By Darryl R. Isherwood | September 28th, 2012 - 5:22pm
| More

An Essex County campaign worker was convicted today of absentee ballot fraud that occurred during the 2007 election of state Sen. Teresa Ruiz.

John Fernandez, 61, of Belleville, was found guilty of election fraud following a two-week trial.  The jury found Fernandez guilty of charges of conspiracy (2nd degree), election fraud (2nd degree), absentee ballot fraud (3rd degree), tampering with public records or information (3rd degree), and forgery (4th degree).

The Mercer County jury found that  Fernandez, who works for the Essex County Department of Economic Development, fraudulently tampered with documentation for absentee ballots in Ruiz's Nov. 6, 2007 general election, submitting ballots on behalf of voters who never received the ballots or had an opportunity to cast their votes.

Fernandez was charged in 2009 along with several other defendants, including Ruiz's husband, Essex County Freeholder Samuel Gonzalez.  As a result, Gonzalez agreed to forfeit his seat on the freeholder board and his job as an aide to a Newark city councilman, and he was admitted into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program. Four other defendants previously pleaded guilty, and three, including Gonzalez, forfeited their public positions and were admitted by the court into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program.

In March 2010 Gianine Narvaez, 39, of Belleville, a former data processing technician for the Essex County Commissioner of Registration and Superintendent of Elections, pleaded guilty to third-degree charges of absentee ballot fraud and tampering with public records or information.  She is awaiting sentencing.  She forfeited her job and public pension, and she will be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.

Two other defendants, Edwin Cruz, 50, of Newark, and Rocio Rivera, 52, of Washington, N.J. (Hunterdon County), pleaded guilty last year.  Cruz pleaded guilty to third-degree tampering with public records or information, and Rivera pleaded guilty to third-degree absentee ballot fraud.  They are awaiting sentencing.   Rivera forfeited her job in the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.  

Angel Colon, 49, of Newark, pleaded guilty to second-degree election fraud and was sentenced in January 2012 to five years of probation. The state has appealed his sentence, arguing that he should have received a sentence of five to 10 years in prison based on his guilty plea.

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 29th

Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...

Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

Contributors

My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi

- The Daily Beast

Poll

Who is a better field general for his party as both try to win governor's races around the country?:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources