William Rojas, 69, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini in Newark federal court to an information charging him with conspiring with others to use the mail to promote a voter bribery scheme during the 2015 municipal election in Hoboken.
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 VBM Application is processed, voters receive a mail-in ballot.
From September 2015 through November 2015, Rojas worked for a candidate for the Hoboken City Council (Candidate 1). At Candidate 1’s direction, Rojas and a conspirator, Matthew Calicchio, agreed to pay certain Hoboken voters $50 each if those voters applied for and cast mail-in ballots for the November 2015 Hoboken municipal election. Rojas provided these voters with VBM applications and told them they would get paid $50 for casting mail-in ballots. After receiving the completed mail-in ballots from voters, Rojas and Calicchio reviewed them to ensure that voters had voted for Candidate 1. After the election, Rojas delivered $50 checks to the voters whose mail-in ballots he collected. Calicchio previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 7, 2019.
Rojas faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 20, 2020.
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 today’s guilty plea.
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.
Defense Counsel: Kevin F. Carlucci Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark
Editor's Note: The name of the political party that benefit from the scheme was not released