– Attorney General Anne Milgram announced
that another person was indicted today for
election fraud in connection with absentee
ballots she collected and submitted as a worker
for the 2007 campaign of Teresa Ruiz for the
New Jersey Senate in the 29th District. Four
other campaign workers for Ruiz were charged
in three prior indictments.
to Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni,
Rocio Rivera, 49, of Lebanon Township, an
employee of the Essex County Sheriff’s
Office, was charged in a state grand jury
indictment with election fraud (2nd degree),
absentee ballot fraud (3rd degree), tampering
with public records or information (3rd degree),
and forgery (4th degree).
indictment stems from an ongoing investigation
by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption
Bureau and the Essex County Prosecutor’s
is charged with tampering with documentation
for messenger ballots, which are absentee
ballots intended for use by homebound voters.
She is charged with fraudulently submitting
such ballots as votes in the Nov. 6, 2007
are continuing our investigation into allegations
of fraud in the November 2007 general election
in the 29th District,” said Attorney
General Milgram. “We will prosecute
anyone found to have tampered with the election
and disenfranchised voters.”
alleged voter fraud was brought to our office’s
attention by the Essex County Superintendent
of Elections,” said Essex County Prosecutor
Paula Dow. “Voting is a fundamental
privilege that all American citizens have
a right to exercise without any form of meddling.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
will not tolerate any attempt to manipulate
elections of any kind.”
ballots are for use only by those who are
homebound due to illness, infirmity or disability.
Such persons can complete an application designating
a messenger or bearer who is a family member
or a registered voter in the county. The bearer
is thereby authorized to obtain an absentee
ballot from the county board of elections,
take it to the voter, and return a completed
ballot to the county board.
allegedly solicited applications for messenger
ballots from individuals not qualified to
receive them and fraudulently designated herself
as the authorized messenger or bearer. She
allegedly obtained messenger ballots from
the county board of elections, and submitted
them to the board of elections as votes on
behalf of voters who, in fact, never received
or voted the ballots.
investigation was led by Deputy Attorney General
Vincent J. Militello, Sgt. James Scott and
Sgt. Lisa Shea of the Division of Criminal
Justice Corruption Bureau. It was conducted
for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
by Assistant Prosecutor Brandon Minde, Detective
David Sanabria and Detective Elizabeth Bazan.
Deputy Attorney General Militello and Assistant
Prosecutor Minde presented the case to the
state grand jury. Attorney General Milgram
also thanked Deputy Attorney General Perry
Primavera, Analyst Kathleen Ratliff, all of
the detectives in the Division of Criminal
Justice Corruption Bureau North, and the agents
and detectives of the New Jersey Regional
Computer Forensics Laboratory for their work
on the case.
County Superintendent of Elections Carmine
Casciano and his staff cooperated fully in
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 Linda R. Feinberg in Mercer County,
who assigned the case to Essex County, where
the defendant will be ordered to appear at
a later date to answer the charges. The indictment
is merely an accusation and the defendant
is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The indictment is linked to this press release
Aug. 4, a state grand jury returned two indictments
charging three other campaign workers for
Ruiz with tampering with documentation for
messenger ballots and fraudulently submitting
such ballots as votes in the Nov. 6, 2007
charged Gianine Narvaez, 36, of Belleville,
a data processing technician for the Essex
County Commissioner of Registration and Superintendent
of Elections, with official misconduct, election
fraud, absentee ballot fraud, tampering with
public records or information, and forgery.
second indictment returned on Aug. 4 charged
Angel Colon, 46, of Newark, an employee of
the City of Newark Office of Affirmative Action,
and Colon’s fiancée, Sorinette
Rosario, 31, of Belleville, an employee of
the Newark Welfare Department, with election
fraud, conspiracy to commit election fraud,
absentee ballot fraud, conspiracy to commit
absentee ballot fraud, tampering with public
records or information, and forgery.
March 23, another Ruiz campaign worker, Antonio
Santana, 58, of Newark, was indicted on charges
he fraudulently changed votes on absentee
ballots during the election. That indictment
alleges that Santana changed the votes on
three absentee ballots that he collected from
members of one family in October 2007.
charges against Narvaez, Colon, Rosario and
Santana are pending.
General Milgram noted that the Division of
Criminal Justice has a toll-free Corruption
Tipline 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for
the public to confidentially report suspected