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TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a suspended senior correctional police officer at Northern State Prison was indicted today on charges including official misconduct for falsifying a New Jersey Department of Corrections record to conceal his membership in an outlaw motorcycle gang.
The Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) today obtained a state grand jury indictment charging Ruben Morales, aka “Moe,” “Moe Cap,” “Capo,” 42, of Orange, N.J., with the following offenses:
- Official Misconduct (2nd Degree)
- Tampering with Public Records or Information (3nd Degree)
- Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution (3rd Degree)
- Falsifying or Tampering with Records (4th Degree)
The indictment is the result of a joint investigation by the New Jersey Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division and the OPIA Corruption Bureau. Morales was charged by complaint-summons on Aug. 13, 2020 with tampering with public records or information and falsifying or tampering with records. Morales was suspended from his job as a senior correctional police officer with the Department of Corrections (DOC) after those initial charges were filed.
“Absolutely no law enforcement officer should be a member of a subversive group or gang, and with correctional police officers, there is a special concern related to the destabilizing and dangerous impact that gang activity and gang rivalries have in prison,” said Attorney General Grewal. “By allegedly flouting disclosure requirements, falsifying official records, and being an active member of outlaw motorcycle gangs, Morales violated his oath and his duties as a corrections officer.”
“There simply is no room in law enforcement for officers who break the rules, evade their duties, and lie about it, as alleged here,” said OPIA Director Thomas Eicher. “The conduct in this case was especially egregious because it involved an officer who allegedly was involved in outlaw motorcycle gangs while working in law enforcement.”
Morales allegedly has been a member of two nationally recognized outlaw motorcycle gangs, the “Thug Riders” and the “Thunderguards.” As a state employee, Morales must renew his state-issued identification card every three years. The card identifies him as a law enforcement officer, grants him access to state buildings, and marks him as an emergency responder.
In September 2019, while allegedly associated with an outlaw motorcycle gang, Morales submitted an application to renew his identification card. The renewal process requires completion, certification, and submission of an application that answers several questions related to the suitability of the employee to maintain employment. Morales allegedly falsified the application by failing to disclose his affiliation or membership with a subversive group or gang when prompted to disclose that information.
It is further alleged in the official misconduct charge that Morales engaged in outside employment or activities without filling out the required outside activity questionnaire and receiving the required approval from the DOC. While employed by the DOC, Morales allegedly was involved in owning and operating two business ventures that he failed to disclose, a food truck business and a kennel business.
Second-degree official misconduct carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, including a mandatory minimum term of five years parole ineligibility, and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The charge of tampering with public records or information carries a mandatory two-year term of parole ineligibility. Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty.
Deputy Attorney General Colin Keiffer is prosecuting the case for the OPIA Corruption Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Peter Lee and OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione. Attorney General Grewal thanked the Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division for its collaboration in the investigation.
Defense Attorney: David Heintjes, Esq., Weiner Law Group LLP, Parsippany, N.J.