Posted by on in Federal Crimes

chicago federal crime lawyerYou may be wondering why you have been charged with a crime at the federal instead of state level, especially if you and any alleged victims are all in the same state, or you never left Illinois while allegedly committing a crime. There are a number of reasons that a crime may be federally prosecuted. Being charged with any federal crime is a very serious matter that puts both your freedom and, often, your financial well-being at grave risk. It is important to contact an experienced and well-qualified attorney as soon as you learn that you are facing federal charges. 

What Are Some Reasons a Crime Might be Prosecuted in Federal Court? 

For a crime to be charged at the federal level, it must affect some kind of national interest. Internet crimes like fraud and possession of child pornography are frequently prosecuted under federal law because they may impact interstate commerce or involve victims outside of Illinois. Here are some other reasons your charges may be treated as federal offenses: 

  • Location - If your alleged crime took place on federal property, it automatically becomes a federal offense. Federal property includes places like national parks, Medicaid offices, and military bases. 


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: 


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. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1481921432.jpgIs it a federal crime to open someone else’s mail? The short answer is “yes.” Opening or destroying mail that is addressed to someone else is a crime called “Obstruction of Correspondence.” It is a serious felony that could lead to prison time. It is remarkably easy to find yourself charged with this crime, even if you didn’t mean to do anything wrong. Maybe you got curious and opened a letter addressed to your roommate, or a letter meant for your neighbor landed in your mailbox and you ripped it open without looking. The good news is that an experienced federal crime attorney can help you, and depending on the circumstances, possibly even have your charges dismissed. If you find yourself charged with any federal mail crime, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. 

What if I Opened Someone’s Mail by Accident? 

If it was an accident, that does not fit the definition of Obstruction of Correspondence. Intent is an important element that the prosecution has to prove in order to get a conviction. It doesn’t count as a crime if you reasonably thought the mail you opened belonged to you. This commonly happens when mail arrives addressed to a previous tenant or someone else who no longer lives in your residence, like a former roommate. Sometimes mail is addressed incorrectly- perhaps the sender wrote the wrong apartment number on an envelope and your neighbor’s mail is delivered to you in error. In any case, you still need a qualified defense attorney to help you prove your lack of intent if you’ve been charged. 

What Should I Do if I Receive Mail Addressed to Another Person? 

It is a federal crime to destroy mail that isn’t yours. While it may be tempting to simply toss an envelope addressed to a previous tenant or someone else in the trash, do not do this. Absolutely do not open it. Even if your intentions are good, or you know the person the mail is addressed to, opening and reading another person’s mail is a felony. You have two legal options- either deliver the mail unopened to the correct addressee yourself or write something like “addressee does not live here” on the envelope and put it in your outgoing mail. Destroying it could carry serious penalties, including up to five years imprisonment or large fines. 


Posted by on in Identity Theft

IL defense lawyerA New York man was sentenced to 36 months in prison for computer fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to the Justice Department news release, he hacked into a college’s network, stole email account information, including passwords. He used that information to gain access to female students’ social media accounts, where he collected nude photos and videos. Then, he traded the private photos with others online.

In response, the college allocated money and resources to address the network breach and assess and repair the damage. Because of that, the court also ordered the man to pay more than $35,000 in restitution and fees to the college.

As far as internet and computer fraud goes, the incident sounds fairly basic, but it begs the question: what is aggravated identity theft?

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