- 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
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
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
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.