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

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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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EXTRA RAIL AND BUS SERVICE SET FOR THANKSGIVING TRAVELERS

the  staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ,  NJ TRANSIT is once again offering additional trains and buses this Thanksgiving holiday weekend to make it even easier for customers to unite with family and friends, travel to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, or get started on holiday shopping at various malls throughout the state. Plus, feel free to bring your holiday helpers, as kids ride free* the entire long weekend!

Continue reading EXTRA RAIL AND BUS SERVICE SET FOR THANKSGIVING TRAVELERS

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Convictions Made in Multi-State Dog Fighting Case

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

TRENTON NJ,  Four men were convicted at trial in connection with their respective roles in a multi-state dog fighting operation, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito and Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division announced today.

Continue reading Convictions Made in Multi-State Dog Fighting Case

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SCHEPISI AND 39 ASSEMBLY MEMBERS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION BANNING CORRUPT OFFICIALS FROM PUBLIC WORK

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the staff of the Ridgewood

Trenton NJ,Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-Bergen) today introduced legislation banning public officials convicted of corruption from holding jobs with state and local governments. The bill (A4584) is co-sponsored by Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak (D-Middlesex) and is co-sponsored by 38 additional members.

So that means the “Meter thief” can’t work for the Village . But more importantly let see how many in Trenton can pass the test.

Continue reading SCHEPISI AND 39 ASSEMBLY MEMBERS INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION BANNING CORRUPT OFFICIALS FROM PUBLIC WORK

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CONSEQUENCES OF “SEXTING” BILL SIGNED INTO LAW

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Wayne NJ, Senator Kristin Corrado’s legislation requiring middle school students to be taught the legal, social, and emotional consequences of “sexting” has been signed into law by the governor.
The new law sponsored by Sen. Kristin Corrado requires middle school students to be taught the legal, social, and emotional consequences of “sexting.” Continue reading CONSEQUENCES OF “SEXTING” BILL SIGNED INTO LAW

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Ocean County Lawyer Who Hosted Radio Show on Elder Law Pleads Guilty to Stealing Millions of Dollars from Elderly Clients

July 29,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ,  Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a prominent Ocean County attorney who hosted a radio show and taught seminars on elder law pleaded guilty today to stealing millions of dollars from elderly clients of his law firm and laundering the money through various bank accounts, including his attorney trust and business accounts. The victims generally did not have close relatives to guard their interests and in some cases suffered from dementia.

Robert Novy, 66, of Brick, N.J., pleaded guilty today to first-degree money laundering before Superior Court Judge Michael T. Collins in Ocean County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Novy be sentenced to 10 years in state prison, including three years and four months of parole ineligibility. In pleading guilty, Novy admitted that he stole millions of dollars from law clients. The state’s investigation revealed that he stole nearly $3 million from at least two dozen victims.  Novy is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 28.

Novy must pay restitution to his victims out of two funds totaling $4 million that are being created using assets previously seized from him by the state: one fund of $3 million to provide restitution to client victims, heirs, estates and trusts already identified through the state’s investigation, and a second fund of $1 million to provide restitution, with court approval, for others not previously identified who come forward with proof that they were victims of thefts.  Novy also must surrender his license to practice law in New Jersey and pay $500,000 to the state as an anti-money laundering profiteering penalty.

Deputy Attorneys General Peter Gallagher and William Conlow prosecuted Novy and took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. The guilty plea is the result of an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, assisted by the New Jersey Division of Taxation Office of Criminal Investigation.

As an expert in elder law, Novy hosted a bi-monthly radio program “Inside the Law,” focusing on topics of concern to senior citizens. He was arrested on Oct. 18, 2016.  Detectives executed a search warrant at the time at his firm, Novy & Associates, on Ridgeway Avenue in Manchester, seizing billing records and other evidence. The Attorney General’s Office obtained court orders freezing over $4 million in assets held by Novy and his firm and appointing a trustee to oversee the firm’s business operations.

“By exploiting elderly clients and stealing their life savings, Novy sank to the lowest levels of greed, dishonesty, and callousness,” said Attorney General Grewal. “This guilty plea serves justice by ensuring that Novy will face a substantial prison sentence and that his victims will receive restitution from assets already seized from him by the Division of Criminal Justice.”

“A fundamental concern in this case was to secure restitution for Novy’s many victims, including his elderly clients and the heirs and beneficiaries who had millions of dollars stolen from them,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice.  “Through this guilty plea, we have achieved that goal and have sent a strong message that lawyers and others who hold positions of trust will be held accountable if they betray that trust and steal from those who are vulnerable.”

The case was referred to the Division of Criminal Justice by Ocean County Surrogate Jeffrey W. Moran. Novy also was investigated by the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics, which issued an ethics complaint against him on Jan. 26, 2016, and assisted the Division of Criminal Justice.

The investigation revealed that Novy stole funds from elderly and deceased clients who often did not have a close relative to claim their estate or challenge Novy’s actions.  He used the stolen funds for his own benefit, paying personal and business expenses.  Novy gained control through wills, powers of attorney, and trust documents, making himself the sole financial decision-maker for the clients. When clients had sizeable assets in the form of an annuity or life insurance policy, Novy directed insurance companies to redeem the policies and send the money directly to him. In some cases, when challenged by trustees or relatives about particular funds that had been withdrawn from client accounts, Novy claimed they were “administrative errors” and repaid the funds.

The Division of Criminal Justice obtained a state grand jury indictment on April 30, 2018 charging that Novy engaged in three different schemes by which he stole funds from clients:

  1. In one scheme, Novy simply transferred funds from his clients’ personal bank accounts or from his clients’ liquidated personal assets into his own bank account.
  2. In the second scheme, Novy transferred funds from his clients’ personal accounts or liquidated assets into IOLTA (Interest on Lawyer Trust Account) sub-accounts that he controlled.  The powers of attorney executed by the victims legally required Novy to place their assets into independent trust funds selected by the victims that would manage their assets, so the act of placing the funds into accounts that he controlled constituted a theft by Novy.
  3. In the third scheme, Novy transferred client funds from various accounts – including the clients’ personal accounts, the clients’ IOLTA sub-accounts, or the firm’s attorney trust account – into the firm’s operating and disbursement accounts.  Novy excessively billed the clients for power of attorney fees without any supporting invoices.

Novy was charged with money laundering because he engaged in transactions involving the stolen funds and the various accounts – primarily his attorney trust accounts and/or attorney business accounts – by which he concealed the source of the stolen funds and used them to promote his criminal activities.

Deputy Attorneys General Gallagher and Conlow prosecuted the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Mark Kurzawa and Deputy Division Director Christine Hoffman. The case was investigated by Detective Michael Arduini, Detective Michael Woods, Lt. Anne Hayes, Investigator Jordan Thompson, Investigator Wayne Cummings and Analyst Terri Drumm.  Deputy Attorney General Derek Miller and Investigator Debra Maiorano handled the state’s forfeiture action. Attorney General Grewal thanked the Ocean County Surrogate, the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics and the Division of Taxation Office of Criminal Investigation for their valuable assistance in the investigation. Special Agents Mike Mullane and Will Makar investigated for the Division of Taxation Office of Criminal Investigation.

Persons, relatives, heirs, estates or trusts who believe they are victims of Novy and can offer proof of damages should write to Deputy Attorney General Kara R. Webster in the State Office of Victim Witness Advocacy at [email protected], or if they do not have email access, phone (609) 376-2444.

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Organization For Economic Growth: Ciattarelli Offers Prescription For New Jersey’s Ills As He Moves Closer to Declaring Gubernatorial Run

July 28,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Mountain Lakes NJ,  Jack Ciattarelli sounded very much like a man running for governor Wednesday night as he addressed the first “Brotherhood of Business and Labor” reception hosted by the New Jersey Organization for Economic Growth in Morris County.

Ciattarelli, who ran for the Republican nomination for governor last year, presented his ideas to cure New Jersey’s economic and tax ills, which included the elimination of the state tax on capital gains, phasing out the corporate business tax, and ending the practice of raising property taxes on people who update their homes without increasing the size of the house.

Ciattarelli’s philosophical approach is to not punish people who take risks or who invest in projects that create value and jobs. That philosophy was enthusiastically received by NJOEG Chairman Joseph Caruso, who said he welcomed Ciattarelli’s bold candor.

When Caruso asked the keynote speaker of the event if he was running for governor, Ciattarelli smiled and reeled off the exact number of months and days until the next gubernatorial election before admitting that he would run.
Ciattarelli was warmly received at the Brotherhood event, which included a number of elected and appointed officials including New Jersey State Republican Party Chairman Doug Steinhardt; State Sen. Joseph Pennacchio; Business Manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 102 Patrick Delle Cava; and NJOEG Labor Liaison Christian Barranco
“I think Jack will be a great candidate and will make a tremendous governor. He understands economics and investment and he is willing to tackle tough issues without pandering to the special interests that are largely responsible for New Jersey’s horrid economic condition,” said Caruso, a business executive from Wayne.

Ciattarelli, a former assemblyman from the 16th Legislative District, stepped into the quagmire that is the state’s ongoing property tax crisis; saying bluntly, “You can’t fix the property tax problem in New Jersey without fixing the state’s school funding formula.”

Ciattarelli’s fix entails providing the same amount of per student funding for every child regardless of where they live.

He also waded into the pension crisis saying: “The state pension plan is busted. It was not designed to pay lifetime health benefits to people who live into their 90’s,” he said.

Ciattarelli took a few jabs at Gov. Phil Murphy and his progressive policies and tax increases, saying: “Murphy lights the fires of socialism.”

Della Cave, representing labor at the event, pointed out how his union is backing incentives for business investment because “businesses are not expanding in New Jersey without them.”

Delle Cave, who represents 2,500 electricians and has $1 million budget for political activity, said there are two main issues important to his members besides creating a robust economy. “Don’t do away with prevailing wage laws and don’t make this a right to work state,” he said.

Steinhardt said state officials need to address New Jersey’s problems by “resisting the temptation to do what is easy and what feels good.”

The State GOP chairman offered a few reforms he would like to see including a 2 percent cap on state spending (which now applies to municipal and county governments), public sector pension reform and a reduction in regulation that is killing business investment.

Barranco, who served as master of ceremonies for the event called it highly successful in furthering the dialogue among government, labor and business.

“New Jersey’s present economy is imbalanced with the few good things going to relatively few people, while everyone else – including private sector workers, homeowners, young people and business all getting squeezed to the breaking point. Through more events like this and more honest dialogue we can fix what’s wrong with New Jersey,” said Barranco.

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President Of New Jersey Clinical Laboratory And His Brother, A Senior Employee, Sentenced To Prison In $100m+ Test Referral/Bribery Scheme

July 10,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

NEWARK, N.J. – The president of Parsippany, New Jersey-based Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS) and his brother – a senior employee at the now-defunct company – were sentenced today to federal prison terms for their respective roles in a conspiracy in which millions of dollars in bribes were paid to physicians for blood sample referrals worth more than $100 million to the company, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
David Nicoll, 44, of Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, was sentenced to 72 months in prison; Scott Nicoll, 37, of Wayne, New Jersey, was sentenced to 43 months in prison. Each defendant had previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to an information charging one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Federal Travel Act and one count of money laundering. Judge Chesler imposed the sentences today in Newark federal court.

Derek Michalski explained , “Two crooked New Jersey “entrepreneurs” doctors pocketed more than $100 million from Medicare. No wonder people of this country elected Donald Tump as President. These crimes were going on for over a decade but finally Trump’s DOJ shows some teeth and looks like it’s going after those parasites. It‘s about time….“David and Scott Nicoll admitted that BLS made substantially more than $100 million from Medicare and private insurance companies – just from bills related to blood specimens sent to BLS by bribed doctors.”

“Today, the president of a diagnostic lab company and his brother were sentenced for their leading roles in a scam that led to one of the largest ever prosecutions of medical professionals in a bribery case,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “Medical referrals from a doctor should be based on what’s in the patient’s best interest, not on how much money the doctor is offered in kickbacks. The number of doctors and medical professionals sent to prison in this case should make that message abundantly clear.”

The investigation has resulted in the convictions of 53 defendants – 38 of them of doctors – in connection with the bribery scheme, which its organizers have admitted involved millions of dollars in bribes and resulted in more than $100 million in payments to BLS from Medicare and various private insurance companies. It is believed to be the largest number of medical professionals ever prosecuted in a bribery case. The investigation has recovered more than $15 million through forfeiture. On June 28, 2016, BLS, which is no longer operational, pleaded guilty and was required to forfeit all of its assets.

“The FBI views health care fraud as a severe crime problem that impacts every American,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie said. “Fraud and abuse take critical resources out of our health care system, and contribute to the rising cost of health care for everyone. Today’s sentencing of David Nicoll and his brother Scott Nicoll are the result of a multi-agency investigation into a complex health care fraud scheme, requiring substantial investigative resources. The FBI, with its law enforcement partners, will continue to allocate a significant amount of expert resources to investigate these crimes and prosecute all those that are intent in defrauding the American public.”
“These two individuals masterminded an elaborate health care fraud scheme based on nothing more than greed,” Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent in Charge for the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said. “We trust that the work with our law enforcement partners – especially the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, IRS, and Postal Inspection Service – will send a clear message and dissuade individual health ‘professionals’ from making such corrosive schemes possible.”

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On April 9, 2013, federal agents arrested BLS president and part owner, David Nicoll; Scott Nicoll, a senior BLS employee and others, who were charged by complaint with bribery conspiracy, along with the BLS company. The conspiracy made millions in illegal profits between 2006 and April of 2013. David and Scott Nicoll admitted that BLS made substantially more than $100 million from Medicare and private insurance companies – just from bills related to blood specimens sent to BLS by bribed doctors.
BLS paid doctors millions of dollars – in cash or under the guise of sham lease, service, and consulting agreements through an elaborate network of shell entities used for that purpose. The defendants also admitted that one component of the bribery scheme was to pay some doctors a fee per test to induce them to increase their ordering of certain tests.
“Health care fraud of this magnitude cannot be tolerated, and today’s sentencings are the direct result of the tremendous investigative skills of all the participating law enforcement agencies,” Bryant Jackson, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS – Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office, said. “IRS – Criminal Investigation is proud to have been a part of this investigative team that helped to bring down and dismantle this massive health care conspiracy.”
“Throughout the course of this long-running investigation, Postal Inspectors, federal prosecutors and our law enforcement partners have diligently worked to unravel this elaborate bribery conspiracy,” Acting Inspector in Charge Judy Ramos of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said. “Although, the final defendants in this matter face sentencing today, Postal Inspectors will continue to tirelessly investigate complex fraud schemes that target consumers and businesses through the U.S. Mail.”

In addition to the prison terms, Judge Chesler sentenced the Nicolls to one year of supervised release.

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JOSEPH LABOSCO OF STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK CHARGED WITH 38 YEAR OLD MURDER

July 10,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Teaneck NJ, Bergen County Acting Prosecutor Dennis Calo announced the arrest of JOSEPH LABOSCO (DOB: 12/12/1946; single; unemployed) of Staten Island, New York, today, July 9, 2018, on a charge of Murder after the case went cold for 38 years.

The arrest is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Cold Case Homicide Unit, which is a collaboration with the New Jersey State Police under the direction of Acting Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Chief Robert Anzilotti.

On October 1, 1980, the lifeless body of Wayne Eckhart (DOB: 01/24/1930; single; of Manhattan) was found in a remote area off Teaneck Road in Teaneck, New Jersey. An investigation revealed that Wayne Eckhart had been shot to death. After an extensive investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Squad and the Teaneck Police Department, no arrests were made and the case went cold for 38 years.

The newly formed Cold Case Homicide Unit reopened the case in 2018 and identified Joseph LABOSCO as one of the suspects. After multiple interviews with witnesses and the submission of evidence to the New Jersey State Police Forensic Laboratory, Joseph LABOSCO was charged, with one count of Murder, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a, a 1st degree crime. Joseph LABOSCO is in the custody of Manhattan Detention Center, a federal prison in Brooklyn, New York where he is serving a sentence for an unrelated crime.

Joseph LABOSCO’s first appearance in New Jersey has not been scheduled but will be announced once it is confirmed.

The other suspect was identified as George King (DOB: 7/24/1931) of New York, New York, who died on June 30, 2007.

Bergen County Acting Prosecutor Calo states that this charge is merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and would also like to thank the Teaneck Police Department for its assistance in this investigation.

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Legislators need to show courage to ‘bring public-sector workers in line with everyday working people’

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June 20,2018

by Christian Barranco

Christian Barranco, of Pompton Lakes, is a union electrician and the Labor Liaison to the New Jersey Organization for Economic Growth, a Wayne-based political action group supporting economic growth.

Trenton NJ, Democrats in the New Jersey Legislature recently introduced and moved through committee a bill to end the abusive practice that allows public-sector workers to bank unused sick days. The bill is bitterly opposed by public-sector unions. But we think the fight is worth it. If legislators show an uncommon amount of courage, New Jersey taxpayers can rid themselves of this absurd fiscal burden and bring public-sector workers in line with everyday working people.

As a union member, I can say with authority that no worker in the private-sector trades in New Jersey gets to bank unused sick days and vacation days and walk away at retirement with a five- or six-figure lottery check. Most private-sector trade unionists don’t even get sick days or vacation days at all. In our professions, if you don’t go to work you don’t get paid, period. And most private sector workers must either use their sick days and vacation days or they lose them; they’re not a supplement retirement fund and should never have been allowed to be used as one by the public sector. But decades of limp leadership in Trenton from both Democrats and Republicans allowed the practice to get to absurd heights — or from the taxpayer’s standpoint — ridiculous lows, forcing some towns to even borrow money to pay off retiring employee: ABSURD!

According to one report in NJ Spotlight, Jersey City public workers had amassed $116 million in banked days last year — and when the former police chief retired, he was due $512,000 in unused day. Newark owes its public workers $52.5 million. The County of Passaic, according to one filing, owes approximately $76 million in unused sick and vacation days to its employees.

Think of the things that could be done with that money, starting with property tax relief. Roads and bridges could be rebuilt, or parks upgraded for all of us to enjoy if we had a conscientious and responsible government.
Teacher union leaders are aghast

The teachers union leaders — who mistakenly believe that they are part of the larger labor movement — are aghast that the Democrats would betray them and take away their cherished perk. It is arrogance that makes them feel that way. It’s long past time when the system was corrected to protect private-sector workers who pay the indefensible perks granted to public-sector employees.
The teachers complain that the perks are necessary to make up for a lack of raises. Nonsense. If public employees in general think they are so underpaid that they need to game the system to get compensated for unused sick and vacation days, they can always jump to the private sector and see how the rest of us live.

Under the proposed legislation, every public employee would be able to keep whatever amounts they have earned up to the effective date of the law. Those who had already saved at least $7,500 would earn no more. Those who have not, and new hires, would be able to bank up to $7,500 in sick time, but most would not be paid for it. Instead, individuals could use the value of their accumulated sick time to pay for either health insurance premiums or co-pays over the first five years after retirement. Only veterans could receive a cash payment for future unused days.

The legislation is not ideal, but it is far better than anything Republicans have come up with and far more courageous than Democrats ever dared to be — until now.
We know the proposal is in part a retaliation against the notorious NJEA teachers union for funding a campaign against Sen. Steve Sweeney last fall. Regardless of the motivation, the objective is a worthy one. If the NJEA is going to be corrected for its abuses of influence, and it helps the average taxpayer, that’s great news. Motivations for the legislation are not the issue, the results are. If homeowners and small business owners are no longer forced to fund expensive going-away presents for retiring public employees, that’s a good thing.

It will be interesting to see which lawmakers cave in to the NJEA pressure. Look for the weak-willed lawmakers who are in office only to keep collecting a paycheck to either appease the public-sector union bosses or sneak into a corner and hide. Those that do, should be held accountable next year when the state Assembly members will face re-election. Let’s keep an eye on who votes for the taxpayers and who caves into the abusive deals with the NJEA.