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State v. Aloi

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

February 26, 2019

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
ROBERT ALOI, Defendant-Respondent.

          Argued January 16, 2019

          On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Indictment No. 18-02-0295.

          David M. Liston, Assistant Prosecutor, argued the cause for appellant (Andrew C. Carey, Middlesex County Prosecutor, attorney; David M. Liston, of counsel and on the brief).

          Eric M. Mark argued the cause for respondent (Law Offices of Eric M. Mark, attorneys; Eric M. Mark, on the brief).

          Before Judges Fuentes, Accurso and Vernoia.

          OPINION

          VERNOIA, J.A.D.

         The State appeals from an order dismissing an indictment charging defendant Robert Aloi with second-degree attempted theft by extortion. Based on our review of the record in light of the applicable law, we conclude the court erred by finding the State failed to present sufficient evidence to the grand jury establishing territorial jurisdiction over the alleged offense in the State of New Jersey pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:1-3(a), and reverse.

         I.

         Defendant was charged in an indictment with second-degree attempted theft by extortion, N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 and N.J.S.A. 2C:20-5(c). The indictment alleged that in August and September 2017, in the Township of Edison, defendant purposely attempted to obtain property from H.R.[1] by making threats to expose or publicize secret or asserted facts tending to subject H.R. to hatred, contempt or ridicule or to impair his reputation and took the substantial step of communicating the threats to H.R.'s representative for the purpose of obtaining money in exchange for not making the threatened disclosures.

         The evidence presented to the grand jury showed that in 2017 defendant contacted a New York charitable organization to "get in touch with H.R.," a member of the charity's board. The organization forwarded defendant's information to H.R.'s lawyer, whose office is located in Edison, New Jersey.

         The attorney called defendant from her office and recorded the call. Defendant, who lives and works in Maryland, told the attorney he had information that H.R. paid women for sex and physically abused the women. Defendant referenced a New York Police Department report about an incident involving H.R. at his New York apartment, and said he had information concerning the matter beyond what was included in the police report. Defendant said he knew defendant was married and sat on the boards of several charities, and referred to the potential consequences for H.R. if the information he possessed became public.

         In an August 23, 2017 email from defendant to the attorney, he made various demands in exchange for his agreement not to release the information concerning H.R. to the public.[2] One of the demands was that H.R. donate $9.95 million to an alleged charity, "No Fear Against Abuse," which is registered at defendant's personal address in Maryland. The putative charity was incorporated less than three weeks before defendant communicated his demands to the attorney and its website includes the email address from which defendant emailed his demands.

         Following her receipt of the email, the attorney went to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, where she had a recorded telephone call with defendant. The attorney asked how much of the demanded $9.95 million defendant would personally receive and he said it is "[n]one of your business." Defendant explained the money would be paid to women who had been involved with defendant and that he would receive compensation in the form of company vehicles and office space. Defendant refused to identify the women who would allegedly receive the money, and later reduced his demand to $3.7 million. Defendant was never paid any of the money he demanded.

         All of the attorney's communications with defendant occurred while she was in New Jersey. There was no evidence presented that defendant was in the State when he communicated with the attorney. Defendant and the attorney scheduled a ...


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