TRENTON - Attorney General
Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director
Stephen J. Taylor announced that a top city
official in Perth Amboy under former Mayor
Joseph Vas was sentenced to jail today and
a second man who led Vas’ 2006 congressional
campaign was sentenced to probation in connection
with charges filed by the Division of Criminal
According to Director Taylor,
Jeffrey D. Gumbs Sr., 51, of Wilmington,
Del., who served as Perth Amboy’s
director of human services and superintendent
of recreation under Vas, was sentenced to
364 days in the county jail as a condition
of five years of probation by Superior Court
Judge Frederick P. DeVesa in Middlesex County.
Gumbs pleaded guilty last year to theft,
misapplication of government property and
tampering with public records.
Gumbs admitted that he submitted
fraudulent invoices to the city on behalf
of Vas to obtain payment for personal expenses
of the mayor. Gumbs also admitted that he
stole city funds for personal expenses of
his own by submitting false invoices. He
was ordered to pay $1,200 to the City of
Perth Amboy as restitution for a false invoice
he submitted for a basketball camp for his
son. He will be permanently barred from
public employment in New Jersey.
Also today, Judge DeVesa
sentenced Raymond Geneske, 74, of Perth
Amboy, to three years of probation. Geneske
pleaded guilty last year to third-degree
money laundering. He was ordered to pay
a $5,000 fine and will be permanently barred
from public employment in New Jersey.
Geneske admitted that he
solicited employees of the City of Perth
Amboy and others to make fraudulent contributions
to Vas’ 2006 campaign for the U.S.
House of Representatives for the 13th Congressional
District. At the time, Geneske was chairman
of the Perth Amboy Democratic Committee
and was a key advisor to the Vas campaign.
Geneske admitted that he paid cash to the
people he solicited to reimburse them for
writing personal checks payable to the campaign.
Geneske said he was given a total of $30,000
in cash, and distributed $25,000 or more
through payments to straw contributors.
He said that, under Vas’ direction,
he distributed the remaining $4,000 to $5,000
for get out the vote efforts for the campaign.
Deputy Attorney General
Dianne C. DiGiamber Deal represented the
Division of Criminal Justice Corruption
Bureau at the sentencing hearing.
On March 10, Judge DeVesa
sentenced Ana Pastrana, 50, a former recreation
supervisor for the City of Perth Amboy,
to five years of probation. 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.
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. The credit card bills
were paid using funds from a bank account
for the Perth Amboy Housing Development
Corporation that was under the control of
Gumbs. Pastrana said that, at Vas’
direction, she used city funds to pay for
credit card purchases of sneakers, beachwear
and sportswear for Vas.
Vas, 55, who is also a former
New Jersey assemblyman, was indicted by
the Division of Criminal Justice on March
11, 2009. 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 charges 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.
On May 21, 2009, Vas was
charged in a second 19-count indictment
along with his longtime aide Melvin Ramos,
54, 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 pending.
Press releases about those
indictments and copies of the indictments
are posted on the Attorney General’s
Web page at www.njpublicsafety.com. The
indictments are merely accusations and the
defendants are presumed innocent until proven
All of the charges stem
from an investigation by the Division of
Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau. Deputy
Attorneys General Dianne C. DiGiamber Deal
and Pearl Minato are prosecuting the cases.
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
General Dow noted that the Division of Criminal
Justice has established a toll-free Corruption
Tipline for the public to report corruption,
financial crime and other illegal activities:
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.