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Chicago federal criminal defense attorneyThe nation looked on in horror as a protest in the nation’s capital turned violent and destructive last week, leading to a number of injuries and widespread damage to one of America’s most iconic buildings. Thousands of protestors gathered in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC, on January 6 as lawmakers were assembled to certify the results of November’s presidential election. According to various news outlets, the protest turned destructive as hundreds of people managed to get past Capitol security and into the building itself.

In the days that followed, authorities announced the filing of federal charges against a number of the people who were allegedly involved. Among the first 13 arrested on federal charges was the CEO of a Chicago-area tech company who is now facing at least three federal charges for his alleged actions last week. Several dozen others were arrested and charged with unlawful entry and curfew violations in Washington, DC Superior Court.

Federal Charges Lead to Termination

According to various news outlets, an Inverness man was charged last week with three federal crimes, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. The 52-year-old was the chief executive officer of a small data technology company based in Schaumburg.

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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerRecently, a man in Birmingham pleaded guilty to tax evasion for failing to pay $1.3 million in taxes. John P. Cooney filed false returns in 2011 and the returns were for the three years prior. Cooney was accused of failing to pay $780,000 to the IRS and instead, created a fraudulent company that he then used to conceal his salary and returns from his investments. In addition to facing up to five years in prison, he is also now required to pay $1.3 million in penalties.

The story is an interesting one and a good reminder as Americans head into tax season. It is important everyone understands what tax evasion is, and the serious penalties associated with the offense.

What Is Tax Evasion?

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Posted by on in Murder
Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerThe news of Joaquin Guzman, better known as ‘El Chapo,’ starting his life sentence this week made news around the country, and around the globe. The sentence came after Guzman was found guilty of a number of crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder. While a jury found Guzman guilty and he was largely known as a very violent criminal, not everyone accused of conspiracy to commit murder actually committed the act. Fortunately for these individuals, there are defenses available. What Is Conspiracy to Commit Murder? The federal crime of conspiring to commit murder is covered under 18 U.S. Code Section 1117. Under this code, it is unlawful to conspire, or plan, to kill internationally protected persons, law enforcement or government officials, or any other person. It is important to understand that the act of murder does not have to happen in order for the prosecution to press conspiracy charges. The government must simply show that a person had plans to kill another person. If the murder did take place, a person will likely face both conspiracy charges and murder charges. In a conspiracy case, the prosecution must prove the intent of the defendant, which is very difficult to do. If a person is unaware they are part of a conspiracy, they cannot be convicted of a crime. However, a person also does not need to be made aware of all the elements of the crime, either. As long as they know they are part of a conspiracy, they can face charges. For those convicted, conspiracy to commit murder has very harsh penalties. There is no minimum sentence, and a person could spend the rest of their life in federal prison. Due to this, it is important any individual charged speak to a federal criminal defense attorney that can help. Defenses to Conspiracy to Commit Murder One of the most effective defenses in conspiracy to commit murder cases is abandonment or withdrawal. If the defendant can show that they communicated to their co-conspirators, in no uncertain terms, that they no longer wished to play a role in the conspired crime, this can be used as a defense. When using this argument, the defendant must also show that they took positive action to remove themselves from the conspiracy. They must also show they no longer communicate with their co-conspirators. This withdrawal must occur prior to the conspired act taking place. Like all criminal cases, mistaken identity can also be used as a defense in conspiracy to commit murder cases. Sometimes, law enforcement and the prosecution simply get it wrong. When they do, and they accuse the wrong person of conspiracy to commit murder, it can be used as a defense to conspiracy to commit murder. When law enforcement has persuaded someone to partake in conspiracy to commit murder, this is also a useful defense. To use it, the defendant must show they had no intention of committing a crime before communication with a law enforcement officer. They must also show the conspiracy was suggested by the officer first, and that the officer persuaded the defendant to conspire to commit the act. Charged with a Federal Crime? Call an Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Like all federal crimes, there are valid and effective defenses to the crime conspiracy to commit murder. However, no one should ever try to argue them on their own. A skilled Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer can give defendants their best chance of success in court. If you have been charged with a federal crime, call the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel at 312-629-0669 today for your free consultation. We are dedicated to helping those accused of crimes retain their freedom, and we want to help with your case, too.

Sources:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mexico-el-chapo-idUSKCN1UE2GA

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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerEmbezzlement is considered a white-collar crime. It occurs when one person entrusted with money or property on behalf of someone else misappropriates those assets for their own personal benefit. Many people think that embezzlement is automatically a federal crime. However, this is not true. There are both Illinois statutes pertaining to the crime of embezzlement, as well as federal statutes. The circumstances surrounding the crime will determine which charge is laid.

Federal Embezzlement Charges

Federal embezzlement charges are covered under Title 18 of the U.S. Criminal Code, Chapter 31. These charges are laid when the misappropriation of funds or property crosses state lines, as that falls under federal jurisdiction. In addition, if the embezzlement involved a federal agency such as the United States Postal Service, federal charges will also be laid.

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Posted by on in Fraud
Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerApproaching tax season, many taxpayers in Illinois and across the country are thinking about their tax return. It is a frustrating time, as some people may owe income taxes, but the Internal Revenue Code itself is extremely confusing. It is also changing all the time, making it even more difficult to keep up on all the different tax laws. Understanding these laws is crucial. The IRS may consider just one mistake on a tax return fraud, which could result in severe penalties for the taxpayer. Below are some of the most common mistakes misinterpreted as tax fraud. These are sometimes referred to as “accidental fraud.”

Incorrect or Incomplete Information

 Before filing an income tax return, it needs to be double-checked and then checked again. Even a mistake in basic information such as a social security number or address can result in a charge of tax fraud. Incomplete tax returns are easier to file than some may think. This is particularly true when someone is claiming a credit. Claiming credits often requires the taxpayer to fill out additional forms. When the credit is claimed but the respective form is not filled out, this makes the return incomplete. Most of these mistakes will not lead to charges of tax fraud. However, if additional mistakes are made or there are extenuating circumstances around the return, even these simple errors could result in criminal charges. Inaccurate Deductions It is difficult for taxpayers to understand what counts as a valid deduction and what does not. When deductions for a business are involved, it is even more challenging. Any deductions claimed are subtracted from a person’s overall income. The more claimed, the less a person may owe in income taxes. It is for this reason the IRS consider inaccurate deductions as tax fraud. They also understand it is difficult to know all possible deductions, which is why they have created a guideline of credits and deductions on their site. Even the simple mistake of claiming a lunch as a business lunch when it was not can result in a charge of tax fraud. This is why it is so important to also double check any deductions, and ensure they are accurate. Omitting Income All Americans are required to fill out their income tax return completely and honestly. This includes detailing all income earned the previous year. When the IRS suspects a person of not claiming all of their income, that person is likely to get audited. If the IRS finds unclaimed income, they can then press charges for tax evasion. This mistake is also an easy one to make. Even a small oversight such as leaving tips unclaimed can result in a tax evasion charge. Unlawful Tax Shelters A tax shelter is a financial agreement a person makes in order to pay fewer taxes. They are legal, however, there are tax shelters that operate illegally. This is often difficult for the taxpayer, as they may not even know a tax shelter is illegal until it is too late. However, the IRS can still hold them responsible for creating or using the shelter. Tax Return Preparer Fraud The tax laws in the country are very confusing, which is why so many taxpayers hire a knowledgeable professional to complete their tax returns for them. In most cases, tax preparers are scrupulously honest and careful with these returns. Sometimes though, a tax preparer may inflate a person’s income so that they get paid more. Like unlawful tax shelters, a taxpayer that made the mistake of hiring the tax preparer may have no idea they are dishonest until it is too late. Contact a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney for Help Today

Facing tax fraud charges, like facing charges of any federal crime, is very scary. It is extremely challenging for those that thought they were simply following the law by filing their tax returns on time. However, charges do not have to lead to a conviction. A dedicated Chicago tax fraud lawyer can help. If you have been charged with tax fraud, contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel at 312-629-0669 for a free consultation. We know the tax laws, and we know how easy it is to make a simple mistake. Do not go up against the IRS alone. Get the help you need by contacting us today.

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