Street Gangs and Financial Fraud

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Cook County defense lawyerMost of us associate violence, drugs, and weapons with gangs in America, but law enforcement agencies across the country report a surprising new activity gang members have taken up: financial fraud. Authorities say major gangs are increasingly getting involved in financial crimes like check fraud and identify theft, largely due to the fact that the payout is much higher than typical gang related activity. Additionally, financial fraud is more difficult for law enforcement agencies to detect, and officials say large sums of money are on the line.

Less Risk, More Reward

Officials say they were caught off guard by the recent number of gang related financial crimes, but are not surprised by the growing trend. Financial crimes are harder for authorities to detect, and often carry softer prison sentences compared to the activities gangs are typically associated with, such as gun violence and theft. Most importantly, however, is the large amount of money gangs across the country are reaping in. While no official report has been released detailing just how much money is at stake, recent attempts by gang members have been ambitious.

Just last summer, a members of the Outlaw Gangsta Crips in Brooklyn were caught using fake checks to withdraw money from popular banks like Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase. Authorities say the gang brought in over $500,000 before being caught. In another recent case, California authorities thwarted members of the Long Beach Crip gang from stealing $14.3 million through tax-fraud and identity-theft.

Gangs have increasingly turned to white collar crimes over the past few years, and officers across the country are being trained to monitor gangs for more than their typical activities. “We think of gang members being knuckleheads, but these guys are using a sophisticated thought process and getting involved in stuff that requires technology and an understanding of the banking system,” says one California detective. In New York, authorities say gang members are found with forged credit cards so frequently, they have come to call them “the new drug.” This new trend is challenging for agencies across the country, many of whom have different groups assigned to handling financial crime and gang activity.

Along with credit card fraud and identity theft, officials say they are seeing more check fraud from gang members as well. New York authorities caught members of the SNOW gang who would steal checks from mailboxes and rewrite them, allowing their conspirators to cash the checks themselves. The SNOW members alone cashed nearly $35,000 in fake checks, and authorities say the problem will likely continue to grow across the country. For now, agencies are doing their best to educate agents to identify these types of activities and help prevent them from harming innocent citizens.

Facing Charges? You Need Help

If you are facing charges related to a white-collar crime such as bank fraud, you need the help of a qualified Chicago area criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney represents clients facing these types of serious legal charges, and has successfully helped many clients avoid major prison sentences and other harsh penalties. Serious charges require strong representation, so do not wait to seek help. Call 312-270-0999 today to schedule your free consultation with us to learn more.

 

Source:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/more-street-gangs-turn-to-financial-crimes-1457379074

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