b2ap3_thumbnail_chicago-immigration-fraud-lawyer.jpgIllegal immigration continues to be a controversial topic in the United States. Many people seek residency and citizenship in the United States and ensuring that people come to the U.S. legally is a top priority for many government agencies. Accusations of immigration fraud often lead to federal criminal charges punishable by harsh penalties. Both immigrants and U.S. citizens can find themselves facing immigration fraud charges.

If you or a loved one were accused of marrying someone solely for the purposes of getting them a visa, identity fraud, or another type of immigration fraud, contact a federal criminal defense attorney immediately. Do not talk to the police until your attorney is present.

Marriage Immigration Fraud

One of the most common types of immigration fraud is marriage immigration fraud. In the internet age, people across the globe from each other can meet online and fall in love without ever meeting face to face. However, some people in this situation find themselves accused of immigration fraud.


b2ap3_thumbnail_chicago-federal-crimes-lawyer_20220531-142824_1.jpgIf you find yourself charged with a federal crime, you might be wondering how your charge compares to a similar charge at the state level. There is some bad news - federal charges are typically a much more serious matter than state-level charges. Federal charges often lead to harsher sentencing, and you are less likely to receive a favorable plea bargain. This is partly because federal judges and prosecutors have less discretion than prosecutors and judges at the state level. If your offense carries a lot of prison time, you will probably serve quite a bit of it should you be convicted or plead guilty. White-collar offenders can expect no special treatment in federal courts, regardless of their position in society prior to the charge. If you are facing federal charges, it is important that you immediately retain a skilled federal criminal defense attorney. Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney has over 20 years of criminal defense experience at the federal level. 

Why Are Federal Charges More Serious Than State Charges?

There are a number of reasons that you should be more concerned about federal charges than state charges. For many white-collar offenders, a federal prosecution is their first interaction with the criminal justice system. A few things you should know about your federal charges include: 

  • Less discretion - At the state level, prosecutors have significant discretion in negotiating plea bargains. It is common for more serious offenses to be reduced or eliminated in the interest of avoiding a trial. State judges also have significant discretion in sentencing. Unless an offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence, there is a chance that a state judge will use alternative sentencing, like probation or house arrest. Federal judges, however, are bound by strict sentencing guidelines so you are less likely to avoid prison time. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_chicago-federal-defense-lawyer.jpgOpioid addiction is a national epidemic. It spans the entire country, and Chicago is no exception. Individuals who are caught trafficking illegally obtained prescription drugs may be subject to state or federal prosecution. Doctors who distribute narcotics outside the scope of their normal, reasonable medical practice may be subject to prosecution for federal drug crimes as well. It is a federal felony to knowingly and intentionally hand out opioid prescriptions when it is not for a legitimate medical purpose. While a large number of known “pill mills” were taken down years ago when the opioid epidemic first became a known problem, there are still doctors who attempt to discreetly continue prescribing opioids to individuals they know are likely to resell or abuse them. 

That said, it can be difficult for federal investigators to fully determine whether or not a prescription for narcotics is based on a patient’s genuine need for relief from legitimate pain. If you are a doctor and believe that you may be under scrutiny for prescribing narcotics, it is important that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. 

What “Red Flags” Can Make the DEA Suspicious of a Doctor Who Prescribes Narcotics?

When a doctor routinely prescribes opioid pain medicine, there are certain signs that may invite suspicion from the DEA. However, it can be difficult for someone who is not a doctor to determine whether a certain patient or group of patients legitimately needs these medications. The presence of one or more signs could lead to an investigation, during which you will absolutely want to be represented by an attorney. Signs that may make the DEA suspect prescription drug fraud include: 


b2ap3_thumbnail_illinois-federal-criminal-lawyer.jpgWhen you are convicted of a federal crime, the next step is sentencing. In sentencing, the judge will decide what the appropriate legal punishment for your offense is. This may include fines, jail time, or a term of probation. You may think that once the sentence imposed by the court is over with, you will be free to move on with your life as it was before. Unfortunately, a return to normalcy is unlikely for most defendants due to what is known as “collateral consequences.” Collateral consequences are any consequences of a conviction not imposed by the court. They are very real and may change the course of your life forever. In some cases, you may experience collateral consequences even if you are not convicted. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney may give you the best odds of avoiding or minimizing collateral consequences. 

4 Collateral Consequences of a Federal Conviction You Could Face

In a more ideal justice system, serving your sentence would be the end of the matter after a conviction. In reality, it almost never works out that way. The more things have been going well for you, the more you stand to lose. Collateral consequences may include: 

  • Job loss - Companies routinely fire employees who have been convicted of a crime. You may lose any professional licenses you hold. It can be exceptionally difficult for felons to find a job that is anything close to what they had before their conviction. 
  • Social problems - You may find that people you considered friends are no longer interested in associating with you. Your neighbors may make you feel unwelcome. You may become a target for gossip or even harassment, depending on the nature of your offense. 



Working from home and online jobs are more popular than ever. Unfortunately, many scammers are taking advantage of this situation by offering seemingly legitimate jobs that are actually money laundering schemes. The FBI and BBB have warned of these scams and explained to job-seekers that getting caught up in these scams can even lead to federal charges.

Moving Money or Packages for a Third Party May Lead to Money Laundering Changes

Many people are looking for jobs they can complete from the comfort of their own home or car. Unfortunately, not all job listings are from legitimate employers. One common scam involves inspecting and delivering packages. The individual is asked to receive packages and then re-label the packages and ship them elsewhere. What the package inspector may not know is that the packages were purchased using stolen credit card information and they are simply a middleman in an illegal scheme. Anyone participating in a scam like this could face criminal charges for money laundering or conspiracy.

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