The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office recently announced that a councilman and the borough attorney are facing fraud charges for falsifying or tampering with records, fraudulently defacing a primary petition for nominating candidates, and conspiracy to deface a primary petition, after they allegedly modified the election documents of certain Republican candidates.
Republican councilman Ronald Griffin, who currently serves as president of the Republican club, and borough attorney Scott Mooney, allegedly conspired to change the primary petition for Elizabeth Garis, a candidate running for council on the Republican ticket. According to Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli, the pair took the signatures of 25 Emerson residents from Garis’ petition and transferred them to the primary petition of candidate Keith Smith.
Further, Mooney allegedly altered a 15-signature primary petition originally intended to represent three separate candidates, including only one candidate’s name, Stephen Paino, on the petition. Paino was subsequently re-elected and is currently serving another three-year term.
If the defendants are found guilty of the charges, they could be subject to penalties including a prison sentence. Falsifying or tampering with records in New Jersey is governed underN.J.S.A. 2C:21-4 and is considered a crime of the fourth degree. A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a period of incarceration of up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison.
Griffin and Mooney will be arraigned on December 19 in Bergen County court.
For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Emerson borough attorney, councilman-elect charged with election fraud