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New Jersey Theft by Deception Lawyer January 24, 2010

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New Jersey Theft by Deception Lawyer

Theft by Deception in New Jersey is one of most common white collar crimes.  That is because the theft by deception statute is so broad that is can cover a wide variety of scenarios.  Thus, it can be thought of as New Jersey’s “catch all” white collar crime.  In New Jersey, if something is stolen via a fraud, chances are it will be prosecuted as theft by deception.  Our New Jersey theft by deception attorneys have been successfully defending theft by deception charges for decades.  If you are charged with theft by deception in New Jersey, call us today to speak with one of our NJ defense lawyers.

In New Jersey, lawyers often refer to theft by deception cases as “paper cases”.  That is, the attorneys on both sides will have to deal with a lot of “paper” such as financial records, contracts and other documents that support a part of the State’s case.  As a result, a lawyer’s defense is often focused on the intent of the defendant rather than arguing that something did not occur.  For example, in one New Jersey case, one of our lawyers did not dispute that money had changed hands but that the defendant’s intent was not criminal.  As a result, the jury came back with a quick not guilty verdict.

With 10 offices in New Jersey, our theft by deception lawyers are each to reach no matter where you live in New Jersey.  Our consultations are free to call us today to discuss your New Jersey theft by deception case with one of our tough, smart attorneys.

Sisters indicted for alleged title agency scam December 30, 2009

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This is an interesting case. A Monmouth County grand jury returned a seven-count indictment on Monday against Rebecca Marchese-DePeri-Grande of Jackson, and her sister, Meredith Miller of Brick Township.  They were co-owners of Spectrum Title Agency in Freehold and Marchese-DePeri-Grande owned R.M.J title Agency in Freehold where Miller was an employee.   

It is alleged that between 2002 and 2005 the sisters stole $786,153 and spent the money on things such as luxury vehicles and vacations.  Law enforcement became aware of the situation when clients complained their creditors were demanding payments that should have been made by the title agencies. 

The sisters were charged with conspiracy, misapplication of entrusted property, theft by failure to make required disposition of property received and misconduct by a corporate official. Miller is also charged with two counts of bad checks and one count of theft by deception.

The state Department of Banking and Insurance is pursuing a separate investigation so you have to wonder if they had some advance notice that they were being investigated.  My guess is that they did.  Hopefully they had good attorneys that prepared them for all of this.

Story is here.

Owner of MG Group in Colts Neck charged with theft November 23, 2009

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Irwin Nudelman, of North Brunswick, the owner and operator of MG Group on Route 34 South in Colts Neck has been charged with theft by deception.  He was the general contractor on new residential construction projects throughout Ocean, Middlesex, and Monmouth counties.  He hired MetroCorp Plumbing between February 2007 and May 2008 to provide services for MG Group to 17 homes in four developments. After MetroCorp completed the work, the properties were sold for between $850,000 and $1.3 million.  However, Nudelman allegedly failed to pay $119,074.50 owed to the plumbing contractor.

Why is this a criminal case and not a civil case?  Could be a number of issues, but my guess is that Nudelman ignored this instead of hiring a good attorney to clean up his mess.  Now he really needs one.  Story is here.

Eight people charged with unemployment fraud October 29, 2009

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None of these cases are related, but they are interesting.  The State often releases these indictments in groups and the dollar amounts are usually higher.  These cases have some very low dollar amounts.  Based upon my practice, I guess that these people made no attempt to resolve these matters before indictment.  If you get a notice that you are being investigated, you should call an attorney right away.  Call me anytime to discuss.

TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram announced today that eight people have been charged with cheating the State of New Jersey’s unemployment fund out of a total of $100,487.   The charges resulted from cooperative investigations by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau.

The Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau obtained the following separate state grand jury indictments: 

State v. Marvin Fletcher of Trenton, was charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification to authorities. The indictment alleges that between February 2003 and June 2005, Fletcher was earning wages while he was collecting unemployment insurance benefits. The indictment alleges that Fletcher failed to report the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and, as a result, allegedly received $26,231 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

State v. Jackie A. Seton of Trenton, was charged with third-degree theft by deception and unsworn falsification to authorities. The indictment alleges that between June and December 2004, Seton was earning wages while he was collecting unemployment insurance benefits. Seton allegedly failed to notify the Department of Labor and Workforce Development of the earnings and, as a result, allegedly received $6,966 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

State v. Bobby J. Threats, Jr of Trenton, was charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification to authorities. The indictment alleges that, between September 2004 and December 2007, Threats collected unemployment insurance benefits while he was also earning wages. According to the indictment, by failing to report the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Threats allegedly received $6,614 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

State v. Faheem R. Murphy of Willingboro, was charged on Oct. 16 with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification to authorities. Between December 2003 and June 2005, while collecting unemployment insurance benefits, Murphy was allegedly also earning wages. According to the indictment, by not reporting the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Murphy allegedly received $5,794 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

State v. Russell Halbach of Belford, was charged on Oct. 14 with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification to authorities. The indictment alleges that between November 2003 and May 2005, Halbach was earning wages while collecting unemployment insurance benefits. According to the indictment, by not reporting the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Halbach allegedly received $19,970 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

State v. Ronald Mazotas of Bordentown, was charged in a separate Oct. 14 indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification to authorities. According to the indictment, between December 2004 and May 2005, while he was collecting unemployment insurance benefits, Mazotas was allegedly earning wages. It is charged that, by failing to notify the Department of Labor and Workforce Development of the earnings, Mazotas allegedly collected $8,382 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

State v. Kiyesha Harden of Vineland, was charged on Oct. 9 with third-degree theft by deception. According to the indictment, between August 2004 and January 2005, Harden was earning wages while collecting unemployment insurance benefits. The indictment alleges that, by not reporting the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Harden allegedly received $3,942 in unemployment insurance benefits to which she was not entitled.

State v. Adolphine E. Jules of Roselle, was charged on Oct. 1 with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification to authorities. The indictment alleges that between December 2001 and July 2005, Jules earned wages while she was collecting unemployment insurance benefits. The indictment alleges that, by not reporting the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Jules allegedly collected $22,588 in unemployment insurance benefits to which she was not entitled.

Two New York City men arrested for Great Adventure scheme October 5, 2009

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Joshua Byrd of the Bronx and Gabriel Pierre of Jamaica, Queens were arrested and charged with forgery and theft by deception.  Both are being held in Ocean County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. 

The police were called to the park after receiving a complaint from a woman who was denied entry to the park. The woman told officers she had purchased a hand stamp for herself and nine other people from the two men.  Allegedly, they weere in the parking lot pretending to be Great Adventure employees.

After the men were arrested, the police found $200, the stamp and ink.

The bail seems a little high.  I don’t see this case going very far as the witness seems like she has some issues.  Clearly, you can’t get 1o people in the park for $200.  Thus, she was trying to scam Great Adventure herself. 

Story is here.

PNC Bank teller and others charged with identity theft September 13, 2009

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Babatune Ibironke, a PNC bank teller, his wife, Eryn Brown, and John Caldwell Jr., an accomplice, were charged with several counts of identity theft, theft by deception and conspiracy to commit those crimes.   The State alleges that Ibironke created two bogus bank accounts to steal $66,000 from a legitimate account. Caldwell was charged with conspiring with Ibironke to use a debit card to collect the money.   Ibironke is also charged with money laundering and computer theft for accessing accounts while he worked at the bank.  If that wasn’t bad enough, he is also charged with witness tampering for allegedly asking two witnesses not to identify him.

The second indictment charged Ibironke with attempted theft by deception for allegedly trying to collect federal income tax returns that were filed by eight other people. He is also alleged to have provided information to his wife, who also worked at the same PNC Bank branch which enabled her to open five other fraudulent accounts. They were both charged with conspiracy, attempted theft by deception and identity theft. Brown was also charged with computer theft.

Yet even a third indictment charged Ibironke with trying to apply for a passport using Caldwell’s name in Roselle.  He was charged with two counts of false swearing, two counts of falsifying records and two counts of presenting a fraudulent driver’s license as a result. In addition, Ibironke and Caldwell were also charged with identity theft, conspiring to commit identity theft and presenting false identification.

Ibironke is really facing a gauntlet here with the three indictments.  He also faces a huge risk by taking all three cases to trial.  The money laundering charge is going to be the biggest problem.  He needs an attorney that will wrap this up sooner rather than later.

Story is here.

Former Merrill Lynch financial adviser accused of stealing $500K from clients September 10, 2009

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Its not a good time to be a financial advisor with a bad track record.  Law suits and arrests may be around the corner.  However, this case seems to have some actual substance behind it. 

Stephen Severio, a former Merrill Lynch financial adviser from Fair Haven was indicted today on charges he stole more than $500,000.  He is charged with theft by deception, misappropriation of entrusted funds, commercial bribery and attempted theft by deception.

Severio was a financial adviser with Merrill Lynch in Red Bank for five years.  The State alleges that he  started advising some of his clients two years ago to withdraw their funds from the firm’s accounts and reinvest them outside the company. This practice is a violation of industry standards and of Merrill Lynch policy according to the State.

He allegedly told clients that he could get them in investment vehicles outside Merrill Lynch that would yield annual returns of between 15 and 20 percent.   However, instead of investing the money they gave him, he allegedly cashed their checks at a check-cashing business. 

The State suspects that he spent the money on drugs. Red Bank police records allegedly show Severio and two 21-year-old women were arrested on July 6, 2008 on charges of cocaine possession.  If I’m his attorney, I’m going with the drug defense here.  Unless this press release is way off base, its his best shot at staying out of prison.  He needs to get into rehab now if he hasn’t done so already.

Story is here.

Five Charged with Stealing More Than $113,000 from New Jersey’s Unemployment Fund September 4, 2009

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The AG’s office has been busy for the past few weeks with unemployment fraud cases.  I just picked up a case last month myself but it seems like my case will work out with a  repayment and no criminal prosecution.   New Jersey sends out notices to those under investigation.  How a person responds to that notice can often have a great impact on the future of the case.

Fellow attorneys should take note of the dollar amount in these cases and that none of them are below $10,000.  There reaches a point where the dollar amount is so high that it is hard to argue that this was a mistake; or that is the State’s theory anyway.

Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni noted that the charges resulted from cooperative investigations by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau.

State v. Carlos G. Ortiz. Ortiz, 41, of Neptune, was charged in a Sept. 1 state grand jury indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification. Ortiz filed for unemployment insurance benefits each December between 2001 and 2004. According to the indictment, while he was collecting on each of these claims, Ortiz was also allegedly earning wages. By not reporting the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Ortiz allegedly collected $29,877 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

The Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau obtained the following state grand jury indictments during the month of August:

State v. Sauerio Bilotta. Bilotta, 43, of Bayonne, was charged in an Aug. 25 state grand jury indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification. The indictment alleges that, while collecting on unemployment insurance benefits claims that he filed in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004, Bilotta was earning wages. According to the indictment, Bilotta did not report his earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and consequently stole $20,634 in unemployment insurance benefits.

State v. Mirjana Ivkov. Ivkov, 36, of Wayne, was charged in a separate Aug. 25 state grand jury indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification. Ivkov filed claims for unemployment insurance benefits in November 2002, December 2004 and February 2005. According to the indictment, Ivkov was allegedly earning wages while she was collecting on these claims. By not reporting the wages to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Ivkov allegedly collected $15,885 in unemployment insurance benefits to which she was not entitled.

State v. John K. Calhoun. Calhoun, 45, of Linden, was charged in an Aug. 5 state grand jury indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification. The indictment alleges that Calhoun was earning wages while collecting on unemployment insurance benefits claims that he filed for in February 2003 and February 2004. The indictment charges that, as a result of failing to notify the Department of Labor and Workforce Development of his earnings, Calhoun allegedly stole $18,942 in unemployment insurance benefits.

The Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau obtained the following guilty plea via a criminal accusation during the month of August:

State v. Eunice Rivers. Rivers, aka Eunice Lloyd, aka Eunice Lloyd-Rivers, 42, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty on Aug. 4 to third-degree theft by deception. Rivers admitted that while collecting on unemployment insurance benefits claims, she was earning wages. Rivers further admitted that, by failing to notify the Department of Labor and Workforce Development of the wages, she collected $28,274 in unemployment insurance benefits to which she was not entitled.

Former Colts Neck Teacher Allegedly Sold Grades to Students August 31, 2009

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This is every kids dream huh?   Police allege that former Colts Neck High School social studies teacher Megan Laboy collected more than $1,400 during the 2008-09 school year. She allegedly told her students she would give the money to charity in exchange for giving them extra credit on their final grades and exams.  However, police allege that she kept the money for herself.  Colts Neck police interviewed over 100 students as part of their investigation.  Kinda slow there in Colts Neck huh?

She was charged with third degree theft by deception and ROR’d.  She was not charged with official misconduct probably because she allegedly stole from the students and not the school.  However, I would still be careful here.

Assuming those charges are not filed, this is a tough case.  Clearly, she is not going to prison.  However, do you think that the State will give her a great deal after the police put in so much time?  Thus, this is the type of case that may require a ton of work to try to get the State to budge unless she just wants to throw in the towel early.

Undercover operation results in arrests of 8 unregistered contractors August 28, 2009

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 “Operation Hammer Time,”  as the sting was called, operated out of a house in Brick, which is owned by Brick Township.  Between February and July, prosecutor’s Sgt. Kimberly Milana posed as a woman who wanted to renovate the property.  Investigators targeted unregistered home-improvement contractors who advertised their services.

Milana asked them to go to the Brick house to give her estimates for various work on the house.  In New Jersey, home improvement contractors must be registered with the state Division of Consumer Affairs. Failure to register is a fourth-degree crime which carries a potential prison term of 18 months.

The contractors charged in indictments with being unregistered are: David Nichols, of Lakewood; Thomas J. Smith, of Tuckerton; Stephen J. Sente, of Berkeley Township; James Hamilton, of Toms River; Nenad Brezanin, of Howell; Guy Gambarony, of Brick; James MacMillan, of Stratford; and Orlando Escobar, of Keyport.

Nichols and Smith also were charged with tampering with public records.  They both allegedly made false statements on applications for a home-improvement registration. Smith was also charged with theft by deception of $7,000 from a customer.

Sente was charged in another indictment with four counts of theft, unregistered home-improvement contracting and electrical contracting without a permit.  That indictment stemmed from an investigation that was underway before the prosecutor’s office started this operation.  

For the guys facing just the one charge, a good attorney should be able to handle this case with little expense.  For the other guys however, the cases are a little more complex.  While I can easily deal with the theft charges, the fact that they are also unregistered creates an added problem.  A good attorney would file a 404b motion to separate the charges and the State will argue that they are all part of the same scheme. 

Story is here.