Joe Vas, the former Perth Amboy Mayor and Assemblyman who went to prison for campaign finance fraud and money laundering during his 2006 campaign for Congress, which was managed by Vin Gopal, will be released from prison today, according to a report in MyCentralJersey.
Vas was convicted on both federal and state charges, with his sentences to run concurrently. He finished serving his 6 1/2 year federal prison sentence in February when he was transferred to the custody of the New Jersey prison system. His release today is about 3 weeks earlier than the planned June 2 release date.
Gopal’s relationship with Vas became was an issue in the 2011 11th District Assembly race when young Vin, now 32, unsuccessfully challenged then Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande.
The Angelini/Casagrande campaign sent the above campaign mailer to voters, prompting Gopal to cry foul and claim that, although he was the campaign manager of the Vas campaign, he was not responsible for fundraising or accounting. The Asbury Park Press, columnist Bob Ingle and the Star Ledger came to Gopal’s defense, calling the mailer misleading and indecent. Gopal claimed he was just a 20 year old kid who managed the campaign for college credits.
Gopal, who has failed in all of his previous attempts at elected office and never managed to win a race while he was Monmouth County Democrat Chairman, is running for Senate in the 11th District this year against Republican Senator Jennifer Beck.