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Westfield NJ Criminal Defense Law Blog

Owners of New Jersey pizza shop charged with skimming dough

Pizza is one of several things that may bring a certain pride to some New Jersey residents. It is the thing of many "best of" lists, fun weekends at the shore, rituals and traditions of visitors, and even campaign stops for politicians who are serious about winning. 

The owners of a landmark New Jersey pizza shop chain were recently arrested and indicted on 30 counts after being accused of stealing money from the business before they bought it. They are also accused of failing to report an income of nearly $1 million. 

Man behind $6 million NJ securities fraud scheme sentenced

The former president and owner of a New Jersey based software company was recently sentenced to five years in federal prison and to three years of supervised release for a securities fraud scheme that fraudulently garnered about $6.3 million from 35 victims. Additionally, he was ordered to surrender $5.5 million plus any profit remaining in company bank accounts, and to pay restitution.

According to the allegations, from mid-2009 to June 2013, the former principal owner provided misrepresentations -- via fake bank, brokerage, financial, and tax statements -- concerning the company's operations and financial performance to investors. 

4 people arrested in elder fraud case

Unfortunately, the elderly are frequently targeted for different types of fraud. There were four people arrested recently in Atlantic County, New Jersey for fraud, who are suspected of targeting the elderly. One of the four suspects was a New Jersey elder law attorney. The other defendants charged are the owner of an in-home senior care company, her sister, and a former employee of the elder care company.

The four defendants are charged with several different crimes including money laundering, conspiracy and theft by deception. The investigation alleges that they stole more than $2 million from at least 10 elderly victims. The money that was allegedly stolen has been used to purchase luxury items such as homes and automobiles, as well as to rack up high credit card bills due to extensive travel. 

Husband and wife charged in $16 million embezzlement scheme

A federal grand jury recently returned a 22-count indictment against a husband and wife. The husband, whom was accused of embezzling more than $16 million from his former employer, was charged in September with mail fraud. However, his wife was not named until Wednesday.

The FBI designates embezzlement as a white-collar crime. The term—reportedly coined in 1939—is synonymous with the full range of nonviolent or economic frauds committed by business and government professionals, usually committed in commercial situations for financial gain.

A Criminal Defense Attorney Should Be Consulted Before Speaking With Government Agencies / Regulators in "Parallel Investigations"

Most of us should know that we increase the odds of being charged with a federal or state crime by not consulting a knowledgeable, skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney before speaking with prosecutors or their investigators. It's dangerous, because what you say can be used against you. 

But the same danger can exist in a civil context when government agencies or regulators engage in so-called "parallel investigations." Today, speaking with civil regulators without first consulting a defense attorney who understands how prosecutors can be involved in or use information collected in a civil investigation can lead to criminal indictment and conviction.

The New York Times recently reported on a parallel investigation that resulted in not just one, but two criminal indictments that blindsided a young lawyer. Unfortunately, and ironically, the lawyer had not first consulted a criminal defense attorney before he willingly spoke with the SEC, apparently assuming he was only a fact witness. 

Manager for EPA contractor gets hefty 14-year fraud sentence

In what is reported to be the longest prison sentence ordered in an antitrust case, a former project manager for a prime contractor at New Jersey's Manville Superfund site was sentenced to 14 years last week for engaging in bid-rigging and kickback conspiracies. He was also convicted of engaging in international money laundering, tax violations and fraud against the United States.

The trial, which ended in September, lasted two weeks during which the prosecution linked the man to multiple conspiracies that took place between 2000 and 2007 involving two EPA superfund sites in New Jersey. The project manager initially was indicted in August 2009. At the end of the trial, he was convicted of engaging in conspiracies with three different subcontractors at the sites in return for more than $1.5 million in kickbacks.

New Jersey reality stars plead guilty in fraud case

Fraudulent activities can involve both people in and out of the spotlight. Reality television stars and New Jersey residents, Teresa Giudice, and her husband, Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice, have recently pleaded guilty to several fraud charges.  These charges include concealing income, lying during bankruptcy proceedings, and wire and mail fraud.

There are all types of fraud charges, and depending on the accusations, they can be prosecuted in either state or federal court. This particular high-profile criminal case was heard in federal court. 

Former pro football player charged in fraudulent loan scheme

A New Jersey real estate consultant has been convicted and sentenced in a scheme designed to get approval for multiple loans simultaneously based upon a home’s equity.  Another person implicated in the scheme is former professional football player Irving Fryar. His mother has also been accused. Both allege that they were victims of the scheme rather than being involved in the fraudulent activities; they both say they are not guilty of any criminal charges.

The scheme allegedly involved having a homeowner apply for several loans simultaneously from different lenders. Because none of the loans would show up on a title search during the approval process, each lender would fail to realize that the other lenders were approving loans at the same time on the same property. Between 2007 and 2010, the scheme allegedly netted 27 loans on five homes. When the borrowers defaulted, the lenders lost over $1 million. The real estate consultant is still awaiting a restitution hearing.

New Jersey officials investigating a startup for possible fraud

The founders of a technology startup have recently found themselves under investigation for fraud, under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The company, Tidbit, is a project of four undergraduate students who won a programming award for their work, but it now turns out that there are delicate legal issues at play.

Tidbit’s concept is to allow developers to mine for Bitcoins on various client-owned computers, instead of using traditional advertising ad space. The allegations from New Jersey authorities state that Tidbit may be breaching the security of clients’ computers because of unauthorized access to user data, among other complicated Internet privacy issues.

Former Manalapan mayor charged with fraud, identify theft

If prosecutors believe that a person used the Internet, the U.S. Mail or some other kind of wire communication to commit fraud, then the accused individual could face wire fraud charges. Allegations of wire or mail fraud can lead to a long prison sentence if the defendant is convicted, especially if prosecutors allege that a financial institution was defrauded.

Authorities often use allegations of wire fraud in order to give the federal government jurisdiction to prosecute. Wire fraud charges are also commonly brought in conjunction with other allegations such as securities fraud, tax fraud or mortgage fraud.

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