By: Richard L. Smith
An Atlantic County, New Jersey, man has been charged with falsifying voter registrations, making false statements to the FBI about interactions with prospective voters, and submitting false unemployment benefits claims with the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL), U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
MD Hossain Morshed, 49, a councilman elected to Atlantic City’s Fourth Ward, is charged in a criminal complaint unsealed today with one count of fraudulent procurement and submission of voter registration applications, one count of making false statements, and one count of wire fraud. Morshed was scheduled to make his initial appearance today before U.S. District Judge Ann Marie Donio in Camden federal court.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Falsification of Voter Forms
In April 2019, in advance of the June 2019 primary election, Morshed gave a prospective voter a New Jersey voter registration application that had already been filled out and which falsely asserted that the prospective voter had a residential address in the Fourth Ward in Atlantic City.
Even though the address written on the form was not where the voter actually lived, Morshed urged the prospective voter to sign the application.
Subsequently, Morshed visited the prospective voter at the voter’s actual residence (which was not in the Fourth Ward) and presented the prospective voter with a vote-by-mail application to sign, which included the same false Fourth Ward Atlantic City address that was on the voter registration application and listed yet another false Atlantic City address for where the mail-in ballot should be sent to the voter.
The Atlantic County Superintendent of Elections subsequently received the falsified voter registration application that Morshed had the prospective voter sign and after that, the Atlantic County Board of Elections received the prospective voter’s completed mail-in ballot, and that ballot was counted towards the June 2019 primary election.
The prospective voter later admitted not receiving, completing or returning the mail-in ballot.
During lawfully recorded conversations between this voter and Morshed concerning possible questioning by law enforcement, Morshed directed the voter, if questioned by law enforcement, to make false representations about where the voter lived and who filled out the voter forms that Morshed had given to the voter.
When Morshed was subsequently approached and questioned by FBI agents about his provision of voter registration and vote-by-mail applications to New Jersey residents, he made materially false statements, including that he had never provided any voter documents to any prospective voter, never assisted any prospective voter in filling out such documents, and never collected any such documents from any prospective voter.
Morshed also falsely stated that he had never asked residents of municipalities outside of Atlantic City to register to vote in Atlantic City’s Fourth Ward.
Fraudulently Obtaining Unemployment Benefits
From April 2020 through September 2021, Morshed also defrauded the NJDOL of $39,208 in unemployment benefits to which he was not entitled.
Morshed applied for and was approved to receive various unemployment benefits related to New Jersey’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program even though he was earning compensation for his employment as an Atlantic City Councilperson and additional income as a driver.
The false voter registration submission and statements counts each carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the gain or loss from the offense.
The wire fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the gain or loss from the offense