Friday, August 18, 2017

Federal Court upholds RICO and wire fraud conviction for New Jersey political party official


In United States v. Ferriero, __F.3d.__, 2017 WL 3319283, 15-4064 (3rd Cir. Aug. 4, 2017), the Third Circuit upheld a RICO violation when a political party official arranged to receive a percentage of fees paid to a vender that he recommended to local offices during the course of his official duties.  The Court held that there is no requirement to prove an agreement to “undermine the integrity of a public action” when the RICO charges stem from the current version of New Jersey’s bribery statute.  The Court also found that a communication can be fraudulent and violate federal wire fraud law when it contains half-truths and omits critical information.  Furthermore, it found that the New Jersey bribery statute is neither overbroad nor unduly vague, and the Supreme Court’s decision in McDonnell v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2355 (2015), did not impact the present conviction because that case dealt with “officials acts” and not “public issues.”

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