Illinois federal crimes attorney, Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyer,Most of us had Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on our reading list in high school. The storyline is about two children that fall in love. Their families are bitter enemies, creating a forbidden love scenario, and the two turn to drastic measures to run away together. Unfortunately, due to a breakdown in communication, both reach their tragic demise. How does this have anything to do with statutory rape laws? “Romeo and Juliet” laws are named after these two iconic teens and determine if sexual intercourse between two consenting individuals are legal or illegal.

Explanation of Statutory Rape

Statutory rape varies from forcible rape and other forms of coerced intercourse in that should both parties have been over the age of consent, the behavior would have been legal. Both individuals are generally in a romantic relationship and are fully consenting to each other. However, federal law prohibits any sexual act with anyone between the ages of 12 and 16 if the age gap is four years or more, regardless of consent. Each state determines its own recourse for these situations. Illinois regulations surrounding statutory rape include:

  • The age of consent is 17,
  • Consensual sex with someone age 16 or younger is considered statutory rape,
  • If both are under the age of consent, it is still statutory rape, and
  • No “force” requirement.

Close-In-Age Exemption

A close-in-age exemption, also known as “Romeo and Juliet” laws, create lighter punishments or total exemptions to situations in which both consenting individuals are under the age of consent, or they are both extremely close in age. These laws, however, are not available in all states. In Illinois, there is no law exempting this behavior. If both children are underaged, they may each face statutory rape charges. Special consideration is given to circumstances in which:

  • Both children are over the age of nine but still not 17, or
  • One child is between 13 and 17, and their partner is no more than five years older.

Protect the Children

Illinois continuously makes efforts to decriminalize situations involving two consenting children having sex with each other, or even those close in age. To date, federal and Illinois state laws differ on this stance. A conviction has the possibility of inflicting long-term penalties which may have impacts not only on the children now but their future family. If you would like to discuss the options of your case with a proven and experienced Chicago, IL child sex crime defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel today. We are available to offer you a free and confidential initial consultation when you call 312-629-0669 today.



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Illinois federal crimes attorney, Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyer,If you were found guilty of a federal crime although you were innocent, it might not be your fault. All too often unjustly accused citizens are carted off to prison due to a lack of a convincing attorney. Many find out too late that assigned public defenders are not the best option as many of them are overworked, preventing the one-on-one experience as well as the in-depth investigation necessary to build a credible defense case. You may be eligible for an appeal of the decision. To do so, you will require someone who is available to give you their utmost attention and build an aggressive and persuasive argument on your behalf. The federal criminal appeals process is confusing and daunting to those unfamiliar with the process; therefore it is vital to find an attorney who specializes in federal criminal law.

This Is Not A Retrial

Your attorney presented all of the evidence available to the judge within the presence of court reporters, witnesses, and a jury. The appellate court is vastly different. New evidence is inadmissible at this point, and the entire process is through the transferring of a series of forms, files, and existing evidence. In this “courtroom,” the legality of the original decision is under contestation. Both sides of the argument file briefs to the appellate judge both raising concerns and responding to concerns of legal errors that occurred in the original hearing.

Notice of Appeal versus Appeal

The form you received stating you had ten days to file a “Notice of Appeal” does not mean you have ten days to have a judge successfully appeal the initial decision. The notice is a document that must be filed within ten days of the initial decision to inform all parties of the intent to appeal. Although this may reduce the necessity of a rush decision, it is still important to retain counsel before day nine. The earlier you hire an attorney, the more time they have to bolster your defense to the best of their abilities.

The Process Is Not Short

Patience is a virtue in during the appellate process. From the initial filing of the “Notice of Appeal” to the final verdict, the process may take months or even years. Although the pace has quickened with the addition of technology over the past few years, a judge still must sift through all of the evidence and briefings to make a decision. This process cannot be accelerated, and if it was, it might end badly for the individual wishing to appeal. At the minimum, expect about three months.

Someone Who Knows

Your case already went awry the first round, but you have a second chance to get things right. Remember that with each addition to the process comes added legal fees and more. Building the best case possible the first time around is important. If you would like to discuss your appeals case with a Chicago, IL federal appeals attorney, contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel today. We proudly offer a free and confidential consultation simply by calling 312-629-0669 to schedule.


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Illinois federal crimes attorney, Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyer,There is an abundance of white collar crimes that authorities must deal with on a daily basis, from embezzlement and money laundering to mortgage fraud and classic cases of identity theft. All these crimes wreak havoc on the victims and businesses they affect, and the results are often devastating for everyone involved. Health care fraud is uniquely troubling in the sense that it can be a very personal yet impersonal crime, with repercussions that are far-reaching and difficult to repair.

The Healthcare System as a Platform for Fraud

With the overwhelming pool of money involved in the healthcare industry, it comes as no surprise that criminals often take advantage of the system and tamper with healthcare policies in order to achieve financial gain. It is easy to see how the appeal of these opportunities draws criminal offenders to prey on unsuspecting victims in the industry, as the business itself is a prime platform for fraudulent activity. These activities come with serious cost, however. All forms of health care fraud are taken very seriously by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and are considered federal crimes, which translate to severe consequences for an offender’s record and reputation.

Schemes Used to Collect Personal Information

The FBI reports that the following methods are some of the most common tactics used to commit health care fraud:

Deceiving beneficiaries – Approaching beneficiaries is a method many offenders use to initiate contact with someone attached to an existing policy in order to obtain patient and policy information. The beneficiary is typically lured to a specific location, such as a medical clinic, under the guise of a special gift, where their information is acquired when they sign in. The offender may also establish a rapport with the victim over a period of time to gain trust and collect more valuable information.

Bribing or coercing medical personnel – Another way private medical information is acquired to commit health care fraud is through direct contact with medical personnel, who have access to valuable patient information. Offenders will commonly entice, bribe, or deceive medical staff to gain access to patient records and insurance policy information, and may even work in teams to collect such information.

Collecting personal information at free healthcare screenings – This is one of the most basic avenues criminals take to collect the information they need to commit medical fraud. At free healthcare screenings, such as health fairs, personal patient information is acquired when unsuspecting victims step up to obtain a free health report of some sort. These health fair environments also commonly provide criminals with the opportunity to dig deeper, allowing them to speak with multiple family members or multiple victims in the course of a few short hours.

If you are concerned about your involvement in any form of medical fraud or are uncertain if your actions can be considered criminal activity, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable Chicago federal criminal lawyer before it is too late. Gather the insight and resources you need to ensure your rights are protected sooner, rather than later. Call the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel at 312-629-0669 right away for a personal consultation.



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Illinois federal crimes attorney, Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyer,While the federal white collar crime known as identity theft is nothing new, statistics continue to illuminate the fact that identity fraud is an ever-growing problem across the nation, and across the globe. According to the FBI, the actual number of identity theft crimes committed every day is believed to be much higher than the publicly reported statistics we hear about.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that between the years 2010 and 2015 alone, identity theft complaints nearly doubled. The nature of these crimes can vary greatly, however, and law enforcement agencies often report the cases differently. This can make it difficult to consistently and accurately report every case for statistical purposes, so we often only hear about a fraction of the true number of identity theft cases that take place each year. For example, some identity theft crimes involve credit card fraud, while others involve mail theft or a combination of these types of fraud.

Common Identity Theft Tactics that Will Land You in Hot Water

Although the variety of identity theft crimes that exists is vast, there are a few common tactics criminals tend to use to achieve their goals. If you have been involved with any of the following activities or are currently being accused of being involved with one, it is important to be aware that you are at risk for a number of penalties, and many of them carry serious, long-term repercussions:

1. Shoulder surfing – This is a term used to describe one of the rawest forms of identity theft, which entails listening to someone’s phone conversation while they recite their credit card number, bank pin number, social security number, or other personal information, which is then used to steal funds. Criminals often shoulder surf in public places by listening to private conversations, phone calls, or spying on those conducting personal business on their laptops or telephones.

2. Activating credit cards under someone else’s name – This extremely common identity theft scheme involves retrieving discarded pre-approval credit card letters and opening up accounts under the victim’s name. This often takes place when individuals do not shred or tear up such approval letters after receiving them in the mail. Thieves dig up these letters from residential and commercial trash and also intercept mail, sending it to a different address, or sometimes even steal it directly from accessible mailboxes.

3. Internet and email phishing – Another illegal activity that is considered an identity theft crime is phishing, which is used to gather or access personal identification information via fraudulent emails. Criminals often send emails asking for personal information under the guise of a sales scheme or suggesting that an individual has been locked out of their account or needs to update a password of some sort. This prompts the unsuspecting victim to provide their personal data, which is in turn used to conduct fraudulent financial activity.

Apart from these common identity theft schemes, the FBI reports other tactics that prove to be just as harmful to someone’s credit and financial standing. One such tactic is the “smash and grab” burglary, which involves stealing hard copies of peoples’ driver’s licenses, credit cards, and checkbooks.

Where to Turn if You Are Accused

Identify theft crimes are constantly evolving as our technology changes over time. No matter what kind of fraud you may be involved in, if the activity involves using someone else’s information to acquire funds, such crime is taken very seriously under federal law. If you are currently under investigation for any form of identity theft, you need to speak with a knowledgeable Chicago federal criminal lawyer right away to ensure you are informed of your rights and properly represented in a court of law.  Call the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel today at 312-629-0669 for a one-on-one consultation.



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