TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that criminal charges have been filed against a senior correctional police officer at Northern State Prison who allegedly falsified a New Jersey Department of Corrections record to conceal his membership in an outlaw motorcycle club.
Ruben Morales, 41, of Orange, N.J., was charged by complaint-summons on Aug. 13 with third-degree tampering with public records or information and fourth-degree falsifying or tampering with records.
The charges are the result of a joint investigation by the New Jersey Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division and Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA).
Morales was suspended from his job as a senior correctional police officer with the Department of Corrections after being charged.
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, at a time when he allegedly was a member of an outlaw motorcycle club, Morales submitted an application to renew his identification card.
The renewal process requires the 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.
Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while 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.
The case is being prosecuted by the OPIA Corruption Bureau.
Attorney General Grewal thanked the Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division for its collaboration in the investigation.
Defense Attorney: Undetermined.
Source: Insider NJ