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Former Gottheimer Aide Admits Forging Congressional Letters

Patrick Sheehan
Patrick Sheehan Photo Credit: LinkedIn

A now-former aide to New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottheimer admitted using the U.S. House of Representatives seal to falsify letters written on the federal lawmaker’s letterhead.

Patrick Sheehan, 29, of West Milford, was working as director of community outreach in Gottheimer’s Sussex County office in Newton when he “falsified and mailed” a series of letters that purported to be from another staffer containing false information about the congressman and that employee, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said following Friday's guilty plea.

Sheehan then “falsified multiple copies of a letter on [Gottheimer’s] official letterhead purporting to be from [him],” Carpenito said.

That letter, which the Democratic congressman from Livingston didn’t create, approve, or sign, “responded to the false information in the employee letters, and also contained false information,” the U.S. attorney said.

The bogus letters that Sheehan created and distributed “contained the likeness of the seal of the House of Representatives,” he said.

Sheehan pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of the seal during a videoconference Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer, who scheduled sentencing for Sept. 29.

The Ramapo College graduate – who worked for Gottheimer for a year and 7 months -- will likely get probation and a fine.

Carpenito credited special agents with the U.S. Capitol Police, inspectors with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service special agents with his office for investigating the case, handled for the government by fAssistant U.S. Attorney Cari Fais of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

In his LinkedIn bio, Sheehan says he previously worked a little over two years as a “personnel executive aide” in the New City (Rockland County) office of New York State Sen. David Carlucci of Clarkstown. He says he was also a community liaison for the office, specifically handling the town of Orangetown and its four incorporated villages.

Sheehan describes his work for Gottheimer as:

  • Lead staffer in charge of service academy nominations for the whole district. Responsibilities including setting up a Congressional Review Board, organizing the interviews for candidates with our office, setting up a Service Academy Information Session in district every fall, and submitting Service Academy Nominations to the 4 different Service Academies.
  • Lead staffer for arranging mobile and satellite office hours throughout the western part of the district, which include Northern Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties.
  • Developing and setting up events for the Congressman when he visits Warren and Sussex counties. These events range from business tours to round tables. Also staffing the Congressman when he is in the Western part of the district when needed and attending events on his behalf that he cannot attend.

The 5th District represented by Gottheimer includes all or portions of Bergen, Passaic, Sussex and Warren counties.

Sheehan's LinkedIn bio says he also was a Passaic County Democratic Committee field organizer for the 2019 election cycle, co-managing a campaign office in Clifton.

It says he's also on the Executive Board for the Passaic County Young Democrats serving as the outreach director.

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