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Atlantic City Councilman MD Hossain Morshed. (Photo: MD Hossain Morshed).

Atlantic City councilman charged with voter fraud, obtaining false unemployment benefits

MD Hossain Morshed accused of lying to FBI

By David Wildstein, March 17 2023 7:39 pm

Federal Prosecutors have charged Atlantic City Councilman MD Hossain Morshed with creating a false voter registration during the 2019 campaign, alleging that he made false statements to the FBI and submitted $39,208 worth of fake unemployment benefit claims with the state Department of Labor.

Morshed allegedly convinced a prospective voter to sign a voter registration form that had already been filled out using an address in Atlantic City’s 4th Ward, where the prospective voter did not live.

A vote-by-mail ballot was later returned by that voter, who told law enforcement that they didn’t receive the ballot, fill it out, or return it.

The voter appears to have worn a wire – the U.S. Attorney’s press release calls it a “lawfully recorded conversation” with Morshed, who allegedly told the voter to lie about where they lived and who filled out the voter registration form if asked by law enforcement.

A statement from U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger’s office alleged that Morshed “made materially false statements” when approached and questioned by the FBI.  Prosecutors accused Morshed of saying that he “never provided any voter documents to any prospective voter, never assisted any prospective voter in filling out such documents, and never collected any such documents from any prospective voter.”

Morshed is also accused of telling the FBI that “he had never asked residents of municipalities outside of Atlantic City to register to vote in Atlantic City’s 4th Ward.”

“No, no no, you can make your voter registration any place, but you have to pick the one place,” Morshed told the voter, who was informed that it was illegal to fill out a false voter registration form.   If anything, you just tell them … you filled out the application.”

That conversation occurred during a recorded phone call.

Later, in a meeting that was also recorded, Morshed told the voter what to say.

“You was living [street number for the Second Atlantic City Address] . . . this is empty house. . . . Um, this still it is empty. . . . This is my uncle house. . . . Yeah, empty, it still was empty, it is still empty. It, that’s why I told you to come over there then I can show you brother. . . . you tell them listen, I make that I was living [at the Second Atlantic City Address],” prosecutors reported they recorded him as saying.

According to the criminal complaint, the voter told Morshed that law enforcement would eventually find out he lived in Galloway.

“It doesn’t make any, any things.  You number one, you can make the voter registration, you not registered any places. Anywhere. Alaska, Siberia, uh Margate, Longport, Atlantic City, Absecon, any places . . . Number one,” Morshed responded.  “And number two, this is for the mail-in ballot. Okay. This is for the mail, mail-in ballot form, you tell them I was living over there all the time. I do not stay at my house because my family living here. I had some problem with my wife, so sometimes I would stay this house.”

While being recorded, Morshed told the voter, “You know, listen, if I didn’t have a good relation with you who I know and me was driving taxi, you shouldn’t take this kind of risk for me. You didn’t take this kind of headache for me. . . . Who else would take this kind of headache?”

Morshed won the 2019 Democratic primary for the 4th Ward council seat by a vote of 432 to 232 (48%-26%) against Mandy Days-Chapman in a field of five candidates.

Morshed’s seat is up this year.

The Atlantic County Democratic Chairman wants Morshed out.

“While Councilman Morshed is entitled to a fair and impartial trial, and while everyone is innocent until proven guilty, it is clear that he can no longer effectively represent the residents of Atlantic City’s Fourth Ward,” said Michael Suleiman, the county chairman.  “He needs to resign.”

In addition to the federal voter fraud charges, prosecutors allege that Morshed received unemployment benefits connected to the state’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program while still receiving income as a city councilman and working as a driver.

Employment records show that Morshed was paid $1,068.90 every two weeks by the city for his service as a councilman. He also told the Department of Labor that he had not worked or earned anything, including work for a ride-sharing company.

Morshed appeared in court today.

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