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Matthew Lun, Esq.
The Law Office of Matthew B. Lun is a New Jersey law firm specializing in Family Law, Criminal Defense, Gun Permit, and DYFS Defense work. We strive to keep the public informed of their rights by publishing interesting articles across the internet.
Moving Van Owner Duped by Criminals - and Arrested!
I recently represented a man in Essex County who was the unfortunate victim of two criminals. Unlike most victims however he didn't have anything stolen from him nor he wasn't the victim of any violent act. Instead, the criminals duped him by hiring him. That's right, my client became the victim of a crime by being hired. My client, who will we call Allen for the purposes of this article was an older gentlemen from New Jersey who owned a moving van. He advertised his moving van as being available for rent to help move furniture, make deliveries, etc.
One day, Allen was contacted by Billy and Carl. Billy and Carl told Allen that they had a contract to clean out a church building that had recently closed and was now vacant. They told Allen that they wanted to hire him and his van to transport materials from the church to the local scrapyard. My client agreed and plans were made for my client to pick up Billy and Carl the following morning. My client held up his end of the bargain and the three men together made their way to the church.
Upon their arrival to the church, Carl and Billy exited the van, opened the van doors, and entered the church. They then began removing scrap items from the church and placing them into the van. My client remained in the van. Shortly thereafter, the police arrived and began asking questions. My client explained to the police that he had been hired to move some material for the two men who were inside the church. Carl and Billy, after being removed from the building by the police, remained silent.
All three men were arrested and charged with burglary, theft, trespass, and several other offenses. Despite my client's pleas with the police, they were not buying his story that he hired under the premise that Billy and Carl had a contract to clean out the building. He even attempted to show the police his business card showing that he owned the moving service.
During our first court appearance I attempted to speak with Billy regarding his hiring of my client. Billy was very irate and irrational and refused to give any information to me about how he came to know my client. Billy later entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced to a lengthy jail term. My client was very afraid that he would get a lengthy jail sentence himself.
I made several attempts to negotiate with the prosecutor, showing him the business cards, explaining the situation, and offering evidence. The prosecutor's office eventually dropped a few of my clients charges but they refused to drop the criminal trespass charge. The prosecutor refused to budge. I decided we would need to have a trial to prove my clients innocence. We then set a trial date.
On the day of trial I noticed a key person was missing from the courtroom; the owner of the church building. I knew that in order to prove my client trespassed, they had to prove that he did not have permission to enter the building. When our case was called by the judge I said we were ready to proceed. I then approached the prosecutor and politely told him that he would never get a conviction without someone to testify that my client did not have permission to enter the church. After a jaw dropping reaction, the prosecutor stumbled over his words for a few minutes before deciding to dismiss the charge. My client went home happy and vindicated.