A former aide to Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) admitted to that he used congressional letterhead to create a series of falsified statements and now faces up to six months in prison after being charged with unauthorized use of the seal of the U.S. House of Representatives – a form of identity theft.
Patrick Sheehan pleaded guilty to mailing fake letters to several recipients in July 2019, just before his employment on Gottheimer’s staff ended.
According to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office, Sheehan sent a letter that “purported to be from another employee of the member and contained false information regarding the member and that employee.” The employee was not involved in the letters, prosecutors said.
“Sheehan then falsified multiple copies of a letter on the member’s official letterhead purporting to be from the member (Gottheimer),” the U.S. Attorney said. “That letter, which the member did not create, approve, or sign, responded to the false information in the employee letters, and also contained false information.”
Sheehan, 29, was Gottheimer’s Director of Community Outreach and worked on his House staff from 2018 to 2019. He was later hired by Passaic County Democratic Chairman John Currie to work as a field organizer and run their Clifton campaign office, according to his LinkedIn page. He was named to the executive board of the Passaic County Young Democrats in January 2020.
“I am grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Capitol Police, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their thorough investigation,” Gottheimer said. “The real victim here is the member of my staff who was targeted by the defendant. She has handled this situation with fortitude, for which she has my deep respect. As I said last summer, these letters were forged, and nothing in them was true. Today, the person who perpetrated this crime was brought to justice.”
Prior to taking a job with Gottheimer, Sheehan was an aide to New York State Sen. David Carlucci.
He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Michael Hammer by video conference on Friday.
The investigation into Sheehan involved the U.S. Capitol Police, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Attorney’s office.