New Jersey

Atlantic City councilman charged with submitting false voter registrations, making false statements and fraudulently obtaining unemployment benefits

CAMDEN, NJ – An Atlantic County, New Jersey man has been charged with falsifying voter registrations, making false statements to the FBI about interactions with potential voters and of submitting false claims for unemployment benefits to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL). ), U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

MD Hossain Morshed, 49, an elected councilor in Atlantic City’s Fourth Ward, is charged in an unsealed criminal complaint today with one count of fraudulent sourcing and submitting voter registration applications, one count of misrepresentation and one count of wire fraud. Morshed made his first appearance before U.S. District Judge Ann Marie Donio in federal court in Camden and was released on an unsecured bond of $100,000.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Falsification of voter forms

In April 2019, ahead of the June 2019 primary election, Morshed gave a potential voter a New Jersey Voter Registration Application that had already been completed and which falsely claimed that the potential voter had a residential address in the Atlantic City’s fourth ward. Even though the address written on the form was not where the voter actually lived, Morshed urged the potential voter to sign the application. Thereafter, Morshed visited the potential voter at the voter’s actual residence (which was not in the Fourth Ward) and presented the potential voter with a mail-in ballot request to sign which included the same fake Atlantic City Fourth Ward address that was on the voter registration application and listed another fake Atlantic City address for where the mail-in ballot should be mailed to the voter.

The Atlantic County Superintendent of Elections then received the forged voter registration application that Morshed had signed by the prospective voter and subsequently the Atlantic County Board of Elections received the completed mail-in ballot. of the potential voter, and this ballot was counted for the June 2019 primary election. The potential voter later admitted to not having received, completed or returned the absentee ballot. During legally recorded conversations between this voter and Morshed regarding possible questioning by law enforcement, Morshed instructed the voter, if questioned by law enforcement, to make false statements about where the voter lived and who completed the voter forms that Morshed gave to the voter. .

When Morshed was later approached and questioned by FBI agents about his provision of voter registration and mail-in ballot applications to New Jersey residents, he made materially false statements, including that he had never provided voter documents to a potential voter, had never assisted any potential voter in completing such documents, and had never collected such documents from a potential voter. Morshed also erroneously stated that he never asked residents of municipalities outside of Atlantic City to register to vote in Atlantic City’s Fourth Ward.

Fraudulent receipt of unemployment benefits

From April 2020 to September 2021, Morshed also defrauded NJDOL of $39,208 in unemployment benefits to which he was not entitled. Morshed applied for and was approved to receive various unemployment benefits related to New Jersey’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, even though he was earning compensation for his job as an Atlantic City councilman and a additional income as a driver.

The false submission of voter registration and the tally of false declarations are each punishable by a potential maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, which is twice the gain or loss resulting of the offence. The count of wire fraud carries a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, which is double the gain or loss of the offense.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited FBI Special Agents, under Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy; the Newark Public Corruption Task Force, Atlantic City Resident Agency of the FBI, including the Atlantic County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney William Reynolds; the Atlantic City Police Department, under Chief Officer in Charge James A. Sarkos; the New Jersey State Police, under Colonel Patrick J. Callahan; and the Cape May County District Attorney’s Office, under District Attorney Jeffrey H. Sutherland; as well as special agents from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Mellone; and postal inspectors of the United States Postal Inspection Service, Philadelphia Division, under Inspector in Charge Christopher A. Nielsen, the investigation leading to the charges.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric A. Boden, the prosecutor in charge of the Trenton office, and Assistant U.S. Attorney James H. Graham of the General Crimes Unit, under the supervision of the Special Prosecutions Division.

The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are charges only, and the Defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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