Grewal Announces Voting Fraud Charges Against Paterson Councilman Michael Jackson, Councilman-Elect Alex Mendez, Two Others

Paterson City Councilman Jackson
Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced voting fraud charges against Paterson City Councilman Michael Jackson, Councilman-Elect Alex Mendez, and two other men in connection with the May 12, 2020 special election in the City of Paterson.

All four men are charged with criminal conduct involving mail-in ballots during the election, Grewal

Mendez

said. The investigation by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity & Accountability (OPIA) began when the U.S. Postal Inspection Service alerted the Attorney General’s Office that hundreds of mail-in ballots were found in a mailbox in Paterson.  Numerous additional ballots were found in a mailbox in nearby Haledon.  Due

to the COVID-19 pandemic, all voting in May 12 elections in New Jersey was done by mail-in ballots.

“Today’s charges send a clear message: if you try to tamper with an election in New Jersey, we will find you and we will hold you accountable,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We will not allow a small number of criminals to undermine the public’s confidence in our democratic process.”

“The residents of New Jersey have a right to free and fair elections, and we will ensure that happens,” said OPIA Director Thomas Eicher. “Our office’s criminal investigations complement a number of other safeguards that New Jersey has implemented to ensure the integrity of our elections.”

As described below, a number of today’s charges relate to the improper collection of mail-in ballots, said the AG. Generally speaking, a voter who receives a mail-in ballot completes the ballot themselves and then returns the ballot by mailing it, placing it in a specially designated “drop box,” or delivering it to the County Board of Elections. However, New Jersey also allows a voter to provide the completed ballot to a “bearer,” who must complete the bearer certification on the ballot envelope in the presence of the voter and then return the ballot on behalf of the voter.  Under state law, a bearer may collect and deliver ballots for no more than three voters in an election, and a candidate in the election is never permitted to serve as a bearer.

The following four defendants were charged today by complaint-summons as indicated:

Michael Jackson, 48, of Paterson—1st Ward Councilman and Council Vice President

  • Fraud in Casting Mail-In Vote (3rd Degree)
  • Unauthorized Possession of Ballots (3rd Degree)
  • Tampering with Public Records (3rd Degree)
  • Falsifying or Tampering with Records (4th Degree)

It is alleged that Jackson violated state election laws as a candidate by approaching one or more voters in Paterson in the district where he was running and collecting their official mail-in ballots for delivery to the Passaic County Board of Elections.  It is further alleged that these mail-in ballots were delivered to the Board of Elections without information identifying the bearer, in violation of state election laws.  In addition, Jackson allegedly procured and had in his possession more than three official mail-in ballots which were neither his own ballots, nor ballots for which he was identified as an authorized bearer.  Lastly, Jackson allegedly received the official mail-in ballot of one voter without the ballot having been voted or sealed, and that ballot was subsequently delivered to the Board of Elections in a sealed envelope without information identifying the bearer.

Alex Mendez, 45, of Paterson—3rd Ward Councilman-Elect

  • Election Fraud (2nd Degree)
  • Fraud in Casting Mail-In Vote (3rd Degree)
  • Unauthorized Possession of Ballots (3rd Degree)
  • False Registration or Transfer (Third-Degree)
  • Tampering with Public Records (3rd Degree)
  • Falsifying or Tampering with Records (4th Degree)

It is alleged that Mendez violated state election laws as a candidate by approaching one or more voters in Paterson in the district where he was running and collecting their official mail-in ballots for delivery to the Passaic County Board of Elections.  It is further alleged that these mail-in ballots were delivered to the Board of Elections without information identifying the bearer in violation of state election laws. In addition, Mendez allegedly procured or submitted one or more voter registration applications, which he knew to be false, fictitious, or fraudulent, in that he knew the person for whom the application was procured was not eligible to vote in the election district identified on the application.

Shelim Khalique, 51, of Wayne, N.J.

  • Fraud in Casting Mail-In Vote (3rd Degree)
  • Unauthorized Possession of Ballots (3rd Degree)
  • Tampering with Public Records (3rd Degree)
  • Falsifying or Tampering with Records (4th Degree)

Khalique allegedly violated state election laws by approaching a residence in Paterson’s 2nd Ward and collecting official mail in ballots from one or more voters which subsequently were delivered to the Passaic County Board of Elections without information identifying the bearer. In addition, Khalique and the bus company he owns, A-1 Elegant Tours, Inc., d/b/a Eastern Star Transportation, LLC, were charged today with contract fraud and other crimes in a separate investigation by OPIA, the New Jersey State Police, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, and Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.

Abu Razyen, 21, of Prospect Park, N.J.

  • Fraud in Casting Mail-In Vote (3rd Degree)
  • Unauthorized Possession of Ballots (3rd Degree)

It is alleged that Razyen violated state election laws by procuring and possessing more than three official mail-in ballots which were not his own and for which he was not identified as an authorized bearer.  Investigators obtained a USB drive containing a video of Razyen holding and flipping through a stack of more than three official mail-in ballot outer envelopes that did not have the bearer portion completed.  The video confirmed that Razyen had collected the mail-in ballots.

The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and fine of up to $15,000. Fourth-degree crimes carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

About the Office of Public Integrity & Accountability (OPIA)

The investigation was conducted by prosecutors and detectives in the OPIA Corruption Bureau, under the leadership of OPIA Director Thomas Eicher.  Deputy Attorney General Eric C. Cohen is prosecuting the case, under the supervision of Corruption Bureau Chief Peter Lee and Counsel to the Director Anthony Picione.

Attorney General Grewal created OPIA in September 2018 to combat corruption and strengthen public confidence in government institutions.  In December 2019, the Attorney General issued a directive codifying OPIA and making it a permanent part of the Attorney General’s Office.  That directive established the OPIA Corruption Bureau as the lead office within the Department of Law & Public Safety for the investigation and prosecution of state criminal violations involving corruption and abuse of public trust.

OPIA has a toll-free Tipline 1-844-OPIA-TIPS for the public to report corruption.  The Attorney General’s Office has an Anti-Corruption Reward Program that offers a reward of up to $25,000 for tips leading to a conviction for a crime involving public corruption.  Information is posted at: http://nj.gov/oag/corruption/reward.html.

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  • larrybud

    What? I was told mail-in balloting was safe, effective, and fair. What happened?

    • Kingoftheroad

      Exactly. No issues here folks. You can trust Democrats.

  • Leo60

    Election Meddling needs to be punishable by DEATH…

  • Don_Giovanni

    And this is just city elections. Can you imagine on a national scale? And it took time for the elections board to certify the people’s signature, which 1 in 5 ballots were tossed, just based on that. No way should mail in ballots be allowed. If you can’t get off your rear to go vote for your representative, you’re not a patriot. Unless you’re handicapped, etc.

  • George Ensley

    Are these people registered Dems or Repubs???

    • csw

      I’ll GARUNTEE you they are Democraps

  • re_tired

    Notice they don’t publish which party they are???

  • Fred Baumann

    The two city council members were people of color, and the color is red-handed!!!

  • GrogNerd

    ready kids! it’s time to play America’s favorite game, “guess the political party affiliation!” ***APPLAUSE SIGN!***

    those who’ve played before already know if they don’t mention political party, it’s Democrat, otherwise, it would be in the head, subhead or 1st paragraph & repeated throughout the article

    • Marc

      Correct! If it’s not mentioned, it’s Democrat. Otherwise, the headline would tell you.

  • dsa

    clearly not viable Ballots.
    therefore were NOT going to be counted.

    Glad for tip that led to info on persons being charged.
    Also glad to see Lots of charges.

    Doesn’t matter the party. I hope they see prison.

    BTW – in 2018 down in No Carolina, a “Candidate” who hired a known dirty trickster to do this—
    and then “won” a Congressional seat in a Special Election

    would not back down (!) – even after the state Election Commission
    – following notice by tipsters and an investigation – refused to Certify the fellow as “winner”
    [and his State/Local PARTY would not retreat. They also tried to get the Election Commission members ousted,]
    1st Defense – It didn’t happen. Then – after fraud clearly shown…..
    2d Defense I didn’t know the guy I hired was a bad guy.

    Finally the fellow’s grown SON testified against his own dad – live – in a hearing —
    I watched the hearing video. Son said it was hardest thing he ever had to do, but his Dad was not telling the truth. His Dad knew the guy hired was a known dirty tricks guy.
    Dad began crying during the hearing.

    After that, fake “winner” Dad departed the hearing room
    and his lawyer announced that for “health” reasons
    he was withdrawing.
    It was only AFTER that, that his PARTY also withdrew their objections.

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