of personal protective equipment to the City – equipment he knew was desperately needed for use by frontline medical workers and first responders. And he allegedly offered to sell this phantom equipment to the City at grossly inflated prices. Now Ronald Romano’s short-lived second career as a purveyor of vital protective gear is over.”
DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett said: “At a time when the pandemic was ravaging New York City, this defendant greedily preyed on the City’s desperate need for protective equipment to stop the spread of the virus. But, instead of reaping millions of dollars, the scheme received a dose of old-fashioned, New York City skepticism from procurement specialists at the City’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), when the City called the supposed manufacturer to confirm the astronomical asking price. The defendant’s ruse unraveled, and these City workers proved that heroes have an array of titles. I thank the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York for its partnership on this important investigation, one that demonstrates there is no tolerance, at any time, in particular during this crisis, for individuals who seek to victimize this City by holding essential workers’ safety hostage to price-gouging and fraud.”
According to the allegations in the Complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court:
In approximately February 2020, ROMANO, a used car dealer, began attempting to obtain for resale large quantities of personal protective equipment (“PPE”), including N95 respirators. In furtherance of the scheme, ROMANO, among other things, created a fictitious authorization letter in March 2020, which falsely represented that ROMANO’s company was authorized to sell millions of units of 3M-brand PPE. Shortly thereafter, in mid-March 2020, brokers acting on ROMANO’s behalf approached New York City (the “City”), which at the time was in critical need of legitimate, potentially lifesaving PPE, including respirators, in order to supply frontline healthcare workers and first responders during the COVID-19 public health emergency. During ensuing negotiations, ROMANO and others repeatedly made false and fraudulent representations regarding, among other things, their authority and ability to supply 3M-brand PPE manufactured in the United States, and their track record in other PPE deals. In an effort to close a deal for seven million N95 respirators, ROMANO, among other things, submitted a false and misleading references document to the City, which, among other things, listed a PPE deal with the Florida Division of Emergency Management (the “FDEM”) that had never occurred and separately provided a co-conspirator as a reference. ROMANO hoped to get profit quickly through the scheme. As he described in a message to a co-conspirator, “I’m working on a few deals that if I get any of them you might be buying a Ferrari.”
In furtherance of this scheme, ROMANO attempted to sell PPE at prices far above the prices at which he hoped to acquire the PPE, including after such PPE was designated as scarce materials under the Defense Production Act on March 25, 2020. ROMANO offered three-ply N99 facemasks to FDEM at prices marked up by more than 500% from the manufacturer’s prices, and he separately offered the City millions of 3M-brand N95 respirators at more than a 400% markup from the list price for such respirators.
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ROMANO, 58, of Manalapan, New Jersey, is charged with one count of conspiring to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, and one count of conspiring to violate the Defense Production Act, which carries maximum sentence of not more than one year in prison. The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the Special Agents of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for their outstanding investigative work, and thanked the New York City Department of Investigation for their invaluable assistance with this matter. Mr. Berman also thanked the 3M Company for its assistance in the investigation.
Mr. Berman thanked the Department of Justice’s COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force. Attorney General William P. Barr created the COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force, led by Craig Carpenito, United States Attorney for District of New Jersey, who is coordinating efforts with the Antitrust Division and U.S. Attorneys across the country wherever illegal activity involving protective personal equipment occurs.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Nicholas W. Chiuchiolo and Timothy V. Capozzi are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER) – For the first time ever, the annual Congressional Art Competition held by Rep. Chris Smith as part of a national competition for his district’s high school students, will be a “virtual” online show to ensure the safety of students, parents, teachers and the interested public.
In response to the coronavirus national emergency, the artwork, which is normally displayed for a month at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton’s Lakefront Gallery, will be posted on Smith’s congressional website ensuring that the students who have worked for many months can still take part in the national competition.
“For these young student artists whose school year has been turned upside down by coronavirus, I am happy we found a way forward and I am grateful to the parents, judges and teachers for making needed adjustments,” Smith said.
“We received strong support for a virtual art competition rather than cancel the show outright due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Smith said. “Safety is paramount, and a virtual gallery enables us to proceed safely not only for the students and parents, but for the patients and workers at RWJ-Hamilton, which has in the past, graciously hosted the show,” he said.
“I am delighted that this year’s show wasn’t canceled, but continued as an online competition,” said Wall High School art teacher, Jill Alexander, who has been preparing her students to enter the show every year for the past six years. “Students in the 4th district are thankful for the great show that Congressman Chris Smith puts on each year, but especially this year because of the challenges everyone is facing.”
“We love going to Robert Wood Johnson’s impressive gallery, and unfortunately that just wasn’t possible this year. My students start working in September preparing their best artwork to submit, and this show is the highlight of the year for us.
“High school students across the country will miss the opportunity to participate in many events this year, including proms, sporting events and even graduation,” Alexander said. “We are really pleased the art competition survives.”
The 2020 show will be exhibited in a virtual art gallery, will use online judging, with winners to be announced in May. Smith’s three-member team of professional judges, whose works are also normally displayed at the show, will also have artwork posted in an online gallery.
This year, students who place in the competition—as best-of-show, and first, second and third runners-up and honorable mentions—will receive ribbons and all participants will be mailed Congressional Certificates, instead of being presented them in person.
The best-in-show winner will be displayed in the Capitol Building in Washington along the busy public corridor/tunnel between the Cannon House Office Building and the Capitol Building for one year with other winners from across the nation. All the artwork entered into Smith’s competition this year will be displayed in his online gallery for one year.
Every year the Congressional Institute sponsors this national high school art competition to recognize and foster artistic talent in each congressional district. Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. Participation in the contest is at the discretion of each Member office. Currently, the Institute plans to accept the top winning artwork from every congressional show in America by June 18 and hold a reception in Washington on July 22.
Performance Supply, LLC of Manalapan, NJ has no relation to “Performance Screen Supply” also of Manalapan, NJ
By: Dennis Symons, Jr.
MANALAPAN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On April 10, 2020 MidJersey.news brought you a story about a company who was allegedly price gouging New York City for N95 masks made by the 3M Company. Since that time Internet sleuths, haters, arm chair quarterbacks and social media trouble makers took out their hate on a business in the same town with a similar sounding name.
For all the haters you are accusing the wrong business, if you Google Performance Supply Manalapan you get a similar sounding company https://www.performancescreen.com/(note this is the good guy) Performance Screen Supply 600 Park Ave Suite 100 Manalapan, NJ 07726
As accurately reported by Midjersey.news here is the company involved in the lawsuit from the April 10, 2020 story:
“On information and belief, Defendant Performance Supply, LLC is a New Jersey limited liability company, with a principal place of business at Westbrook Way, Manalapan, New Jersey 07726.” —-Note MidJersey.news removed the house number from the location.
People are assuming that if you just “Google” a name and it comes out similar it has to be the same business or person. They are wrong and need to do their fact checking from a number of sources not just “Google”
After I posted the story to Facebook and defended the accuracy of the MidJersey.news story of the name of the business on the “Monmouth County News” Facebook Group I received this message from Bob the owner of Performance Screen Supply of Manalapan:
As a news person you want to have your facts before posting and I was accused of being inaccurate by posters on the “Monmouth County News” Facebook group.
One poster has since removed the posts where I defended the name of the business because it sounded different with different addresses. After a lengthy debate where that person was getting information and I wanted to know the references I was told to just “Google it” I told the person in one post that if you can’t back your sources you are peddling “fake news” and asked again for more facts. I was then told that the poster did not have time so “Google”
MidJersey.news is committed to factual, accurate reporting and does not pedal Fake News.
3M filed legal action Friday, April 10, in federal court in New York City against Performance Supply LLC, alleging illegal price gouging and deceptive trade practices in the sales of N95 respirators that are critical in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak. The New Jersey-based defendant, which falsely claimed a business affiliation with 3M, offered to sell $45 million in N95 respirators to New York City officials at prices 500-600% over 3M’s list price. The Complaint seeks injunctive relief to require Performance Supply LLC to cease its illegal activities, and also requests damages, with 3M promising that any damages recovered will be donated to COVID-19 related nonprofit organizations.
“3M does not – and will not – tolerate price gouging, fraud, deception, or other activities that unlawfully exploit the demand for critical 3M products during a pandemic,” said Denise Rutherford, 3M’s senior vice president, Corporate Affairs. “3M will not stop here. We continue to work with federal and state law enforcement authorities, and around the world, to investigate and track down those who are illegally taking advantage of this situation for their own gain.”
“This lawsuit is only one of the many legal tools 3M is using to protect the public,” Rutherford added. “3M is also making referrals to law enforcement authorities, taking down websites with fraudulent or counterfeit product offerings, removing false or deceptive social media pages, and sending cease and desist letters as a first step prior to taking further legal action.”
The lawsuit is part of an extensive series of actions 3M has taken to address price gouging and counterfeiting activity related to its respirators.
3M is working with national and international law enforcement, state Attorneys General, and the largest online retail and tech companies in the world to identify illegal activity and help punish criminals. The goal is to prevent fraud before it starts and stop it where it is happening.
3M has deployed a dedicated legal team, including volunteers from its network of outside counsel, and resources in every part of the country. In this case, 3M is represented by international law firm Mayer Brown, led by Washington D.C. partner Carmine R. Zarlenga and New York partners A. John P. Macini, Andrew J. Calica and Chicago partner Richard Bulger.
3M has not changed the prices it charges for respirators as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The company is working with online retailers and technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook to identify and remove counterfeiters and price gougers from their sites and refer them to law enforcement authorities.
Resources to fight fraud
3M has created a new hotline to call for information on how to help identify authentic 3M products and to ensure products are from 3M authorized distributors. That number, in the U.S. and Canada, is (800) 426-8688.
If customers have concerns about potentially fraudulent activity, price gouging, or counterfeit 3M products, they can report their concerns at 3M’s website.
Copied directly from the lawsuit provided:
Plaintiff 3M Company is a Delaware corporation, with a principal place of business and corporate headquarters located at 3M Center, St. Paul, Minnesota 55144.
On information and belief, Defendant Performance Supply, LLC is a New Jersey limited liability company, with a principal place of business at Westbrook Way, Manalapan, New Jersey 07726.
Note the exact address on Westbrook Way in Manalapan was removed for this posting but is in the lawsuit.
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.
Police Throughout New Jersey Are Filing Criminal Charges Against Violators of Orders to Stay at Home, Close Non-Essential Businesses, and Stop Gatherings
TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that law enforcement officers across New Jersey have ramped up enforcement efforts over the past week by filing criminal charges against violators of the Governor’s Executive Orders (or “emergency orders”), including hundreds of offenders in Newark, where the Newark Police Department deployed a large COVID-19 task force. “Last week, I said we were done with warnings and would take strong law enforcement action against anyone who failed to heed the Governor’s COVID-19 related emergency orders,” said Attorney General Grewal. “This crackdown will continue until everyone gets the message that they need to stop these violations, which are putting lives at risk, including the lives of the law enforcement officers who are striving courageously each day to protect us during this emergency. I especially want to commend Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose and Chief Darnell Henry, as well as the men and women of the Newark Police Department, for their extraordinary efforts to protect the residents of Newark and this state. Their work and the work of all our dedicated officers is saving lives.” “Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Because lives are at stake, enforcement action will be taken without hesitation against those who are blatantly placing the lives of others at risk.” During the past nine days, law enforcement agencies across New Jersey took the following actions to enforce the Governor’s COVID-19 related Executive Orders:
Newark Enforcement. The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 416 summonses for violation of the emergency orders and ordered 24 non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions by their between March 30 and April 1.
Joseph Figueroa, 18, Hailey Leavens, 19, Alejandra Aguirre-Lopez, 22, Itayezci Pena-Noyola, 22, and Isais Pena, 20, all residents of Atlantic City, except Leavens, who lives in Mays Landing, were arrested on April 2 on second-degree weapons charges and violations of the executive orders after a loaded .38-caliber revolver was found in their vehicle during an investigation and motor vehicle stop by the Atlantic City Police Department.
Craig O’Neill, 42, of Gloucester City, was charged on March 28 in Gloucester City with violating the emergency orders and trespassing at a business, both disorderly persons offenses.
Edward Montero, 33, of Bridgeton, was charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders for holding a health supplement sales presentation at a gym with over 10 people.
Rama Igbarra, 36, of Clifton, was charged on March 26 with violating the emergency orders for opening the business he manages, Bobby’s Discount Home Furnishings store in Orange, N.J., after police warned him that the store had to be closed.
Matthew Shrewsbury, 34, of Milford, was charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders, terroristic threats, aggravated assault, risking widespread injury, and endangering another person. He allegedly became combative with staff at Hunterdon Medical Center, where he was taken following a motor vehicle accident. Shrewsbury allegedly removed a protective surgical mask from his face, yelled and coughed at nurses and other staff, and threatened to spit on nurses and patients. He allegedly said he had COVID-19 and did not care if he gave it to others.
Wade Jackson, 54, of Ewing, was charged on March 28 with obstruction of administration of law and violation of the emergency orders for holding a party with a DJ and nearly 50 guests inside his one-bedroom apartment in Ewing.
Willi Rojas, 42, of Woodbridge, was charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders for opening his barbershop in Woodbridge to customers.
Joseph H. Benigno, 56, of Holmdel, was charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders for holding an auction with 15 to 20 people at a warehouse in Edison.
Steven P. Cato, 20, of Edison, was charged on April 1 with terroristic threats during an emergency, obstruction, resisting arrest, three counts of aggravated assault on an officer, and criminal mischief. When police were called to his house for a domestic incident, he allegedly coughed at officers and claimed to have COVID-19.
Juan Ocampo-Quiceno, 29, of Wharton, was charged on April 1 with violating the executive orders for opening his business, Mine Hill Sports Complex in Wharton, after he was warned to close it. Police found youths playing soccer and men lifting weights at the facility.
Christian Enriquez, 29, of North Plainfield, was charged on April 1 with violating the emergency orders.
Anekia Dawkins, 35, of Morristown, was charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders.
Anthony J. Lodespoto, 43, of Matawan, allegedly sent messages through social media threatening to attack Jewish residents in Lakewood with a baseball bat. He was charged on March 26 with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency.
William J. Katzenstein, 39, of Lakewood, was charged on March 26 with violating the emergency orders for holding a wedding with 20 to 30 people in his backyard.
Eliezer Silber, 37, and Miriam Silber, 34, of Lakewood, were charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders and five counts of child neglect for holding a bat mitzvah with 40 to 50 adults and children outside their home.
David Gluck, 48, and Abraham Haberfield, 32, of Lakewood, were charged on March 30 with maintaining a nuisance for holding a gathering of approximately 35 males in a school facility that Gluck owns and Haberfield manages.
Yaakov Kaufman, 47, and Eti Kaufman, 45, of Lakewood, were charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders and six counts of child neglect for holding an engagement party at their home with a large number of adults and children. Thirteen adult guests also were charged with violating the emergency orders.
Samuel Manheim, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and 16 other individuals were charged on April 1 with violating the emergency orders for attending an outdoor funeral in Lakewood. Manheim was also charged with hindering apprehension for initially refusing to identify himself to police. Approximately 60 to 70 people were present for the funeral.
Ephraim Adler, 42, and Sarah Adler, 18, of Lakewood, were charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders for opening the Brooklyn Southwest clothing store in Lakewood to customers. A sign on the door stated “Maximum of 50 People.”
Nathan Kline, 66, of Lakewood, was charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders for illegally selling alcohol out of a rental truck in a residential neighborhood where more than 10 people were present.
Rafael Medina, 21, Robert Feliz, 18, Edwin Valera, 25, Miguel Lopez, 22, and Angel Gonzalez, 18, were charged on March 31 with disorderly conduct for violating the emergency orders after police stopped the vehicle in which they were riding in Passaic.
Joyce Billings, 59, of Columbia, was charged twice by police for opening her business, Post Time Pub in Blairstown, in violation of the emergency orders. She was charged with obstruction on March 27 and violation of a law intended to protect public health on April 2.
Jacqueline Maltese, 48 of Hackettstown, was charged on April 2 with simple assault and filing a false police report. During a domestic violence incident, Maltese repeatedly yelled at officers that she had tested positive for COVID-19. That was not true.
Louis A. Nunez, 52, of Manalapan, was charged on April 2 with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency and throwing bodily fluid at an officer. As he was being booked at the Monmouth County Jail on an unrelated matter he became belligerent and allegedly threated to spit on a corrections officer, stating he had the coronavirus.
While a number of defendants identified above were also charged with indictable offenses that carry greater penalties, violations of the Governor’s emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense that carries a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. In addition, earlier this week, Attorney General Grewal announced enhanced charges against six individuals who were charged with assaulting law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders. Specifically, those enhanced charges included making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, which is a second degree offense and carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Defendants Cato and Nunez are similarly charged for their conduct against law enforcement officers. If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas. COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes. Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.
TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that criminal charges were filed today against a man who allegedly coughed on a food store employee in Manalapan, N.J., and told the woman that he has the coronavirus.
George Falcone, 50, of Freehold, N.J., was charged today by complaint-summons with the following criminal offenses:
Terroristic Threats (3rd Degree)
Obstructing Administration of Law or Other Governmental Function (4th degree)
Harassment (Petty Disorderly Persons Offense)
The incident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, at the Wegmans on US Highway 9. The employee was concerned that Falcone was standing too close to her and an open display of prepared foods, so she requested that he step back as she covered the food. Instead, Falcone allegedly stepped forward to within 3 feet of her, leaned toward her, and purposely coughed. He allegedly laughed and said he was infected with the coronavirus. Falcone subsequently told two other employees they are lucky to have jobs.
A detective of the Manalapan Police Department was working a security detail at the store and approached Falcone, who allegedly refused to cooperate or provide his name or driver’s license. After approximately 40 minutes, Falcone identified himself and was permitted to leave. Following additional investigation, summonses were issued today which will require Falcone to appear in court at a later date.
The case will be prosecuted by the Division of Criminal Justice within the Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Grewal thanked the Manalapan Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for their strong response to the incident and investigation leading to today’s charges.
“These are extremely difficult times in which all of us are called upon to be considerate of each other— not to engage in intimidation and spread fear, as alleged in this case,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We must do everything we can to deter this type of conduct and any similar conduct that harms others during this emergency. Just as we are cracking down on bias offenses and those who use the pandemic to fuel hatred and prejudice, we vow to respond swiftly and strongly whenever someone commits a criminal offense that uses the coronavirus to generate panic or discord.”
“Exploiting people’s fears and creating panic during a pandemic emergency is reprehensible. In times like these, we need to find ways to pull together as a community instead of committing acts that further divide us,” said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
“I commend the officers and detectives involved in this case for bringing criminal charges against the individual responsible for causing additional stress to the employees and patrons of Wegmans during these unprecedented times,” said Manalapan Police Chief Michael Fountain. “It sickens me to think an individual would lower their basic human standards during a time of crisis such as we are experiencing. As evident by these charges, law enforcement will not tolerate individuals breaking the law and placing others in fear during an already tense situation.”
Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Petty disorderly persons offenses carry a sentence of up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
In an urgent phone conversation Saturday, March 21st with U.S. Ambassador to Peru, Krishna Urs, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urged the Ambassador to reach out to U.S. citizens and reassure those spread-out across Peru that they have not been forgotten nor abandoned.
“There are reportedly 5,000 Americans trapped in Peru needing the immediate assistance of the U.S. government in order to get home,” said Smith, who has been contacted by more than a dozen travelers with New Jersey roots.
“The Administration has been working on some limited options, but we are asking the State Department to raise the bar and expand their efforts to include chartering planes or using military aircraft.”
“Seven hundred Americans, including some from my district, are stuck in parts of Peru, such as Cusco, which is 11,000 feet above sea level where air quality is thin and a strict curfew is enforced. It’s time to let these Americans and their worried families in the U.S. know that their country will employ more resources to bring them home safely,” Smith said.
In addition to speaking with the Ambassador, Smith has been working with State Department officials for several days. A human rights leader in the Congress, Smith has written three letters to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlining the location and needs of the New Jersey residents and others desperate for assistance to come home.
“I ask your assistance in prioritizing the evacuation from Peru of these and other Americans by any appropriate, practicable and timely manner, including the chartering of private or commercial aircraft or the utilization of military planes,” Smith said in his March 20th letter in which he named specific Americans needing assistance.
all borders, effective March 16, subsequently issuing a 15-day quarantine. It later announced that March 22 would be the final day the country would allow official flights to repatriate foreign visitors before the country closed all borders, effectively trapping many Americans and other international visitors in the South American nation. Further repatriation efforts require diplomatic intervention, something Rep. Smith is urging our Ambassador and State Department to prioritize.
The three States will limit crowd capacity for recreational and social gatherings to 50 people – effective by 8 PM tonight
Restaurants and bars will close for on premise service and move to take-out and delivery only effective 8 PM tonight
Movie theaters, gyms and casinos will temporarily close effective 8 PM tonight
Uniform approach to social distancing will slow spread of COVID-19 throughout the tri-state area
PRESS RELEASE FROM GOV. MURPHY’S OFFICE: TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)—Amid a lack of federal direction and nationwide standards, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont today announced a regional approach to combatting the novel coronavirus – or COVID-19 – throughout the tri-state area.
These uniform standards will limit crowd capacity for social and recreational gatherings to 50 people, effective 8 PM tonight. This follows updated guidance that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued yesterday recommending the cancellation or postponement of in-person events consisting of 50 people or more.
The three governors also announced restaurants and bars will close for on premise service and move to take-out and delivery services only. These establishments will be provided a waiver for carry-out alcohol. These measures will take effect at 8 PM tonight.
Finally, the three governors said they will temporarily close movie theaters, gyms and casinos, effective at 8 PM tonight.
This uniform approach to social distancing is meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
Governor Murphy said, “With all we are seeing in our state – and across our nation and around the world – the time for us to take our strongest, and most direct, actions to date to slow the spread of coronavirus is now. I’ve said many times over the past several days that, in our state, we are going to get through this as one New Jersey family. But if we’re all in this together, we must work with our neighboring states to act together. The work against coronavirus isn’t just up to some of us, it’s up to all of us.”
“Our primary goal right now is to slow the spread of this virus so that the wave of new infections doesn’t crash our healthcare system, and everyone agrees social distancing is the best way to do that,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is not a war that can be won alone, which is why New York is partnering with our neighboring states to implement a uniform standard that not only keeps our people safe but also prevents ‘state shopping’ where residents of one state travel to another and vice versa. I have called on the federal government to implement nationwide protocols but in their absence we are taking this on ourselves.”
Governor Lamont said, “The only way to effectively fight the spread of COVID-19 is by working together as states. We have shared interests, and a patchwork of closures and restrictions is not the best way forward. I know that because of this collaboration, we will save lives.”
FREEHOLD AND MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Due to the cancellation of group activities on the local, state and national levels, all Millstone Township recreational programs, both travel and non-travel, adult and youth programs, have been suspended through Sunday, April 5th 2020. This includes games, practices and events. Further evaluation will be made in early April regarding lifting or extending this suspension.
Monmouth County takes action in response to COVID-19
Beginning Saturday, March 14, no public access to County buildings
FREEHOLD, NJ –The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and County officials are taking action out of an abundance of caution to protect and keep residents safe from the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). “Our number one priority is the safety of our residents and so, at this time, we have decided to take immediate actions to prevent the COVID-19 in Monmouth County libraries, parks and public buildings,” said Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone. “In attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, Monmouth County will be suspending all public building access and programs beginning tomorrow.” “We want to remind residents to remain calm and make sure you have the most accurate and up to date information, which you can get from the Centers of Disease Control or the New Jersey Department of Health. Please help us spread facts, not fear,” added Freeholder Director Arnone. Beginning Saturday, March 14, and through Sunday, March 22, all Monmouth County Library branches and the Monmouth County Park System buildings will be closed to the public. County golf courses and park spaces will remain open. Beginning Monday, March 16, public access will be restricted from all buildings with the exception of the Monmouth County Division of Social Services (MCDSS). For MCDSS, protections will be put into place to ensure that there is no physical contact between Monmouth County employees and the residents seeking services. All Monmouth County employees will report to work and be available to residents by phone and by email. “We understand that the COVID-19 situation is unsettling for some and want to arm our residents with the information they need,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley, liaison to the Monmouth County Department of Health and Human Services. “There is a Monmouth County Health Department’s phone bank will open Monday at 9 a.m. for residents who have any questions and concerns about COVID-19, or need to talk to someone about how this situation is affecting them.” Crisis Counselors from the Monmouth County Division of Behavioral Health are available through the phone banks to help residents who may be experiencing stress or anxiety due to the evolving situation. The counselors will provide County residents with guidance to help them through this challenging time. The Monmouth County Health Department phone bank will open Monday, March 16 at 9 a.m. and can be reached at 732-845-2070.
County officials monitoring Coronavirus situation in Monmouth County
FREEHOLD, NJ –With four presumptive positive cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Monmouth County, County officials are assuring residents that they are monitoring the situation and taking action to ensure the public health and safety of Monmouth County residents. Two of the presumptive positive cases include a 66 year old female from Hazlet and an 83 year old female from Hazlet who are both being treated at Hackensack Meridian Health Bayshore Medical Center. The Golden Age Adult Day Care Program, where both of these individuals were clients, has voluntarily closed and is working in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Health and the Monmouth County Health Department. The two other cases include a 27 year old male from Little Silver who recently attended the Biogen conference in Boston and a 17 year old female from Little Silver who is an immediate family member of the 27 year old male. “We continue to assure you that the freeholder board is actively engaged and in constant contact with the local mayors and the New Jersey Legislative Delegation as well as the New Jersey Governor’s Office and the New Jersey Department of Health,” said Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone. “We are committed to ensuring that the County has the necessary resources to respond and mitigate this evolving situation.” “All Monmouth County and municipal health officials are following guidelines set forth by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) the Governor’s State of Emergency Declaration and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) for response to COVID-19 cases,” added Freeholder Director Arnone. All Monmouth County and municipal health officials are following the guidelines set forth by the CDC and the NJDOH for monitoring and response to COVID-19 cases. The best defense against the Coronavirus is to practice safe respiratory hygiene and take steps to prevent the spread of germs including washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick. However, residents should be aware that as investigations into these four cases continue, additional cases may be identified. “Again we would like to reiterate that it is important to have factual, up to date information about the coronavirus,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Kiley. “If you have questions, go directly to the CDC, the New Jersey Department of Health or the Monmouth County Health Department.” There have been social media reports of individuals going door to door claiming to be from the CDC. The CDC is not deploying teams of people to go door to door and conduct surveillance, so people should not let these individuals in their homes or speak with them. The CDC has a “share the facts, stop fear” page which is quite useful in determining what is fact vs. fiction with regard to the coronavirus. It can be accessed at cdc.gov/coronavirus. Timely and accurate information can also be found at http://www.nj.gov/health and anyone with questions can call the NJDOH COVID-19 24-Hour Public Hotline 1-800-222-1222 or email to email@example.com. Links to the CDC and New Jersey Department of Health are currently posted to the Monmouth County Health Department webpage, http://www.visitmonmouth.com/health.
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)—The 2020 Census count is underway and I received my invitation by mail today. As per the instructions I logged onto My2020census.gov and entered my code Census ID Code. There were some very basic questions of who was living in the home and birthdays. It was one of the easiest census forms I have ever completed and took less than two minutes to complete from start to finish, even though it says it could take an average of 10 minutes to complete.
The Census is counted every 10 years and many things from voting districts, financial aid, Federal, State and Local government services and more use this government data. A response is required by law and should be very easy to complete if you have received the invitation from United States Census Bureau.
What is the 2020 Census?The goal of the census is to count every person living in the United States, once, only once and in the right place. Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates that this population and housing count occur every 10 years. Census data guide how more than $675 billion of federal funding is distributed to states and communities each year.
Am I required to respond to the 2020 Census?Yes, you are required by law to respond to the 2020 Census (Title 13, U.S. Code, Sections 141 and 193). We are conducting the 2020 Census under the authority of Title 13, U.S. Code, Sections 141, 193 and 221. This collection of information has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The eight-digit OMB approval number is 0607-1006. If this number were not displayed, we could not conduct the census.
Who should complete the 2020 Census questionnaire?This 2020 Census questionnaire should be completed by the person who owns or rents the living quarters or any other person who is at least 15 years of age with knowledge of the household.
How do I change my answers?For questions where you must choose a single response from a list, clicking another response will change your answer to that response.If it is a “select all that apply” question, you may click on a selected check box to unselect the box and remove it as one of your answers.
How long will the 2020 Census questionnaire take?The Census Bureau estimates that completing the questionnaire will take 10 minutes on average.
How will the Census Bureau use the information I provide?By law, the Census Bureau can only use your responses to produce statistics.
Will the results be published?Yes. By law, the Census Bureau can only use your responses to produce statistics. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in a way that could identify you or your household. The Census Bureau plans to make results of this study available to the general public. Results will be presented in aggregate form and no personally identifiable information will be published.Information quality is an integral part of the pre-dissemination review of the information disseminated by the Census Bureau (fully described in the Census Bureau’s Information Quality Guidelines at https://www.census.gov/about/policies/quality/guidelines.html). Information quality is also integral to the information collection conducted by the Census Bureau and is incorporated into the clearance process by the Paperwork Reduction Act.
Do I have to complete the 2020 Census questionnaire for my household members?Yes, you will be asked to provide information for each household member.
HAMILTON, N.J. (MERCER)– It’s not too late for high school students to sign up for the national 2020 Annual Congressional Art Competition hosted locally by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04) for Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean students who live in the Fourth Congressional District he represents.
The deadline for entry is March 13 for current high school student artwork recently completed, or works specifically created just for the competition, that meet the originality, suitability, size and other entry guidelines of the national competition. Click here for 2020 rules of entry, entry forms, a list of towns in the Fourth District and other important information.
“Every year the artwork submitted by the students is impressive,” Smith said. “It is encouraging and inspiring to see such a high level of artistry being pursued by our students and fostered by art teachers in the Fourth Congressional District. Three professional judges, whose artwork will also be on display, will pick the winners.”
The artwork entered into the competition this year will be displayed and open to the public at the Lake Front Gallery of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton (RWJ-Hamilton) from March 31, 2020 through May 1, with winners announced at the end of the show. Last year the nearly 70 entries represented a variety of styles and mediums.
The judges are dedicated, experienced local artists who have roots in the community.
Every year the Congressional Institute sponsors this national high school visual art competition to recognize and foster artistic talent in each congressional district. Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. Participation in the contest is at the discretion of each Member office.
Students who place will receive ribbons and all participants are presented with congressional certificates.
Student artwork will on be display during normal hospital visiting hours at the RWJ-Hamilton Lakefront Art Gallery located in the Tower on the first floor mezzanine, directly above the café and gift shop area. RWJ-Hamilton is located at One Hamilton Health Place, Hamilton, NJ, Mercer County.
To enter a piece of artwork or for more information, call Smith’s Constituent Service Center at (609) 585-7878.
Information about the 2020 NJ-04 show or to view the 2019 and prior year winners visit Congressman Smith’s Congressional Art Competition web page.
Municipalities in New Jersey’s 4th Congressional District 2013-2022 Allentown Manasquan Bay Head Avon-By-The-Sea Middletown (part)* Jackson Belmar Millstone Lakehurst Bradley Beach Neptune City Lakewood Brielle Neptune Township Manchester Colts Neck Ocean Township Plumsted Eatontown Red Bank Point Pleasant Borough (part) * Englishtown Roosevelt Point Pleasant Beach Fair Haven Rumson Farmingdale Sea Girt Freehold Borough Shrewsbury Borough Freehold Township Shrewsbury Township Holmdel Spring Lake Howell Spring Lake Heights Mercer County Lake Como Tinton Falls Hamilton Little Silver Upper Freehold Robbinsville Manalapan Wall
Point Pleasant Borough and Middletown are split between Congressional Districts. If students live in either of these towns and are unsure of their District, please call 609-585-7878 and provide the student’s complete home address. The staff will be able to research in which District the student lives.
MANALAPAN, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The Allentown FFA held a wreath laying ceremony for the first FFA National President from Freehold, NJ today the 2nd day of FFA Week. This has been a tradition tracked back in Allentown FFA scrap books as far as 1975.
Applegate was elected first FFA president in 1928 (Called New Farmers of America in 1928) First National FFA Convention is held in Kansas City, Mo.: 33 delegates from 18 states (Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin) are in attendance.
FREEHOLD – Two men and a woman, all from Ocean County, were indicted Tuesday morning for their respective roles in the October shooting death of a Manalapan man, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Zoey S. Monte, 20, of Jackson, was arrested after she turned herself into authorities at the Manalapan Township Police Department yesterday. Monte was indicted on one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.
Tyler J. Martucci, 22, also of Jackson is currently be held in the Ocean County Jail in Toms River on separate, unrelated charges. Martucci was indicted on one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, one count of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon, and one count of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose.
In October, Gerard A. Grimes Jr., 23, of Jackson, was arrested in connection with the shooting death of Narciso Rodriguez-Corona, 43, of Manalapan. Tuesday, Grimes was indicted on one count of first degree Murder, one count of first degree Felony Murder, two counts of second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose, two counts of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, one count of second degree Burglary, one count of second degree Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, two counts of fourth degree Aggravated Assault, one count of second degree Eluding, one count of fourth degree Resisting Arrest, and one count of fourth degree Tampering with Physical Evidence.
On Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 9:34 p.m., Manalapan police officers responded to a call, reporting a fight at 25 Fawn Run in the township. Several minutes later, police received another call for a confirmed shooting victim. Manalapan police officers arrived on scene and discovered RodriguezCorona suffering from a gunshot wound. Mr. Rodriguez-Corona was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, where he was pronounced deceased. The investigation revealed Grimes, Monte and Martucci all came to the Manalapan residence armed with a handgun. Grimes attempted to enter the residence while Monte and Martucci remained outside. Residents of the home were alerted to Grimes’ presence and attempted to stop him from entering, resulting in a brief confrontation outside the home. Shortly thereafter, a second encounter occurred nearby, where Grimes ultimately shot the victim. Grimes, Monte and Martucci all fled the area
Police were quickly dispatched to the area and encountered the victim, who was suffering from lifethreatening injuries. After receiving initial information regarding the incident, police began to search the area. A few hours later, police attempted a motor vehicle stop of Grimes’ vehicle, but he failed to stop. Thereafter, Grimes fled the vehicle. Monte and Martucci were also onboard the vehicle and were arrested at that time. A short time later, Grimes was in the backyard of a neighborhood residence.
If convicted of Murder, Grimes faces a minimum sentence of thirty (30) years in New Jersey state prison without the possibility of parole, and a maximum sentence of Life imprisonment subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA), requiring him to serve 85 percent of his imposed sentence before becoming eligible for release on parole. Grimes would also be under parole supervision for five years following his prospective release from state prison.
If convicted of any of the second degree crimes, Grimes, Monte and Martucci each face up to 10 years in a New Jersey state prison on each count. Any sentence resulting from a conviction for the second degree crime of Burglary is also subject to the provisions of NERA. Grimes, Monte and Martucci would also be under parole supervision for five years following their respective release from state prison.
Grimes, Monte and Martucci are each being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) in Freehold Township. Grimes has been detained pending trial since his arrest on Oct. 5, 2019. Detention hearings for Monte and Martucci are schedule for Feb. 3, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon.
The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Joseph Lanzot and Lawrence Nelson.
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.