- Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal
Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced
that Paterson City Councilman Rigo Rodriguez,
his wife and a top advisor were arrested
this morning by the New Jersey State Police
on charges of witness tampering related
to an investigation by the Division of Criminal
Justice and New Jersey State Police into
the May 2010 Paterson city council election.
to Director Taylor, Rigo Rodriguez, 38,
of Paterson, his wife, Lissette Rodriguez,
31, of Paterson, and Juan L. Jimenez, 45,
of Paterson, were each arrested this morning
on charges of third-degree witness tampering.
Additional charges may be forthcoming.
of the defendants were arrested at their
homes in Paterson this morning by the New
Jersey State Police Official Corruption
North Unit and were transported to the Totowa
Station and issued complaint summonses.
The defendants are expected to be released
later today. They will be ordered to appear
at the Passaic County Superior Court at
a later date yet to be determined.
is alleged that after the defendants became
aware of an active investigation by the
Division of Criminal Justice and State Police,
they instructed voters as to how to answer
police questions, including advising them
to lying to police.
today’s arrests, a total of 14 people
have been arrested this week in connection
with the alleged voter fraud schemes. A
15th person involved with this case remains
people were arrested on Tuesday on charges
of second- and third-degree voter fraud
and third-degree tampering with public record:
Belkis M. Cespedes, 50, of Paterson; Ana
Vely-Gomez, 47, of Paterson; Lucia A. Guzman,
41, of Paterson; Inocencio Jimenez, 55,
of Paterson; and Jose Ramon Ruiz, 62, of
Prospect Park. In addition, Dalila Rodriguez,
60, of Paterson, and Wilson A. Torres, 29,
of Paterson, were arrested yesterday on
charges of third-degree voter fraud and
third-degree tampering with public records.
people were arrested yesterday and charged
with third-degree voter fraud and third-degree
tampering with public records: Octavio A.
Dominguez, 47, of Elmwood Park; Juana A.
Gil, 43, of Paterson; Jose E. Gonzalez,
42, of Paterson; and Loudes Inoa, 37, of
In addition, Ricardo A. Fermin-Cepeda, 24,
of Paterson, was charged with second- and
third-degree voter fraud and third-degree
tampering with public records. Fermin-Cepeda
is currently a fugitive.
defendants arrested yesterday and Tuesday,
as well as Fermin-Cepeda, all allegedly
acted as bearers/messengers for mail-in
(absentee) ballots. The complaint summonses
allege that the defendants tampered with
mail-in ballots and/or voted mail-in ballots
on behalf of voters who did not receive
the ballots or who did not authorize them
to vote for them.
is also alleged that Cespedes voted twice
– once using her married named of
Belkis Cespedes and once using her maiden
name of Belkis Nunez.
Following the May 2010 city council election,
the Division of Criminal Justice received
complaints of possible voter fraud. The
Division of Criminal Justice Corruption
Bureau and the New Jersey State Police Official
Corruption Unit launched an investigation
approximately one week after the election.
investigation is being coordinated by Detective
Brian Murphy of the New Jersey State Police
Official Corruption North Unit and Deputy
Attorney General Vincent Militello of the
Division of Criminal Justice Corruption
the charges are indictable offenses, this
case is subject to presentation to a grand
jury for potential indictment. The charges
are merely accusations and the defendants
are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence
of 10 years in state prison and a criminal
fine of $150,000 while third-degree crimes
carry a maximum sentence of five years in
state prison and a $15,000 fine.
Taylor noted that the Division of Criminal
Justice has established a toll-free tipline
for the public to report corruption, financial
fraud and other illegal activities: 1-866-TIPS-4CJ.
Additionally, the public can log on to the
Division of Criminal Justice Web site at
to report suspected wrongdoing. All information
received through the Division of Criminal
Justice tipline or Web page will remain