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Posted by on in Fraud

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_567634105.jpg Credit card fraud can be a crime carried out on a large scale. Some criminal organizations work to steal information from hundreds or thousands of people at a time, often casting a wide net with some type of online scam. However, in other cases, credit card fraud can be charged based on a single incident of using a credit card you had physically in your possession, but without its owner’s permission. Regardless of the facts alleged, credit card fraud is an extremely serious charge that can lead to 10 years in federal prison if you are convicted. It is important that you speak with a qualified attorney as soon as you know you have been accused. 

What Actions Could Be Considered Credit Card Fraud?

Like many federal criminal statutes, credit card fraud laws cover an extremely wide range of conduct ranging from the decidedly malicious to the perhaps innocent. In some cases, the defendant and the alleged victim know each other. In others, the fraud was part of a larger pattern of crime. Types of credit card fraud include: 

  • Skimming - A device that records credit card information is surreptitiously placed in the credit card strip reader at a place of business, often a gas station. Victims use their cards as normal, and their information is collected by the fraudster. Using such a device generally shows a pretty clear intent to commit large-scale fraud. 

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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. 

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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: 

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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. 

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Posted by on in Sex Crimes

chicago criminal defense lawyerBeing convicted of a federal sex crime will impact the rest of your life. Zmerely being accused of a sex crime can set social consequences, like job loss, in motion well before you even have a chance to be tried fairly. For crimes of this nature, the consequences are much more extensive than a prison sentence or a fine, although both are likely. Having to register as a sex offender can affect every facet of your life, from where you can live to what line of work you can be in. 

If you have been accused of a federal sex offense, the sooner you call an experienced criminal defense attorney the better. There is more at stake here than in nearly any other type of prosecution, and you will need a strong legal defense team to protect your rights and future. 

What Will Happen if I am Convicted of a Federal Sex Crime? 

The penalties judicially imposed will vary depending on the crime charged and all the facts and circumstances surrounding it. The social and professional consequences cannot be predictably accounted for, but you can expect them to be harsh. Consequences of a federal sex crime conviction include: 

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