Public corruption and Atlantic City sadly go hand-in-hand, Save Jerseyans, and that sad tradition continued on Friday when U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced charges filed against A.C. Fourth Ward Councilman MD Hossain Morshed.
The charges against the 49-year-old Democrat consist of “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).”
“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,” the U.S. Attorney explained in its release. “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.”
Morshed also allegedly “falsely stated that he had never asked residents of municipalities outside of Atlantic City to register to vote in Atlantic City’s Fourth Ward.”
To make matters worse, the councilman stands accused of fraudulently taking $39,208 in unemployment benefits when he “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.”
Morshed is facing a grand total of 30 years in prison (5 each for the false voter registration submission and false statements counts) in addition to up to 20 years for the wire fraud charge. He also faces $250,000 in fines for each offense. On an unrelated note, a child endangerment charge against Morshed involving his minor child was downgraded a few months ago.
The likely soon-to-be-former councilman is hardly unique for Atlantic City. Corruption in the Jersey Shore’s most famous beach resort is the stuff of legend as evidenced by the former “Boardwalk Empire” series on HBO based upon a book written by an Atlantic County Superior Court judge. Most recently in 2021, ex-Mayor Frank Gilliam was sentenced to a month in jail in addition to 11 months of home confinement for “defrauding contributors to a youth basketball.“