– Attorney General Paula T. Dow and
Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor
announced that the former recreation supervisor
for Perth Amboy was sentenced for stealing
city funds which she said she used for purchases
for herself and former mayor Joseph Vas.
to Director Taylor, Ana Pastrana, 50, of
Perth Amboy, was sentenced yesterday to
five years of probation by Superior Court
Judge Frederick P. DeVesa in Middlesex County.
She was ordered to pay $11,875 in restitution
to the City of Perth Amboy and to serve
100 hours of community service. Pastrana
was required to forfeit her city job and
is permanently barred from public employment.
Attorney General Dianne C. DiGiamber Deal
and Deputy Attorney General Pearl Minato
represented the Division of Criminal Justice
Corruption Bureau at the sentencing.
pleaded guilty on March 30, 2009 to third-degree
theft by unlawful taking. In pleading guilty,
Pastrana admitted that she used city funds
to pay off a credit card in her name that
was used to purchase personal items for
herself and former mayor Vas.
credit card bills were paid using funds
from a bank account for the Perth Amboy
Housing Development Corporation that was
under the control of Jeffrey D. Gumbs Sr.,
who was city director of human services
and superintendent of recreation under Vas.
Pastrana said that, at Vas’ direction,
she used city funds to pay for credit card
purchases of sneakers, beachwear and sportswear
March 23, 2009, Gumbs, 51, of Wilmington,
Del., pleaded guilty before Judge DeVesa
to theft, misapplication of government property
and tampering with public records. He admitted
he submitted fraudulent invoices to the
city to obtain payment for personal expenses
of both Vas and himself. His sentencing
55, a New Jersey assemblyman, was indicted
by the Division of Criminal Justice on March
11 in connection with those allegations.
He was charged with conspiring with city
employees to steal approximately $5,000
in funds of the City of Perth Amboy to pay
for personal purchases and expenses. The
indictment also charged Vas and his personal
driver, Anthony S. Jones, in connection
with a scheme in which Vas allegedly rigged
a public lottery so Jones won the opportunity
to buy an affordable two-family home through
the Perth Amboy Home Program. The charges
in the indictment are pending.
May 21, 2009, Vas was charged in a second
19-count indictment along with his longtime
aide Melvin Ramos, 53, two corporations
that were city vendors, and two owners of
one of the corporations. The indictment
alleges, among other things, that Vas and
Ramos solicited city employees and others
to make fraudulent contributions to Vas’
2006 campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives.
It further alleges Vas and Ramos unlawfully
arranged for a city contractor to pay a
$58,000 catering bill for a ribbon cutting
ceremony at Perth Amboy’s new Public
Safety-Court-Community Complex in April
2008. They allegedly had the contractor
bill the amount to the city under its contract
to provide management services for construction
of the new complex, thereby concealing the
city’s payment of the catering bill.
The charges in that indictment are also
press release about the May 21 indictment
and a copy of the indictment are posted
on the Attorney General’s Web page
at www.njpublicsafety.com. Indictments are
merely accusations and the defendants are
presumed innocent until proven guilty.
June 5, 2009, a key advisor to Vas’
2006 congressional campaign, Raymond Geneske,
74, of Perth Amboy, pleaded guilty before
Judge DeVesa to a third-degree charge of
money laundering. He admitted that he solicited
employees of the City of Perth Amboy and
others to make fraudulent contributions
to Vas’ campaign. His sentencing is
prosecution of Pastrana stemmed from an
investigation by the Division of Criminal
Justice Corruption Bureau. Deputy Attorneys
General Deal and Minato are prosecuting
the case. The investigation was led by Sgt.
Dino Dettorre and Detective Benjamin Kukis,
assisted by Lt. Daniel O'Brien, Sgt. Robert
McGrath, Detective Lee Bailey, Detective
Melissa Calkin, Detective Lisa Cawley, Detective
Shaun Egan, Detective Kiersten Pentony,
Detective Robert Stemmer and Civil Investigator
Division of Criminal Justice has established
a toll-free Corruption Tipline for the public
to report corruption, financial crime and
other illegal activities: 1-866-TIPS-4CJ.
Additionally, the public can log on to the
Division Web site at www.njdcj.org
to report suspected wrongdoing. All information
received through the Tipline or Web page
will remain confidential.