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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
September 22, 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

 

Co-Defendant in Hudson County Sheriff’s Officer Promotional Exam Cheating Case Indicted by State Grand Jury on Charges of Official Misconduct
Defendant Admits Misconduct Then Withdraws Guilty Plea...

TRENTON - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that the Division of Criminal Justice - Special Prosecutions Bureau has charged a former Human Services Police Officer, and co-defendant in a pending prosecution involving a Hudson County Sheriff’s Officer, with participating in a scheme to cheat on a 2003 Department of Personnel promotional examination testing for the position of Hudson County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant.

According to Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice, a State Grand Jury indictment charged former Human Services Police Officer Damon P. Bassano, 28, North Bergen, Hudson County, with official misconduct, tampering with public records or information, falsifying or tampering with records, and identity theft. On June 6, Bassano entered a guilty plea before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Bette E. Uhrmacher to a charge of falsifying or tampering with public records. Bassano withdrew the guilty plea on Aug. 26. The case was subsequently presented to the State Grand Jury for indictment. Bassano was employed as a campus police officer at the Stevens Institute of Technology and later hired as a Human Services Police Officer. Bassano resigned his position as a Human Services Police Officer in June prior to entering the guilty plea.

Director McKoy noted that the Bassano indictment resulted from an ongoing investigation that targeted alleged cheating on a Sergeant’s promotional examination by Hudson County Sheriff’s Officer John Ramos. Ramos, 47, Bethlehem, PA, was charged in a June 9 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 arrested on June 10 as he reported to work at the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office in the Hudson County Court House in Jersey City. Ramos faces more than 20 years in state prison and fines exceeding $100,000 upon any conviction.

Both the Ramos and Bassano indictments charge that in late 2002 and early 2003, Ramos made arrangements to have Bassano take the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office Sergeants promotional examination scheduled for March, 2003 in his stead. The indictment charges that Ramos undertook extraordinary steps to perpetuate the impersonation, including the falsification of identification documents which would allow Bassano 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 Bassano’s photograph; 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 Bassano on March 20, 2003, the day of the promotional examination at the Middletown (Monmouth County) High School. In exchange for Bassano taking the test, Ramos offered to forgive a debt of between $300 - $500 and to assist Bassano in applying for a position in the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office.

The Bassano indictment was returned on Sept. 21 and handed-up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg. 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.

A copy of the indictment and related information is available via the Division of Criminal Justice web page 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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