New Jersey mayor resigns, charged with election tampering: prosecutor

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J.— A Democratic mayor of a Bergen County borough has been arrested in connection with tampering with voting ballots during an election, Bergen County prosecutors announced Monday.

Investigators say Francesco Caramagna, the Mayor of Elmwood Park, resigned Sunday withstanding accusations that he interfered with the secrecy of election process in the 2017 mayoral election.

The 74-year-old allegedly completed portions of the Application for Vote by Mail Ballots, Primary Election Ballot Certifications and General Election Ballot Certifications of registered voters in the Borough of Elmwood Park, NJ, investigators said.

The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office received a complaint about the possible interference earlier this month.

Police say Caramagna committed the act during and between March 2017 and November 2018, according to their investigation.

The Democratic candidate pleaded his innocence in a Facebook post, Monday, saying “I was never arrested, I am home. Please read my letter of resignation.”

In a letter posted on his page, Caramagna said:

It has come to my attention that I am the subject of an investigation into what [have] been described to be as technical violations of the election laws regarding absentee ballots.

While I maintain my complete innocence and regard these allegations as being politically motivated, I have nonetheless discussed and considered my options with my family and friends, and have sought the advice of legal counsel.

I resign as Mayor not because I have in some way betrayed my office, but to minimize any embarrassment to my family, friends, and supporters as I defend against whatever accusations might ultimately be made against me.

Following the Caramagna’s Sunday resignation, he was charged on Monday with one count of interfering with the secrecy of the election process , a third degree crime.

Caramagna was Elmwood Park’s first Democratic mayor in nearly 50 years .

He was the first person elected to the position after the death of longtime Mayor Richard Mola in 2016.

Robert Colletti served as the interim mayor after Mola’s 45 years of service.

According to NorthJersey.com, Colletti was also Caramagna’s opponent in a close the 2017 election.

Caramagna only held a 3-vote lead after election day, not including mail-in, provisional and absentee votes, reports said.

Caramagna’s first court appearance is scheduled for May 22 in Hackensack, New Jersey.

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