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Cape May County Legal Blog

Ponzi schemes vs. pyramid schemes

Both pyramid schemes and Ponzi schemes are examples of potential fraud, often referred to as white-collar crime. How do they work, what makes them similar and what makes them different?

Essentially, a Ponzi scheme takes the money that new investors put in and pays it to the older investors. They're told these are returns on the investments, but they're not. It's just money from other investors. The problem is that the scheme will eventually fall apart and the most recent investors will have lost their money, which was given to others who invested before them.

New Jersey bill toughens penalties for heroin crimes

If your loved one is like many others, his or her addiction began with a prescription for a powerful opioid painkiller following an accident or surgery. Since you have been dealing with this crisis in your family, you may have met other parents or spouses who watched their loved ones spiral from prescription drug abuse to heroin addiction. Their stories are all different, but the common thread follows them all. They need help.

Feeding a heroin addiction is all-consuming. You may notice your child or spouse involved in riskier behavior in order to afford his or her habit. Perhaps your loved one has stolen from you to buy drugs. Unfortunately, the epidemic of heroin and other opioids and the related spike in crime has led state and federal governments to take action. Your loved one may have even more at stake in New Jersey.

Can police search your car at any time?

If you're pulled over by police for any reason, you may have a big question on your mind: Does the officer have the legal right to search your vehicle?

Generally speaking, the Fourth Amendment protects you against unlawful search and seizure. For example, if police search your car without having a valid reason or without your consent, they are in violation of your rights.

14-year-old student arrested and now facing drug charges

Parents always dread getting that call from the principle saying their child was cutting class or arguing with another student in the hallway. When the call came to two parents in Secaucus, though, it was far more serious than that.

Their son, who is just 14 years old, had been arrested while at Secaucus High School on drug charges. The police allege that he had marijuana oil, and he's facing charges for both possession of the oil and distribution. In addition to the allegation that he intended to distribute illegal drugs on school grounds, he's also being charged with having drug paraphernalia, per a captain with the Secaucus police.

Things you need to know about mail fraud

At first thought, you may not realize that mail fraud is one of the most common federal crimes. However, as you learn more about this crime, you'll come to find that it's not only common, but can also have a big impact on your life in the event of a conviction.

Mail fraud encompasses more than one type of activity, making it difficult to fully understand your legal rights. Outlined by 18 U.S. Code, Section 1341, fraud includes any scheme to:

  • Distribute, sell, supply, exchange or use counterfeits
  • Obtain property or money under false pretenses

Embezzlement is theft through fraud

Embezzlement is theft, but it's a very specific type of theft in which fraud is used and a relationship of trust is breached. This sets it apart from more simple theft, such as when a person walks into a gas station and takes money out of the cash register.

Most often, embezzlement involves an employee at a company doing something to take control of money or assets and then using the position to hide the theft.

Can you touch the tip of your nose with your eyes closed?

If a New Jersey police officer thinks you are driving under the influence of alcohol, he or she may attempt a traffic stop. If you've been a licensed driver for many years, it may not be the first time you've seen flashing red and blue lights from a police car in your rear view mirror. Perhaps your past includes a speeding ticket or some other minor traffic offense or maybe the last time an officer stopped you, he or she issued a warning then allowed you to leave.

What if things don't seem to be going in your favor during a traffic stop, however? If the officer asks you to step out of your car, you should consider yourself detained. The next moments may be crucial toward the final outcome of your situation, especially if the officer asks you to submit to a finger-to-nose test. If that happens, a positive outcome may hinge upon how well you know your rights and whether you request legal representation.

Legalized weed will still make you fail a drug test

Marijuana users who live in New Jersey rejoiced when Gov.-elect Phil Murphy pledged to legalize marijuana possession within the first 100 days of his administration. But what that actually means in the wider sense is still a bit hazy.

It's important to keep in mind that marijuana use and possession remains illegal on the federal level, and federal drug laws can trump state laws. There is also the issue of workplace drug testing. Nothing in the Governor-elect's proposal says that employers must hire or retain pot smokers.

The penalty for driving under the influence in New Jersey

In the state of New Jersey, just the same as the rest of the country, driving under the influence is a serious crime.

Simply put, if you're operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent or above, you are considered by the law to be under the influence.

Why kids have no expectation of privacy at school

Kids may think that their lockers at school are their private property, but they aren't. They belong to the school. Courts have ruled that when they are in school, young people can't reasonably expect privacy. Therefore, it's not a violation of their constitutional rights to subject them to random searches. The same is true even for students' backpacks.

Two-legged law enforcement officers may not always be able to sniff out drugs, but four-legged K-9 officers often can. Courts have ruled that law enforcement has the right to use these highly-trained animals without a search warrant in areas where people have no reasonable expectation of privacy. That includes instances where a public school requested that a K-9 officer conduct a random drug search.

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