TRENTON – A New Jersey state trooper pleaded guilty today to illegally using an FBI database to obtain personal information about a motorist. The charge was contained in an indictment stemming from an investigation that revealed that he conducted improper stops of two female drivers for the purpose of pressuring them to begin a personal relationship with him.
Trooper Eric Richardson, 32, of Camden, N.J., pleaded guilty today to a fourth-degree charge of obtaining personal information from a motor vehicle record before Superior Court Judge John T. Kelley in Camden County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Richardson be sentenced to a term of probation. He must forfeit his position as a state trooper and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey. He was ordered not to have any contact with the victims and must pay restitution if the victims require counseling as a result of his conduct.
In pleading guilty, Richardson admitted that he illegally accessed the FBI—Criminal Justice Information Services database on May 8, 2017 on behalf of a male friend to do a “driver inquiry” on a woman the friend employed. The friend wanted to know if her driver history revealed any warrants or drug activity. Richardson photographed her driver history and texted it to his friend.
Deputy Attorneys General Jonathan Gilmore and Brian Uzdavinis prosecuted the case and took the guilty plea for the Division of Criminal Justice Corruption Bureau.
Richardson is scheduled to be sentenced on August 3.
Richardson was investigated by the New Jersey State Police Office of Professional Standards. In addition to the illegal conduct involving the FBI database, which involved a different woman, the investigation revealed that Richardson repeatedly pulled over two women and harassed them about beginning an intimate relationship with him, deactivating the dashboard camera in his car during some of the stops.
The investigation revealed that Richardson pulled over the first woman on Nov. 22, 2016, warning her that her windows were illegally tinted. Although her registration was expired, he tried to win her favor by letting her drive away rather than impounding her car. He followed her, however, and stopped her again by activating his lights. He then pressured her to give him a phone number. He later sent numerous texts to the woman. On Jan. 3, 2017, Richardson pulled the woman over again in Atlantic City. He falsely reported in the dispatch log that he stopped to aid a motorist, when in fact he stopped the woman to ask if she still had the same number and was receiving his texts.
The investigation revealed that Richardson pulled over the second woman on Dec. 23, 2016, in Gloucester Township and threatened to arrest her if she did not give him her phone number. The woman’s license and registration were suspended, and there was a warrant for her arrest. After obtaining her phone number, Richardson released her, despite the active warrant. He told dispatchers and reported in the dispatch log that the driver he stopped on that occasion was a man. He communicated with the second woman via texts using the phone number he obtained.
Richardson was suspended by the New Jersey State Police after being charged by complaint in this case on May 31, 2017.
Andaiye Al-Udah, Esq., Lawnside, N.J.
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