Articles Posted in Fraud

Money laundering is punishable as a crime in New Jersey, but the terms of the money laundering statute are less than clear. Specifically, there is a debate as to the meaning of the phrase “amount involved,” which is used to determine the severity of the offense. Thus, a New Jersey court recently clarified the meaning of the term in a case in which the defendant appealed his conviction for money laundering. If you are charged with money laundering or another fraud crime, it is advisable to speak to a trusted New Jersey criminal defense attorney regarding what defenses you may be able to assert.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant took merchandise from his employer’s warehouse without permission. The merchandise had been purchased by the employer for $878,000 but had a value of approximately $4,000,000. The defendant then sold a portion of the merchandise for $63,000 to a woman in New Hampshire. The defendant was then charged with numerous crimes, including first-degree money laundering, which pursuant to the money laundering statute is an offense where the amount involved is greater than $500,000.

Allegedly, the defendant moved to have the charges amended to third-degree money laundering, which was an offense where the amount involved was less than $75,000, due to the fact that he only received $63,000 for the stolen goods. The judge then determined that the amount involved was $283,500, which constituted a second-degree offense. The State appealed.

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Individuals involved in a major conspiracy to commit credit card fraud and identity theft were indicted last week. The Justice Department claims that those arrested were involved in the largest case of its kind ever prosecuted in this country. The defendants were allegedly stealing credit card and debit card information and then reselling the information. Prosecutors believe that as many as 130 million numbers were involved thereby implicating many in New Jersey. The ringleader of the conspiracy, a 28 year old resident of the US, has been in custody since 2008 on separate charges of theft of computer data.

As technology and the use of credit cards becomes more and more prevalent in NJ, so too is the incident of fraud involving the computer, credit cards, and indentity theft. We have occasion to defend more and more individuals charged with these offenses and the law can be particularly problematic in this regard. In this regard, the legislature has recently adopted and/or amended New Jersey criminal laws related to tampering with computers and identity theft. We find that a thorough understanding of the technology, as well as audit principals and the law, are really handy in these cases. I have little doubt that the feds are well up to speed on this fronts as it relates to this case.

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