In 2010, one of the country’s largest undercover operations in recent memory revealed a web of crime and deception involving some of New Jersey’s politicians, businessmen and rabbis. The events following the arrests of the perpetrators have become almost as legendary as the crimes themselves.
“The Jersey Sting”
Authorities arrested over 40 New Jersey residents on a single day in 2009. The case, which became dubbed “The Jersey Sting” by the investigative journalists who reported it, involved a complicated money laundering scam. Most of the evidence in the subsequent trials centered on the role played by Solomon Dwek. Mr. Dwek, who had already been charged with separate money laundering offenses, was working on behalf of the FBI to implicate the ringleaders of the scam.
One of the most high-profile defendants was Harvey Smith, a Democrat Assemblyman at the time. Mr. Smith claimed, in his defense, that he was a victim of entrapment and not guilty of any crime. The jury hearing his case did not agree.
Burden of proof of entrapment is on the defendant
For the defense of entrapment to be successful, a defendant must show that either:
- The law enforcement officials, or the agents acting on their behalf, misled the defendant into believing that his or her unlawful conduct was permitted
- The defendant would not have carried out the illegal activity had it not been for the inducement or encouragement of law enforcement or their agents.
Entrapment is not available as a defense to violent crimes involving bodily injury or the threat of bodily injury. The defendant must prove by a preponderance of evidence that he or she committed the offense as a result of entrapment.
Police and law enforcement are entitled to use covert tactics to uncover crimes, but are not permitted to push people to commit crimes that they would not have otherwise committed.
If you think that you have been trapped into committing a crime, you need a seasoned criminal defense lawyer to assess the strength of this claim and help you prove your case. The lawyers at the New Jersey firm of Hoffman DiMuzio have been successfully defending clients charged with committing serious crimes for more than 35 years.
Publication approved by Leonard L. Grasso, Jr., Associate of Hoffman DiMuzio