This one will play well with senior citizens, one of the most important voting blocks in a statewide election: as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1998, Kim Guadagno prosecuted four Barbados-based direct mail companies accused of selling fraudulent get-rich-schemes that bilked New Jersey seniors out of nearly $3 million. The firms allegedly sent out letters promising seniors prizes of up to $10,000 for solving a word or number puzzle, which they need to return with a $19 judging fee. Guadagno got a federal judge to stop the firms from using the U.S. Postal Service.
In 1994, she prosecuted Jeanette Flora Nixon, the Cranford Board of Education CEO, for stealing $167,000 in cash from monies generated from the sale of milk to school children.
She also prosecuted a high profile corruption case involving longtime Somerset County Prosecutor Nicholas Bissell, a Republican. Bissell was convicted on federal corruption charges that started when he agreed to drop cocaine possession charges against a man who then agreed to forfeit two lots that were sold at auction to Bissell’s friend. He was awaiting sentencing in 1996 when he cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet and drove to Nevada. Tracing a cell phone call to his wife, U.S. Marshals found the armed ex-Prosecutor in a motel. After a ten minute standoff, Bissell shot and killed himself.
In 1996, Attorney General Janet Reno, a Democrat, presented an award to Guadagno and two other New Jersey prosecutors for superior performance as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. The other two AUSA’s were now-Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, who went on to become Jon Corzine’s Chief Counsel and Attorney General, and Perry Carbone, who prosecuted Paterson Mayor Martin Barnes.