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TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that former Morris County freeholder candidate Mary Dougherty was sentenced today for filing a false report with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) in connection with an illegal $10,000 campaign contribution that she received.
Dougherty, 60, of Morristown, N.J., was sentenced today to one year of probation by Superior Court Judge Stephen J. Taylor in Morris County. She pleaded guilty on Feb. 19, 2020 to an accusation charging her with false swearing, a fourth-degree crime. She was required to forfeit the $10,000 that she received as an illegal campaign contribution.
Under New Jersey election law, it is illegal for a person to provide money to another person, known as a “straw donor,” to make a political contribution to a specific candidate. In pleading guilty, Dougherty admitted that during her unsuccessful campaign for Morris County freeholder in 2018, she received a $10,000 cash contribution from the cooperating witness, but returned it and asked him instead to provide her with four checks, each under the $2,600 individual limit for contributions per election per candidate. She admitted that when the cooperating witness gave her four checks, each for $2,500, made out in the names of different individuals and entities, she knew that the full $10,000 contribution was in fact from the cooperating witness.
Dougherty further admitted that when she filed her campaign’s required Form R-1 report of contributions and expenditures with ELEC, she reported that the four individuals and entities named on the checks made contributions of $2,500 each, knowing that the information was false.
Deputy Attorneys General John A. Nicodemo, Trevor Taniguchi, and Eric Cohen prosecuted the case for the OPIA Corruption Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Peter Lee and OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione. OPIA Chief of Staff Pearl Minato, former Deputy Attorney General Anthony Robinson, and former OPIA Deputy Chief Jeffrey Manis also assisted in the case. Attorney General Grewal commended all of the attorneys and detectives who conducted the investigation for OPIA, under the leadership of Director Thomas Eicher.
Defense Attorney: Matthew E. Beck, Esq., Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC, West Orange, N.J.