2 men accused of trying to sway Sunapee election with altered email

Associated Press
Friday, March 17, 2017

Two men are accused of altering an email sent by a school board candidate right before the March 2016 elections in Sunapee.

Heather Furlong, the wife of one of the men accused, Joseph Furlong, ended up winning that election by a significant margin.

Joseph Furlong, 39, of Sunapee and Adam Gaw, 36, of Manchester were arrested Wednesday and charged with misdemeanor counts of forgery, and false documents, names or endorsement. Furlong also is accused of making a false report to Sunapee police Chief David Cahill on March 7, 2016. Their arrests were first reported Thursday by WNTK radio.

Police said the email from school board candidate Janice Bettencourt to a friend was altered before being sent out. It referenced another candidate, questioning her integrity and motives, and asking if the election was a “popularity contest” for her. The email was sent from sunapeevoter@yahoo.com.

Bettencourt’s husband made the initial report to law enforcement about the altered email on March 5. He alleged that the revised correspondence was designed to make his wife and another candidate look bad to sway voters’ opinions before they headed to the polls.

Police obtained cellphone records during the investigation that included correspondence between Gaw and Furlong.

According to police interviews with witnesses, Gaw had no stake in the election.

The yearlong investigation was conducted by Sunapee police and the state attorney general’s office.

A message was left at a phone number listed for Joseph Furlong. Numbers listed for Gaw weren’t in service.

(Staff writer Alyssa Dandrea contributed to this report.)