White Collar and Federal Crimes Defense | Marlton, NJ
White collar crime is a term that refers to crimes committed with pen, paper or computer, as opposed to material objects like a weapon or drugs. Accusations of white collar crime typically allege deceit, concealment, or violations of trust. White collar crimes encompass diverse areas such as fraud, bribery, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, embezzlement, cybercrime, copyright infringement, money laundering, identity theft, tax evasion, tax fraud, and forgery.
Some white collar crimes are defined exclusively by New Jersey and have no federal counterpart. Cases involving those crimes will be heard in the Superior Court of New Jersey. Conversely, other white collar crimes are defined exclusively by the federal government. If those cases arose in New Jersey, they will be heard in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. John Brennan represents clients in the New Jersey Superior Court in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Atlantic Counties, and in United States District Court for the District of New Jersey located in both Camden and Atlantic Counties.
Many white collar crimes involve violations of both New Jersey and federal law. Courses of activity prohibited by both New Jersey and the federal government will never be worded identically. Where a course of activity violates both New Jersey and federal law, the prosecutions can proceed in both New Jersey and federal courts. The Supreme Court of both the United States and New Jersey say that these separate prosecutions do not violate Constitutional prohibitions against double jeopardy, so they can both be legally pursued in tandem.
New Jersey does not have a specific crime that it labels “embezzlement”. Embezzlement crimes under New Jersey law, therefore, would be included under the heading of theft. This would include theft by deception, as well as theft by failure to make required disposition of property received.
Forgery under New Jersey law is defined at N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1. Under that section, it is unlawful to make an unauthorized writing that purports to be the writing of someone else. This applies when the writing is made with the intent to defraud or injure someone. This section also prohibits “uttering” any writing known to have been forged. Uttering is the passing of the forged document knowing that it is forged.
A person commits bribery when he offers, confers, or agrees to confer, or accept, an unauthorized benefit upon, or from another. The consideration for the benefit must involve the vote in a political context, or the exercise, or failure to exercise, a discretionary function. Bribery includes offering or accepting benefits as consideration for the performance of official duties. When the official duties relate to a New Jersey state office or a political subdivision thereof the relevant statues are N.J.S.A. 2C:27-2 and N.J.S.A. 2C: 27-3.
New Jersey defines a wide range of computer activity to be unlawful. Many of these offenses are described at N.J.S.A. 2C:20-25. Included are accessing computer software, data or database without authorization. Authorization also is required to alter, damage or destroy data, or to disrupt computer services, including access to the internet. Cybercrime also includes child pornography.
Fraud under New Jersey law encompasses a wide range of practices. These include falsification of records, fraudulent health care claims, bad checks, insurance fraud, and misrepresentation of mileage on motor vehicles. These crimes are defined, for the most part, in Chapter 21 of Title 2C.
Copyright infringement/Video Piracy
Section 506 of Title 17 of the United States Code makes it a criminal offense to infringe copyrights. New Jersey does not define copyright infringement as such to be a crime. However, New Jersey does prohibit video piracy. The relevant statute is N.J.S.A. 2C:21-21., the “New Jersey Anti-Piracy Act”. This Act includes both sound and video recordings and includes the manufacture, sale, resale of offering for rental of unauthorized works.
Federal law defines various categories of environmental crimes. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act begins at Section 1251 of Title 33 of the United States Code. The Ocean Dumping Act begins at Section 1401 of Title 33 of the United States Code. The Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships begins at Section 1901 of Title 33 of the United States Code. The Safe Drinking Water Act begins at Section 33f of Title 42 of the United States Code.
Insider trading is not per se illegal. It becomes illegal when insiders base their securities trading decisions upon material, nonpublic information about the security. Insider trading violations may also include trading by persons who receive such non-public information (tips) from insiders. Laws relating to illegal insider trading are enforced by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Provisions against money laundering exist under both New Jersey and federal law. New Jersey includes within money laundering engaging in a transaction involving property known to be derived from criminal activity with the purpose to facilitate the criminal activity, or to avoid transaction reporting requirements. Depending upon the value of the transaction in question, money laundering can be a crime of the third, second, or first degree. Regardless, of the degree, the fine for money laundering under New Jersey law can be up to $500,000. In the federal context the fine for money laundering is $500,000 or twice the value of the transaction whichever is greater. The maximum penalty is 20 years in federal prison.
New Jersey includes securities fraud in Chapter 41 of its criminal code. This section relates to racketeering, which includes fraud in the offering, sale, or purchase of securities when those activities violate the laws of New Jersey or any other jurisdiction. Ponzi schemes would fall under this definition. By its expansive definition securities fraud in New Jersey incorporates by reference securities fraud under federal law. Persons convicted in federal court of securities fraud face imprisonment of up to 25 years.
Tax Evasion and Tax Fraud
Tax evasion and tax fraud can be either a New Jersey or federal crime or both depending on the government entity involved.