📮 Craig Callaway was former Atlantic City Council president

📮 Judge barred him from "assisting" voters last year

📮 Jeff Van Drew thanked him for 2020 election help

ATLANTIC CITY — A controversial political operative and former council president charged with mail-in ballot fraud appeared in federal court on Thursday afternoon.

Craig Callaway, 64, is well known throughout Atlantic City's political world for his time on city council and his efforts to get out the vote.

Callaway is now charged with one count of voter fraud by the fraudulent procurement, casting, and tabulation of ballots, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

It comes nearly three months after he was barred by a judge from serving as a voter assistor, the New Jersey Globe reported.

(Canva/Insider NJ via Youtube)
(Canva/Insider NJ via Youtube)

Voter fraud scheme accusations

According to a criminal complaint, Callaway and his team went up to people throughout Atlantic City and offered them $30 to $50 to pretend to be messengers for voters who wanted to vote by mail in the Nov. 8, 2022 election.

The scheme began around one month before the election, federal prosecutors said.

Callaway and his associates transported the individuals to the Atlantic County Clerk’s Office to get Vote-By-Mail Applications, the complaint said. Callaway's group then filled out the applications and had the mail-in ballots delivered to them instead of the actual voters, prosecutors said.

Investigators spoke to four people who said they didn't vote in the election but their ballots were counted.

MD Hossain Morshed (Atlantic City
MD Hossain Morshed (Atlantic City

The accusations are similar to those against sitting Atlantic City Councilman Md Hossain Morshed, who was charged in March 2023 with voter fraud, unemployment fraud, and lying to the FBI.

Previous corruption charge

It's not the first time Callaway has been accused of political corruption.

In 2008, he was sentenced to three years in prison for setting up Eugene Robinson, a rival on Atlantic City council.

Callaway hired a prostitute for his fellow councilman and secretly recorded the motel encounter on video. He then used the video as blackmail in an attempt to force Robinson to resign.

The former council president also pleaded guilty in 2006 after he was accused of taking $36,000 in bribes.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew
Rep. Jeff Van Drew during a campaign debate (Edward Lea/The Press of Atlantic City via AP, Pool)

Van Drew thanked Callaway for 2020 election help

On election night in 2020, U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J. 2nd District, publicly thanked Callaway in front of a cheering crowd for his help in securing the win, NJ Spotlight News reported.

Van Drew reportedly paid around $110,000 for Callaway's efforts to get out the vote.

Months earlier, Callaway had helped Van Drew's opponent Democrat Amy Kennedy win her primary election.

Before election night, Callaway denied working for Van Drew in an interview (Warning: language) with Insider NJ. He later said he switched sides after Kennedy "stiffed" him, NJ Spotlight reported.

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