The defendant served as mayor of Sparta NJ from July 2008 to July 2009. He was later employed as the third-highest ranking officer of the New Jersey Human Services Police. The agency protects facilities which are open and operated by the Department of Human Services.
While working for the agency, the defendant was accused of illegally using official state databases to conduct background checks on individuals.
According to prosecutors, the background checks were not part of state business; the checks were conducted for personal reasons. For example, the defendant reportedly directed one of his employees to conduct background checks on individuals who played for the Sussex Skyhawks, a minor league baseball team which is part of the Canadian American League. Prosecutors said that the employee was told to use the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database in order to get information about the players.
Prosecutors also alleged that the defendant instructed a subordinate employee to use the FBI database to conduct a background check on a home health aide. The defendant was reportedly interested in hiring the aide for his mother.
After a trial in Mercer County Superior Court in Trenton NJ earlier this year, a jury acquitted the defendant on charges of theft by deception. However, the defendant was ultimately found guilty on charges of official misconduct and computer theft.
The defendant will have to forfeit his job with the New Jersey Human Services Police. As part of the conviction, he will be barred from future public employment in New Jersey.
The defendant is scheduled to appear for sentencing in Mercer County Superior Court on January 30.
To learn more about this case, check out the NJ.com article entitled “Report: Sentencing Set for Ex-Sparta Mayor Convicted of Illegally Running Background Checks.”