The family of a man who authorities were investigating as a reputed mobster at the time of his death has moved a step closer to getting back more than $1 million that belonged to him.

A New Jersey appeals court on Monday overturned a lower court ruling that let the state keep about $1.3 million in cash and assets that once belonged to Frank Lagano.

The former northern New Jersey resident was one of the targets of an investigation more than a decade ago into gambling and racketeering.

Lagano was killed in 2007 while the criminal investigation and a forfeiture action were ongoing.

A judge ruled in 2013 that the state could keep the assets. Monday's ruling reversed that decision and sent the case back for possible settlement or trial.