Skip to main content

Fraud, Forgery & White Collar Crimes

Contact Rosenberg | Perry & Associates for consultation regarding white collar crimes — including fraud and forgery charges — in Burlington County, New Jersey.

What are White Collar Crimes?

White collar crime is a financially driven, nonviolent crime committed by business and/or government officials. The motivation is either get or avoid losing money. It includes forgery, bribery, extortion, insider trading, cybercrime, tax evasion, embezzlement, labor racketeering, copyright infringement, counterfeiting, Ponzi schemes, money laundering and all types of fraud.

New Jersey criminal law N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1 prohibits fraudulent actions and deceitful conduct. These charges commonly relate to bank or check fraud allegations or identity theft charges. Writing and cashing bad checks includes a charge of forgery.

White Collar Crime Penalties

The specific penalties for white-collar crimes in New Jersey depend on the charges. In most cases, the judge will follow sentencing guidelines, but can make adjustments based on the amount of loss caused by the defendant and/or the intended gain. Those convicted of white-collar crimes may be sentenced to:

  • Prison or Jail Time. There is a common misconception that a white collar conviction results in serving “easy time” in a minimum security institution. There is no guarantee of the level facility for a person convicted of a white collar crime.
  • House Arrest. Home confinement instead of incarceration is sometimes a possible substitution for someone convicted a white collar crime. While under house arrest, a person must wear an electronic monitor at all times and have limited time outside the house.
  • Probation. Although no incarceration is involved, there are typically conditions that must be met such as reporting regularly to a probation officer, maintaining employment or attending school and/or having restricted access to the Internet.
  • Asset forfeiture. Both state and federal governments can seize assets if it is convinced that the assets were acquired through a criminal act or were used during a crime.
  • Fines. On top of other punishments levied, a white collar crime conviction can result in fines well into the thousands of dollars.
  • Restitution. In addition to fines, when convicted of a white collar crime, a person might be ordered to pay back victims who were financially harmed.

Above and beyond the immediate impact of jail time, fines and other expenses, a white collar crime conviction can have negative consequences when looking for a jobs or dealing with personal relationships.

Fraud

Fraud is deliberate deception with an intended result of financial or personal gain or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Types of fraud include:

  • Check fraud
  • Welfare fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Charities fraud
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Computer fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Mail and Wire fraud
  • Medicaid fraud
  • Payroll fraud
  • Workers’ compensation fraud
  • Bankruptcy fraud
  • Computer fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Mail and Wire fraud
  • Medicaid fraud
  • Payroll fraud

Proof of Fraud

In most cases, to be convicted of fraud in New Jersey, proof of the following five elements are necessary:

  1. The defendant made a false representation of a fact or facts.
  2. The defendant either knew or believed the fact or facts to be false.
  3. The defendant intended to defraud, mislead or deceive.
  4. The victim believed the defendant’s false representation, justifiably relied on it and either took an action or decided not to take an action in response to it.
  5. The victim suffered a legal injury as a result of the misrepresentation by the defendant.

Credit Card Fraud in NJ

In New Jersey, credit card fraud is different from other fraud cases as there are a number of offenses, including credit card theft, that are categorized as credit card fraud, including:

  • Making false statements to get a credit card
  • Intent of cardholder to defraud
  • Intent to defraud by a person authorized to furnish money, goods, or services
  • Incomplete credit cards with the intent to complete them without consent
  • Receiving items of value knowing (or believing) that the items were obtained fraudulently
  • Fraudulent use of credit cards
  • Credit card theft

Credit Card Theft

Credit Card Theft falls under N.J.S.A. 2C:21-6(c). There are a number of ways credit card theft can occur, including, but not limited to:

  • Applying for a credit card using false statements.
  • Altering a credit card to increase the credit limit without authorization.
  • Using or attempting to use someone else’s credit card without their consent.
  • Using an electronic device to read someone else’s credit card

Forgery

Forgery is an action with the intent to deceive another with a false document, signature, or other imitation of an object of value. Documents that can be the object of forgery include contracts, identification cards, and legal certificates, such as writing a check on a closed account known to be closed, forging another’s name or forging a prescription.

The elements of forgery are:

  1. The defendant acted purposefully to defraud another. A jury is instructed by the Judge that they may “infer” that the defendant had knowledge or purpose from the fact the defendant was attempting to cash a forged instrument;
  2. The conduct must involve a writing (e.g., a check or contract) of another; and
  3. The writing was altered without the knowledge of the other person.
  4. The writing was presented to a third party and purports to be from another.

Forgery: Second, Third, Fourth Degree

The level of a forgery crime depends on the subject of the forgery. Making or selling government ID documents is recognized as second-degree forgery. Forgoing a prescription is a crime of the third degree. There are other specifically enumerated documents that are various degrees.

All circumstances that are not specified are crimes of the fourth degree. An example of a fourth-degree forgery would be the forgery of a name to a savings account on a withdrawal slip.

State vs. Federal White Collar Crimes

Since federal laws tend to be much broader and focus on crimes that affect people across state lines and/or is of a financial nature, it is not unusual for a white collar crime committed in New Jersey to draw federal charges.

While some white collar crimes are specific to New Jersey and will be heard in the Superior Court of New Jersey, some are specific the congress and will be tried in the New Jersey Federal Court. If accused of a white collar crime that violates both state and federal laws, the accused can be tried in both courts.

The Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of New Jersey have both ruled that these separate prosecutions do not violate constitutional double jeopardy prohibitions.

Why You Should Hire a New Jersey White Collar Crime Lawyer

Punishments for white collar crimes such as fraud are stiff and can have a major impact on your finances and freedom. They often take months of investigation before the police make an arrest and prosecutors press charges. You need an attorney to help walk you through the investigation and legal proceedings, offering sound advice on when and how to cooperate in the investigation.

If you have been questioned by a federal or state investigator — or you have already been charged — hiring an experienced white collar crime attorney is a necessity, not a luxury. You need competent counsel with an understanding of how white collar crimes are prosecuted and how to defend against those charges.

No one is ever guilty unless or until he/she pleads guilty or is found guilty by a jury. In order to obtain a conviction, the State must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Call Rosenberg | Perry & Associates, we have deep experience in white collar crime and fraud cases in New Jersey and will make sure your case is properly defended.

Schedule a free consultation to discuss how we can help protect your rights.

Contact Rosenberg | Perry & Associates

We would like to hear from you. Please send us a message by filling out the form below and we will get back with you shortly.
Contact Us
Rosenberg | Perry & Associates will not share any details on your case with those outside the law firm, subject to our confidentiality agreement.