NJ Office of the Attorney General 2008 Annual Report

 

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NJ Office of the Attorney General 2008 Annual Report

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2008 annual report anne milgram attorney general of new jersey

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oag annual report overview dear governor corzine members of the state legislature and citizens of new jersey 8 0 staffed by civilian employees and sworn law enforcement officers the department of law and public safety is a diverse agency that touches millions of lives each day at the department we are responsible for enforcing the law and ensuring the safety of those who live travel work and play in new jersey but our responsibilities do not end there our department also serves as chief provider of legal advice and legal representation to agencies of state government this dual role makes us unique and our mission doubly challenging among other things the department provides regular state police patrols to ensure that new jersey roads and communities are safe we conduct criminal investigations and prosecutions we develop crime prevention and anti-violence strategies we provide emergency management and homeland security related services at the same time we defend state statutes and where necessary file lawsuits aimed at safeguarding children combating fraud protecting consumers preserving natural resources and achieving other important outcomes on behalf of new jersey citizens in 2008 the department s work included many actions and accomplishments designed to enhance the quality of life in our state strengthen public confidence in government and above all make neighborhoods safer in july for example we launched a major initiative in camden city designed to cut down on violence and street crime done in partnership with camden police and city government officials the effort was part of governor jon s corzine s strategy for safe streets and neighborhoods key to the initiative was a redeployment of police resources that put more than three times the number of officers on the streets as well as the creation of a technology-driven police command and coordination center the command and coordination center enabled law enforcement to identify emerging crime hot spots in camden and assign appropriate police resources in response in addition to local police personnel state police manpower and resources were deployed to assist in the camden anti-crime effort as part of one successful narcotics raid troopers rappelled from a state police helicopter onto the roof of a high-rise apartment building although such deployments were not commonplace the action sent a clear message that local and state law enforcement were working as a team and were prepared to use every available resource to combat drugs and crime equally vital to our safe streets approach in 2008 were periodic intelligence-based investigation sweeps conducted throughout new jersey in conjunction with the various county prosecutors offices and local law enforcement and state police directed by jose cordero our statewide director of gangs guns and violent crime control strategies these sweeps resulted in the arrest of more than 1,800 suspects for such crimes as murder attempted murder drug trafficking and armed robbery not only did the sweeps take many dangerous criminals off our streets they led to the seizure of more than $4 million worth of illegal narcotics and 162 guns including 22 assault weapons among those arrested were numerous members of the violent street gangs the bloods and crips one man arrested in morris county was charged with attempting to murder his own father who was part of a rival drug ring i

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new jersey office of the attorney general · department of law public safety while aggressive enforcement remained a lynchpin of our crime fighting approach in 2008 we also worked with other stakeholders to expand new jersey s crime prevention efforts and to create re-entry programs aimed at helping convicted offenders become law abiding citizens both are crucial aspects of governor corzine s strategy for safe streets and neighborhoods in october we joined with the governor and a coalition known as the america s promise alliance to launch the new jersey high school graduation campaign the campaign is a yearlong effort to find solutions to the high drop-out rate among students through a collaboration involving state agencies schools non-profit organizations and the corporate sector specifically the program is aimed at reducing high school drop-out rates by supporting students and their families supporting teachers cultivating leaders promoting business and community involvement and establishing high expectations and rigorous curriculum our department also worked with other state agencies in 2008 to launch another chance a reentry initiative aimed at helping 1,300 inmates from camden newark and trenton change their lives and successfully return to their home communities informed by the premise that recidivism is expensive ­ both in terms of human suffering and public dollars ­ another chance coordinates re-entry efforts that begin while an inmate is in prison and continue after release the program provides intensive diagnostic assessments and expanded educational vocational and job coaching programs as well as job placement help the hope is that programs such as another chance will make an impact on the recidivism rate in new jersey where 60 percent of adult inmates are re-arrested within three years consistent with our commitment to improving the quality of life in communities by taking criminals particularly violent ones ­ off the streets the division of criminal justice launched significantly more prosecutions in 2008 than the prior year overall the division filed 966 new criminal cases by indictment or accusation ­ a 47 percent increase over 2007 more than 200 of those new prosecutions were brought by our gangs and organized crime bureau which increased its case filings by 107 percent compared with the prior year among other successes the gangs and organized crime bureau obtained guilty pleas from 25 members of the violent sex money murder set of the bloods in 2008 all 25 defendants were sentenced to prison including the set s two top leaders in mercer county they were sentenced to prison terms of 13 and 12 years respectively equally notable in 2008 was the division s success in fighting public corruption in addition to realizing a 21 percent increase in new case filings the division s corruption bureau achieved many important convictions the bureau successfully prosecuted former city of orange mayor and state assemblyman mims hackett jr on charges related to hackett s fraudulent billing of the city of orange hackett was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to collecting more than $5,000 in phony travel reimbursements the division also worked closely with federal authorities in 2008 to convict former newark mayor sharpe james of conspiracy and fraud related to his misuse of public funds the former mayor was sentenced to a total of 27 months in federal prison for his crimes a host of other public employees and officials were either indicted successfully prosecuted or sentenced for corruption-related crimes in 2008 including former state department of corrections administrator gerald t kennedy indicted former irvington mayor michael steele indicted former jersey city municipal court chief judge wanda molina indicted camden city school principal michael hailey guilty plea blairstown township committeeman ray davis three-year prison sentence and former clayton borough police chief frank winters seven-year prison sentence the division of law had a highly successful year in 2008 litigating on behalf of new jersey citizens in all the division obtained $154 million in recoveries and judgments for the state through its lawsuits aimed at polluters consumer rip-offs companies engaged in investment fraud and defendants who owed the state money but did not pay among others the $154 million in recoveries represented a $30 million increase ­ approximately 24 percent ­ over the amount obtained on behalf of the state in 2007 ii

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oag annual report overview among the noteworthy recoveries were $63 million from tyco international ltd to settle a pension securities fraud suit against the company and several of its top executives and a total of $14.7 million recovered through environmental lawsuits but dollars were not the sole measure of achievement for division of law attorneys the division successfully defended new jersey s highlands water protection and planning act against a constitutional challenge and carried on the state s fight against foreclosure-related mortgage rip-offs by filing a number of lawsuits targeting companies and individuals who engaged in foreclosure relief scams altogether division lawyers filed five mortgage-fraud-related lawsuits in 2008 targeting a total of 73 individual and corporate defendants division lawyers also went to court to block a half-million-dollar-plus severance payout to the retiring keansburg school district superintendent in arguing against the hefty severance package our lawyers noted that state aid makes up most of keansburg s annual school district budget the proposed $556,290 severance payout was an unacceptable golden parachute for the outgoing superintendent our attorneys contended and would come at the expense of keansburg s children and new jersey s taxpayers as of year s end the severance money was being held in escrow pending further court action on the state s effort to void the deal the division of consumer affairs worked hard on many fronts in 2008 to ensure that buyers got what they paid for and to protect investors from fraud in one of the division s many civil investment fraud prosecutions the bureau of securities obtained a superior court judgment ordering two north jersey investment brokers and their companies to pay $3.6 million in restitution to investors and $4.35 million in civil penalties to the bureau the two men fred j miller of fort lee and eric riedman of new york city were also permanently barred from engaging in any securities-related activity miller and riedman were shown by the bureau of securities to have raised $3.3 million by making fraudulent representations and omitting key risk-related information while persuading 160 victims to invest with them a judge also found that the men had diverted investor funds for their personal use meanwhile consumer affairs took civil action against several major name retail outlets accused of engaging in deceptive practices the division filed superior court complaints in hudson and union counties charging target and wal-mart with offering expired merchandise for sale engaging in inaccurate price scanning failing to have sufficient quantities of advertised items in stock and failing to display selling prices the major retailer drug fair was also cited in the complaints filed in hudson and union counties each alleged violation carries a potential fine of up to $20,000 under enhanced penalties sought by the state the department was equally vigorous in 2008 in protecting users of the internet particularly young ones we entered into separate agreements with two popular social networking sites myspace and facebook that resulted in significant efforts by those sites to protect children including a commitment from each company to work with us in developing a standardized mechanism for reporting on-line abuses in addition state police technology units conducted or took part in approximately 50 cyber-crimes-related operations resulting in the arrest of numerous internet predators in many cases those arrested were charged with sexually exploiting children and aiding in the proliferation of child pornography on the web among those arrested by state police in 2008 were several registered sex offenders who violated the conditions of their parole by accessing myspace and facebook the division of gaming enforcement continued to ensure the integrity of new jersey s casinos in 2008 taking action against regulatory violators that resulted in more than $650,000 in total penalties among other actions the division imposed fines against two different atlantic city casinos ­ borgata and bally s ­ for allowing underage gambling on their premises resulting in a total of $250,000 in fines the division also performed more than 43,000 inspections of gaming equipment used by the casinos and tested approximately 8,500 slot machine control and payout percentage programs slot machines account for approximately75 percent of the casino gaming revenue in new jersey 8 0 iii

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new jersey office of the attorney general · department of law public safety throughout 2008 the division of alcoholic beverage control worked to combat underage drinking by employing a multi-faceted approach that blended enforcement efforts with public awareness campaigns on the enforcement front the division worked with local authorities on cops in shops a program that places undercover police officers in retail liquor outlets as employees or patrons during the fall/winter spanning 2007-2008 cops in shops resulted in 148 arrests in and around college towns during summer 2008 cops in shops resulted in another 237 arrests in coastal shore towns bureau investigators also conducted a number of successful investigations at regular bars and adult-oriented night spots among other things these investigations yielded arrests for offenses ranging from prostitution and unlawful possession of a stun gun to underage drinking and illegal sports betting the division on civil rights handled a number of significant cases in 2008 taking action on behalf of those discriminated against in housing employment and access to places of public accommodation in one case that garnered national attention the division issued a finding of probable cause against the ocean grove camp meeting association for discriminating against a same-sex couple who sought permission to hold their civil union ceremony at ocean grove s boardwalk pavilion ocean grove residents harriet bernstein and luisa paster had applied for permission to rent the pavilion for their civil union ceremony in march 2007 but were denied access by the governing camp meeting association the camp meeting association said a same-sex ceremony conflicted with its united methodist religious beliefs and that as custodian of the boardwalk pavilion it was constitutionally empowered to prohibit such activity however a division on civil rights investigation found that the camp meeting association had a history of allowing the public to use the pavilion for weddings and secular events the division also found that the association had obtained a green acres tax exemption from the state department of environmental protection 20 years ago conditioned on the boardwalk pavilion being open to the public on an equal basis in light of its investigation results the division ruled that the boardwalk pavilion is a place of public accommodation under state statute and that the camp meeting association s refusal to rent it to bernstein and paster was a violation of the new jersey law against discrimination in an unrelated case the division on civil rights found against a condominium association in manalapan monmouth county for refusing to install access ramps to accommodate disabled residents in a significant 2008 appellate victory the division successfully defended its 2007 ruling that a trenton-area subway restaurant committed race-based discrimination against two africanamerican teenagers who worked there by consistently referring to them with a racial slur as a result of the division s successful appellate defense the subway restaurant owner and manager were required to pay each victim $62,000 in damages and lost wages the racing commission oversaw an industry that continued to expand in 2008 with the opening of new jersey s third off-track wagering facility in toms river for the year bettors wagered a total of nearly $141 million at the state s three off-track betting facilities the other sites are located in vineland and woodbridge meanwhile the gross amount wagered on horse racing at all new jersey betting venues for 2008 totaled more than $934 million consistent with its mission to ensure the integrity of thoroughbred and harness horse competition the racing commission used expanded testing protocols in 2008 to detect the use of performance-enhancing substances in horses in one case involving a well-known race horse farm in burlington county six harness horses were declared ineligible to compete after testing positive for a performance-enhancing steroid a veterinarian who owned the horses and a trainer who regularly worked with them were cited for a list of violations although not the only measure of a state s highway traffic safety climate a significant drop-off in the number of motor vehicle deaths on new jersey roadways was an encouraging trend in 2008 overall there were 591 highway fatalities in 2008 in the prior year 724 people died as a result of highway crashes iv

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the growing use of seatbelts and child safety seats by drivers and passengers increased public awareness efforts by the division of highway traffic safety and more aggressive traffic enforcement by police all contributed to making highway travel safer in 2008 emblematic of the division s approach to public awareness were several new or expanded awareness initiatives including a new web site and elementary school educational program ­ buck the buckle up dog funded by the division buck the buckle up dog is designed to engage children in grades k-through-three in activities that emphasize the importance of proper car booster seat and seat belt use as well as bicycle and pedestrian safety on the enforcement front initiatives such as obey the signs or pay the fines targeted drivers whose speeding endangered themselves and others during the month of july 2008 56 northern new jersey police agencies used division-provided grant funding to conduct saturation patrols aimed at motorists exceeding speed limits on local streets highways meanwhile in 2008 the juvenile justice commission jjc played a major role in making new jersey a national model for success in implementing juvenile detention reform largely through the jjc s efforts new jersey was chosen to serve as the first juvenile detention alternatives initiative jdai state model site in the country by the respected annie e casey foundation of baltimore new jersey earned its designation as a model by achieving remarkable results in implementing jdai a statewide effort aimed at finding community-based alternatives to housing young offenders in secure detention working with the state judiciary and various local stakeholders the jjc significantly reduced juvenile detention admissions and length of stay ­ primarily for minority youth in the five original jdai pilot counties of atlantic camden essex hudson and monmouth compared with the year 2003 there were 211 fewer young people in juvenile detention in those pilot counties on any given day in 2007 ­ a 42 percent drop-off particularly striking were the jdai results in camden and essex counties the number of minority youth in detention in camden county was cut in half while essex county witnessed a 47.5 percent reduction during the same time frame juvenile arrests declined by 9.4 percent in the five pilot counties debunking the myth that placing more young offenders in community-based settings will only lead to more juvenile crime juvenile detention reform is a vital part of governor corzine s strategy for safer streets and neighborhoods at the department of law and public safety our 9,100 employees have a broad-based mandate that includes everything from safeguarding neighborhoods and protecting consumer investments to safeguarding civil rights and preserving the integrity of legalized gaming in 2008 we made the streets safer by putting dangerous criminals in jail we successfully sued to preserve new jersey s natural resources and protect its financial assets we worked round-the-clock to ferret out corruption and hold those responsible for it accountable looking ahead we remain committed to working both independently and in collaboration with other agencies at every level of law enforcement to ensure the safety of new jersey residents and improve the quality of life in their communities 8 0 anne milgram attorney general v

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new jersey office of the attorney general · department of law public safety

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table of contents division of criminal justice 2 division of state police 8 division of law 12 division of consumer affairs 16 division on civil rights 20 division of highway traffic safety 24 division of alcoholic beverage control 28 division of gaming enforcement 32 racing commission 36 juvenile justice commission 38 8 0 1

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new jersey office of the attorney general · department of law public safety division of criminal justice new jersey s unified integrated system of law enforcement is unique in the nation the criminal justice act of 1970 designated the attorney general as the chief law enforcement officer of the state the division of criminal justice on behalf of the attorney general is charged with responsibility to enforce the criminal laws of the state and serve a variety of functions pertaining to the administration of criminal justice in addition to its direct law enforcement operations the division provides oversight and coordination within new jersey s law enforcement community it is the goal of the division to help coordinate law enforcement efforts and resources at all levels ­ state county and municipal ­ to ensure the safety and security of all new jersey residents more information about the division of criminal justice is available at www.njdcj.org 2

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division of criminal justice overall crime fighting the division of criminal justice had a tremendously productive year in 2008 filing nearly 1,000 cases the division continued to make fighting gangs and prosecuting public corruption top priorities achieving big case increases in those areas while also stepping up prosecutions of financial fraud the division filed 966 cases by indictment or accusation a 47 percent increase over 2007 the cases involve more than 1,200 defendants cases were up across the board in 2008 including a 107 percent increase for the gangs organized crime bureau a 61 percent increase for the major crimes bureau and a 21 percent increase for the corruption bureau the office of insurance fraud prosecutor which consistently ranks as one of the most productive insurance fraud prosecution offices in the u.s logged a 19 percent increase in 2007 and edged out the 2007 total by one case in 2008 these totals were reported for indictments and accusations filed by the bureaus 2008 corruption gangs organized crime major crimes office of insurance 2007 53 109 319 155 64 226 514 156 fraud prosecutor the division s gangs organized crime bureau continued to work with the state police and other law enforcement agencies to target the command structures of some of the most violent gangs in new jersey meanwhile the division s major crimes bureau focused on more complex white-collar crime cases including money laundering and mortgage fraud the division s corruption bureau worked with the federal government to convict former newark mayor sharpe james at trial while also filing its own cases against prominent and high-ranking public officials public corruption in other prosecutions involving prominent officials the corruption bureau successfully completed its prosecution of mims hackett jr the former orange mayor and former state assemblyman hackett was sentenced to five years in state prison after pleading guilty in may to official misconduct for fraudulently billing the city of orange for more than $5,000 in travel expenses he never incurred in december the bureau obtained a state grand jury indictment charging former state assemblyman neil cohen with official misconduct and possession reproduction and distribution of child pornography cohen allegedly used computers in the 20th legislative district office to view child pornography and print copies of child pornography that he left around the office the corruption bureau also indicted and prosecuted several public officials for rigging contracts and stealing funds in connection with public projects department of corrections administrator gerald t kennedy was indicted in april for allegedly rigging bids taking kickbacks and engaging in fraud in connection with $678,000 in state contracts former irvington mayor michael steele was indicted in june for allegedly taking at least $120,000 in kickbacks for rigging contracts as business administrator for the irvington board of education and former blairstown township committeeman ray davis was sentenced to three years in prison in november for using his position as chairman of the $2.6 million municipal complex project to divert $46,000 in funds to a dummy corporation he created in other noteworthy cases prosecuted by the bureau michael hailey the former principal at h.b wilson elementary school in camden and his top administrator patricia johnson pleaded guilty to stealing $14,000 in field trip funds and attempting to steal $25,000 in extra wages for fictitious meetings former chief judge wanda molina and former court administrator virginia pagan of the jersey city municipal court were indicted in july for allegedly fixing parking tickets two bergenfield borough council members dennis mulligan and elaine rabbitt were indicted in december for allegedly forging resignations of fellow members of the borough s democratic committee before a special election the division s gangs organized crime bureau handled the prosecution of former clayton borough police chief frank winters winters pleaded guilty to theft and official misconduct in september for stealing from mothers against drunk driving and his 8 0 3

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new jersey office of the attorney general · department of law public safety police department he was sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay $180,000 in restitution to madd the state police organized crime control bureau south investigated the case members of the gangs organized crime bureau have also worked on important initiatives under governor jon s corzine s strategy for safe streets and neighborhoods many attorneys and detectives in the gangs organized crime bureau are working on the governor s camden violent crime task forces initiated in june 2008 these multiagency task forces made 306 arrests for crimes including murder assault with a firearm drug and gun trafficking offenses and armed robbery forty firearms were seized including 13 assault weapons along with significant quantities of narcotics in addition bureau attorneys have been embedded in the essex and camden county prosecutors offices under the ceasefire program which seeks to reduce gun violence through aggressive prosecution of defendants in non-fatal shootings they obtained 117 indictments and accusations for shootings drug and weapons offenses and other crimes the gangs organized crime bureau indicted five men for trafficking guns from pennsylvania into new jersey as a result of a partnership with the state police and u.s department of alcohol tobacco firearms and explosives that utilizes atf s e-trace system for tracking guns used in crimes the bureau also assisted federal authorities in charging an organized crime figure through a cooperative effort of the bureau and the u.s attorney s office in brooklyn captured fugitive michael j coppola a genovese crime family capo was indicted in the eastern district of new york on charges of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy that include as a predicate act the 1977 execution-style murder of john johnny cokes lardiere gangs organized crime the division of criminal justice gangs organized crime bureau continued to turn up the heat on gangs in 2008 targeting the leadership of the most violent sets of the bloods in new jersey in july the bureau indicted 15 alleged members of the nine trey headbustas set of the bloods which has ties to philadelphia and controlled narcotics dealing in the broadway section of camden through acts of violence and intimidation the indictment resulted from operation broadway a joint investigation by the bureau and the highintensity drug trafficking area camden task force in september 12 alleged members of the violent paterson-based nine trey hillside beehive set of the bloods including its two top leaders were charged in operation swarm the investigation led by the state police division of criminal justice department of corrections special investigations division and paterson police also uncovered drug smuggling in state prisons during 2008 the gangs organized crime bureau obtained guilty pleas and prison sentences for 25 out of 32 members of the violent sex money murder set of the bloods gang who were indicted in 2007 the two top leaders in mercer county received prison sentences of 13 years and 12 years one gang member from pemberton david garmon faces a 40-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in a separate investigation into sex money murder in burlington and mercer counties called operation razorback which the bureau conducted with the state police burlington county prosecutor s office and pemberton police department in addition prosecutions of members of the nine trey gangsters set of the bloods continued in 2008 guilty pleas were obtained from 27 of the 46 defendants who were indicted in 2007 as a result of a joint investigation led by the new jersey state police and the division of criminal justice the defendants received sentences ranging from 5 years to 16 years in state prison 4

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division of criminal justice major crimes in addition to prosecuting major financial crimes the division s major crimes bureau through its environmental crimes bureau led an intensive investigation with the avalon police department and the cape may county prosecutor s office that resulted in the arrest and subsequent indictment of a pennsylvania dentist thomas mcfarland for allegedly dumping needles and other medical-type waste that washed up on the beach in avalon during the last week of august 2008 in april the major crimes bureau s casino prosecutions unit obtained an indictment charging 24 members of a multimillion-dollar sports betting ring that operated inside the borgata hotel casino poker room guilty pleas were obtained from 17 of the defendants including the two leaders of the ring andrew micali and jack buscemi jr the leaders each face up to five years in state prison in the area of financial fraud the major crimes bureau successfully prosecuted a monmouth county man spiro pollatos who led others in mortgage fraud schemes involving the theft of $2.7 million the schemes caused financial devastation for at least 20 victims and had an adverse impact on two financial institutions that provided loans pollatos pleaded guilty in october to first-degree money laundering and faces up to 15 years in prison his girlfriend pleaded guilty to second-degree money laundering and faces 10 years in prison in december the bureau and the fbi arrested jeffrey joseph southard of pittsgrove on charges of first-degree money laundering theft and securities fraud for allegedly stealing more than $1.3 million from investors jeffrey scott lafferty was sentenced to 10 years in state prison in may for stealing approximately $790,000 from clients of his investment firm which had a mailing address in red bank and offered specialized financial services for podiatrists that case was investigated by the new jersey bureau of securities the division of criminal justice and federal authorities and in march the major crimes bureau indicted a millstone township man michael d angelo on charges he stole $690,000 from more than two dozen victims who invested millions of dollars in his fraudulent get-rich-quick scheme the new jersey bureau of securities simultaneously filed a lawsuit seeking restitution and penalties against d angelo his company cmr mngt group llc and two other owners of cmr in other noteworthy cases brought by the major crimes bureau a bergen county woman victoria rivera was sentenced to 10 years in prison and her boyfriend three years for stealing $828,000 by filing fraudulent state tax returns and tyrone maple of the bronx n.y was sentenced to three years in prison in october for releasing hazardous asbestos dust and debris at a church and daycare center in paterson by removing asbestos insulation without a license and without observing federal and state laws he pleaded guilty to a charge of knowingly causing the unlawful release of a toxic pollutant filed by the environmental crimes bureau 8 0 insurance fraud in 2008 the office of insurance fraud prosecutor charged 182 defendants oifp obtained fines judgments penalties and restitution orders totaling more than $41 million representing a 220 percent increase over 2007 and imposed 776 civil insurance fraud sanctions a 3 percent increase over 2007 the medicaid fraud control unit assisted in national medicaid fraud settlements involving pharmaceutical companies that resulted in recoveries of more than $13 million for new jersey for its medicaid program in 2008 in january 2008 14 people including the owners of a pharmacy and a clinic in essex county were charged by oifp in operation pharmscam an ongoing investigation into schemes in which completed prescription 5

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new jersey office of the attorney general · department of law public safety forms for hiv/aids drugs and other expensive medicines were bought from indigent patients so medicaid could be billed for drugs that were never dispensed the total fraud is estimated to have exceeded $2 million clinic owner bryan x chandler pleaded guilty to health care claims fraud as did two pharmacy operators who were charged separately abdul bari and john borges bari was sentenced to three years in prison and chandler and borges also face prison terms of three to five years under their plea agreements in february irwin b seligsohn was sentenced to three years in prison becoming the first new jersey lawyer to be sent to prison for the illegal use of runners racketeering and conspiracy charges were filed by oifp against seligsohn his law partner their firm and 47 other individuals in connection with the firm s use of runners to recruit individuals to feign auto accident injuries to date 26 defendants including both attorneys and the firm have pleaded guilty in december the two owners of a newark home health care agency touch of life and their office coordinator pleaded guilty to fraud charges an oifp investigation determined they defrauded medicaid out of almost $1 million by billing medicaid for services that were not provided and services that did not qualify for reimbursement in 2008 oifp also continued to prosecute individuals involved in various auto theft rings in which cars valued in the millions were stolen from new jersey new york and pennsylvania the cars were re-tagged with altered vehicle identification numbers and sold sometimes over the internet on sites such as ebay some of the car thieves posed as licensed locksmiths in order to obtain codes that they used to reproduce car keys and some of the cars were stolen from dealership lots state v sloane the court ruled that a check of records for a driver or passenger in the national crime information center database during a traffic stop is not a search under the state and u.s constitutions so no reasonable and articulable suspicion is needed for such a check the court held that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in the public records maintained by ncic by recognizing that an ncic check is not a search and does not implicate privacy concerns the court preserved the ability of officers to quickly conduct such checks which may be important for their safety and the performance of their duties state v buda the division s appellate bureau appeared as amicus curiae or friend of the court in a case in which the appellate panel held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ruling admissible a young child s statements made to his mother and to a division of youth and family services worker that the defendant had beaten him the appellate panel held that such statements were admissible as excited utterances and did not violate the confrontation clause of the u.s and state constitutions under the controlling u.s supreme court cases because the statements were non-testimonial state v reid this case represented a significant victory for law enforcement s ability to gather computer-based evidence while recognizing the privacy rights of new jersey citizens the court held that while the new jersey constitution provides citizens with a reasonable expectation of privacy in the subscriber information they provide to internet service providers law enforcement can obtain subscriber information by serving a grand jury subpoena on an internet provider without notice to the subscriber the court upheld the suppression of information obtained by a municipal subpoena but it provided that the state could reacquire the information with a proper grand jury subpoena significant appellate matters the division s appellate bureau had significant victories in the new jersey supreme court that continued to shape state law in areas as diverse as police use of ncic information during traffic stops admissibility of statements made by abused children and appellate review of overcharging cases 6

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state v amelio in this case the court held that a police stop of a defendant s car was proper given that the police dispatcher received information from the defendant s 17-year-old daughter that he was driving a car while drunk the court concluded that this provided a reasonable basis for the stop of his car other initiatives dna database the division s codis compliance unit and the state police office of forensic sciences continued to rapidly expand new jersey s dna database and databank in 2008 adding more than 23,696 samples the databank now contains over 198,534 samples as the number of dna profiles in the database continued to grow the number of dna hits also increased there were more than 762 hits or matches in 2008 these hits solved or assisted law enforcement in investigating 90 sexual offenses 355 burglaries 131 robberies and thefts and 37 homicides new jersey s dna collection and hit rates are among the highest in the country 8 08 0 division of criminal justice 7

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