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Hal Garfinkel is retained as the defendant's lawyer in the Chicago high profile murder case of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. Read more...
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Chicago IL federal criminal defense lawyerWhen you are charged with a federal criminal offense, you are likely to be very upset and confused. You might not know how you ended up being charged, and you probably have serious concerns about how the case will play out. These are all understandable feelings, but if left unchecked, they can lead to you taking the wrong type of action. You could find yourself doing things that might actually harm your case and make things worse for yourself. If you are facing federal charges, be aware of these common mistakes so that you can avoid them.

1. Careless Posting on Social Media

When a person is arrested on any criminal charges, he or she is given the Miranda warnings. These warnings remind a person of his or her right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. They also remind the suspect that anything he or she says can be used against him or her. It is critical to remember that this does not just apply to conversations or interrogations with the police. Anything you say at any time, including what you post on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform, could be used by prosecutors against you. The best advice is to stay away from social media entirely while your case is ongoing, but you should absolutely avoid posting anything related to the case or the alleged crime.

2. Giving Information to the Police

Many people are not aware that they are not required to talk with the police, especially before they are reminded of their rights. If you are detained or arrested by the police, you do not have to answer any questions about the case, and you certainly should not say anything that might cause you to appear guilty. Invoking your Fifth Amendment right does not make you look guilty. It simply demonstrates that you understand your rights and how they apply.

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Chicago federal crime defense lawyerIf you have ever watched crime shows on television, you are probably familiar with the term “money laundering.” While most people know that money laundering is illegal, many are not sure about what it actually means. Money laundering is a very serious offense that is prosecutable at both the state and federal level, and as a federal offense, it carries the possibility of severe criminal penalties.

Understanding Money Laundering

Money laundering, in general, refers to a process through which a person or group of people attempts to conceal the sources, control, or ownership of money that was generated from certain crimes. It is common for money to be “laundered” by moving it to and from separate accounts, including foreign accounts, or by concealing funds amidst the revenue of seemingly legitimate businesses.

Many different types of crimes could generate funds that a person or criminal enterprise would wish to launder, including but not limited to:

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Illinois federal criminal defense attorneyAccording to Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1343, a person commits the federal offense of wire fraud when he or she devises a scheme or plan that uses wire, radio, or television communication to obtain money or property under fraudulent or false pretenses. The crime of wire fraud is very similar to the offense of mail fraud, but instead of using the postal service, wire fraud uses electronic communication.

A person who is convicted on federal charges for wire fraud is subject to penalties that include up to 20 years in prison for each count. This is the sentence that a suburban Chicago businessman could face after being arrested last week and charged with wire fraud in federal court. The man’s alleged scheme involved the fraudulent sale of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the midst of the COVID-19 health crisis.

Business Formed at the Beginning of COVID Lockdown

Numerous news outlets are reporting that a 44-year-old man was arrested on November 9 for his alleged role in a scheme to defraud two hospitals of approximately $2.6 million. The man is the head of a biotechnology company formed in March in the village of Willowbrook, Illinois, just as nationwide lockdowns were being implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The company’s website states that it provides “medical supplies for both personal and professional use.”

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Chicago federal criminal defense lawyerCriminal offenses can be prosecuted at either the state or federal level depending on a number of factors, including the nature of the alleged crime, where the offense allegedly took place, and how the alleged crime was supposedly committed. Most crimes are handled by local police departments and county prosecutors, and the charges for such offenses are filed in the circuit court of the county in which they occurred. Circuit courts are part of the state court system.

Sometimes, however, an offense is charged as a federal crime. In such a case, the investigation is usually supervised by one or more federal agencies, and a United States Attorney files the charge in United States District Court. A federal offense is an extremely serious matter, and it is important to contact a qualified federal crimes defense attorney as soon you realize that federal charges are even remotely possible. The question, of course, is: How do you know when charges are becoming possible?

Federal Investigations Are Rarely Spontaneous

When a person is arrested for a state-level crime, he or she is often taken into custody by a local or municipal police officer on the scene. In the case of retail theft, for example, the officer may have been called by the manager of the store from which the person allegedly stole merchandise. Similarly, a drunk driving arrest is usually made subsequent to a traffic stop initiated by an officer who witnessed a person driving erratically. Local and city police departments do conduct focused investigations, but the bulk of their work involves responding to calls as they happen.

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ponziPonzi schemes have become famous after news was made of Dona Branca’s scheme, the “Double Shah” and of course, the original Charles Ponzi scheme. Still, even though Ponzi schemes often make the news, few people really understand what they are, and what is at stake if they are charged with running such a scheme. Learn more about Ponzi schemes below, what types of criminal charges are involved, and what to do if you are charged. What Is a Ponzi Scheme? Ponzi schemes are considered white-collar crimes that typically involve some type of fraud. They are not violent crimes, but they are not what some call ‘victimless’ either, because these schemes do defraud people out of their money. A Ponzi scheme will involve an investor that convinces people or groups of people to invest a large amount of money with them in the hopes of obtaining a large return on that investment. The money paid by these individuals is then distributed to others that have also been convinced to invest. The majority of the money collected from investors is kept by the person or group running the scheme. Usually, the scheme is discovered when an investor wants to cash out, but they do not receive any payments because no new investors have been brought into the scheme. Ponzi Schemes and Criminal Charges Due to the fact that Ponzi schemes typically include some type of fraud, a person may face several charges if they are suspected of running such a scheme. The most common of these include:
  • Mail fraud, if the government suspects a person used the postal office in an effort to further the scheme
  • Securities fraud, including violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1933, and the Investment Company Act of 1940
  • Securities and commodities fraud, which involves using promises to secure money for a commodity deliver occurring in the future
A number of federal agencies may investigate suspected Ponzi schemes, depending on the nature of the offense. It is important to understand the agencies that may investigate potential Ponzi scheme cases, so you can better understand if you are under investigation. The Federal Trade Commission will investigate any scheme that involves securities and commodities fraud, while the Securities and Exchange Commission will investigate any scheme that involves securities fraud. When a suspected scheme involves a significant financial crime, the Financial Fraud Task Force may also investigate. The Task Force is composed of 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices and 20 federal agencies that specialize in offenses involving fraud. Our Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Here to Help

Like all federal charges, the penalties for running a Ponzi scheme are harsh for those convicted. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, our skilled Chicago criminal defense lawyer can help. Attorney Garfinkel understands that federal prosecutors are sometimes overzealous when investigating these cases, and that innocent people are often charged. He also knows the best defenses and will use them effectively to give you the best chance of retaining your freedom. If you or a loved one has been charged, call us at 312-270-0999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Source:

https://www.justice.gov/archives/jm/criminal-resource-manual-940-18-usc-section-1341-elements-mail-fraud

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