Mercer County PBA Assists With Turkey Distribution

November 23, 2020

By: Tyler Eckel

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–All chapters of the Mercer County PBA are assisting with turkey distribution in Mercer County today. This morning at Saint Phillips Baptist Church, members unloaded over 600 pounds of turkey for distribution at that location.

There were two other locations with many more pounds donated this morning including the Hamilton YMCA.

The distribution will continue this evening at the Willing Workers of Jerusalem Baptist Church in Trenton at 4:00 pm.



AG Grewal Announces Actions Against 5 Doctors for Indiscriminately Prescribing Powerful Opioids in Exchange for Kickbacks from the Opioid Manufacturer Insys Therapeutics

November 23, 2020

NEWARK – Continuing New Jersey’s efforts to hold accountable those responsible for fueling the State’s opioid epidemic, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that his office has filed complaints against four physicians for inappropriately writing “off-label” prescriptions for high dosages of the powerful opioid and cancer pain medication “Subsys” without regard for the associated risks of addiction, overdose, and death. In a fifth case, the State successfully revoked the license of doctor for the same conduct. All five doctors wrote prescriptions for non-cancer patients after receiving substantial payments from the drug’s manufacturer, Insys Therapeutics, Inc., which tried to disguise the kickbacks to doctors by funneling them through a sham speaker program funded by the company. 

The four doctors whose licenses the State seeks to suspend or revoke for their role in the scheme and for inappropriately prescribing Subsys are: Dr. Mukaram Gazi of Hamilton, Dr. Serge Menkin of Holmdel, Dr. Kieran Slevin of Hainesport, and Dr. Felix Roque of West New York. 

Subsys, a highly addictive, fast-acting fentanyl spray fifty times more potent than heroin, is  approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only for the narrow purpose of treating breakthrough cancer pain in opioid-tolerant patients. 

From 2012 through 2016, Doctors Gazi, Menkin, Slevin and Roque received more than $50,000 each from Insys disguised in the form of speaking and consulting fees, and, as a result, prescribed Subsys indiscriminately in circumstances for which the drug was not approved. One patient of Dr. Roque overdosed, while in other cases, the doctors’ patients were placed at heightened risk of addiction, overdose, and death. 

In a separate action, the State successfully revoked the license of Dr. Alexandru Burducea, who was recently sentenced to nearly five years in prison by a New York federal court for his role in the Subsys kickback scheme. 

“We will hold accountable all those whose misconduct has helped fuel the opioid epidemic in New Jersey,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Today, we’re taking action against multiple doctors who sold their medical licenses and prescription pads to Insys and put their personal financial interests above their patients’ health and well-being. These actions should serve notice to those who unlawfully push opioids from their exam rooms that they are not above the law and are no different than those that push heroin on street corners.” 

“As our actions today demonstrate, we are committed to holding everyone accountable who is involved in illegal and unethical kickback schemes that have contributed to the overdose epidemic in this state,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “We will not allow patients in this state to be used as pawns in moneymaking schemes that pose extreme dangers to patient safety, violate basic principles of medical ethics, and erode trust in the medical profession.” 

“These five doctors acknowledged that they had read the risks associated with Subsys and understood that it was approved only for narrow uses as a cancer pain medication,” said Sharon Joyce, Director of NJ CARES. “Nevertheless, they chose to ignore the unequivocal risks to their patients in favor of the easy money Insys was offering. Their unsavory collaboration with Insys endangered their patients and undermined efforts to end the opioid crisis and prevent more lives from being lost.” 

Actions to Suspend or Revoke Licenses of Four Doctors

The Attorney General is asking the State Board of Medical Examiners to suspend or revoke the licenses of the four physicians the State alleges indiscriminately prescribed Subsys in exchange for kickbacks from Insys summarized as follows:

  • From 2013 through 2015, Dr. Mukaram Gazi, a urologist, allegedly accepted Insys-funded dinners described as “lectures,” trips for “training,” and payments totaling more than $132,000, which Insys thinly disguised as “speaker’s fees.” In addition to allegations of indiscriminate prescribing for multiple patients, the State’s complaint notes that Gazi’s signature appeared on forms used to obtain insurance coverage for Subsys prescriptions, which incorrectly identified Gazi’s specialty as oncology and provided false explanations for why Subsys was being prescribed. Gazi Complaint
     
  • From 2012 through 2016, Dr. Serge Menkin, a pain management specialist, allegedly accepted $111,000 from Insys, which also paid for travel and expenses for both him and his guests. According to the State, Insys repeatedly paid Menkin thousands of dollars to deliver remarks before audiences that included zero to one prescriber; in at least one instance, Insys paid Menkin in full for an event that was cancelled. Menkin Complaint 
     
  • From 2013 through 2016, Dr. Kieran Slevin, an anesthesiologist, allegedly accepted more than $83,000 in cash payments that Insys thinly disguised as “speaker’s fees,” as well as lavish dinners posing as “lectures,” and all-expense paid trips for “training.” According to the State’s complaint, Slevin’s speaker events were held at high-end restaurants chosen by him and were sparsely attended, often by repeat attendees, including those who did not have any prescribing authority. Slevin Complaint 
     
  • From 2013 through 2015, Dr. Felix Roque, a pain management specialist, allegedly accepted more than $53,000 in “speaker’s fee” payments from Insys, in addition to meals and travel. As alleged in the complaint, an Insys sales representative advised her superiors that Roque would not prescribe Subsys “until he attended a conference,” and that he had asked “to be put up” at the Fairmont Princess, a luxury hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. Shortly thereafter, Roque attended a conference in Arizona, funded by Insys and subsequently began prescribing Subsys. As also alleged in the complaint, one of Roque’s patients overdosed on a Subsys prescription he wrote. Roque Complaint 

Subsys is one of six transmucosal immediate release fentanyl (“TIRF”) medications that instantly deliver the powerful painkiller fentanyl through the oral membranes. Because TIRF medicines carry a high risk for misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose, and serious complications due to medication error, the FDA has subjected these medications to significant restrictions. 

Each of the physicians in today’s complaints allegedly prescribed Subsys for patients without cancer, despite the fact that the FDA had approved Subsys only for breakthrough cancer pain in patients who had grown tolerant to other opioids. In many cases, they prescribed the drug to patients who were already on steady pain management regimes, in amounts that exceeded the authorized starting dosage. 

In some cases, after starting their patients on Subsys, the State alleges that the doctors steadily, without justification or regard for patient safety, increased the dosage strength resulting in more money for Insys because higher doses cost more. The doctors’ medical records often provided little or no medical justification – and sometimes no explanation at all – as to why patients were switched to Subsys or why their dosages were increased or started at an amount exceeding the authorized starting dosage.  

The State is seeking to suspend or revoke the doctors’ licenses on grounds of fraud, professional misconduct, gross negligence that endangered the life and safety of their patients, and/or indiscriminate prescribing of a controlled dangerous substance. 

The Division of Consumer Affairs’ Enforcement Bureau conducted these investigations. The cases are being handled by DAsG from the Professional Boards Prosecution Section in the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group and from NJ CARES. Assistant Section Chief David M. Puteska is representing the State in the Roque matter; DAG Kathy Stroh Mendoza is representing the State in the Slevin matter; DAG Kelly Elizabeth Levy is representing the State in the Gazi matter; and DAG Michael Antenucci is representing the State in the Menkin matter. 

Actions Against Other Indiscriminate Prescribers of Insys Products 

The complaints against Drs. Roque, Gazi, Menkin, and Slevin are only the latest of the State’s actions to hold accountable prescribers who indiscriminately prescribed Subsys after receiving suspect payments from Insys. 

Attorney General Grewal also announced today that the Board of Medical Examiners has revoked the New Jersey medical license of Manhattan anesthesiologist Alexandru Burducea, who pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court last year to accepting $68,000 in bribes and kickbacks from Insys in exchange for prescribing Subsys. In January 2020, he was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison. During his sentencing, it was revealed that Burducea had also cheated on the examination required for him to be permitted to prescribe Subsys, lied to FBI agents about his involvement in the Insys speaker program, and posted false patient reviews online for two doctors who fired him after he was arrested for his involvement in the scheme. 

Based on his criminal conviction and personal conduct, the Board revoked Burducea’s license, finding that he engaged in repeated acts of gross negligence and professional misconduct, indiscriminate prescribing, and other conduct that violated the laws and regulations of the medical profession. 

Before the actions announced today, New Jersey barred from practice the following doctors who indiscriminately prescribed Subsys to non-cancer patients:

  • Kenneth P. Sun, a Phillipsburg pain management practitioner, had his licensed revoked in August 2018, after he accepted $117,000 from Insys and prescribed Subsys to patients who did not meet the federal criteria for receiving it.
  • Vivienne Matalon, a Cherry Hill family physician, had her license revoked in May 2018, for indiscriminately prescribing Subsys to three patients who did not meet the federal criteria for receiving it, including one who died from an overdose.
  • Manoj Patharkar, who owned pain management centers in Middlesex and Passaic counties, had his license revoked in November 2016, for indiscriminately prescribing Subsys, among other misconduct.
  • Louis Spagnoletti, a Marlton pain management specialist, was temporarily barred from treating patients in March 2018, amid allegations he indiscriminately prescribed opioids including Subsys to seven patients. Spagnoletti died before disciplinary action against was concluded.

DAG Nisha S. Lakhani from the Professional Boards Prosecution Section in the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group is representing the State in the Burducea matter. 

Holding Insys Management Accountable 

Finally, a separate lawsuit brought by the State against Insys’s founder, John N. Kapoor is pending in Superior Court in Middlesex County and accuses Kapoor of directing and approving the payment of bribes to New Jersey doctors who participated in the speaker program so that they would inappropriately prescribe Subsys, among other fraudulent conduct. Today, the state filed its motion for summary judgment in that case and the filing explains that “[t]he harm that Kapoor’s scheme has inflicted on New Jersey and its residents continues to this day. Thousands of New Jerseyans die annually from drug overdoses – most of them opioid overdoses. And tens of thousands more would be dead but for emergency medical interventions and costly treatment for opioid addiction.” 

The State’s motion for partial summary judgment would resolve only certain claims against Kapoor, without the need for a trial. The amount of money that Kapoor must pay the State would be determined later.

Insys also is a defendant in the State’s lawsuit against Kapoor, but litigation against the company has been on hold since the company declared bankruptcy and filed a plan of liquidation. 

The Kapoor case is being handled by Section Chief and Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Lara Fogel, and DAsG Eric Boden, Brian DeVito and Dana Vasers, all from the Government & Healthcare Fraud Section in the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group.   

Burducea Consent Order 

Kapoor Brief in Support of Motion 


19 Year Old Hamilton Man Dies In East Windsor Crash

November 23, 2020

On Sunday, November 22, 2020, East Windsor Police responded to Route 133 West near Route 571 for a report of a motor vehicle off the roadway engulfed in flames. Upon patrol arrival, the vehicle, a 2017 BMW was located down an embankment on the north side of the roadway at the curve just prior to the exit ramp for Route 571 West. The vehicle had driven off the roadway and struck a tree. The East Windsor and Hightstown fire companies extinguished the fire. The lone occupant Rashawn Young, 19, of Hamilton and driver was found deceased inside the vehicle.

The Traffic Safety Unit of the East Windsor Township Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Officer Serious Collision Response Team are investigating the crash.

Responding agencies: East Windsor Township Police Department, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office Serious Collision Response Team East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, Station 42, East Windsor Volunteer Fire Company No. 2, Station 46 Hightstown Engine Company No. 1, East Windsor Rescue Squad #2

Earlier MidJersey.News story here: Serious Crash On Rt 133 In East Windsor

Serious Crash On Rt 133 In East Windsor

Updated: 19 Year Old Hamilton Man Dies In East Windsor Crash

November 22, 2020

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Around 5:45 pm the East Windsor Police received 9-1-1 calls reporting a vehicle off the road and on fire about 1/4 mile from Princeton Hightstown Road on Route 133 West Bound (Hightstown Bypass).

East Windsor Police, East Windsor and Hightstown Fire Companies and East Windsor First Aid and Rescue Squad along with Capital Health Paramedics responded to the scene. Upon arrival firefighters quickly knocked down the flames.

The crash is under investigation by the East Windsor Police Department. There is no other details available at this time.

No further information is available at this time. A press release most likely will follow sometime tomorrow so check back for an update.



Minivan Crashes Into Tree

November 22, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A person most likely having a medical issue ran their minivan into a tree on South Warren Street and Assunpink Drive around 3:15 pm this afternoon. Trenton Fire Department, Trenton EMS responded to the scene. One of the doors was jammed making it difficult for the person to get out of the car. The door was forced open and the person was eventually transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. No other information was available about the crash.

Car Fire On NJ Turnpike

November 22, 2020

MANSFIELD TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Several 9-1-1 calls reporting a car fire on the New Jersey Turnpike north of Exit 7 in the north bound lanes in Bordentown Township ended up to be the wrong location.

Bordentown Township and Robbinsville firefighters were dispatched at 2:03 pm to an area between Exit 7 and Exit 7A for a car fire. Upon arrival at the originally reported location they could see a column of smoke south of Exit 7, firefighters continued to the call and found the vehicle fire just north of the interchange turn for the PA Turnpike Extension on the north bound side of the highway at mile marker 51.8 outer lanes. Firefighters once on location quickly extinguished the flames. No other information was available about the call.

BREAKING: Bloody Sunday As Carnage Continues In A City Of Chaos

November 22, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–This morning around 3:00 am a shooting occurred in the 100 Block of Coolidge Avenue with a man shot in the arm according to sources. The person was transported by Trenton EMS to Capital Health Regional Medical Center.

Then again at 1:08 pm this afternoon a sprawling crime scene stretched almost a 1/4 mile from Chestnut and Faircrest Avenues, proceeded down Chestnut towards East State and ended in the area of 60 Wall Street. Crime scene tape crisscrossed the roadway blocking off the crime scene as detectives arrived to process the scene.

Trenton EMS, and Capital Health Paramedics responded to that scene to treat a woman shot in the neck and two other places. She was in serious condition at the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center.

There is no updated word on the condition of that victim at the time of this report.


Tonight we believe another two separate incidents occurred.

There were four people shot at Hoffman Avenue and Stuyvesant Avenue. Two were transported by Trenton EMS and Capital Paramedics to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center, with trauma alerts called. Two more people were driven to the trauma center in private vehicles for a total of 4 shot at that location.

We have reports of another possible scene (unconfirmed report) another person was shot after their vehicle was involved in a motor vehicle crash. The person they were involved in the car accident reportedly shot them.

As with most shootings, stabbing and other violent crime in the City of Trenton, there is no information available until it is fatal and then it is released by Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. If no information is released we will tell you what we know from on scene reporting. If official information is released at a later date the story will be updated, corrections and additions made. This is what we know and able to tell you as a “breaking news” story.

Photos and video by: Brian McCarthy OnScene News






As with most shootings, stabbing and other violent crime in the City of Trenton, there is no information available until it is fatal and then it is released by Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. If no information is released we will tell you what we know from on scene reporting. If official information is released at a later date the story will be updated, corrections and additions made. This is what we know and able to tell you as a “breaking news” story.

Piscataway Woman Dies In I-287 Crash Another With Serious Injuries

November 22, 2020

PISCATAWAY, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–NJ State Troopers responded to a motor vehicle crash at 12:17 a.m. on I-287 south MP 5.2, Piscataway Township, Middlesex County.

NJ State Police stated, based on a Preliminary investigation, a 2003 Honda Accord was being operated by Tamiyka N. Scott, 49 year old female from Piscataway, N.J. and occupied by passenger Sherine T. Rollins, 48 year old female from Staten Island, N.Y. was traveling on I-287 south in the area of MP 5.2. The Honda exited the right of the roadway struck multiple trees and overturned. As a result of the crash Scott was partially ejected and suffered fatal injuries and Rollins was ejected and suffered serious injuries.

Hamilton Township Fire Department Quickly Knocks Down Garage Fire, That Was Extending Into A Home

November 21, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 3:35 pm the Hamilton Township Fire Department responded to a well involved garage fire attached to a home in the 2500 Block of Whitehorse Mercerville Road. (Next to CVS and Across from the Mercerville Shopping Center).

Firefighters quickly arrived and called an “all hands” for a full 1st alarm sending additional apparatus to the scene, the fire was extending from the garage to the home though a breezeway. Two hose lines initially were placed in service and a supply line to a fire hydrant was set up to establish a water supply, then two more handlines were placed in service. The fire was quickly knocked down saving the living space of the home and was fully under control in about 20 minutes. The fire was investigated by the Hamilton Township Fire Marshal and was no word of the cause.



Crash Knocks Out Power In Part Of Upper Freehold

November 21, 2020

Update: Power was restored by 6:45 pm

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–Around 3:15 pm a vehicle lost control crashed into a utility pole and came to rest in a farm field on County Road 524 near Tractor Supply. Hope Fire Company of Allentown and Millstone Township Fire Departments were sent to the scene, a Robbinsville Township Fire Department Ambulance was also on scene. A utility pole was severed at the bottom and wires wrapped up in the vehicle. Power was out in the area and JCP&L Outage Map showed between 501 and 1,500 customers without power with an estimated restoration time of 8:00 pm.

Hope Fire Company reports on their Facebook Page: Route 524 will be closed from Sharon Station Rd to Imlaystown Hightstown Road for an unknown period of time due to a damaged utility pole with primaries down. Please use alternate route.

Governor Murphy Directs U.S. and New Jersey Flags to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of United States Air Force Senior Airman Richard Asey Samaroo

November 20, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today ordered that the U.S. and New Jersey flags be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities on Monday, November 23, 2020, in honor of U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Richard Asey Samaroo, who tragically passed away while on active duty in South Korea.

Samaroo was a resident of North Brunswick. “Senior Airman Samaroo was taken from us far too soon, at the young age of 21,” said Governor Murphy. “Richard served his community, his state, and his country with honor and distinction. Tammy and I would like to express our deepest condolences to Senior Airman Samaroo’s family, friends, and colleagues during this time.”

Copy of Executive Order #199


Richard “Rico” Asey Samaroo, Senior Airman USAF

Rico Samaroo passed away while on active duty at Osan Air force Base in South Korea. He was 21 years old.

Rico was born in Guyana and came to the United States in 2003. He resided in New Brunswick, Parsippany, Flemington and Northampton Pennsylvania before moving back to North Brunswick where he has lived since.

He attended Livingston Park Elementary, Linwood Middle School and North Brunswick High School where he graduated class of 2017 with honors. He soon after enlisted in the United States Air Force. Rico completed his basic training at Lackland Airforce Base in Texas then completed his military schooling at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. Rico served in Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany for two years and Osan Air Force Base in South Korea since May of 2020.

He was the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, The Global War on Terror Medal, the M-16 Expert Qualifying Medal and the Air Force Training Ribbon.

He was predeceased by his Grandfather Albert Samaroo.

Rico is survived by his parents Richard and Bibi Samaroo, a sister Zhane Samaroo, His grand parents along with many aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family and friends.

Friends and family may visit from 5-9 MP on Thursday evening at the Gleason Funeral Home 1360 Hamilton Street in Somerset. A brief funeral ceremony will take place on Friday morning at 8:30 AM at the funeral home. Burial will follow at Brig. General William C. Doyle Veteran Cemetery in Wrightstown, NJ. Due to cemetery restrictions, graveside services at the cemetery will be by direct invitation from the family.

Please know due to the COVID-19 outbreak we must limit capacity inside the funeral home.
Face coverings must be worn at all times and social distancing must be observed.

We also ask you please enter the funeral home, pay your respects to the deceased and the family, then please take your leave so others may come inside.

By request of the family, please do not send flowers.

We thank you for your understanding in this matter.


Governor Murphy Signs Bill Revising Law Governing Junior Firefighter’s Auxiliary Members

November 20, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Today, Governor Murphy signed the following bill:S-238/A-1106 (Singleton, Sarlo/Murphy, Stanfield, Schaer) – Revises law governing training and duties of Junior Firefighters’ Auxiliary members. 


The Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness
Committee reports favorably Assembly Committee Substitute No.
1106.

As reported and amended by the committee, Assembly Committee
Substitute for Assembly No. 1106 revises current law regarding the
Junior Firefighters’ Auxiliary.

Under current law, a person between the ages of 14 and 21 who
obtains permission from a parent or guardian may become a
member of the Junior Firefighters’ Auxiliary with a volunteer fire
department. This committee substitute reduces the age limit for
membership to persons between the ages of 14 and 18.

The committee substitute also allows a fire district, regional
authority, or county in this State that maintains a paid or volunteer
fire department to establish a Junior Firefighters’ Auxiliary. Under
current law, only volunteer fire departments are permitted to
establish a Junior Firefighters’ Auxiliary.

In addition, the committee substitute requires Junior Firefighters’
Auxiliary applicants to be interviewed by officers of the fire
department with a parent or guardian present. Junior Firefighters’
Auxiliary applicants also are required to submit documentation
from a qualified physician verifying that the applicant is medically
able to perform the activities of the auxiliary.

Current labor law provides that minors under the age of 18 are
prohibited from participating in certain work-related tasks, but
allows an exemption for members of the Junior Firefighters’
Auxiliary who are 16 years of age or older and perform authorized
fire-related duties. This committee substitute reduces this age
exemption from 16 to 14 years of age.

The committee substitute also requires entities establishing
Junior Firefighters’ Auxiliaries to provide a minimum amount of
workers’ compensation insurance to auxiliary members who
perform certain duties. Current law requires auxiliary members to
be provided with insurance coverage identical to that provided to
regular members of the fire department or district.

The committee substitute also grants the Commissioner of
Community Affairs authority to promulgate regulations pertaining
to the training of Junior Firefighter Auxiliary members and
establish the duties they may perform at training events and
emergency scenes. The regulations are to become effective
immediately upon being filed with the Office of Administrative
Law and remain in effect for 180 days. Thereafter, the
commissioner is required to amend, adopt, or readopt the
regulations in accordance with “Administrative Procedure Act.”
Finally, the committee substitute replaces the term “firemen”
with the preferred, gender neutral term, “firefighter.”

As reported by the committee, Assembly Committee Substitute
for Assembly No. 1106 is identical to Senate Committee Substitute
for Senate No. 238 which also was amended and reported by the
committee on this date


BREAKING: City Of Horror As 3 People Shot All Transported As “Trauma Alerts”

BREAKING NEWS REPORT: This if from on scene, sources and radio reports. If official information is released the story will be updated. We have a reporter and photographer on scene and will have more photos and information as it becomes available.

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The carnage continues in a city of horror as three more people were shot tonight just before 5:00 pm. in the 700-800 Block of Stuyvesant Avenue near Hoffman Avenue.

Sources tell MidJersey.News that Trenton Police received a “Shot Spotter” activation with at least 17 rounds fired, and was immediately followed by a 9-1-1 call from a male stating he was shot in the abdomen. Trenton Police, Trenton Fire Department, Trenton EMS and Capital Health Paramedics responded.

When Police, Fire and EMS arrived it was discovered that three people were shot and needed emergency care. Additional ambulances, two more paramedic units and one additional fire engine were send to the scene for help. After fire and EMS treated the patients all three were transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center.

An email has been sent to official police sources for comment. Trenton Police usually does not provide comment if the shooting is not fatal in nature. Once the shooting is reported as fatal the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office issues the information. What is contained in this report is what we know and if different official information is received the story will be updated, corrections and additions made.

Sources also tell MidJersey.News that a shots were fired about an hour earlier on Styvasant Trenton Police were looking for a Silver Nissan Altima that was possibly stolen with a shooter in the back of the vehicle. The vehicle drove off towards Prospect Street.

There was also a reported car jacking at 7:30 am this morning. Police are looking for a Toyota Vienna that is beige or silver in color. Reportedly 2 men car jacked the vehicle using a hand gun and an AR-15 style weapon, the guns fit the descriptions of one used in the Pearl Street homicide.

There have been 37 murders in the City of Trenton and many, many other shootings, stabbings and other violence that usually does not get reported in the media. The last murder on November 17, 2020 tied the all time record of 37 set in 2013.


Photos and video by: Brian McCarthy OnScene News

2nd Alarm In South Brunswick’s Kendall Park Section

November 20, 2020 updated:

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–All 3 South Brunswick fire companies – Kendall Park, Kingston, and Monmouth Junction fire departments responded to a house fire on Richford Road today. At 2 pm today, South Brunswick Officer Greg Boldizar and Sergeant Anthony Pisano spotted smoke coming from a home on Richford Road. The officers immediately notified dispatch and went to the residence. The family had already evacuated the home. Firefighters arrived to find heavy fire on one side of the house which had spread along the wall into the attic and roof. Kendall Park Fire Chief Chris Perez said, “We used a transitional attack moving from the exterior to the interior to push back the flames. It was a total team effort to bring the fire under control in 15 minutes.” Two nearby homes were evacuated while firefighters battled the blaze.

In addition to the South Brunswick fire companies, the Franklin and North Brunswick fire companies were on the scene as well as South Brunswick EMS and North Brunswick First Aid Squad. There were no injuries.

The preliminary indication of the cause of the fire was a lawnmower caught fire on the outside of the home, which set the house on fire. A nearby propane grill also caught fire. The South Brunswick Fire Marshal is conducting the investigation and will make a final determination.


SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–Around 2:00 pm this afternoon multiple fire departments were sent to the 1st Block of Richford Road in the Kendall Park section for a 2-Alarm fire. Heavy fire was on the right side of the building and was burning in the area of the garage. There were no reported injuries in the fire but the home suffered extensive damage. No further information is available at this time.



1 Injured In NJ Turnpike Crash

November 20, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–A truck traveling on the NJ Turnpike south bound in the outer roadway in the area of 63.7 south bound lost control in a crash and overturned between the inner and outer roadway. (Truck and car lanes). The Robbinsville Township Fire Department and EMS was originally sent for a person trapped in the truck but turned out the drive was able to get out on their own power. One person did suffer non-life-threating injuries and was transported to a local hospital. No further information was available.

Governor Murphy Signs “Daniel’s Law”

November 20, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation (A1649), which protects the home addresses and telephone numbers of judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers from public disclosure. The bill, known as “Daniel’s Law,” is named in honor of Daniel Anderl, the late son of U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas. Daniel fell victim to a senseless act of gun violence committed by an individual who had compiled a dossier of personal information about Judge Salas, including the judge’s home address.  

“This is a renewed commitment to ensure our judiciary, prosecutors, and members of law enforcement who answer the call of justice can do so without fear for their personal safety, or that of their loved ones,” said Governor Murphy. “By shielding the home addresses and private contact information for those who serve on the bench and enforce our laws, we are demonstrating that in the face of unspeakable tragedy, New Jersey responds not with thoughts and prayers, but with concrete action.”

“My husband, Mark, and I would like to thank Governor Murphy and all the men and women of the New Jersey State Legislature for enacting this trailblazing legislation,” said U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas. “We hope this law can be a steppingstone to improving the security of my sisters and brothers who serve as federal judges throughout the country. Nobody should be forced to endure the kind of pain my family has experienced ever again.  Together we can work to ensure that all members of the judiciary (federal, state, and municipal courts) can perform their duties without fear of retribution or harm. Daniel used to say, ‘Mom, I love talking with you.’ I know Daniel is listening now, and he is smiling down on us today because he knows that with this bill signing, we are doing our part to ensure that his death will not be in vain.”

The bill amends the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”) to exclude from the definition of a government (i.e., public) record the portion of any document which discloses the home address of any active or retired 1) judge, 2) prosecutor or 3) law enforcement officer.  

Further, the bill prohibits government agencies, individuals and businesses from knowingly publishing on the internet, or otherwise making available, the home address or unpublished home telephone number of any active or retired judge or any active or retired prosecutor.

The bill also enables any active or retired judge, prosecutor, or law enforcement officer whose home address or unpublished telephone number is disclosed on the internet or otherwise made available to the public, or whose immediate family member’s name, home address, or unpublished phone number is disclosed on the internet or otherwise made available to the public, to request that the information be removed. The government agency, individual or business would be required to remove the information within 72 hours of receiving such a request in writing.

“Daniel Anderl’s tragic death reminds us that the disclosure of personal information can leave judges and family members vulnerable to threats and violence,” said Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. “We are grateful to the Governor and the Legislature for taking this important step to provide common sense protections for active and retired judges and their families, along with others in the justice system, in the hope that a future tragedy can be prevented.”

“Judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers all play vital roles in keeping the public safe, but in doing so, they often jeopardize their own safety, becoming targets of vengeful criminals or litigants,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “We need to protect them as they protect all of us. This commonsense law will go a long way to ensure the privacy and security of these public servants and their families.”

“To everyone who played a role in getting this done, I thank you. However, our work does not end here. We must extend these privacy protections nationwide, so that no one lives through what Judge Salas and her husband lived through,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez. “We are living in a time of endless vitriol, rising hate crimes, and increased personal attacks. And while we may not be able to eliminate hatred from someone’s heart, we can take action to better protect the men and women of our federal bench. That’s why I am proud to see Governor Murphy sign Daniel’s Law here in New Jersey– and why I remain committed to the passage of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act in Washington.”

“No person who takes on the responsibility of serving as a federal judge should ever have to live in fear that they or their family could be targeted by someone who is able to easily access their personal information,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “Judge Salas and her husband, Mark, have gone through something that no parent should ever have to endure. I am grateful for the leadership of Governor Murphy, Senator Cryan, and Assemblywoman Quijano as we honor the memory of Daniel with a commitment that this should never happen again.”

Primary sponsors of A1649 include Assemblymembers Annette Quijano, Yvonne Lopez, Craig Coughlin, and Ralph Caputo, and Senators Joe Cryan, Nicholas Scutari, Nellie Pou, and Bob Smith. 

“Making tough decisions is part of the job for judges and prosecutors. Sometimes these decisions aren’t popular, and they become a target. It’s frightening to think that disgruntled individuals may be able to find their home addresses and personal phone numbers readily available at the touch of a button.” said Assemblymembers Quijano, Lopez, Coughlin and Caputo in a joint statement. “Our hearts continue to break for Judge Salas and her family. The goal of this bill is to better protect the privacy of judges and prosecutors by prohibiting their personal addresses and contact information from being shared online without their consent.” 

“This law will honor the legacy of Daniel Anderl and respect the loving memories of his family,” said Senator Joe Cryan, a former Union County Sheriff who oversaw courthouse security in Union County. “This was a tragic act of violence targeted at a respected judge and her family because the gunman was able to locate their home address. It was also an attack on the justice system that was felt by everyone who serves or has served in law enforcement. They devote their lives to the safety of the public – they should be kept safe as well.”

“We must act to protect our public officials and their families from potential attacks,” said Senator Nicholas ScutariChairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The targeting of Judge Salas at her private residence by a gunman, resulting in the tragic death of her son and the serious wounding of her husband, underscores the need for us to do more to protect our judges and their families. Domestic terrorism is a very real threat in today’s society. Not long ago, a gunman attempted to take the life of then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, another gunman opened fire at a congressional softball game and, most recently, there was the foiled plot to kidnap and murder the governor of Michigan. This is a vital first step in ensuring the safety of our public officials in New Jersey.” 

“Judges and other court officers who serve our legal system deserve to be protected from any possible attack or retaliation for merely performing their sworn duties. What happened to Judge Esther Salas, and her family, and in particular the fatal shooting of her son, Daniel, in his own home, must never happen again,” said Senator Nellie Pou. “This law, restricting access to home addresses of judges and others who work in our court system will add a needed layer of protection for these public servants.”

“As a representative and resident from Middlesex County, I was shocked, heartbroken and angered by the home attack on Judge Salas and her family, which left her husband critically wounded and ended in the death of her son, Daniel,” said Senator Bob Smith. “The Salas family are among my constituents, so it is important for me that I am a part of any action we take in response to this horrific incident. We have to do more to protect our judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers from violent retaliation, especially in a time when people are actually planning physical violence against civil servants.”

“This measure takes the steps necessary to obscure details about judges that could put them and their families at risk,” said Senator Robert Singer. “There is so much information exchanged online, and a reckless post or an innocuous comment can, in the wrong hands, be dangerous. Enacting this law will help increase security for judges our legal system relies on.”



Related MidJersey.News stories here:

DEVELOPING STORY: FBI Investigating North Brunswick Shooting At Federal Judge’s Home

Mourners Honor Life Of Daniel Anderl, Celebrate His ‘Gift Of Faith’


Serious Accident Route 1 South And Perry Street

November 19, 2020

Update 4:00–Sources tell MidJersey.News that this was a fatal accident, no official information is available.

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Just before 5:00 pm Trenton Police and Trenton Fire were dispatched to Route 1 South at Perry Street for a serious accident. Upon arrival of the first engine Rescue 1 was called to the scene for extrication. CPR was reportedly started and the person was transported to the Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center. No other information is available or condition of the victim.

The is a Breaking News Report, if and when official information becomes available the story will be updated, additions and corrections made. TPD does not usually release information compared to surrounding towns.

Photos and video by: Brian McCarthy OnScene News


Bordentown Township & City Police Participate in No Shave November

BORDENTOWN TWP/CITY (BURLINGTON): You may have noticed that Bordentown officers are looking a little scruffy this month, that’s because for the third year in a row the Bordentown Township and City Police Departments have decided to forgo shaving to help raise funds for a local resident in need.

This year’s recipient is Brianna Lemmo, a 16 year-old from Bordentown City who is currently battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Participating officers have made donations to grow a full beard, mustache or goatee and female officers are donating to paint their fingernails any color they desire.

Jimmy’s American Grill, Old Town Pub, Chickie’s & Pete’s Bordentown and Mario and Franks II have all generously agreed to support this initiative and will donate 10% of their proceeds on Tuesday, November 24, to help Brianna with her ongoing cancer fight.

Please patronize these establishments next Tuesday to help us raise money for Brianna!

You can also donate to Brianna’s cause by visiting her GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/f/1zukih6940

A Hamilton, NJ Man Admits To Possessing Firearm Loaded With 30 Rounds Of Ammunition In Furtherance Of Drug Trafficking Crime

Armond Holloway, 44, of Hamilton, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp via videoconference to Count Two of an indictment charging him with possession of a firearm in furtherance of possession with intent to distribute heroin.

November 19, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A Hamilton, New Jersey, man today admitted possessing a handgun in furtherance of a drug crime, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Armond Holloway, 44, of Hamilton, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp via videoconference to Count Two of an indictment charging him with possession of a firearm in furtherance of possession with intent to distribute heroin.

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

On July 31, 2017, Holloway was on parole after having served a term of imprisonment. Holloway’s parole officer received information from an anonymous source that Holloway, who had known gang affiliations, was in possession of a gun, 300-400 bricks of heroin, and a large amount of money at his residence.

On Aug. 1, 2017, the parole officer, along with other law enforcement officers, conducted a parole search of Holloway’s residence, where they recovered a Masterpiece Arms 9 mm firearm with an obliterated serial number, loaded with 30 rounds of ammunition, under Holloway’s bed. They also found a barrel extension that fit the gun. Also recovered from Holloway’s bedroom was more than $14,000 in cash and more than 400 bricks of heroin from Holloway’s basement.

The count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime to which Holloway pleaded guilty carries a statutory mandatory minimum term of five years in prison, a maximum of life in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000. If accepted by the court at the time of sentencing, Holloway’s plea agreement would result in Holloway serving a stipulated total sentence between eight and 10 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 23, 2021.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson in Newark; the New Jersey State Parole Board, under the direction of Chairman Samuel J. Plumeri Jr.; and the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan, with the investigation leading to today’s plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elisa T. Wiygul and Michelle S. Gasparian of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

20-433

Defense counsel: Lisa Van Hoeck Esq. and Brian P. Reilly Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defenders, Trenton




2017 NJ State Police News Release here:

State Police work with State Parole to Arrest Hamilton Man

Home visit nets more than $86,000 worth of Heroin and Assault Weapon

Hamilton Township, Mercer County – The New Jersey State Police and New Jersey State Parole Board have arrested Armond Holloway, 41, of Hamilton Township, N.J. for various drug and weapons offenses.

On Tuesday, August 1, 2017 the New Jersey State Parole Board worked cooperatively with members of the State Police Gangs and Organized Crime Central to conduct a home visit of Holloway. During the home visit, investigators determined that Holloway was in possession of heroin and an assault weapon. As a result, Holloway was arrested and detectives seized more than 430 bricks of heroin, a loaded assault weapon with a silencer, and $14,180 cash.

New Jersey State Parole charged Holloway with the following:

  • Possession of heroin with the intent to distribute
  • Possession of heroin
  • Possession of heroin with the intent to distribute with 1,000 feet of a public school
  • Possession of heroin with the intent to distribute with 500 feet of a public park
  • Possession of an assault weapon
  • Unlawful possession of a handgun
  • Possession of a handgun during a drug offense
  • Possession of a high-capacity magazine
  • Possession of a handgun silencer
  • Possession of a defaced handgun
  • Certain persons not to possess handguns

Armond Holloway was lodged in Mercer County Jail on a no bail warrant.

Charges are mere accusations and the suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

Santa Claus and Special Guests Open Hamilton Township’s Toys for Tots Drive

November 19, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–In 1947, a US Marine Corp Forces Reserve, by the name of Major Bill Hendricks founded Toys for Tots and in 1948, the USMC adopted the program as their own.  Last year alone, the Marine Toys for Tots Program was able to both collect and distribute 19 million toys to 73 million children in over 800 communities in the United States including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Each year the Hamilton Township Police Division oversees a local Toys for Tots Drive in town and this year is no different despite the current pandemic. 

“The Toys for Tots Program has been in existence since 1947.  As the Chief of Police, the Hamilton Township Police Division’s Toys for Tots Drive is one of the highlights of my year” said Chief James Stevens.  “These toys truly make a difference in the lives of so many, from the joy they bring not only to the children who receive them, but also to their parents and loved ones.  And for that, I am thankful to the United States Marines and the residents of Hamilton Township who help to make it all possible.” he continued.

Now through December 18th, toys for children ages 4-17 are being collected for the 2020 Toys for Tots Drive with the following official drop-off locations:

  1. Hamilton Township Police Headquarters
    1270 Whitehorse Mercerville Rd., Hamilton, NJ 08619
  2. Foley’s Family Market, 1080 White Horse Ave., Hamilton, NJ 08610

“It is my pleasure to officially open the 2020 Toys for Tots Drive alongside our exceptional Hamilton Township Police Division Officers,” stated Mayor Martin.  “This year is unlike any before and I know the need for toys for the youth of our Township will be greater than ever before.  I urge anyone who is able to donate to consider doing so this year.”

If you would like to participate, unwrapped toys can be brought to one of the official Toys for Tots collection box locations for further distribution.  This year, the local Marine Corps. has put into place extra COVID-19 safety measures, including sanitizing and quarantining of all toys.  If you have any questions regarding the Toys for Tots collection, please call Office Bob O’Hare at (609)581-4021.

Robbinsville Christmas Tree & Menorah Lighting Will Be Virtual In 2020

November 18, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–Due to COVID-19 the Robbinsville Township Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting will be held virtual this year. See flyer below and Robbinsville Recreation Facebook Page where the event will be held virtual on December 1, 2020 at 7:00 pm.


Due to current increasing concerns regarding COVID-19, we will no longer meet for this event in person. Instead, it will be transmitted live through the Recreation Facebook Page.



Mercer County Offering Free COVID-19 Testing November 24 & December 1 at Cure Arena

Mercer County is also proud to offer free at-home COVID-19 testing. These tests are available to all residents of Mercer County, free of charge.

November 18, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes today announced that the County, in partnership with Vault Health Services, will offer free COVID-19 testing on Tuesday, Nov. 24, and Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the CURE Insurance Arena, 81 Hamilton Ave. The saliva test is available to County residents 14 years or older and anyone employed as a first responder or health care worker in Mercer County.

Those going to the arena for testing should use Parking Lot 2 off South Broad Street to access Gate A. Testing will be conducted in the arena concourse. Bring identification showing Mercer County residency and a smartphone or tablet if you have one. No prescription is necessary. Please avoid eating, drinking, chewing gum or smoking 30 minutes prior to taking the test.

Testing will be limited to 300 people on each of the two days but additional pop-up testing sites will be scheduled around the County in the near future.

If you want to avoid the lines, Mercer County also offers an at-home saliva test for COVID-19, which can be requested by visiting www.mercercares.org. If you need help with the online registration process, assistance will be available Tuesday at the arena. 



Covid-19 Test at Home Program

Mercer County is proud to offer free at-home COVID-19 testing. These tests are available to all residents of Mercer County, free of charge.

The saliva collection test for COVID-19 has the same effectiveness as the nasal swab test. This test is performed under the supervision of our healthcare provider, Vault, through a video telehealth visit eliminating the risk of person-to-person exposure to the virus.

To register for your at-home testing kit, you must first fill out the form below to verify your Mercer County residency. Within 24-48 hours following your submission, you will receive a link to order your free kit on the Vault Health website. This is FREE to all Mercer County residents, and health insurance is not required but a claim will be submitted if are covered.

Please note the following:

  1. There is no out of pocket cost for this test.
  2. You must be a resident of Mercer County or employed as a first responder or health care worker in Mercer County.
  3. Only persons over the age of 14 are eligible for this test. Persons under the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian complete the registration for them.
  4. You will receive your code within 48 hours.
  5. This is not an antibody test. This test is designed to determine if you currently are infected with COVID-19 and have the potential to infect others.

If your test is positive, or if you have symptoms, call your health care professional.

Santa Claus will be coming to Hightstown on Friday Nov. 27th

November 18, 2020

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ (MERCER)–Santa Claus will be coming to Hightstown on Friday Nov. 27th! Save the date and spread the word.

As with everything this year, our annual celebration will look a bit different.

While Santa and Mrs. Claus will be riding on the back of our Fire Truck as they usually do, there will not be any festivities at the fire house this year.

Instead, the route has changed to include more streets in town (see map for more details) so that you can wave to Santa and Mrs. Claus from the safety and comfort of your porch or street corner while maintaining social distance and staying closer to home.

Santa will leave the Fire house at approximately 5:45pm so listen for the sirens to indicate that he and his reindeer…oops…he and his firefighter friends are on the way to a street near you!

Please remember to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart from anyone who is not in your immediate household.

We hope you enjoy this Pandemic friendly version of Santa coming to our town!

Don’t forget that Christmas Tree and Wreath sales start on Sunday Nov. 22nd





Grill Fire Quickly Extinguished At Jersey Mike’s In Hamilton

November 18, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Hamilton Township Fire Department was dispatched to 620 Marketplace Boulevard for a grill fire at Jersey Mike’s around 3:00 pm. Upon arrival Hamilton Firefighters reported a fire on the grill and a smoke condition in the building and an “all hands” was called. Firefighters quickly snuffed out the flames. Firefighters remained on scene to remove smoke after extinguishment. The Hamilton Township Fire Marshal was called to investigate and the Hamilton Township Health Department was also called to the scene.

Once the Fire Marshal and Health Department finish the investigation the store is expected to reopen.

Route 130 Crash Sends 2 To Hospital

November 18, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–At 11:35 am., the Robbinsville Police Department received multiple 9-1-1 calls for an accident in the 1100 Block of Route 130 in front of the Jeep Dealership.

When Robbinsville Police arrived they reported two injures and the sent Robbinsville Township Fire Department and EMS to the scene. A mutual aid ambulance from RWJ Hamilton was also called to the scene. Two people were transported to RWJ at Hamilton Hospital with minor BLS type injuries.

The Robbinsville Township Police moved traffic over to the shoulder North Bound and South Bound had a temporary closure to move tow trucks into position to remove vehicles. No other information was available.

AG Grewal Announces Settlement with Apple for Misleading Consumers about iPhone Problems

NJ Will Receive More than $3 Million to Resolve Allegations Involving Unexpected iPhone Shutdowns, Battery Issues, and Slowdowns Caused by Software Updates

November 18, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that New Jersey will receive over $3 million as part of a $113 multistate settlement with Apple, Inc., that resolves a multi-state investigation into allegations that Apple misrepresented and concealed from consumers information about performance problems with millions of iPhones.

The investigation focused on whether Apple misrepresented and concealed information about unexpected power-offs (UPOs), battery health and performance issues, and software upgrades that slowed down or “throttled” the device’s performance.

The State filed its complaint and a consent judgment resolving the matter in Superior Court in Mercer County. The complaint alleges that Apple’s misrepresentations and concealment of battery issues and its throttling iPhones’ performance violated state consumer protection laws.

According to the complaint, Apple pushed out software “fixes” that intentionally throttled performance of the iPhone Series 6, 7 and SE (Special Edition) devices in an effort to quietly resolve the UPO issues. Because the unexplained slow-downs resulted in many consumers deciding that the only way to get improved performance was to purchase a newer-model iPhone from Apple, the alleged fraud resulted in more sales for Apple.

In New Jersey, nearly 3.5 million iPhones were affected by the battery performance issues and undisclosed throttling.

“Apple’s treatment of iPhone consumers was rotten,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Not only did Apple try to conceal the iPhone’s shortcomings, but the company’s supposed fix for those defects created new problems that led consumers to shell out money for new iPhones. Today’s settlement should send a clear message that we will never tolerate such abuse of New Jersey consumers.” 

 “This settlement resolves an investigation into corporate conduct that is deeply concerning on multiple levels,” said Division of Consumer Affairs Director Paul R. Rodríguez. “First, we allege that Apple failed to disclose a product defect. Then that it provided consumers what they claimed was a software ‘fix’ that actually limited the performance of their phones. Finally, that they delayed informing consumers until well after many had already purchased new phones to replace ones they believed must be obsolete. This settlement is not just about getting Apple to pay for its alleged duplicity, but just as importantly requires the company to abide by a variety of terms designed to ensure greater transparency moving forward.”

In addition to the monetary payment, today’s settlement contains a variety of injunctive terms designed to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Those terms require that Apple will:

  • Maintain an easily accessible and prominent web page that provides clear and conspicuous information to consumers about lithium-ion batteries, unexpected shutdowns, maximizing battery health, and other issues related to iPhone performance;
     
  • Notify consumers in a clear and conspicuous manner if a future iOS update materially changes the performance of an iPhone when downloaded and installed, with such notification to be contained in the installation notes for the update;
     
  • Provide information to consumers in the iPhone user interface (e.g., Settings>Battery>Battery Health) about the battery, such as the battery’s maximum capacity and information about its peak performance capability, as well as notification of an option to service the battery once its performance has become significantly degraded.

In addition, Apple will implement procedures to ensure its consumer-facing personnel and Apple-authorized retailers are sufficiently familiar with the required new web page content and iPhone user interface information, communicate that information to consumers wherever relevant, and refer consumers to the web page or interface when appropriate.

The State’s investigation found that, by at least October 2016, Apple was aware that its customers were experiencing UPOs as a result of aging iPhone batteries that could no longer deliver sufficient power to the devices at certain times, particularly during high-performance tasks.

Apple did not disclose the UPO issues, however, nor did it allow consumers to replace their iPhone batteries — even at full, out-of-warranty cost — unless the batteries failed Apple’s own diagnostic tests, which did not account for the very issue that was causing the UPOs.

Instead, Apple implemented the iOS software update that caused throttling.

The update essentially prevented the iPhones from ever reaching performance levels that would require too much power from their batteries.

Throughout 2017, Apple continued to sell tens of millions of iPhones in the U.S. with known throttling issues, but never advised consumers. Eventually, consumers discovered the problem for themselves and, amidst public outcry, Apple apologized for the situation in December 2017.

Apple briefly reduced the price on out-of-warranty replacement batteries for affected iPhones and also released a new iOS update in March 2018. The new update allowed consumers, for the first time, to disable the throttling mechanism, and to have more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery. Under the settlement announced today, Apple admits to no violations of the law.

In addition to the settlement with 34 states announced today, Apple also recently entered into a proposed settlement of class action litigation related to the same conduct. Under that proposed settlement, Apple will pay out up to $500 million in consumer restitution.

Deputy Attorney General Monisha A. Kumar of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section in the Division of Law’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement Practice Group handled the matter on behalf of the State.

Regional Coalition of Northeast Governors Announce Colleges Will Be Encouraged To Provide Testing For Students Before Leaving For Thanksgiving Break, Recommend Expanded Remote Instruction

Residential Colleges Across the Northeast Should Provide Testing For Students Before they Leave for Thanksgiving Break And Ensure Students are Aware of Quarantine Rules Governors Recommend That All Travel be Limited for Thanksgiving and Urge Colleges to Utilize Increased Remote Instruction to End Fall Semester, Reducing the Need for Students to Travel Back-and-Forth Between Campus and Home Multiple Times Multi-State Agreement on College-Related Travel Guidance Reached at Emergency Summit of Northeastern Governors this Past Weekend 

November 18, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Delaware Governor John Carney, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today announced they will encourage residential colleges and universities in their respective states to provide testing for all students traveling home for Thanksgiving break to the maximum extent possible before they leave campus. Any student who tests positive will be encouraged to isolate on campus before they can travel or detail arrangements of their safe travel home with the local department of health. These efforts will help mitigate the threat of college students returning home for the holidays importing COVID-19 into their communities. In addition, colleges should inform students and their families of relevant quarantine policies in their home state.  

“With Thanksgiving and the broader holiday season fast approaching, we have to recognize that any large family gathering — particularly among different age groups — runs the risk of turning the dinner table into a COVID hotspot,” said Governor Murphy. “To reduce the risk of transmission across our region, we are encouraging colleges and universities to ramp up testing for students returning home, and for anyone who tests positive to adhere to their state’s quarantine restrictions. If we collectively recommit ourselves to the commonsense mitigation practices that got us through the first wave of this pandemic, we can save lives before a vaccine becomes broadly available.” 

“As everyone predicted, cases are rising as temperatures drop, and New York is not immune. With the holidays approaching, we are fighting ‘living room spread’ from small gatherings in private homes — and adding college students’ interstate travel will be like pouring gasoline on a fire,” said New York Governor Cuomo. “We know this virus does not respect borders, which is why governors from across the region are working together to stop the spread. Colleges and universities have to do their part by testing all students before they leave, informing them about quarantine rules, and keeping classes online between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. We beat back the COVID beast in the spring, and by working together we can do it once again this winter.” 

“College students returning from highly infected states could accelerate the spread of COVID in Connecticut,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. “I appreciate the joint effort of all our regional governors to clearly state the testing/quarantine rules for returning home from college.” 

“There’s no sugarcoating it: this will be a difficult winter,” said Delaware Governor John Carney. “We are seeing rising cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in our region and across the country as we enter the colder months. The holidays present a significant challenge. I’m thankful for the cooperation in our region, and will continue to urge Delawareans to do what works. Wear a mask. Don’t gather with anyone outside your household. Stay vigilant.” 

“It is our collective responsibility to protect our communities and our most vulnerable from COVID-19 and to continue to work together to get through this pandemic,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. “These targeted mitigation efforts, combined with existing ones, are paramount to decreasing the spread of COVID-19. We need everyone to be united in wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing our hands in order to save lives and help protect our economies.” 

“As our COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, it’s critical that we come together as a region to slow the spread and keep our constituents safe,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “We all need to be more vigilant about keeping our circles small and our masks on, while at the same time we’re continuing to ramp up asymptomatic testing across-the-board. This collaborative approach among Northeastern states will help us flatten the curve and contain spread over the Thanksgiving holiday.” 

“The region is experiencing a surge in COVID cases and a surge in the serious health impacts this disease brings with it. Working together on travel and higher education policies like these, states can have a bigger impact on COVID spread as students travel for the holidays,” said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “Gathering with friends and family significantly increases the risk of spreading the virus and while testing and isolation guidelines can help slow the spread, it is up to everyone to wear a mask and avoid gathering indoors with people outside of your household.” 

The combination of rising cases across the country — including in the Northeast — due to increased transmission of COVID in small, residential settings and Thanksgiving travel has created the perfect storm for viral spread. If people proceed with celebrations in small gatherings outside of their immediate families, they risk generating a dramatic spike in cases after Thanksgiving. All Governors are urging their residents to stay home and celebrate small this year in an effort to help eliminate the risk of unchecked COVID-19 spread in the coming weeks.  

The governors and their public health experts developed this guidance over the weekend at an emergency summit of Northeastern governors. The governors also emphasized the importance of in-person education. Medical research as well as the data from Northeastern states, from across the country, and from around the world make clear that in-person learning is safe when the appropriate protections are in place, even in communities with high transmission rates. In-person learning is the best possible scenario for children, especially those with special needs and from low-income families. There is also growing evidence that the more time children spend outside of school increases the risk of mental health harm and affects their ability to truly learn. 

In order to stop college-related travel spreading COVID, colleges and universities in New York, Massachusetts, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania will be encouraged to make testing available to all students before they leave for Thanksgiving break and inform students and their families of states’ quarantine requirements. Any student who tests positive before they leave should be permitted to isolate on campus, or may travel safely with the approval of the local departments of health. Students who are already isolating or quarantining on campus must remain in place until completing their prescribed seclusion.   

In addition, the Governors are strongly recommending that colleges and universities finish their fall semesters by expanding remote instruction, enabling more students to learn from home for the few weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break rather than require students to travel back to campus and then back home again in December. Half of colleges and universities across the northeast have already indicated they will be fully remote between Thanksgiving and the end of their fall semester. Colleges and universities should prioritize on-campus programs for students who did not travel or who need in-person exams or clinical and laboratory experiences. 

If colleges and universities do reopen for in-person instruction during this period, all returning students should receive COVID-19 tests and comply with relevant isolation and quarantine protocols. These institutions should also double down on precautions including frequent health screenings and surveillance testing due the increased risk of COVID exposure from student travel.    

For a copy of the full New Jersey Department of Health guidance for college and university students traveling home for winter break, please click here.

Former Pharmaceutical And Marketing Company Sales Representative Today Admitted His Role In A Conspiracy To Defraud Health Benefits

Joshua Darstek, 38, of Freehold, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to a superseding information charging him with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

November 18, 2020

FREEHOLD, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A former pharmaceutical and marketing company sales representative today admitted his role in a conspiracy to defraud a New Jersey state health benefits program, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Joshua Darstek, 38, of Freehold, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to a superseding information charging him with conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

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

Compounding is a practice in which a pharmacist or physician combines, mixes, or alters ingredients of a drug to create a medication tailored to the needs of an individual patient. The Food and Drug Administration does not approve compounded drugs and thus does not verify the safety, potency, effectiveness, or manufacturing quality of compounded drugs. Generally, a physician may prescribe compounded drugs when an FDA-approved drug does not meet the health needs of a particular patient.

Between May 2014 and January 2016, Darstek worked as a sales representative on behalf of two compounding pharmacies and a marketing company – referred to in the superseding information as the “Compounding Companies.” He marketed and sold compounded drugs to physicians, including pain, scar, and wound creams and certain supplements and vitamins. The Compounding Companies paid Darstek based on a percentage of the reimbursement payments they received from health care benefit programs for each prescription that he referred to the compounding pharmacies. Darstek participated in a conspiracy that recruited patients, many of whom had prescription drug coverage under the New Jersey School Employee’s Health Benefits Program, to submit medically unnecessary prescriptions for compounded drugs to the pharmacies. Darstek caused physicians to write prescriptions for individuals with whom they did not have any interaction for purposes of determining that a prescription for a compounded drug was medically necessary.

The conspiracy to commit health care fraud count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense. As part of his plea agreement, Darstek must forfeit $148,500 in criminal proceeds and pay restitution of at least $594,639. Sentencing is scheduled for March 23, 2021.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, and the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey, with the investigation leading to today’s plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bernard J. Cooney, Acting Chief of the Opioid Abuse Prevention & Enforcement Unit.

20-427

Defense counsel: Marco Laracca Esq., Orange, New Jersey

Hamilton Township Council Approves Propane Support Program

Program will Help Reimburse Local Restaurants for the Cost of Outdoor Heaters

November 18, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On Tuesday, November 17th, the Hamilton Township Council approved the creation of the Hamilton Township Propane Support Program to assist local restaurants with heating costs.

With this new program, funded by the Community Development Block Grant, the Township has made $20,000 available to help assist restaurants with the purchase and refilling of propane tanks. While outdoor dining has been a successful solution to prohibited or greatly reduced indoor dining, we quickly see temperatures dropping as we enter into late Fall and Winter. As such, many restaurants have invested in propane heaters to extend their outdoor dining season, but have found the expense to be cost prohibitive.

Through a partnership with Yardville Supply Company and Mercer Ace Hardware, the Township will be able to supply these tanks at a discounted rate, and allow restaurants to refill these tanks for the same price.

“The Propane Support Program is yet another innovative way for Hamilton to connect with our local restaurants and provide them with financial resources during these challenging times,” said Mayor Martin.  “I would like to thank Mercer Ace Hardware and Yardville Supply for partnering with us on this project and extend my thanks to Director of Community and Economic Development Fred Dumont for his tireless work communicating with our businesses during these challenging times and for continuing to find new and creative ways to support our Township businesses.”

“Council supports the Mayor’s action,” said Council President Richard Tighe. “Thank you to Yardville Supply and Ace Hardware for joining this effort. This is another example of how our community continues to come together to help each other through these tough times.”

Restaurants must register with the Township to express their interest in participating in this program. To send notification of interest, please email kkane@hamiltonnj.com with the following information: the name of the business, contact information (name, phone, email), and an approximate number of tanks this business typically goes through in a week.

Hamilton Council Recognizes 7 Hamilton Township Police Officers For Recent Acts of Heroism

November 17, 2020

Story and photos by Tyler Eckel

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP (MERCER): The Hamilton Township Council, along with Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin, recognized seven Hamilton Police Officers Tuesday night for their outstanding acts of heroism and bravery this year.

The Ceremony, originally scheduled to be held at a Council Meeting, was held at the HamStat Call Center following new COVID-19 restrictions. The room was limited to family guests only, with a maximum of ten individuals at a time. Social distancing and all other guidelines were followed. Officers were still mentioned in the virtual Council Meeting.

The first officer honored was Officer Ryan Fratz. Fratz was presented with a proclamation after responding to a motor vehicle crash on September 23, 2020 around 2:00 am at the intersection of Klockner Road and Kuser Road. Himself and John Hodniki, a nearby resident, rescued a man from his burning car after hitting a tree. The driver was then transported to the Trauma Center for his injuries. Without the quick thinking of Fratz, the victim of this crash may not have survived.

“It really inspired me and I know it did to council as well,” Mayor Jeff Martin said. “It’s been a tough year for officers around the country. When you went into that car, you didn’t know whether the person was white, black, male, female, whatever. You still went in and saved that person’s life,” Martin continued.

“Anyone I work with would have done the same thing,” Officer Fratz responded. “I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.”

Officer Christopher Harhay and Officer Anthony Carvale were honored next. Harhay and Carvale responded to the 100 block of Reeger Avenue on September 17, 2020 at about 1:23 pm for an agitated male carrying a gun. After arguing with relatives at their Reeger Avenue home, the suspect left the residence and observed a US Mail Carrier delivering mail nearby. The suspect chased after the Mail Carrier, pointed the gun, which ended up being a BB gun, directly at him and threatened him. Officers Harhay and Carvale arrived on the scene and were able to take the suspect into custody and retrieve the gun without injury to anyone. Because of their quick thinking and training, a situation that could have easily authorized the use of greater force, came to a peaceful end.

Mayor Martin congratulated them, quoting, “It’s so inspirational to me as well as the council to have officers like you on the job each and every day. What’s been a very difficult year for men and women in uniform, we wanted to make sure we took the moment this year to recognize our officers who have really have gone above and beyond.”

“Anthony and I signed up for our jobs as Police Officers. We know the responsibilities of coming to work everyday,” Harhay acknowledged.

“I just want to thank the Mayor, Council Members, and Hamilton PBA 66 for their continued support,” Carvale added. “It’s nice to have an event like this, especially with what’s going on in the current climate, you don’t see much positivity in regards to the police. Being recognised by our own town leadership is always very nice. We have a team of men and women here that are just trying to do our jobs, and their support means everything.”

Officer Timothy Donovan and Officer Justin Mura were also recognized. These officers were dispatched to Lincoln Court on June 8, 2020 around 9:42 am on the report of a woman that had self inflicted an injury with a knife. Upon their arrival, Donovan and Mura knocked on the front door. Suddenly, the front door opened and a woman emerged holding a large knife raised over her head and was bleeding from the neck. The woman charged at Officer Donovan with the raised knife, refusing verbal commands to drop it. Officer Donovan backed from the woman as she charged him, converting a distance of hundreds of feet, as he yelled for her to drop the knife. Officer Mura gave chase and approached the knife wielding woman from behind and was able to administer OC pepper spray until she stopped charging at Officer Donovan. The woman then used the knife to inflict another injury to herself in front of the Officers. At the direction of Officers, the woman finally dropped the knife and was provided first aid by Officers on the scene until an ambulance arrived and she was transported to the hospital. Another incident where stronger force could have been justified, but was avoided by the great performance of these officers.

Martin praised the officers mentioning, “The calm, cool, and collective approach you guys took to (the situation) represents the best that we have here in Hamilton, and the department overall.”

Officer Timothy Donovan retorted, “It was definitely an interesting situation, and one that I hope to never be in again. It is not a candy coated world out there. We are the ones in the trenches, so please don’t forget about us. We don’t deal with cats in trees, but we’re the ones really getting in there. We are the ones getting dirty and we need somebody on our side to tell the public: we’re not bad guys.”

“Just an echo from what Tim said, we go to work and we don’t look for a pat on the back, but it gives us confidence when we are being recognized and we’re being appreciated,” Officer Mura added.

The final two officers esteemed were Officer Anthony Lucidi and Officer Michael Stefanelli. They were dispatched to an active building fire in the 300 block of Klockner Road on June 16, 2020 around 11:43 pm. Upon arrival, they observed an active fire with flames on the second floor porch leading to the second floor apartment. Both Officers climbed onto the adjacent roof and attempted to force open the apartment door to evacuate the residents inside. Officers were able to wake a young couple and their daughter who were asleep inside the burning building. Lucidi and Stefanelli assisted the residents off of the roof and away from the burning porch to safety. The quick and heroic actions of these Officers undoubtedly prevented serious injuries or loss of life to the unaware residents.

“Like I’ve said before, you guys ran into that building not knowing anybody’s sex, gender, religion, political beliefs, anything like that. You went in there for the right reason, to literally save people’s lives,” Martin complimented. “That just epitomizes our Police Department here in Hamilton under the leadership of the Chief and everybody else,” Martin continued.

Officer Stefanelli’s reply was, “I just want to say thank you to everybody for putting this on. At the end of the day we’re just doing our job.”

Officer Lucidi added to his statement saying, “We live here, we work here, so we just have to do our job for the people we live with and the people we work with.”

Council President Rich Tighe responded to the ceremony by saying, “The chief and I started talking a lot right around the time of the George Floyd incident and the unrest. The Chief wanted to be very communicative about the measures that were being taken to keep our community safe. Every conversation we’ve ever had, the Chief’s primary concern has always been protecting human life. You guys are all examples of that. I’m proud of you, I appreciate you, thank you for the work that you’re doing.”

Hamilton’s Chief of Police James Stevens also said a few words for his officers. “I can’t thank (the parents) enough for supporting their (sons and daughters). I know it’s not easy. When I became a cop, my mother always worried, so I imagine it’s the same thing. I also can’t thank the Mayor and the council for all their support in this Police Division. It has not gone unrecognized by the men and women that work for the Police Division. I personally have a great privilege that I work for some very good officers. Everyday (officers) come to work not knowing what they will encounter, and they handle things accordingly with great professionalism and pride, and upholding the oath of office they took the day they got sworn in. With all that’s gone on this year, it’s been a tough year. Between Covid, tropical storms, civil unrest, the men and women of this division have not turned away or not answered the call to duty. They have always put themselves in harm’s way to make sure that the citizens of this township are safe.”


Above photos by Tyler Eckel