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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

In short, immigration marriage fraud is when a citizen and a non-citizen enter into a “sham marriage” strictly for the purpose of gaining some type of legal benefit relating to immigration status. Because this type of immigration fraud is common, marriages between a U.S. citizen and an immigrant who is facing challenges due to their legal status may fall under scrutiny. Immigration fraud is a serious crime and carries severe penalties for both parties - including deportation for the immigrant. If you are being investigated for immigration fraud related to your marriage, always contact a qualified attorney as soon as you can. 

What is a Sham Marriage? 

A sham marriage is one that was entered into for the sole purpose of allowing an immigrant to obtain lawful permanent residence in the U.S. It may be referred to as a “green-card marriage.” If the married couple actually intended to form a real marital relationship and build a life together, then it is not a sham marriage. Even if a couple was partially motivated by immigration benefits, the marriage can still be legitimate as long as immigration concerns were not the only reason the couple married. It can be very difficult for government officials to tell the difference between a legitimate marriage that was entered into in good faith and a sham marriage that was entered into for the purpose of committing immigration fraud. 

How Does the Government Decide Whether a Marriage is Legitimate? 

Marriages generally come under suspicion as soon as the immigrant spouse applies for permanent legal residence based on the marriage. If you and your spouse are suspected of immigration marriage fraud, the process you will go through can be invasive and nerve-wracking. The government will examine your life together to try to determine whether you are living in a genuine marriage relationship. They may consider whether you: 

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chicago credit card fraud lawyerIf you are convicted of or plead guilty to a federal charge of card fraud, the penalties can be quite severe. Sentencing for credit card fraud at the federal level can include prison time, fines, restitution orders, and forfeiture of assets. If you find yourself charged with federal credit card fraud, both your freedom and your financial future are at great risk. It is critical that you contact an experienced Credit Card Fraud Attorney as soon as possible to minimize your risks. 

What Legal Penalties Could I Face for Federal Credit Card Fraud? 

  • Prison - Credit card fraud at the federal level is punishable by up to ten years in prison. 

  • Fines - You could be fined up to $10,000, not including the cost of restitution. 

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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

Illinois federal gun crime defense attorneyIn response to a sharp increase in gun deaths across the country, the Department of Justice this week launched a multi-jurisdiction strike force to target illegal gun traffickers. Officials hope cutting off the supply of illegal weapons will result in fewer gun deaths.

With 19,410 victims killed in 2020, last year saw about a 20 percent increase in gun-related murders, according to the Gun Violence Archives, an organization that tracks gun violence across the country. Almost seven months into the year, 2021 has already seen 11,635 people die from gun violence.

The Justice Department said the strike force is part of a larger comprehensive strategy introduced by the attorney general and president earlier this year. For the strike force, the feds will work with local and state officials, and while the entire country is fair game, they will primarily focus on regional areas like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Bay area, and the District of Columbia.

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Illinois federal criminal defense attorneyThe U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois indicted a Chicago man for allegedly producing child pornography earlier this month. According to the news release, the man allegedly persuaded several minors to engage in sexual activities and then secretly recorded it. When federal agents searched his home, they found a plethora of explicit material of a similar nature on hard drives, a cell phone, and a computer. Given the severity of the alleged child sex crimes, the man could face serious prison time.

Federal Child Pornography Laws

According to federal law, there are about half a dozen statutes covering child pornography, but they can be categorized into four groups: producing child pornography; buying and selling it; possessing, distributing, and receiving it; and producing sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the U.S.

The Justice Department considers child pornography to be any visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. This does not necessarily mean the child is engaging in sex, but rather the child is “sufficiently sexually suggestive.” The activities described in these statutes are considered criminal offenses regardless of whether the minor was willing to pose or participate.

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Illinois federal crime defense attorneyEarlier this month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed charges against a Chicago man for trafficking cocaine and transferring a loaded submachine gun. While it is fairly common to hear about drug and gun charges being filed together, machine gun charges are actually kind of rare. In fact, only about 7 percent of the more than 65,000 federal gun charges filed between 2008 and 2017 involved a machine gun.

A History of U.S. Machine Gun Laws

One partial explanation for the small number of machine-gun charges is that the federal government started cracking down on machine gun ownership following the Prohibition Era. In 1934, Congress passed the National Firearms Act, which requires anyone who buys an automatic weapon, short-barreled rifle or shotgun, or silencer to register the item, pay a $200 tax, and complete a number of other bureaucratic steps.

A half-century later, after a number of high-profile assassinations, Congress passed the Gun Control Act of 1968, and then updated it in the 1980s amid an uptick in crime. The latter limited machine gun transfers by essentially prohibiting the production of machine guns after 1986.

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