– Attorney General Paula T. Dow and
Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor
announced that a second defendant pleaded
guilty today to absentee ballot fraud in
connection with the unsuccessful 2009 mayoral
campaign of Atlantic City Councilman Marty
Small. The man also pleaded guilty to committing
absentee ballot fraud while working for
the 2008 campaign of then-incumbent Mayor
year, another associate of the Small campaign
pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit absentee
to Director Taylor, Ernest Storr, 44, of
Linwood, pleaded guilty today to two counts
of third-degree absentee ballot fraud before
Superior Court Judge James E. Isman in Atlantic
County. Storr was charged in a 10-count
state grand jury indictment returned on
Sept. 3, 2009, which also charged Councilman
Small and 12 other campaign workers and
operatives. The indictment resulted from
an investigation led by the Division of
Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau and the
State Police Official Corruption Bureau
pleaded guilty to one count of that indictment,
as well as a single-count accusation charging
him with absentee ballot fraud during the
2008 special mayoral election campaign of
Evans in Atlantic City. Under the plea agreement,
the state will recommend that Storr be sentenced
to a term of probation.
pleading guilty to the charge in the indictment,
Storr admitted that, in 2009, he instructed
a man associated with the Small campaign
regarding how to commit absentee ballot
fraud by obtaining voters’ signatures
on ballot forms, voting the ballots himself,
and sending them to the Board of Elections.
In pleading guilty to the accusation, Storr
admitted that, in 2008, while working for
the Evans campaign, he tampered with absentee
ballots by either voting the ballots himself
or telling voters how to vote them, then
sending the ballots to the Board of Elections.
is the second man associated with the Small
campaign to plead guilty. On Oct. 13, 2009,
Ronald Harris, 24, of Atlantic City, pleaded
guilty to a charge of third-degree conspiracy
to commit absentee ballot fraud before Superior
Court Judge Robert Neustadter. He is scheduled
to be sentenced on Nov. 5. The state will
recommend that Harris be sentenced to a
term of probation, conditioned upon him
serving up to 364 days in the county jail.
He may face a fine of up to $15,000.
Attorney General Anthony Picione, who is
deputy chief of the Division of Criminal
Justice Corruption Bureau, and Deputy Attorney
General Robert Czepiel Jr. took the guilty
plea for the Division of Criminal Justice
Corruption Bureau. Sentencing is scheduled
for Nov. 5.
The charges are pending against the other
defendants named in the Sept. 3, 2009 indictment.
Small and the other remaining defendants
are each charged with conspiracy (2nd degree),
four counts of election fraud (2nd degree),
absentee ballot fraud (3rd degree), tampering
with public records (3rd degree), falsifying
records (4th degree) and forgery (4th degree).
Three defendants are also charged with hindering
apprehension or prosecution (3rd degree).
The indictment is included with the Sept.
3, 2009 press release at www.njpublicsafety.com.
The indictment is merely an accusation and
the defendants are presumed innocent until
indictment alleges that Small and the other
defendants conspired to commit election
fraud through the following schemes, among
allegedly solicited applications for messenger
absentee ballots from individuals not
qualified to receive them and had the
voters not fill in the name of the messenger,
so they could fraudulently designate themselves
as the authorized messengers or bearers.
allegedly obtained messenger ballots from
the county clerk and submitted them to
the board of elections as votes on behalf
of voters who, in fact, never received
or voted the ballots or, in some cases,
were given only the security envelope
for the ballot and were told to sign it.
Those voters were not given the opportunity
to vote in most instances.
allegedly picked up sealed absentee ballots
from voters, unsealed them and, if they
were votes for mayoral candidates other
than Small, destroyed them, thereby disenfranchising
those voters. If they were votes for Small,
they allegedly resealed them and submitted
them as votes.
allegedly illegally instructed voters
to fill in messenger ballots as votes
allegedly submitted voter registration
applications and messenger ballot applications
on behalf of individuals who were not
residents of Atlantic City, falsely representing
that they were.
allegedly forged the signatures of voters
on messenger ballots.
allegedly fraudulently delivered messenger
ballot applications and messenger ballots
to voters simultaneously and instructed
the voters to fill out both during the
and the indicted members of his campaign
staff allegedly sought to maximize the number
of absentee ballots messengered by the campaign
by enlisting operatives and campaign workers
to engage in fraud and by paying campaign
workers based on how many messenger ballots
they collected. The workers allegedly were
told to direct voters to vote for the Small
ticket, or simply have the voters sign the
ballots so the workers could fill them out
as votes for the Small ticket.
investigation was led for the State Police
Official Corruption Bureau by Lt. John Redkoles,
Detective Sgt. 1st Class Karl E. Ulbrich,
Detective Sgt. David A. Smith, Detective
Sgt. John Pizzuro, Detective Scott Orman,
Detective Anthony Carugno, Detective James
Sansone, Detective David Caracciolo and
Detective John Scalabrini. Deputy Attorney
General Peter Lee assisted for the Division
of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.
was provided in the investigation by the
State Police Official Corruption Bureau
North Unit, State Police Intelligence Management
Bureau, State Police Casino Gaming Bureau,
State Police Organized Crime Control Bureau,
and the Atlantic County Sheriff’s