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VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE COUNCIL REGULAR PUBLIC MEETING NOVEMBER 28, 2018

Ridgewood_-Village_Hall_theridgewoodblog

VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE COUNCIL REGULAR PUBLIC MEETING NOVEMBER 28, 2018
8:00 P.M.
1. Call to Order – Mayor
2. Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act
3. Roll Call – Village Clerk
4. Flag Salute and Moment of Silence
5. Acceptance of Financial Reports
6. Approval of Minutes
7. Proclamations
NONE
8. Comments from the Public (Not to exceed 3 minutes per person – 40 minutes in total)
9. Village Manager’s Report
10. Village Council Reports
11. ORDINANCES – INTRODUCTION – RIDGEWOOD WATER
NONE
12. ORDINANCES – PUBLIC HEARING – RIDGEWOOD WATER
NONE
13. RESOLUTIONS – RIDGEWOOD WATER

Continue reading VILLAGE OF RIDGEWOOD VILLAGE COUNCIL REGULAR PUBLIC MEETING NOVEMBER 28, 2018

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ICE arrests 91 in New Jersey operation targeting criminal aliens

June 13,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

NEWARK NJ,  An Salvadoran national in the country illegally, who has an Interpol warrant for being a member of MS-13 and trafficking in firearms and narcotics, is among 91 foreign nationals taken into custody during a five-day operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) last week in New Jersey, targeting at-large criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and other immigration violators. The operation was supported by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) New Jersey Field Office.

Of those arrested during the operation, which was spearheaded by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), 77 percent were convicted criminals and 70 percent of them had prior felony convictions.

“The remarkable results of our officers and law enforcement partners highlight ICE’s ongoing commitment to public safety,” said John Tsoukaris, Field Office Director of ERO Newark. “This operation focuses on the arrest of individuals convicted of serious crimes and are a threat to public safety. Because of the targeted efforts of these professional officers, there are 91 fewer criminals in our communities.”

These individuals will go through removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge or for those under a final order of removal, arrangements will be made to remove them from the U.S.

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection is extremely proud to have assisted in this operation,” said Frank Russo, Acting Director New York Field Office. “It is through collaborative efforts that law enforcement agencies can combat illegal acts and apprehend criminals who pose a threat to the Homeland.”

The individuals arrested throughout New Jersey were nationals of Anguilla (1), Bangladesh (1), Cameroon (1), Colombia (4), Cuba (3), Dominican Republic (14), Ecuador (4), Egypt (1), El Salvador (10), Ghana (1), Guatemala (3), Guinea (1), Guyana (2), Haiti (3), Honduras (4), Jamaica (3), Korea (2), Macedonia (2), Mexico (12), Nicaragua (1), Pakistan (2), Philippines (4), Peru (4), Poland (1), Spain (1), St. Lucia (1), Trinidad (3), and Venezuela (2)

These individuals were arrested in the following counties in New Jersey: Atlantic (3), Bergen (5), Burlington (3), Camden (3), Cumberland (6), Essex (19), Hudson (15), Mercer (7), Middlesex (7), Monmouth (1), Passaic (10), Union (8), and Warren (2). Also, one individual was arrested in New Castle county in Delaware and one individual was arrested in Bronx county in New York. They range from age 19 to 78 years old and all were previously convicted of a variety of offenses. Some of the convictions included sexual assault on a minor, child abuse, possession of narcotics, distribution of narcotics, money laundering, DUI, fraud, domestic violence, theft, possession of a weapon, burglary, larceny, aggravated assault, aggravated assault on law enforcement, resisting arrest, endangering the welfare of a child, kidnapping and illegal reentry.

Among those arrested during this operation include:

  • In Jersey City, a 39-year-old previously removed Venezuelan national, who has convictions of Aggravated Assault, Resisting Arrest by Force, Possession of a Weapon, and Distribution of Heroin;
  • In Saddle Brook, a 46-year-old Bangladeshi national, who has convictions of Aggravated Assault, and pending charges for Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Minor;
  • In New Brunswick, a 47-year-old Honduran national, who has convictions of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, who was released by Middlesex County Jail and rearrested by ICE;
  • In Passaic, a 24-year-old Jamaican national, who has convictions of Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Lewdness;
  • In Perth Amboy, a 32-year-old Dominican national, who has convictions of Possession of Cocaine, Domestic Violence Assault, and Trespassing;
  • In Newark, a 45-year-old Pakistani national, who has convictions of Money Laundering and Theft by Deception;
  • In Elizabeth, a 42-year-old Colombian national, who has a conviction for Homicide
  • In Bergenfield, a 58 year old Philippines national, who has convictions for DUI, Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Assault;
  • In Jersey City, a 54-year-old Dominican national, who has convictions for Kidnapping and Aggravated Assault;
  • In Bridgeton, a 41-year-old Mexican national, who has a conviction for Criminal Sexual Contact;
  • In Pleasantville, a 21-year-old Honduran national, who has been convicted for Endangering the Welfare of a Child;
  • In Plainfield, 22 & 23-year-old El Salvadorian nationals, who are members of MS-13;
  • In Lindenwold, 27 & 29-year-old El Salvadorian nationals, who are members of MS-13;
  • In East Orange, a 23-year-old Anguillan national, who is a member of the Bloods;
  • In South Brunswick, a 31-year-old Venezuelan national, who is a member of MS-13;
  • In West New York, a 26-year-old El Salvadorian national, who has an Interpol warrant for being a member of a terrorist organization (MS-13), trafficking in narcotics and trafficking in firearms;
  • In Bridgeton, a 22-year-old Mexican national, who is a member of the gang Los Pelones

ICE deportation officers conduct targeted enforcement operations every day in locations around the country as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to protect the nation, uphold public safety and protect the integrity of our immigration laws and border controls.

During targeted enforcement operations, ICE officers frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. Those persons will be evaluated on a case by case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE.

ICE continues to focus its enforcement resources on individuals who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy. However, as ICE Director Thomas Homan has made clear, ICE does not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.

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Ridgewood Estate Card offers Rewards to Local Shoppers With Property Tax Savings

Christmas Tree Village of Ridgewood

December 16,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Ridgewood has a new property tax savings program that aims to encourage residents to think and shop locally in exchange for a break on their tax bill. Property taxes in Ridgewood, New Jersey are among the highest in the state.

The Village of Ridgewood is now offering prepaid debit cards and instead of points or miles, you get property tax relief. The new program is called the Estate Card. It’s run by Municipal Cards, LLC.

Every time you are out and about in the Village you can save money. Debit Cardholders add money every month to their accounts to receive a base .25 percent on purchases towards their property taxes plus as much as an additional 30% at participating national retailers like Walmart, and local merchants like Trattoria La Bocca.

Traditionally businesses are usually charged a fee for swiping a credit card, but with the Estate Card this fee, in part, is rebated back to the customer towards their third quarter property taxes.

Businesses hope it will lure shoppers in to the central business district and for the Village it comes with an added advantage of revenue coming in sooner.
For consumers there is no monthly cost, spending requirement, or limit on the cards. The more you shop, the more tax dollars you save. The Estate Card is also available in other New Jersey towns such as Bridgewater, East Brunswick and South Plainfield.

 

Village of Ridgewood Estate card :

http://ridgewoodestatecard.com/

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Attorney General Porrino Announces Arrests of 79 Alleged Child Predators & Child Pornography Offenders in “Operation Safety Net”

Operation_Safety_Net_1[1]

December 5,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ,  Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino today announced arrests of 79 child predators and child pornography offenders in “Operation Safety Net,” a nine-month, multi-agency child protection initiative led by the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Partnering agencies targeted sex offenders who exploited the internet and social media, making arrests in every New Jersey county and deploying, for the first time, a new van equipped as a mobile cyber forensics lab, as well as a new canine trained to sniff out electronic devices, to assist in execution of search warrants.


Those arrested in Operation Safety Net included 10 “hands-on” offenders, including child predators in California and Indiana who allegedly tried to have children transported interstate from New Jersey by adult traffickers so they could have sex with the children; four men in New Jersey who allegedly sought to lure children for sex; a camp counselor who allegedly sexually assaulted a girl, 14, under his supervision; a youth minister who allegedly sent lewd photos of himself to a young girl; and a man, 24, who allegedly used a phone app to record underage girls performing sex acts on themselves. Those arrested also included numerous defendants, ranging in age from 14 to 75, who allegedly amassed and/or distributed large collections of child pornography, including a Trenton police officer, a swimming coach, a piano teacher, an IT professional from Morris County who allegedly had over 138,000 files of suspected child pornography (possibly over one million), a mechanic from Mercer County who allegedly had over 10,000 files of child porn, and three brothers in Cumberland County who allegedly had nearly 5,000 files of child pornography.

The operation was conducted by the ICAC Task Force, which is led by the New Jersey State Police and includes the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ), U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), all 21 County Prosecutors’ Offices, and many other state, county and local law enforcement agencies. Attorney General Porrino made the announcement at the Hamilton Tech Center with DCJ Director Elie Honig, Acting State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan, Supervisory Special Agent Craig Vanderhoff of HSI Human Trafficking/Child Exploitation Group, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner and representatives of other participating agencies. The Division of Criminal Justice exhibited its new cyber forensics van, and the State Police showcased its new electronics detection dog, Mega, both of which contributed greatly to the success of Operation Safety Net.

“The men we arrested lurked in the shadows of the internet and social media, looking for opportunities to sexually assault young children or to view such unspeakable assaults by sharing child pornography,” said Attorney General Porrino. “We set up a wide safety net in this operation to snare these alleged predators and to protect children, which remains our highest priority. With our new mobile forensics lab and electronics-sniffing dog, we’re even better equipped to uncover the evidence that will keep these offenders behind bars, where they cannot threaten or further exploit vulnerable victims.”

“I want to thank all of the many agencies and individuals who participated in this massive, unprecedented and highly collaborative effort to protect our children and communities in New Jersey and elsewhere,” Porrino added.

“We charged 10 men with hands-on predatory conduct against children, including attempted interstate trafficking of children for sex, sexual assault, luring, sending obscene images to a child, or manufacturing child pornography,” said Attorney General Porrino. “These cases highlight the fact that viewing child pornography is part of a continuum of deviant behavior that often leads to or drives other sex crimes.”

“The charges against Castillo reveal a dangerous child predator who went to great lengths in the belief that he was flying two very young girls to California so he could sexually assault them,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Had we not arrested him with our federal and California partners, the allegations indicate he would have continued to seek victims, including children as young as toddlers.”

“We’ve made these proactive child protection investigations a top priority by adding more staff for them at the state level and considerable new resources, including the mobile forensics lab and electronics detection dog,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “There’s no question that by collaborating across all levels of law enforcement and arresting these offenders, we protected innocent children who might otherwise have been sexually abused and exploited. We’ve also ensured that all these men who victimized children – or re-victimized them by viewing child pornography – will face justice.”
“The individuals who share this horrific material will not stop unless they are apprehended and removed from the public,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “The nine-month investigation conducted by the New Jersey Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and partnering agencies has ensured that children throughout the country will not fall victim to the actions of these depraved individuals. These arrests should put anyone looking to engage in this behavior on notice that law enforcement will be relentless in our efforts to put them behind bars.”
In addition to investigating numerous cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the ICAC Task Force in Operation Safety Net conducted proactive investigations to apprehend offenders by monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing networks and identifying the IP addresses of individuals sharing child pornography. Detectives also conducted undercover chat investigations on social media platforms, which led to arrests of alleged hands-on offenders and defendants attempting to lure children.
Two proactive investigations initiated by the New Jersey State Police extended beyond New Jersey’s borders – with assistance from other state and federal authorities – to apprehend defendants charged with allegedly attempting to arrange the interstate trafficking of young children for sex:
George Castillo, 36, of Inglewood, Calif., faces federal charges of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and production of child pornography, as well as New Jersey charges including first-degree conspiracy to commit child trafficking. Castillo allegedly solicited an undercover New Jersey State Police detective – who pretended to be trafficking children – to fly a 4-year-old girl to Los Angeles so he could sexually assault her. He also allegedly solicited an undercover police detective in Washington, D.C., who posed as a father, to bring his “daughter,” 9, to Los Angeles for sex at the same time the undercover from New Jersey was expected to arrive with the other girl. He was arrested on April 4 at Los Angeles International Airport when he arrived to meet the girls and their adult escorts. The charges stem from investigations by the New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Metropolitan Police Department/FBI Child Exploitation Task Force in Washington, D.C., and, in Los Angeles, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, LAX Task Force, and Los Angeles Police Department. The undercover investigators identified Castillo in separate investigations targeting pedophiles using the internet and social media.
Joseph Donohew, 26, of Brownsburg, Indiana, is charged in Indiana with attempted child molestation. He allegedly offered money to an undercover New Jersey State Police detective, whom he met on an instant messaging platform, to have sex with a 9-year-old girl. The undercover represented that he had a daughter, 9, and Donohew allegedly sent him $100 as a down payment to bring the girl to Indiana for sex. Donohew was arrested on July 13 at a gas station in Indiana, where he allegedly was to meet the father and girl. He had purchased a nightgown for the girl depicting characters from a Disney movie he believed was her favorite. The New Jersey State Police worked with the FBI, Brownsburg Police Department, Indiana State Police and Hendricks County Prosecutor’s Office in Indiana.

Eight other defendants were arrested in New Jersey in Operation Safety Net on charges related to various types of alleged “hands-on” conduct, including sexual assault, luring a child, conveying obscene materials to a child, and manufacturing child pornography:

William Esker, 22, of Bayonne, N.J., was charged on Sept. 7 by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office with aggravated criminal sexual contact for allegedly engaging in sexual conduct with a girl, 14, over whom he had direct supervision as a camp counselor. He also is charged with providing obscene material to a child and endangering the welfare of a child.
Donald Beckwith, 34, of Browns Mills, N.J., is charged in Delaware with sexual solicitation of a minor and attempt to commit unlawful sexual contact with a minor. Beckwith, a captain in the Air Force stationed in New Jersey, met a girl, 14, through an online chat group for children and allegedly engaged her in sexual conversations, ultimately asking her to meet him in person. He allegedly met the girl twice in Delaware. The first time, he allegedly reached under her shirt and tried to touch her breast, and the second time he allegedly hugged her and repeatedly asked her to lie on a bed in the back of his vehicle and watch a movie with him. The New Jersey State Police arrested Beckwith on Aug. 16 in an investigation initiated by the Delaware State Police. Detectives allegedly found over 10 nude images of an underage girl on his phone.
Michael DeBlock, 22, of Hopatcong, N.J., a youth minister, was arrested on Oct. 10 and charged by the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office with possession of child pornography and conveying obscene materials to a child. DeBlock allegedly exchanged sexual photos and texts with a girl, 14, including a photo of his penis.
Brandon Morris, 24, of Hammonton, N.J., was arrested on Oct. 17 and charged by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office with manufacturing child pornography, endangering the welfare of a child by sexual conduct, conveying obscene materials to a child, and possession of child pornography. Morris allegedly engaged multiple underage girls in conversations on FaceTime, instructing them to perform sexual acts on themselves, which he recorded.
A 17-year-old student from Bergen County, whose name is not being released due to his juvenile status, was arrested on Aug. 17 and charged by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office with manufacturing, distributing and possessing child pornography, as well as invasion of privacy. The juvenile allegedly had over 1,000 files of suspected child pornography on his electronic devices, including video recordings he allegedly made by hiding his smartphone in a private bathroom in order to record underage boys who were nude, showering or urinating.
Craig Kirschner, 39, of Marlboro, N.J., was arrested on Aug. 21 and charged by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office with luring a child, attempted sexual assault of a minor, and conveying obscene material to a minor. Kirschner allegedly solicited an undercover detective, whom he believed to be a 15-year-old male, to meet for oral sex. The detective was monitoring a mobile app when he encountered Kirschner. After the undercover detective identified himself as a 15-year-old boy, Kirschner allegedly sent him photos of an erect penis, asked him to meet for oral sex, and stated “I can be generous for your trouble.”
Isaac Toney, 40, of Trenton, N.J., was arrested on July 17 by the New Jersey State Police and charged with luring a child. He allegedly used a mobile app to solicit an undercover detective, whom he believed was a 14-year-old male, for oral sex. He was arrested at Veterans Park in Hamilton, Mercer County, where he allegedly was to meet the “boy” for a sexual encounter.
Robert Elmi, 63, of Gillette, N.J., was arrested by the New Jersey State Police on Nov. 9 on a charge of luring a child. Elmi had placed an ad on Craigslist soliciting a relationship with a younger female. An undercover State Police detective responded, posing as a young girl and indicating to Elmi that she was 13. Elmi allegedly communicated with the “13-year-old” for several weeks by text and email, ultimately arranging to meet her at a diner. He allegedly told the “girl” he would take her back to his apartment, where they would drink, watch TV, kiss and perform oral sex on each other. Elmi was arrested by the State Police at the diner.

Forty-one defendants are charged with second-degree distribution of child pornography, which carries a sentence of five to 10 years in prison, and 66 defendants are charged with third-degree possession of child pornography, which carries a sentence of three to five years in prison. Out of the 41 charged with distribution, six are charged with distributing 25 items or more, and therefore are subject, if convicted, to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison under the strict child pornography law signed by Governor Christie in August 2013. Out of the 66 defendants charged with possession, 25 are charged with possession of 100 or more items and are subject to a presumption of imprisonment under that law, even if they have no prior criminal record. More of the defendants may face those enhanced charges and penalties once full forensic examinations of their computers and electronic devices are completed.

On July 21, 2017, Governor Christie signed a new law which will take effect Feb. 1, 2018 and will further enhance penalties for possession and distribution of child pornography. The new law expanded the definition of child pornography to include child erotica. In addition, the new law makes it a first-degree crime to distribute 1,000 or more items depicting the sexual exploitation of a child, with a mandatory parole ineligibility period of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed. The new law also makes it a first degree crime to possess 100,000 or more items of child pornography, and a second-degree crime to possess anywhere between 1,000 and 99,999. Under the new law, videos depicting the sexual exploitation of a child will count more heavily than still images, each counting for 10 images.

Eleven defendants arrested in Operation Safety Net would qualify as second-degree “super-possessors” under the new law to go into effect in 2018. Because it was not in effect when they were arrested, they cannot be charged under the tough new law, but these 11 arrests illustrate how offenders routinely amass huge collections of child pornography, which soon will make them subject to the enhanced penalties:

William Camargo, 48, of Millington, N.J., an IT professional , allegedly had more than 138,000 files of suspected child pornography, and possibly more than one million files (determination awaiting full forensic examinations of computer equipment);
Callen Kapschock, 55, of Hamilton, Mercer County, N.J., a mechanic, allegedly had more than 10,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Md F. Uddin, 43, of Elizabeth, N.J., an engineer, allegedly had more than 5,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Kody Knotts, 22, of Millville, N.J., along with his two brothers immediately below, allegedly had a combined total of nearly 5,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Alexander Knotts, 27, of Millville, N.J.;
Kyle Knotts, 23, of Millville, N.J.;
Laurence Duque, 42, of Dayton, N.J., allegedly had over 4,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Gregory Piszczek, 35, of Woodbridge, N.J., an IT professional, allegedly had over 4,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Kevin Groeger, 63, of Cranford, N.J., a postal worker, allegedly had over 2,000 files of suspected child pornography;
Pasquale “Charles” Albano, 75, of Point Pleasant, N.J., allegedly had over 1,000 files of suspected child pornography; and
Juvenile Male, 17, referenced above, allegedly had over 1,000 files of suspected child pornography.
Operation Safety Net made extensive use of two key new tools: an electronics detection canine and a mobile forensics van. Both contributed greatly to the success of the operation. As electronic devices become smaller and easier to hide, the importance of dogs trained to detect them increases. There are thumb drives available that are hidden in or disguised as cuff links, bracelets, LEGO blocks, coins and other everyday items. Throughout the operation, the canine was used at State Police and Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) search warrant scenes. The canine was used for a preliminary walk-through and would identify devices and loose electronic storage media not in plain view. The detectives would then thoroughly search the area where that evidence was found to ensure all digital evidence was recovered.
Rapid triage of computers at search sites – also called forensic previewing – is a critical component of child pornography investigations. Such forensic previewing can result in the immediate arrest of individuals who otherwise might be left to continue direct illicit sexual contact with minors, preventing further abuse of victims. The previewing of computers at search sites has often had to occur in close proximity to the alleged perpetrator and often in potentially dangerous environments. As an example, in the last operation, two DCJ detectives were hospitalized after the suspect at the search warrant scene attempted to gain control of one detective’s handgun, resulting in a dangerous struggle. To maintain the integrity of the evidence gathering process, it is important for the forensic examiner to have the proper equipment to work with and the proper environment to work in. For these reasons, DCJ purchased a customized van, equipped with the appropriate desks and electrical and other equipment, which is used on-site for the forensic previewing of computers and computer-related equipment. This van enabled detectives in Operation Safety Net to safely examine suspected devices within the van and conduct more extensive previews at the scene, increasing the number of charges carrying enhanced penalties.
The following 58 additional men were arrested in Operation Safety Net on charges of possession and/or distribution of child pornography:
Paul Marinelli, 52, of South Brunswick, N.J., a Trenton police officer, charged with possession of child pornography.
James Cutrone, 54, of Hazlet, N.J., a youth swim coach, charged with distribution of child pornography.
Bryan San Andreas, 37, of Toms River, N.J., a piano teacher, charged with possession of child pornography.
John Parsons, 50, of Vineland, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Donald Williams, 39, of Camden, N.J., charged with distribution of child pornography.
Kevin Wenng, 35, of Cliffwood Beach, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Victor Kurynow, 58, of Bedminster, N.J., charged with attempted possession of child pornography and conveying obscene materials to a minor.
Paul Fuhs, 44, of Laurel Springs, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Ryan Stemetzki, 26, of Maple Shade, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Robert Ruff, 56, of Delran, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Robert King, 63, of North Wildwood, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Jason Locke, 42, of Manchester, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Stephen Slawinski, 60, of Morris Plains, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Herbert Ferreira, 43, of Dover, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Joseph Maruca, 26, of Berkeley Township, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
James Gilbertson, 60, of Manchester, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Christopher Todd, 49, of Lyndhurst, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Alexis Gonzalez, 28, of Hackensack, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Raul Rodriguez, 33, of Jersey City, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Dhanendhran Govender, 32, of East Windsor, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Luis Pacheco-Loja, 30, of Belleville, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Robert White, 66, of Morristown, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Jonathan Latiff 40, of Jersey City, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Anthony Gerace, 43, of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., charged with distribution of child pornography.
Antonio Baang, 26, of Galloway Township, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Richard Lake, 65, of Trenton, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Federico Flores, 29, of Rahway, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
James Agin, 69, of Westwood, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Fortino Rosales-Rodriguez, 22, of Oaklyn, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Justin Saavedra, 22, of Clifton, N.J., charged with distribution of child pornography.
Daniel Braz, 39, of South River, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Nelson Cintron, Jr., 54, of Collingswood, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Michael Brown, 28, of Pennsauken, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Erik Baez, 38, of Sicklerville, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Larry Gonzalez, 45, of Elizabeth, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Erik Johnson, 49, charged by Union County Prosecutor’s Office with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Marco Biason, 68, of Dover, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Brian Neilson, 55, of Metuchen, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Thomas Smith, 54, of Woodstown, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Zachary Brawer, 31, of Paramus, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Brian J. Gardner, 74, of Nutley, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
John T. Ruffner, 37, of Lumberton, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
John Skubiak, 62, of Deptford, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Nicholas J. Novak, 66, of Ocean Township, Monmouth County, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Eric MacAfee, 41, of Seaside Heights, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Jeison Padilla, 29, of Somerville, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography and conveying obscene materials to a minor.
Justin England, 31, of North Plainfield, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Eric Yourish, 61, of North Plainfield, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Christopher Dunham, 22, of Rockaway, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Justin Piccola, 23, of Randolph, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Nicolas Bencze, 36, of Maywood, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Michael Yosco, 70, of Garfield, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Male Juvenile, age 14, of Bergen County, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
Julio Garcia, 29, of Bridgeton, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Joseph Lawitz, 34, of Hamilton, Mercer County, N.J., charged with possession of child pornography.
James Livas, 22, of Hopatcong, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Robert Fuscarino, 27, of Hopatcong, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.
Donovan Roots, 19, of Pilesgrove, N.J., charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.

The charges against the defendants in Operation Safety Net are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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Bergen County Chiropractor Final Defendant Charged in Multi-Level Insurance Fraud Network Run by Monmouth County Brothers

insurance fraud

September 27,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Park Ridge NJ,  Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP) today announced that a Bergen County chiropractor has been charged as the final defendant in a multi-level insurance fraud network run by Colts Neck Brothers Anhuar and Karim Bandy.

Anthony Riotto, 44, who operates Riotto Family Chiropractic in Park Ridge, was charged by accusation with third-degree health care claims fraud in connection with the Bandy brothers’ criminal network.

He is the final defendant charged in a complex insurance fraud scheme in which the Bandy brothers paid illegal “runners” to recruit car crash victims as patients for chiropractic facilities they controlled, then collected kickbacks for referring those victims for medical and legal services provided by others who pleaded guilty in the scheme, including a doctor, a lawyer, three licensed chiropractors, a paralegal and a licensed acupuncturist.

“We are moving forward with our prosecution of the final defendant in an investigation that put a stop to egregious corruption of New Jersey’s medical, legal, and insurance industries,” said Attorney General Porrino. “We will continue to enforce the laws that protect patients from being treated like cattle being sold to the highest bidder.”

“Patients must be able to trust that medical decisions are being made in their interest, not in the interest of criminals trying to scam the insurance system,” said Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu. “As this case demonstrates, anyone who exploits and manipulates patients for financial gain will be held accountable.”

According to the allegations against him, Riotto caused numerous fraudulent claims to be submitted to five insurance carriers in connection with patients he referred to MLS Medical, a Park Ridge practice specializing in pain management owned by another participant in the Bandy brother’s criminal scheme.

Riotto allegedly received the patients for his chiropractic practice through the Bandy brothers’ illegal runners network, then referred them to MLS Medical without disclosing to them that he had a financial interest in the practice. MLS Medical, in turn, submitted insurance claims for those patients without disclosing to insurance carriers that the patients had been referred by a practitioner with financial interest in the practice.

Twelve defendants have pleaded guilty and been sentenced in the criminal enterprise exposed in the April 2014 indictment of Anhuar and Karim Bandy and 10 others. Five more individuals, including Riotto, were subsequently charged in connection with the scheme.

The Bandy brothers have admitted that between June 1, 2009 and January 1, 2014 they illegally controlled several chiropractic facilities through purported “management companies” and “marketing companies” whose real purpose was to hide their ownership. New Jersey regulations require that chiropractic facilities be owned by licensed chiropractors or medical doctors; neither Bandy holds such titles.

In order to generate revenue for the chiropractic facilities, the brothers used “runners” to bring motor vehicle accident patients to the facilities so the straw owners could bill insurance carriers for services rendered at the facilities. An investigation determined that, through the scheme, the chiropractic facilities billed insurance companies for millions of dollars for services they purported to perform. The checks sent by the insurance carriers were deposited into the various accounts of the chiropractic facilities or the management companies. A large portion of the monies deposited into the accounts of the chiropractic facilities would then be paid to the Bandy management companies.

The runners were paid up to $1,000 for each patient that they recruited for medical treatment. An investigation determined that the runners retrieved motor vehicle accident reports at local police stations, under the Open Public Records Act rules, and then visited the homes of the motor vehicle accident victims in an attempt to persuade them to utilize the services of the chiropractic facilities controlled by the Bandy brothers. The runners picked up the motor vehicle accident patients from their homes and drove them to the chiropractic facilities. An investigation determined that payments were made to companies incorporated by Karim Bandy for over a thousand referrals of patients for medical treatment and/or clients for legal representation.

In July 2015, Anhuar and Karim Bandy pleaded guilty to second-degree insurance fraud and were each sentenced to six-and-a-half-year prison terms in hearings that took place in June and July, respectively, of this year. They also were ordered to pay a $100,000 fine and $50,000 reimbursement to insurance companies that paid thousands of fraudulent claims over a four-year period.

The following professional service providers pleaded guilty and were sentenced in the scheme:

Dr. Mark Schwartz, D.O., 50, of Park Ridge, owner of MLS Medical in Park Ridge who pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree health care claims fraud and was sentenced to three years of probation and 40 hours of community service.
David Walker, Esq., 58, of Rockaway, a personal injury lawyer who pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree conspiracy and was sentenced to two years of probation and 40 hours of community service.
Alexandra Gallegos, 55, of Piscataway, a paralegal who received a percentage of the profits of Walker’s firm, who filed personal injury claims on behalf of the motor vehicle accident patients. She pleaded guilty to third-degree conspiracy and third-degree criminal use of runners and was sentenced two years of probation, 40 hours of community service, and a $5,000 criminal fine.
Edward Formisano, D.C., 55, of Roxbury, a chiropractor and purported owner of Eclipse Chiropractic, located in Plainfield; Lakewood Chiropractic, located in Lakewood; Liberty Chiropractic Center, located in Jersey City; and Chiropractic Spine Center, located in Perth Amboy. He pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree health care claims fraud and was sentenced to two years of probation and 40 hours of community service.
Louis Brown, D.C., 65, of Rahway, a chiropractor and purported owner of True Healing and Wellness, located in New Brunswick; New Century Chiropractic, located in Dover; and Wellspring Rehabilitation, located in North Plainfield. He pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree criminal use of a runner and was sentenced to two years of probation and 40 hours of community service.
Gerald Roth, D.C., 69, of Highland Park, a chiropractor who pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree criminal use of runners and was sentenced to one year of probation.
Sergey Lipschitz, 44, of Morganville, an acupuncturist who pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree insurance fraud and was admitted into the Pretrial Intervention Program.

The following individuals pleaded guilty to criminal use of runners (3rd degree) and were sentenced:

Cesar Huaman, 48, of Orlando, Fla., who also recruited other runners in the scheme, also pleaded guilty to third-degree conspiracy. He was sentenced to two years of probation.
Estefania Frias, 27, of Plainfield, who is Anhuar Bandy’s fiancé, was sentenced to two years of probation, 40 hours of community service, a $2,000 criminal fine, and $2,000 in restitution.
Bernardo Neiman, 55, of Elizabeth, was sentenced to one year of probation.

Lillian Frias, 55, of Plainfield, who is Estefania Frias’ mother; Albert Lee Hughes, 35, of Orlando, Fla.; and Anali Rivera, 29, Somerville, were all admitted into the Pretrial Intervention Program based on the charges in the indictment. Charges are pending against Rene Lacotera, 39, of Elizabeth, who is being sought on a fugitive warrant.

In 2004, Anhuar Bandy was convicted on charges of criminal racketeering, conspiracy, health care claims fraud, and theft charges brought by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor. Bandy subsequently served approximately four years in state prison.

Deputy Attorney Cheryl Maccaroni, Bureau Chief, Private Insurance, represented the State in the filing of the criminal charges against Riotto on September 8, 2017. Lt. Joseph Waters, Investigator/Analyst Marwa Kashef coordinated the investigation. Detectives Janet Amberg, Amy Carson, Heather Pittman, and Analyst Bethany Schussler assisted in the investigation. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Iu thanks the Special Investigations Units and counsel for the following insurance Companies: Allstate, Plymouth Rock, Liberty Mutual, Geico and Travelers; as well as the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, the New Jersey Division of Taxation, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau for their assistance in the investigation.

Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Iu noted that some important cases have started with anonymous tips. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have information about a fraud can report it anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting the Web site at www.NJInsurancefraud.org. State regulations permit a reward to be paid to an eligible person who provides information that leads to an arrest, prosecution and conviction for insurance fraud.

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Cranford Astronomer Shares Tips for Viewing Solar Eclipse

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By LEAH SCALZADONNA

July 23, 2017 at 8:59 PM

CRANFORD, NJ –  On August 21, a solar eclipse is predicted to cross the country from Oregon to South Carolina, and be partly visible throughout the country. John Sichel, corresponding secretary of Amateur Astronomers Incorporated, shares how Cranford residents can enjoy the action.

AAI is one of the largest astronomy clubs in the country and meets at the William Miller Sperry Observatory on the Cranford campus of Union County College every Friday evening.

“In New Jersey the eclipse will reach only about 77 percent of totality—so the sun will look like a crescent at the height of the event,” Sichel said. “Most of our members are traveling to points south and west to observe totality.”

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/plainfield/sections/green/articles/cranford-astronomer-shares-tips-for-viewing-solar-1

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Governor Christie Announces New Initiatives to Reduce MVC Wait Times, Customer Costs

MVC

August 24,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

 

Trenton, NJ – Governor Christie today visited the Randolph, New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) agency to announce additional initiatives aimed at reducing MVC wait times and customer costs. These new proposals and improvements to existing programs will cut transaction times and make it easier for drivers to access services.

“Providing excellent customer service at MVC and throughout state government has been a key component of my administration,” said Governor Christie. “MVC is continually looking for ways to enhance the customer experience and streamline the transaction process.  With these new initiatives, customers will have more options to conduct their business either online or at a variety of locations with some express options. “

To reduce demand at the end of the month, Governor Christie is calling on the legislature to pass a bill that would change driver license and registration expiration dates to drivers’ birthdays instead of the last day of the month.

To encourage use of MVC’s online tools, by October 1st, MVC will eliminate online transaction fees. MVC will continue to post on its website updated wait times at each agency location and identify low-volume agencies, as well as offer online scheduling of driver tests and online suspension/restoration appointments.

Starting in early 2017, MVC will launch two mobile agency units that will be able to perform all transactions that existing agencies can with the exception of driver testing and titles. They will be deployed in the event of unforeseen agency outages and also will be utilized to service the needs of varying populations. MVC also is working with AAA to develop a system for customers to be able to renew their registration through certain AAA offices.

“AAA is proud to work with several states to provide motor vehicle services at our offices,” said Cathleen Lewis, Director of AAA Northeast Public Affairs and Government Relations. “We look forward to working with the administration to provide similar services for the State of New Jersey.”

To reduce the time of license renewal transactions, many agencies have implemented a driver’s license express process, which allows customers to bypass the ID check stations.  MVC also has increased the number of Enhanced Digital Driver’s License cameras in 10 of its busiest agencies – Bakers Basin, Springfield, East Orange, Turnersville, Somerville, South Plainfield, Edison, Rahway, North Bergen, and Wallington.

MVC has started the process of converting to a central issuance system to issue IDs from a central location rather than through individual agencies, which will reduce transaction times and ensure maximum security throughout the process.

Earlier this year, Governor Christie ordered enhanced customer service training for MVC employees which focused on fundamental customer service skills, such as active listening, effective communication, and conflict resolution. Training already has been provided to all MVC executive and senior staff, Agency Services Coordinators, Regional Managers and Agency Managers. Customer complaints are currently being tracked by region, which allows the MVC to identify more quickly trends in areas needing improvement in specific agencies or geographical areas of the State.

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The fact is Ridgewood was designated by NJT as a major transit hub several years ago

ridgewood bus station

“The fact is Ridgewood was designated by NJT as a major transit hub several years ago and to a large extent that is why so many residents who work on Wall St have chosen to live here. Ridgewood has the reputation as the town that “has it all” great schools, charming neighborhoods, a lively downtown……and an easy commute to the city. When one gets past all the current rhetoric the three amigos are simply executing a plan and a vision for Ridgewood that was put in place long before they arrived on the scene.” Ed S

From
http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/community/village/faq.shtm

Transit Village Initiative Overview

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a designated Transit Village?
A. A designated Transit Village is a municipality that has been recommended for designation by the interagency Transit Village Task Force. These municipalities have demonstrated a commitment to revitalizing and redeveloping the area around their transit facilities into compact, mixed-use neighborhoods with a strong residential component.

A municipality can be designated a Transit Village only after much of the planning and background work has already been done on the municipal level. It may only be designated a Transit Village after the Transit Village Criteria have been met.

Q. How many designated Transit Villages are there?
A. There are currently 30 designated Transit Villages. They are Pleasantville (1999), Morristown (1999), Rutherford (1999), South Amboy (1999), South Orange (1999), Riverside (2001), Rahway (2002), Metuchen (2003), Belmar (2003), Bloomfield (2003), Bound Brook (2003), Collingswood (2003), Cranford (2003), Matawan (2003), New Brunswick (2005), Journal Square/Jersey City (2005), Netcong (2005), Elizabeth/Midtown (2007), Burlington City (2007), City of Orange Township (2009), Montclair (2010), Somerville (2010), Linden (2010), West Windsor (2012), East Orange (2012), Dunellen (2012), Summit (2013), Plainfield (2014), Borough of Park Ridge (2015) and Irvington Township (2015).

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N.J. courses on the list as The Barclays announces future sites

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AUGUST 25, 2015, 12:31 PM    LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2015, 12:41 PM
BY ANDY VASQUEZ
STAFF WRITER |
THE RECORD

EDISON — The Barclays will be spending a lot of time in New Jersey over the coming years.

The PGA Tour tournament, which changes sites each year, is being played at Plainfield Country Club in Edison this week. Tuesday morning, tournament officials unveiled the future rotation through 2022.

In the next seven years, the Barclays will be played in Jersey four times.

After two years on Long Island, the tournament will next be played in New Jersey in 2018, at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus. That begins a  a stretch of three consecutive years in New Jersey.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/n-j-courses-on-the-list-as-the-barclays-announces-future-sites-1.1397925

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Court reverses N.J. child-abuse law; kids left alone in car not necessarily a crime

kids locked in a trunk

AUGUST 20, 2015, 1:18 PM    LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2015, 11:08 PM
BY SALVADOR RIZZO
STATE HOUSE BUREAU |
THE RECORD

On a cloudy day in 2009, a mother of four left her youngest child, a 19-month-old girl, sleeping in a locked car and went into a Dollar Tree store in South Plainfield.

By the time she returned to her vehicle, security guards had called the police. The mother was arrested. And what started as a five- to 10-minute stop to buy party supplies on a 55-degree day turned into a legal battle that has not yet ended six years later.

The state Supreme Court took the mother’s side in a unanimous decision issued Thursday. Leaving a young child unattended in a car is legal in some cases if the parent or caretaker takes precautionary measures, the court indicated.

As a result, the mother will get a chance to clear her record at a fact-finding hearing she has sought for years. The decision extends to other parents and guardians as well, ending the state’s ability to enroll them automatically in its registry of child abusers for leaving children in unattended vehicles. If those children are unharmed, the state must let their guardians plead their case at a hearing, the court said.

The mother has been granted anonymity by the courts, and is referenced only by her initials, E.D.-O.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/ruling-that-made-leaving-kids-in-car-child-abuse-no-matter-how-briefly-overturned-by-nj-supreme-court-1.1395764