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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

Chicago money laundering defense lawyerA suburban Chicago man who was convicted of laundering illegal narcotics proceeds was sentenced to seven years in federal prison. The man schemed to receive about $1.5 million in narcotics proceeds and send money back to traffickers in Mexico.

Federal criminal cases such as these call attention to how easily money laundering charges can arise in connection to all kinds of illicit activity, so many people can quickly find themselves accused of these offenses. In addition to the 20 years in prison, an alleged money laundering offender can also be ordered to pay a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in a transaction for money laundering.

Possible Money Laundering Defenses

When you are facing federal money laundering charges, you are going to need to invest in a criminal defense attorney who will know how to best develop a defense that can help create reasonable doubt in the mind of a juror. In many cases, alleged offenders may be able to argue that the money involved in their transaction was not obtained from any illegal activity and the episode did not involve any unlawful conduct.

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Chicago federal drug crime attorneyThe United States Department of Justice and various United States Attorney’s Offices throughout the Illinois area were very busy in October detailing multiple stories of major drug charges in and around Chicago. On October 20, the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois announced 10 people were charged with federal drug conspiracy for allegedly conspiring to distribute at least 35 kilograms of fentanyl-laced heroin and crack cocaine on the West Side of Chicago.

The day before that, the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Wisconsin announced that a Chicago man was charged with drug offenses involving heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine that were punishable by several decades up to life in prison. Lest anyone think they can just run away from federal drug charges, the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois announced on October 14 that a 53-year-old man was arrested in Panama City on a flight from Colombia after failing to appear in federal court in Chicago before his 2009 drug trial.

Common Kinds of Federal Drug Charges

Many people who are facing any kind of drug charges wonder how their criminal cases will be handled when they are arrested while in possession of large amounts of drugs. Federal agencies are more likely to become involved in cases involving possible distribution to other states.

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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

Chicago federal fraud defense lawyerLate last month, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that a 33-count indictment showed that seven Chicago-area residents engaged in fraud related to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) and allegedly fraudulently obtained at least $16 million in small business loans and grants under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. Each wire fraud and money laundering charge is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.

Just two days before that, a United States District Court Chief Judge imposed a 21-month sentence on a 28-year-old Merrillville man for stealing money from customers’ accounts. He pleaded guilty to white collar federal criminal charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.

Possible Consequences of Federal Fraud Crimes

The federal government pursues a great many kinds of fraud cases, and fraud can involve many different aspects of everyday life. The United States Attorneys' Office will aggressively pursue convictions in these types of cases and all alleged offenders will need to invest in having experienced legal representation capable of providing a solid defense against the charges in court.

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chicago federal criminal defense lawyerIn the United States, every person who is charged with a crime—including a federal crime—has the right to remain silent. This right is enshrined in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects individuals from self-incrimination. "Self-incrimination" means saying something that could be used as evidence against you in a criminal trial.

The right to remain silent is a fundamental constitutional right that has been recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States for over 150 years. It is important to understand that the right to remain silent is not absolute; there are circumstances where an individual may be required to provide information to law enforcement. However, if you are ever questioned by law enforcement, you should always exercise your right to remain silent and speak to an attorney before answering any questions.

The Fifth Amendment and the Right to Remain Silent

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "No person ... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” This protection against self-incrimination is commonly known as the "right to remain silent."  It is a fundamental constitutional principle that has been reiterated by the Supreme Court of the United States on numerous occasions.

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chicago federal criminal offenseOne of the most common questions we get asked at our criminal defense law firm is "What makes a crime a federal offense?" It is a good question, and one that deserves a thorough answer. In short, there are three primary factors that determine whether or not a crime is considered a federal offense: the subject matter of the crime, the location in which the crime took place, and the laws that were violated. Let's take a closer look at each of these factors.

Subject Matter or Substance of the Alleged Crime

The first factor to consider is the subject matter of the crime. Some crimes, by their very nature, are automatically considered federal offenses. These crimes include but are not limited to drug trafficking, money laundering, and terrorism. Other crimes can become federal offenses if they involve some sort of interstate activity (i.e., activity that takes place between two or more states). Interstate activity can be anything from using the mail to transport illegal drugs across state lines to committing fraud against a bank that has branches in multiple states.

Where the Alleged Crime Was Committed

The second factor to consider is the location of the commission of the alleged crime. Generally speaking, crimes that take place on federal property, such as national parks or military installations, or that cross state lines are going to be considered federal offenses. It is important to understand that federal property can also include federal office buildings, courthouses, and post offices, regardless of where they are located. Additionally, certain crimes that take place on Native American reservations may also be prosecuted as federal offenses.

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