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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
June 10, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

 

John R. Hagerty
609-984-1936

 

Hudson County Sheriff’s Officer Charged with Official Misconduct for Cheating on Promotional Exam

TRENTON - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that the Division of Criminal Justice - Special Prosecutions Bureau has charged a Hudson County Sheriff’s Officer with breeching his law enforcement duties and responsibilities by concocting an elaborate scheme to cheat on a Department of Personnel promotional examination testing for the position of Hudson County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant.

Attorney General Harvey said the State Grand Jury indictment of the Hudson County Sheriff’s Officer comes in the wake of ongoing state investigations targeting police corruption and misconduct by officers in various municipal police departments. Attorney General Harvey noted that the overwhelming majority of New Jersey police and law enforcement officers serve and protect the public welfare with the goal of making their communities safe neighborhoods in which to live and work.

“This investigation targeted an alleged corrupt law enforcement officer who chose to break the law for his own personal greed,” said Attorney General Harvey. “Law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard of conduct and schemes to cheat on promotional examinations are a serious violation of the oath of office.”

According to Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice, John Ramos, 47, Snyder Street, Bethlehem, PA, was charged via a State Grand Jury indictment with multiple counts of official misconduct, tampering with public records or information, falsifying or tampering with records, impersonation - identity theft, and unsworn falsification to authorities. Ramos, employed in the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office since 1994, was early today (Fri., June 10) as he reported to work at the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office in the Hudson County Court House in Jersey City. The arrest was made by a State Police detective and a Division of Criminal Justice State Investigator, both assigned to the Division of Criminal Justice - Special Prosecutions Bureau. Ramos will be transported to the Monmouth County Jail prior to an arraignment hearing in the Monmouth County Superior Court. Ramos faces more than 20 years in state prison and fines exceeding $100,000 upon any conviction.

The State Grand Jury indictment charges that in late 2002 and early 2003, Ramos made arrangements to have an acquaintance take the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office Sergeants promotional examination scheduled for March, 2003. The indictment charges that Ramos undertook extraordinary steps to perpetuate the impersonation, including the falsification of identification documents which would allow the acquaintance to take the promotional test under Ramos’ identification. The investigation determined that Ramos created numerous fraudulent documents, including a Hudson County Sheriff’s Department credential and badge with all of his (Ramos’) personal information, but bearing the photograph of the acquaintance; a fraudulent Hoboken Housing Authority identification; a duplicate, non-photo New Jersey driver’s license issued to John Ramos; and a duplicate, unsigned social security card issued to Ramos and bearing Ramos’ social security number. Each of the documents were provided to the acquaintance on March 20, 2003, the day of the promotional examination at the Middletown (Monmouth County) High School. In exchange for the acquaintance taking the test, Ramos offered to forgive a debt of between $300 - $500 and to assist the acquaintance in applying for a position in the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office.

The Grand Jury indictment identifies the acquaintance as Damon P. Bassano, 28, 78th Street, North Bergen, Hudson County. At the time of the testing and alleged impersonation, Bassano was employed as a campus police officer at the Stevens Institute of Technology. Bassano was subsequently hired as a Human Services Police Officer. On June 6, Bassano pleaded guilty before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Bette E. Uhrmacher to falsifying or tampering with public records. Bassano resigned his position as a Human Services Police Officer prior to entering the guilty plea. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 26.

The State Grand Jury indictment was returned on June 9 and handed-up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Neil H. Shuster. The case is assigned to the Monmouth County Superior Court for trial.

The investigation was conducted by DSG Myles A. Cappiello, New Jersey State Police - Official Corruption Unit and assigned to the Division of Criminal Justice - Special Prosecutions Bureau and State Investigator Scott Donlan of the Division of Criminal Justice - Special Prosecutions Bureau. The prosecution is coordinated by Deputy Attorney General Anthony Picione of the Division of Criminal Justice - Special Prosecutions Bureau. The Hudson County Sheriff’s Office provided administrative assistance. The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office was notified of the investigation.

A copy of the indictment and related information is available via the Division of Criminal Justice Web site at www.NJDCJ.org.

An indictment is merely a charge and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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