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: September 30th

Dems fail to pry sufficient number from abstemious GOP caucus to pass debt report bill TRENTON - The Assembly this afternoon could not summon the necessary votes to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of A961, as Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) prevented Democrats - some of them outraged...

Op-Ed

Legislation needed for publicly financed gubernatorial elections

By JEFF BRINDLE It is critical that the Legislature soon enact a pending bill that would ensure the state’s Gubernatorial Public Financing Program is available in the event of a special election for governor.  Not only is there no current legal... Read More >

Contributors

In tribute to John Sheridan, a good and great man     I first learned late last night from television news that John P. Sheridan, Jr. and his wife, Joyce had... more »
(9-24-14) The Founding Fathers and the Militarization of the Police - No matter what the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decides, the debate over the militarization of... more »
(Trenton, NJ) --  On September 23, 2015 I shall dig this up and eat whatever crow I've got coming, but in the meantime only a listicle... 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

"When you're asked to cast a vote on a bill and it seems innocuous, and it's got a hidden land mine that perhaps only an expert would see, it would sort of behoove those experts to tell us in advance rather than make us look, shall we say, a little bit indecisive later on." - Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25).

- NJTV

Poll

Which of these "Mount Rushmore of Corruption" states deserves the centerpiece?:

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