NEWARK, N.J. – A Hoboken, New Jersey, man has been charged with promoting a voter bribery scheme by use of the U.S. mail, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.
William Rojas, 68, is charged by complaint with a violation of the federal Travel Act for causing the mails to be used in aid of voter bribery contrary to New Jersey state law. He is scheduled to have his initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Under New Jersey law, registered voters are permitted to cast a ballot by mail rather than in person. To receive a mail-in ballot, voters must complete and submit to their county clerk’s office an Application for Vote by Mail Ballot (VBM Application). After the application is processed by the county clerk’s office, voters receive a mail-in ballot.
From September 2015 through November 2015, Rojas agreed to pay certain Hoboken voters $50 if those voters applied for and cast mail-in ballots for the November 2015 Hoboken municipal election. Rojas provided these voters with VBM Applications, told the voters that they would get paid $50 for casting mail-in ballots, and then delivered the completed VBM applications to the Hudson County Clerk’s office. After the mail-in ballots were delivered to the voters, Rojas went to the voters’ residences to collect the mail-in ballots and mailed the completed mail-in ballots to the Hudson County Clerk’s Office. After the election, Rojas delivered checks to these voters. Bank records show that voters living in Hoboken received $50 checks from an entity associated with the campaign that employed Rojas.
Rojas faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, and special agents of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christina Scaringi, with the investigation leading to the charge.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Farrell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division.
The charge and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.