White Collar Crime in New Jersey

The term “white collar” crime originated in the 1930s to refer to FBI investigations of fraud involving individuals in business and associated with the government. Fraud is generally defined as willful misrepresentation of the truth in order to obtain something. These criminal activities often involve deception and are committed for financial purposes. Unlike many serious crimes, these acts generally do not involve physical intimidation or violence. Based on the often massive financial consequences associated with these crimes, they are often highly publicized. The development of the internet and the use of electronic financial transactions has further exacerbated the frequency of these crimes.

A Lawyer for White Collar Criminal Defense

Those alleged to have committed white collar crimes are often facing potentially severe penalties including lengthy prison sentences. In these situations experienced legal representation is critical. Attorney Joseph D. Lento understands what it takes to defend these often complex cases and encourages you to contact the office today.

Recent Prosecutions

The Justice Department released a report in 2018 that indicated roughly 380 white collar crimes were being investigated in the month of July alone. Some of the common types of these crimes include the following:

  • Fraud involving government programs such as benefit programs
  • Tax, computer, and insurance fraud
  • Arson for financial gain
  • Crimes associated with commodities, securities, and more

Classifications of White Collar Crime (July 2018)[1]


Other / Miscellaneous


Health Care


Aggravated Theft


Financial Institutions


Federal Programs




Identity Theft


Credit Card Fraud and Theft (N.J.S.A. 2C: 21-6)

There are many criminal offenses that involve credit or debit cards. Someone may obtain a card from another without their consent to make purchases, which is a fourth-degree crime. This includes usage of a card that was lost, misplaced or mistakenly mailed to an incorrect address. Criminal acts that involve creating a fake credit card are offenses of the third-degree. In today's online marketplace with thousands of electronic transactions occurring each day, this form of crime is expected to continue.

Insurance Fraud (2C: 21-4.6)

Crimes involving insurance may involve knowingly making fabricated or false statements or omitting facts relating to an insurance policy. Another crime involves misrepresenting the state that a motor vehicle is principally operated or garaged in for reasons such as to avoid higher auto insurance premiums or taxes. Intentionally staging or creating an event for the purposes of profiting from filing an insurance claim is another example of insurance fraud. The crime of arson may be committed in order to defraud an insurer. The majority of these offenses are considered as either third or fourth-degree.

Healthcare Fraud (2C:21-4.2)

Some forms of health care fraud may also be considered as types of insurance fraud discussed above. Some of these crimes involve making a fabricated or falsified claim for benefits or reimbursement. They also may involve the creation of false medical records in efforts to obtain reimbursement for services. Often these crimes are committed by medical practitioners and/or their staff such as physicians, pharmacies, psychologists and more. These crimes may occur with private insurance providers or federal or state programs such as Medicare or Medicaid.

Forgery (2C:21-1)

Acts of forgery may involve creating or altering written data or information and submitting or presenting on behalf of another party without their permission. In addition to executing or authenticating something on behalf of another individual or organization, it may involve doing so using a fictitious person or organization. Forgery occurs using money (currency), postage (stamps), credit or debit cards, sales receipts, bank checks, and more. Generally, crimes of forgery are classified as third-degree offenses. Another increasingly common offense involves creating or altering prescriptions for pharmaceutical products.

Bad Checks (2C:21-5)

Crimes associated with bad checks are when someone passes or submits as payment a check that they are aware will not be honored by the financial institution. This may also apply to electronic transactions and money orders. Often these bad checks are associated with closed or overdrawn bank accounts. The degree of the offense is based on the value of the check as follows:

  • In excess of $75,000 is a second-degree offense
  • Those in amounts of between $1,000 and $75,000 are third-degree offenses
  • Those in amounts of between $200 and $1,000 are fourth-degree offenses
  • When the amount is less than $200 it is considered a disorderly person offense

Embezzlement (2C:20-9)

New Jersey statute identifies a crime of embezzlement as “theft by failure to make required disposition of property” received. This occurs commonly among employees or representatives of governmental departments or financial institutions. The individual may be using organizational funds for their own purposes. Often these acts of theft are detected well after the crime was committed such as through a routine financial audit. As with most crimes of theft, the degree of the criminal offense is dictated by the value of what was obtained.

Identity Theft (2C:21-17a)

Another increasingly popular form of fraud is identity theft, also known as impersonation. Often personal or financial information is illegally accessed from businesses such as banks or other institutions. When this information is fraudulently accessed it is commonly called a breach. To prove a crime of identity theft, it must be shown that someone intentionally acted under a false identity or impersonated someone else. This crime is motivated by the potential to obtain benefits of some type. One form of identity theft is when the offender accesses someone's personal information in order to apply for credit in their name. The victims often are not aware until months or years later.

Resources for New Jersey White Collar Crimes

U.S. Attorney's Office: New Jersey District
Camden Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
P.O. Box 2098
401 Market Street, 4th Floor
Camden, NJ 08101

Office of The NJ Attorney General RJ Hughes Justice Complex
25 Market Street, Box 080
Trenton, NJ 08625-0080

Criminal Defense Attorney for White Collar Crimes

Defending many forms of white collar crime often require knowledge of business and technical practices and operations. The legal team at the Lento Law Firm understands how to design a comprehensive defense strategy for crimes such as insurance fraud, forgery, and other similar offenses. Those seeking legal representation are encouraged to call (888) 535-3686 for a complimentary evaluation of your case.

[1] https://trac.syr.edu/tracreports/bulletins/white_collar_crime/monthlyjul18/fil/

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today

When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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