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December 2, 10

NEWS / Division of Criminal Justice & New Jersey State Police Arrest 11 in Connection With Alleged Voter Fr


TRENTON – Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor today announced that 11 people have been arrested since yesterday in connection with alleged voter fraud schemes involving the May 2010 Paterson city council election.

According to Director Taylor, the following people were arrested yesterday on charges of second- and third-degree voter fraud and third-degree tampering with public record: Belkis M. Cespedes, 50, of Paterson; Ana Vely-Gomez, 47, of Paterson; Lucia A. Guzman, 41, of Paterson; Inocencio Jimenez, 55, of Paterson; and Jose Ramon Ruiz, 62, of Prospect Park. In addition, Dalila Rodriguez, 60, of Paterson, and Wilson A. Torres, 29, of Paterson were arrested yesterday on charges of third-degree voter fraud and third-degree tampering with public records.

The following people were arrested today and charged with third-degree voter fraud and third-degree tampering with public records: Octavio A. Dominguez, 47, of Elmwood Park; Juana A. Gil, 43, of Paterson; Jose E. Gonzalez, 42, of Paterson; and Loudes Inoa, 37, Paterson.

All of the defendants were arrested by members of the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption North Unit and were transported to the Totowa Station, issued complaint summonses and released. They will be ordered to appear at the Passaic County Superior Court at a later date yet to be determined.

In addition, Ricardo A. Fermin-Cepeda, 24, of Paterson, was charged with second- and third-degree voter fraud and third-degree tampering with public records. Fermin-Cepeda is currently a fugitive.

The defendants arrested today and yesterday, as well as Fermin-Cepeda, all allegedly acted as bearers/messengers for mail-in (absentee) ballots. The complaint summonses allege that the defendants tampered with mail-in ballots and/or voted mail-in ballots on behalf of voters who did not receive the ballots or who did not authorize them to vote for them.

It is also alleged that Cespedes voted twice – once using her married named of Belkis Cespedes and once using her maiden name of Belkis Nunez.

Following the May 2010 city council election, the Division of Criminal Justice received complaints of possible voter fraud. The Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau and the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Unit launched an investigation approximately one week after the election.

The investigation is being coordinated by Detective Brian Murphy of the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption North Unit and Deputy Attorney General Vincent Militello of the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.

Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a $15,000 fine.

Because the charges are indictable offenses, this case is subject to presentation to a grand jury for potential indictment. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases10/pr20101201a.html

Tags: public records, public record,
 




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