By: Richard L. Smith
Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) have announced criminal charges against Kevin T. Matthew, a 47-year-old lieutenant with the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office (BCPO).
Matthew, a Cedar Grove resident, faces serious allegations, including official misconduct, tampering with evidence, possession of controlled substances, and financial transaction structuring.Matthew, who has been on leave since November 3, 2023, was not a member of the narcotics unit but allegedly signed out narcotics from the BCPO's main evidence vault in Paramus without authorized purpose.
The investigation, conducted by OPIA's Corruption Bureau, revealed that he removed narcotics evidence, including cocaine and fentanyl, multiple times between October 2022 and November 2023.
Further investigations uncovered razor blades with cocaine residue in Matthew's office and irregular cash deposits in his bank records, suspected of being structured to avoid transaction reporting requirements.
The lieutenant's actions are believed to have compromised the evidentiary chain of custody and the reliability of the items as evidence in criminal prosecutions.Attorney General Platkin stressed the gravity of these allegations against a high-ranking officer, emphasizing the betrayal of public trust and the commitment to holding such individuals accountable.
Thomas J. Eicher, Executive Director of OPIA, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the damage to public trust in law enforcement.
Matthew faces multiple charges, including two counts of second-degree official misconduct, which could result in five to ten years in state prison and fines up to $150,000.
The charges and allegations are accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The investigation remains ongoing as authorities continue to unravel the details of this case.