- Attorney General Anne Milgram and Criminal
Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni announced
that a Newark man was indicted today for changing
votes on absentee ballots that he collected
as a campaign worker for the 2007 campaign
of Teresa Ruiz for the New Jersey Senate in
the 29th District.
to Director Gramiccioni, the Division of Criminal
Justice Corruption Bureau obtained a state
grand jury indictment charging Antonio Santana,
58, of Newark, with election fraud (2nd degree),
absentee ballot fraud (3rd degree), tampering
with public records or information (3rd degree)
and forgery (4th degree).
indictment alleges that Santana, whose job
as a campaign worker for Ruiz included soliciting
absentee ballots, changed the votes on three
absentee ballots that he collected from members
of one family in October 2007. The family
members filled in the circles on the ballots
in pencil to vote for independent candidates
Luis A. Quintana for Senate, Bessie Walker
for Assembly, and Carlotta Hall for Assembly.
They gave the sealed ballots to Santana.
allegedly unsealed the ballots, erased their
votes and changed the votes on each of the
ballots to the three Democratic candidates
for the 29th District, Ruiz for Senate, Grace
Spencer for Assembly, and Albert Coutinho
for Assembly. The alleged fraud came to light
when the Post Office inadvertently returned
the absentee ballots to the family. The family
alerted Quintana’s campaign office.
charge that this defendant violated the integrity
of the election process and betrayed the trust
of these voters, denying them their right
to vote for the candidates of their choice,”
said Attorney General Milgram. “Election
fraud is a serious crime. We will not tolerate
any attempts to unlawfully manipulate elections
in New Jersey.”
Ruiz and her campaign staff cooperated fully
in the investigation.
investigation was conducted and coordinated
by Sgt. James Scott, Sgt. Warren Monroe, Detective
Timothy Herron and Deputy Attorney General
Vincent Militello of the Division of Criminal
Justice Corruption Bureau. Deputy Attorney
General Militello presented the case to the
state grand jury.
crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years
in prison and a $150,000 fine, while third-degree
crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years
in prison and a $15,000 fine. Fourth-degree
crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months
in prison and a $10,000 fine.
indictment was handed up to Superior Court
Judge Maria Marinari Sypek in Mercer County,
who assigned the case to Essex County, where
Santana will be ordered to appear in court
at a later date to answer the charges.
indictment is merely an accusation and
the defendant is presumed innocent until proven
General Milgram and Director Gramiccioni noted
that the Division of Criminal Justice - Corruption
Bureau has established a toll-free Corruption
Tipline for the public to report corruption,
financial crime and other illegal activities.
The statewide Corruption Tipline is 1-866-TIPS-4CJ.
Additionally, the public can log on to the
Division of Criminal Justice Web page at www.njdcj.org
to report suspected wrongdoing. All information
received through the Division of Criminal
Justice Corruption Tipline or Web page will