Search Site
Menu
Receiving Stolen Goods: The Day the Cheese Went Missing

The case of Veniamin Balika shows that there is a black market in virtually every type of product. Mr. Balika was arrested in New Jersey in March 2013 for illegally importing $200,000 of Muenster cheese that he had stolen from a distributor in Wisconsin. Making his way across the country, Balika was hoping to sell the cheese in smaller blocks at below the usual market price. Balika’s crime is clear, but had he been successful in fencing his stash to customers, they, too, might have faced criminal charges.

Receiving stolen goods is a crime

The New Jersey code of criminal conduct sets out the offense of receiving stolen goods. Anyone who receives or brings stolen goods into the state knowing that they are stolen or probably stolen is guilty of an offense. There does not need to be any payment for the goods in order for a violation to occur. Being told that something is stolen immediately puts the recipient on notice that they are committing a crime. Where the person was not told directly, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to show that the recipient probably knew the goods were stolen property.

Courts determining whether a defendant probably knew they were purchasing stolen goods generally look for certain circumstances around the transaction, which include:

  • Being offered something not normally or not yet available to the general public
  • Being offered goods that are normally available but at a heavily reduced price
  • Being offered items by someone that does not normally deal in such items
  • Being sold items without being offered a receipt for payment

Acquiring a product known to be stolen in order to return it to its rightful owner is a valid defense.

Buying goods known to be stolen can carry possible health risks, as well as criminal sanctions. It is almost impossible to know whether a stolen product has been tampered with and whether it is safe for use or consumption. The cheese stolen by Mr. Balika was not returned to its rightful owners, who felt unable to vouch for its validity once it had been taken from them. Instead, it was donated to charity once tests were carried out to ensure it was harmless.

Hoffman DiMuzio is a law firm specializing in criminal defense. With five offices across New Jersey, its attorneys have broad experience of the court system across the State and are easily accessible.

Publication approved by Joseph J. Hoffman, III, Esq., Associate of Hoffman DiMuzio

Speak to a proven New Jersey attorney now
Call 856.238.5183 or click to schedule your free consultation
  • By Renee Zagarella

    "Wonderful, knowledgeable, kind, and informative! Within days following my free consultation, I was provided with an overview of my appointment with helpful information about my case. I truly appreciate the recommendation I was given at this firm."

    SEE ALL REVIEWS
  • By Anita Campana

    "I was so very impressed with Hoffman DiMuzio from the moment I walked in. Everyone I had come across was so professional and courteous."

    SEE ALL REVIEWS
  • By Anita Campana

    "I mostly saw Peter who got the best possible results for my case. He was extremely knowledgeable and informative. Jodi was always available to answer my questions if Peter was busy and kept me informed. I would recommend this firm to anyone!"

    SEE ALL REVIEWS
  • By Mike W

    "Hoffman DiMuzio is a top notch firm. Their attorneys and staff are extremely knowledgeable and go above and beyond for you. I recommend them to everyone in need of legal service."

    SEE ALL REVIEWS
  • By Harry McCormick

    When my significant other was falsely accused of committing a crime, there was only one place to turn. that place was hoffman dimuzio.

    SEE ALL REVIEWS
  • By Harry McCormick

    "Joe Hoffman Jr took on our case and fought tooth and nail for us. Exposing the truth and serving justice for us, we felt completely vindicated. For any legal matter, criminal, traffic or otherwise, they gained two very satisfied life long customers! Thank you Mr Hoffman!"

    SEE ALL REVIEWS
Joseph J.  Hoffman, Jr. Attorney Photo
Joseph J. Hoffman, Jr.
Senior Partner

For more than 40 years, Mr. Hoffman has protected the interest of his clients through diligence and hard work on legal matters, both large and small. An honors graduate of Rutgers University Law School and a native of Gloucester County, Mr. Hoffman has won numerous accolades for excellence in the practice of law.

Kenneth A. DiMuzio, Sr. Attorney Photo
Kenneth A. DiMuzio, Sr.
Senior Partner

An attorney with over 45 years of professional experience, Mr. DiMuzio concentrates his practice on personal injury and workers’ compensation matters. A graduate of Georgetown University Law School and a native of Gloucester County, Mr. DiMuzio has been honored time and again for his professionalism and ethics in the practice of law.

Ernest L.  Alvino, Jr. Attorney Photo
Ernest L. Alvino, Jr.
Attorney

About Ernest L. Alvino, Jr. concentrates his practice in the area of workplace injuries; construction accidents; product injuries; trucking accidents; auto injuries; medical negligence and crime victim advocacy. Ernie is a lifelong Gloucester County resident, living in Mullica Hill with his wife and children. Ernie worked his way through school as a Teamster and construction…

Jeremiah J. Atkins Attorney Photo
Jeremiah J. Atkins
Attorney

About Mr. Atkins joined the firm of Hoffman DiMuzio in February 2010. Mr. Atkins represents individuals and corporate clients in commercial and employment litigation. Mr. Atkins’ practice covers a wide variety of employment-related matters before New Jersey State and Federal courts, with a focus on discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, family leave and whistleblowing claims. Mr.…

Peter J. Bonfiglio, III Attorney Photo
Peter J. Bonfiglio, III
Attorney

About Mr. Bonfiglio concentrates his practice in the area of municipal court with an emphasis on defense of individuals charged with driving while intoxicated and/or refusal to submit to a breath test. Pete resides in Gloucester Township, Camden County with his wife and two of his three children.  In addition to his law practice, he…

  • Imagine... One law firm, for life.


    New Jersey attorneys for all legal matters

    For all life's stages. For all South Jersey.

Six convenient locations


We'll meet at the office nearest you

  • Franklinville
  • Turnersville
  • Mullica Hill
  • Woodbury
  • Sewell
  • Philadelphia
Take action now by filling out the form below

Submitting this form does not create an attorney-client relationship, but a lawyer from our firm will contact you as soon as possible.

Quick Contact Form