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New Jersey Racketeering Laws

A suspected crime boss with the charming nickname "Knuckles" spends his days sitting on the stoop of his modest Jersey City home, reading the paper and meeting with visitors every so often. Meanwhile, a statewide network of laundromats is being investigated for alleged ties to organized crime. Authorities believe the syndicate is laundering more than just clothes at its facilities, but can't physically place Knuckles at the scene of these ongoing crimes. The investigation also turns up a suspicious murder in the back of one of these laundromats.

Is it all just a coincidence? Probably not. Telephone records and testimony from witnesses suggest Knuckles is in fact the head of an elaborate crime operation -- or racket -- even though he doesn't personally touch the "dirty" money and hasn't actually put his knuckles to use in a long time.

Federal and state racketeering laws are designed to help law enforcement connect the dots and go after the otherwise untouchable principals of rackets, like Knuckles. Below are details about New Jersey's racketeering law.

New Jersey Racketeering Laws: The Basics


New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 2C § 41-1

Statutory Definition of the Offense

It shall be unlawful for any person who has received any income derived from a pattern of racketeering activity to use or invest any part of the income in acquisition of any interest in, or the establishment or operation of any enterprise which is engaged in (or the activities of which affect) trade or commerce.

Statutory Definition: "Racketeering Activity" and "Pattern of Racketeering Activity"

Racketeering activity” means any of the following crimes which are crimes under the laws of New Jersey or are equivalent crimes under the laws of any other jurisdiction:

NOTE: This is a partial list of crimes that may constitute racketeering activity under state law. See code section for a complete list.

A "pattern of racketeering activity" requires the following:

  1. Engaging in at least 2 incidents of racketeering conduct, the last of which shall have occurred within 10 years (excluding any period of imprisonment) after a prior incident of racketeering activity; and
  2. A showing that the incidents of racketeering activity embrace criminal conduct that has either the same or similar purposes, results, participants or victims or methods of commission or are otherwise interrelated by distinguishing characteristics and are not isolated incidents.

Crime Classifications and Penalties

  • Crime in the First Degree (10-20 yrs. in prison, fine of up to $200,000): Crime committed in connection with a pattern of racketeering activity which involves a crime of violence, a crime of the first degree, or the use of firearms.
  • Crime in the Second Degree (5-10 yrs. in prison, fine of up to $150,000): All other racketeering violations.

Civil Penalties

Individuals found guilty of racketeering must forfeit (to the prosecuting entity) the following:

  • Any interest including money or anything of value he has acquired or maintained in violation of this chapter; and
  • Any interest in, security of, claim against, or property or contractual right of any kind affording a source of influence over any enterprise which he has established, acquired, maintained, operated, controlled, conducted, or participated in the conduct of, in violation of this chapter.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Don't Face Racketeering Charges Alone: Contact an Attorney Today

Racketeering charges are quite serious and convictions can lead to lengthy prison sentences. If you have been charged with a racketeering crime, you'll want an experienced attorney who can challenge the evidence being used against you. Get help today by speaking with a New Jersey defense attorney.

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