b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_506693812.jpgEver since the internet became commonplace, a surprising amount of crime has moved online. Many people erroneously feel that it is “safer” to engage in criminal activity from the comfort of their own computer chair. Some federal crimes, like child pornography and certain types of fraud, are now almost exclusively committed over the internet. However, since the pandemic began and more people were kept home, new and different types of federal crimes have found space in the virtual sphere. 

The FBI is now making a push to crack down on cybercrime. If you were caught in a recent bust of some type or found yourself under arrest over an online activity, you must take steps to protect yourself immediately. Contacting a skilled federal crimes attorney is a good start. 

Which Federal Crimes Are Now Committed Over the Internet?

Many people accused of internet-based crimes are surprised to learn that they are being charged federally instead of at the state level. The reason for this is that when you use the internet to do something illegal, you are almost certainly “touching” another state or interstate commerce in some way. This can push you into federal jurisdiction and up the seriousness of your situation tenfold. 


Posted by on in Federal Crimes

chicago federal crimes defense lawyerFor many people accused of a federal crime, their most pressing and immediate fear is of going to prison. The reality is that most people convicted of a federal crime will serve some length of incarceration. Unlike state courts, federal courts are less likely to hand down a sentence of probation and more likely to send convicted people to a corrections facility. Generally, probation for a federal crime will only be available to those convicted of very low-level offenses and with minimal to no criminal history. If you have been charged with a federal crime, you will need an aggressive criminal defense attorney who can try to argue that a harsh prison sentence is not warranted. 

When is Probation Possible for a Federal Offense? 

Generally, when the statutory sentence for a given offense is six months incarcerated or less, a federal court may have the option of sentencing a defendant to probation without serving any time locked up. For offenses that carry sentences of more than six months, but less than a year, a mixed sentence of probation and incarceration can be ordered. Anything longer, and you are very likely to serve time in prison. 

Your criminal history is also a factor here. For those with no criminal history, judges may be more likely to consider probation where it is possible. First-time defendants typically have quite an advantage here. However, a very minor record, especially if it has been a long time since your last conviction, is not necessarily a complete disqualifier. Your attorney may still be able to make a case that probation is the appropriate sentence based on all the surrounding circumstances of your alleged crime. 


Posted by on in Federal Crimes

chicago criminal defense lawyerLast year, many Americans were unable to travel to spend time with loved ones in other states. Travel restrictions made it quite difficult for most people to make their customary holiday trip home to visit family outside of Illinois. This year, more people are expected to travel between states for the winter holidays. However, both flying and crossing state lines are activities that could put you within federal jurisdiction should you be accused of a crime while traveling. 

Facing federal charges of any kind can ruin your holiday celebrations, often for many years to come if you are convicted. If something like this has happened to you, it is important that you quickly get in contact with a skilled defense attorney to maximize your chances of avoiding harsh penalties. 

What Federal Crimes Might Be Committed During Holiday Travel?

Holiday travel can be stressful in the best circumstances. Getting arrested by federal agents during your holiday trip far from home is a different level of stress. Common federal crimes holiday travelers are charged with include: 


Posted by on in Federal Crimes

chicago criminal defense lawyerGenerally speaking, a “money mule” is a person who helps criminals launder the proceeds of their criminal enterprise so that it appears legitimate. Some money mules know exactly what they are doing - these individuals are aware of the true source of the money they handle and are intentionally participating in a money-laundering scheme. However, some money mules are innocent actors who have no idea that they are being used to further a criminal enterprise. 

Some, unfortunately, do not discover the truth until they have been arrested and charged. If you have faced one of these unwelcome wake-up calls from the federal government, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Demonstrating your lack of knowledge could prove difficult. 

What Does a Money Mule Do? 

A money mule is a type of money launderer, whether they know it or not. The proceeds of illegal activity, like drug trafficking or bank fraud, are funneled through a money mule, who then returns most of the funds to the criminals in a way that makes it appear as if they came from a legitimate source. The mule takes on a significant risk of being charged with a federal crime. 


Posted by on in Federal Crimes

chicago internet crimes defense lawyerCopyright violations are usually thought of as strictly a civil matter. Most people and businesses expect that if they use a copyrighted work without permission, they are likely to be sued and will probably have to pay the copyright owner civil damages. Copyright violations can be a federal crime, however. These intellectual property thefts are often a type of internet crime in modern times. Some people do not learn that copyright violations can be a criminal offense until they are being arrested for it. If this has happened to you, you will need an aggressive defense attorney to begin building your best defense as soon as possible. 

When is a Copyright Violation a Federal Crime?

It is true that copyright violations are usually handled in civil court. Not every case of intellectual property theft attracts the attention of the government. However, these prosecutions can and do occur. Copyright violations are a type of intellectual property theft. Under federal law, using, copying, or distributing a copyrighted work without the owner’s permission is a crime if it is done on purpose and for financial gain. 

The retail value of the unlawfully copied work must reach $1,000 before misdemeanor charges apply, so there is some leeway for very minor incidents. A felony may be charged if the value exceeds $2,500. Copyright violations that do not elicit any profit and were not intended to elicit any profit fall outside the purview of the statute. Copying or distributing a protected work is not a crime unless it was done for profit. This includes direct financial gain, such as by selling illegal copies of a movie, but it also includes more indirect gain, such as using stolen intellectual property like a computer program to gain a business advantage. Many prosecutions involve virtual intellectual property like video game designs or computer code stolen by competing companies. 

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