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Emerson borough attorney, councilman-elect charged with election fraud

Photo Credit: Courtesy BCPO

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: The Emerson borough attorney and a limousine driver elected to the council last month were charged by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office with adding candidates’ names to council primary petitions after they were signed earlier this year.

Scott Mooney, 38 ( above, left ), who also serves as a prosecutor in Central Municipal Court in Hackensack, was served with a summons to appear on Dec. 19 on charges of falsifying or tampering with records, defacing a primary petition and conspiracy, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said this afternoon.

The same was issued to Ronald R. Griffin, 69 ( right ), also of Emerson, who was elected  to the council last month.

An investigation found that Mooney altered the petition for primary candidate Elizabeth Garis after more than two dozen Emerson residents signed it, “adding the name of Keith Smith as a candidate above the signatures, making it appear Keith Smith’s name was on the petition when it was signed and knowing [that] it would be filed,” Molinelli said.

The probe began after Councilwoman Danielle DiPaola commissioned a handwriting analysis by an expert after she said she discovered Smith’s name scribbled on the petition. The expert said the writing was likely Mooney’s.

The prosecutor said Mooney also altered a blank petition signed by more than 15 residents to place “only one candidate’s name on the petition above the signatures, that of Stephen Paino, making it appear Stephen Paino’s name was on the petition when it was signed and knowing it would be filed.”

Molinelli didn’t elaborate on the alleged role of Griffin, who he said works for Air Aristocrat limo service.

Asked for comment, DiPaola said: “The allegations speak for themselves. This is an unfortunate situation.”

Mooney sued former councilman Ken Hoffman earlier this year for accusing him of falsifying petitions. Mooney said the allegations were “made without justification or cause” with the intent to hurt his reputation.

MUGSHOTS: Courtesy BCPO

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