Former Essex County campaign worker sentenced to 3 years in prison

A Newark man was sentenced to prison today for submitting fraudulent absentee ballots while working for the 2007 campaign of state Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D), Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced Thursday.

Angel Colon, 51, of Newark, was sentenced today to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Thomas W. Sumners Jr.  Colon pleaded guilty on July 29, 2011 to a charge of second-degree election fraud in a case filed by the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.  Colon admitted that he fraudulently submitted absentee “messenger” ballots on behalf of voters who never received the ballots or had an opportunity to cast their votes, according to the attorney general’s office.

Second-degree crimes carry a presumption of a state prison sentence, but Colon was initially sentenced by Judge Sumners on Jan. 19, 2012 to five years of probation, over the state’s objection. Deputy Attorney General Vincent J. Militello had requested a sentence of three years in prison, consistent with the plea agreement, according to the office. The Division of Criminal Justice appealed the sentence, and the Appellate Division ruled in the state’s favor, declaring that the record did not support the judge’s finding that imprisoning the defendant would result in “serious injustice.”

“Justice demanded that Colon serve a state prison sentence, in accordance with his guilty plea,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman.  “To safeguard fair and honest elections, we need to deliver a clear deterrent message that election tampering is a serious crime. This sentence accomplishes that.”

Former Essex County campaign worker sentenced to 3 years in prison