BELVIDERE, NJ (Warren County) – A Warren County Grand Jury Wednesday returned a two count indictment against former Phillipsburg councilman Robert W. Fulper, 44, of Phillipsburg, according to the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office.
Fulper, who was a town councilman between 2018 and 2021, was indicted on second-degree official misconduct, and second-degree trafficking in personal identifying information, prosecutor’s office said.
An investigation by the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office discovered that Fulper was in possession of numerous documents containing the personal identifying information of former Phillipsburg employees, authorities said.
Those documents contained social security numbers, bank account information, passport information, dates of birth, and driver’s license numbers of approximately seven individuals who worked for Phillipsburg between 2018 and 2021, prosecutor’s office said.
Through the statements of those individuals, the investigation determined that none of these victims authorized Fulper to possess this information. A further, interview of various town personnel revealed that Fulper had no reason or right to possess this information, authorities said.
The second-degree crimes carry a maximum potential sentence of ten years in New Jersey State Prison.
“Mr. Fulper, a lifetime resident of Phillipsburg, former elected official and advocate for transparency in government, declares his innocence of any alleged criminal misconduct as it relates to the indictment announced earlier by the Warren County Prosecutor, James Pfeiffer, who happens to be the former personal attorney for Phillipsburg Mayor Todd Tersigni. It is confounding that these charges were announced in a press release dated November 1, 2022, while the actual indictment was not issued until the following day, November 2nd. Further, on the same date the indictment was obtained, the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled that a similarly politically motivated witch hunt against Frank McVey was improperly venued in Warren County and, thus, had to be transferred to another county. County Prosecutors are political appointees,” said Donald E. Souders, Jr., who is Fulper’s attorney.
“They are not elected by the constituents they are charged with protecting. In this instance, the former personal attorney for the current Mayor of Phillipsburg utilized the substantial resources of his office to silence – if not destroy- a political critic of his former client. There could not be a more egregious overreach and abuse of power. Mr. Fulper committed no crimes. There are no victims in this matter. Information received and obtained through lawful means and within the context of Mr. Fulper being named a defendant with other elected officials in civil litigation and Open Public Records Act requests was allegedly found on devices seized through a secretive search warrant obtained behind closed doors by Mayor Tersigni’s former attorney, James Pfeiffer,” Souders said.
“Despite efforts to provide the Prosecutor’s Office with explanatory and exculpatory information, the matter proceeded, in secret, in a closed door grand jury proceeding. The Town of Phillipsburg is plagued with crimes of violence and narcotic activity. Rather than the County Prosecutor directing its resources at actual criminal behavior jeopardizing the health and safety of its residents, it has singled-out former elected officials in alleged matters having nothing to do with corruption or actual criminal conduct. Robert Fulper is innocent and did nothing wrong. He looks forward to his day in court and the objective determination, fortunately, available through a jury of his peers. The residents of Warren County should be cautious of who they cross in their advocacy of transparency,” Souders said.