The Financial Crimes Unit is dedicated to the detection and prosecution of cases involving the unlawful conversion of funds or property. Most of these cases involve fraudulent activities using checks, credit cards, bank accounts, and mortgages. Victims of financial crimes are varied and may include some of the most fragile victims, such as the elderly or infirm, or some of the more affluent, such as private and professional corporations.
The Financial Crimes Unit is a vertical prosecution unit. It handles the cases from inception to prosecution. When the Financial Crimes Unit receives an allegation of criminal conduct it must determine whether a criminal prosecution is warranted. If a criminal prosecution is warranted, a criminal charge and/or a presentation to a Grand Jury is conducted after a thorough investigation. If an indictment is returned, the Financial Crimes Unit is responsible for the case through a trial or plea agreement.
The Financial Crimes Unit fulfills the need to investigate serious financial crime cases at the county rather than the municipal level. Municipal police departments are often not able to thoroughly investigate complicated economic crimes. Indeed, in many cases, governmental, bank, and financial records can only be obtained by grand jury subpoena, court order, or search warrant, and therefore are beyond the reach of a municipal police department. Many “white collar” crimes are multi-jurisdictional in nature. Beyond this, such cases are far more complex than the “average” case. They usually require a review of voluminous records by an experienced detective.
Because of the complexity of the allegations and investigations, close interaction between the Assistant Prosecutor and Detective is necessary throughout the investigation; especially since these investigations often involve assembling and reviewing complex financial and business records, preparing and obtaining court orders for in- and out-of-state records (such as bank records, handwriting, toll records).
In 2012, the Financial Crimes Unit expanded to include an Insurance Fraud Division. The Insurance Fraud Division is partially funded through a grant from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and works closely with that Office in identifying, investigating, and prosecuting appropriate cases.
In addition to conducting original investigations, the Unit is a clearinghouse where outside departments obtain assistance with subpoena requests, search warrants, and other legal processes to aid in their investigations. In 2015, the Financial Crimes Unit expanded even further to include an Intellectual Property (Counterfeiting) Division. The Division is partially funded through a grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and its’ goal is to investigate and prosecute this ever-growing crime.