Tuesday, March 08, 2016

NJ Appeals Court Affirms Five Convictions, Vacates & Remands Three Others Against Imprisoned Scammer Doing 20 Years For Using Forged Deeds To Hijack Title To Houses, Then Rent Them Out; Mistaken Jury Instruction Requires New Trial On Some Counts

In Trenton, New Jersey, the New Jersey Herald reports:
  • An appellate court [] vacated three of the eight convictions of Robert Kosch stemming from a 2014 trial for renting out homes he did not own and remanded the case to Superior Court for a new trial.

    Kosch, 59, was convicted in October 2014 of two counts of second-degree theft of immovable property by taking or disposition, one count of third-degree theft of immovable property by unlawful taking or disposition, two counts of third-degree theft of movable property by unlawful taking or disposition, two counts of third degree forgery and one count of second-degree trafficking in personal identifying information pertaining to 50 or more separate persons.

    He was sentenced to 20 years in prison with six years of parole ineligibility.

    On Tuesday, the appellate court vacated the three counts of theft of immovable property.

    "Although there was evidence in the record to demonstrate an unlawful taking of an interest in immovable property, we nevertheless vacate those convictions because the jury was mistakenly instructed as to the nature of the interest allegedly taken," the appellate court said in its decision.

    The decision says the trial court asked the jury only to determine if Kosch unlawfully took full possession of the properties in question, and not if he unlawfully took an "interest" -- "the right to possession or the right to collect rents or both" -- of the properties.

    "Clearly in assessing the immovable property charges, the jury believed it was to determine whether defendant unlawfully took something more than the rental proceeds -- that he took the immovable property itself," the decision reads. "This was a conclusion the evidence could not permit and, therefore, those convictions cannot stand."

    The convictions stemmed from Kosch's arrest for falsifying deeds and signatures to pass himself off as the landlord of properties facing foreclosure. He collected rent, including some federal Section 8 subsidized rent, from unknowing tenants, the jury found.
For more, see Kosch case remanded to Superior Court.

For the court ruling, see State of New Jersey v. Kosch, A-2099-14T3 (App. Div. Mar 01, 2016).

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home