Law & Justice

Former Municipal Judge in Colts Neck, Middletown and Other Towns Pleads Guilty in Ticket-Fixing Scheme

be50f1c79fb73851ca5a_monmouthcountycourthouse.jpg
be50f1c79fb73851ca5a_monmouthcountycourthouse.jpg

FREEHOLD, NJ — A former municipal court judge, who sat on the bench in nearby Bradley Beach and Neptune City, has pleaded guilty to falsifying records in a ticket-fixing scheme that benefited the towns in which he served, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

Richard Thompson, 62, of Middletown entered a guilty plea on February 2 to one count of fourth-degree falsifying records in some 4,000 court cases while serving as a municipal court judge in nine Monmouth County municipalities. Since October 23, 2015, he has been suspended from his judicial duties in Bradley Beach, Colts Neck, Eatontown, Middletown, Neptune City, Oceanport, Rumson, Tinton Falls and Union Beach.

Appearing before Criminal Court Judge David F. Bauman, Thompson admitted to steering monies to the municipalities that employed him as a municipal court judge — diverting more than $500,000 in fines that under state law should have gone to Monmouth County.

Sign Up for E-News

He admitted that on numerous occasions while presiding as a judge from January 2010 to October 2015, he suspended fines he issued in connection with the disposition of motor vehicle tickets and improperly converted those monies to contempt of court assessments, when there was no legal basis to do so, according to the prosecutor.

In an effort to conceal the scheme and prevent its detection, Thompson committed these acts after citizens and, in some cases, attorneys had already departed the courtroom, according to the findings of a two-year investigation by the prosecutor’s office Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit.

New Jersey law permits a judge to hold an individual in contempt for various reasons, including failure to appear before the court and disrupting court proceedings. The law further provides specific requirements that must be followed before a judge may hold someone in contempt of court, including giving the individual an opportunity to be heard.

According to state law, monetary fines levied in municipal court for motor vehicle offenses are split equally (“50-50”) between the municipality and county. However, contempt of court fines are fully retained by municipalities. In instances where motor vehicle citations are issued by New Jersey State Police troopers, 100 percent of the monetary fines are given to the state treasury, according to the law.

Thompson’s conduct unfairly benefited the towns where he served at the expense of the county’s treasury, according to the complaint. As a result, between January 1, 2010 and the date of his suspension on October 23, 2015, Thompson unlawfully diverted more than $500,000 in fine money from Monmouth County to the municipalities where he sat on the bench. As such, Thompson’s conduct was likely to curry favor with the municipalities that continued to employ him as a judge, allowing him to retain his seat on the various municipal courts for many years, according to the prosecutor’s office.

 “County residents who appear before judges do so with the rightful expectation that those entrusted with black robes will be honest and forthright, and uphold the highest principles of integrity. Thompson’s persistent disregard for these principles, and manipulation of the municipal court system, betrayed this sacred trust,” said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Thompson could face a sentence of 18 months in prison, but his plea agreement calls for noncustodial probation and allows him to apply to the pretrial intervention  program (PTI). As part of his plea, Thompson is permanently disqualified from being a municipal court judge or holding any other public employment.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutors Melanie Falco and Maria Franceschini. Judge Thompson is represented by Charles Uliano, Esq., of Long Branch.

In November 2012, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office launched a Corruption Tip Line designed to solicit the public’s assistance in identifying and targeting corruption, fraud and misconduct occurring in local governmental agencies. Citizens may report concerns via the following: Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Corruption Tip Line – 855-7-UNJUST (855 786-5878); or email corruption@co.monmouth.nj.us  and write “Corruption/Misconduct Tip” in the subject line.

Sign up for  free daily e-News, 

Download the free TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get news as it is happening.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In
Fri, February 23, 6:30 pm
Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Hearts for Horses

Sign Up for E-News

Holmdel & Colts Neck

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Mortgage Matters

Market Update

Retail Sales and CPI reports for January just released.  Both stocks and bonds selling off.

Consumer inflation has been benign for most of 2017.  In some months consumer inflation even dropped on month over month basis.  This morning CPI report shows a strong reversal to last year’s trend.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January rose 0.5% month over ...

The Negative Voices Inside Your Teenagers Head

This is what a teen might say about his or her self-talk:

I’m mad. I don’t know why. Sometimes I wake up mad, other days it creeps up me. I don’t like it. It doesn’t feel good. I wish I wasn’t so mad but I am. I can’t help it.

Everyday is a prison, trapped inside this changing body, doing the same day over and over. My whole life is made up of things ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, February 23, 6:30 PM

On the Deck Restaurant and Bar, Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Hearts for Horses

Giving Back

Fri, February 23, 7:45 PM

Temple Shalom, Aberdeen

Shabbat Speakers Series at Temple Shalom

Other Religions And Spirituality

Carousel_image_9ea4da22a6705728e85e_20180204_204805

Fri, February 23, 8:00 PM

Saint Leo the Great, Lincroft

Knight of Columbus Council Presents Seamus ...

Arts & Entertainment

Senator Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblyman Ned Thomson Launch Effort to Safeguard Police Officers and Firefighter Pensions

February 21, 2018

O’Scanlon & Thomson Launch Effort to Safeguard Police & Fire Pensions, Protect Property Taxpayers.

Senator Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblyman Ned Thomson have launched a joint effort to safeguard the pensions of police officers and firefighters, and to increase protections for property taxpayers.

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Declan O’Scanlon and Asm. Ned Thomson ...

Learning Express Toys Partners with Local Schools and Scouts, Including Holmdel

Learning Express Toys Partners with Local Schools, Scouts

Shrewsbury, NJ, Feb. 17, 2018 – Learning Express Toys of Shrewsbury will partner with local Girl Scout troops and Parent-Teacher Organizations in the coming months. On fundraising days, customers can purchase Girl Scout Cookies while they shop, or mention their local PTO to donate a percentage of sales to the ...

Hearts for Horses Fundraiser on Feb. 23 benefits SPUR

Come in from the cold and join Special People United to Ride, Inc. (SPUR) at its Hearts for Horses Fundraiser on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.

All proceeds will benefit the SPUR Scholarship Fund. The event will be hosted by On the Deck Restaurant and Bar and will feature live music and a 50/50 raffle. Food will be available for purchase.

Tickets can be obtained for $25 at ...

Holmdel Chamber of Commerce to Host Sheriff Shaun Golden at Bell Works on Tuesday, February 27th

February 22, 2018

HOLMDEL, N.J. - Cyber crime keeps business owners awake at night, the heroin epidemic is cutting down a generation of young talent and homeland security is always top of mind.

These challenging issues and more are on tap for the Holmdel Chamber of Commerce as it hosts Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden at its February 27th meeting. It begins at 8AM in the Wave Room at Bell Works in ...

Obituaries

John Patrick Walsh, Sr. died peacefully at Delray Beach Medical Center on February 6th, 2018 at 87 ...
Read more