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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerWhite collar crimes are non-violent offenses that are typically committed for financial gain. Embezzlement, securities fraud, money laundering, and insider trading are all common examples of white-collar crimes. The FBI aggressively investigates these crimes and federal prosecutors are always very eager to secure a conviction in these cases. Although white collar crimes do not involve violence, convictions still carry high fines and lengthy terms in federal prison.

Anyone charged with a white collar crime must work with a federal criminal defense attorney that understands the defenses for these crimes and how to use them effectively. If you are facing charges, below are the most common defenses used in these cases.

Finding Weaknesses in the Prosecution’s Case


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?


Posted by on in Identity Theft
Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerA recent story involving a U.S. astronaut has made headlines around the country. The astronaut, who spent six months onboard the International Space Station, has returned home, but the headlines may not be what she expected. Instead of being touted for her work, she is instead under scrutiny for a possible identity theft crime. While on board the ISS, she used a computer to look into her ex-wife’s bank account. She claims she was only trying to ensure there was enough money to care for their son, but she could face charges of identity theft. The astronaut in question is likely shocked to come home to this story, as most people are when they are accused of identity theft. However, there is hope. There are many common defenses federal criminal defense attorneys use in identity theft cases, and they are found below. Authorized Use When a person has given another person to use their identity, the person that uses it cannot be found guilty of identity theft. This is true even if the person stole money or something of value while assuming the identity. This sounds like an unreal situation, but it is more common than one would think. For example, a mother gives her son her bank card to go buy some groceries. While at the store, he purchases items his mom did not give permission for. While he should not have bought those items, he cannot be charged with identity theft because he was given permission to use the bank card. Lack of a Crime Simply stealing another person’s identity is not necessarily a crime, although in certain circumstances, such as hacking, it could constitute one. However, in many cases simply obtaining someone’s personal information is not a crime if nothing is done with that information. For example, if a credit card is mailed to the wrong house and a person at that address opens it, they have obtained a person’s credit card information. They can only be charged with a crime, though, if they use that credit card. If they cut it up and throw it out, or even keep it but never use it, they have not committed a crime. Lack of Intent Like so many crimes, identity theft cases often hinge on intent. Without intent, there is no crime. For example, two sales agents share the same first and last name. An administrative error allows one agent access to the other’s business account. Without realizing it, they use the funds in the account. They cannot be charged with an identity theft crime because they did not have the intent to take money from the account that was not rightfully theirs. Need a Good Defense? Call Our Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Facing charges of identity theft is always shocking, even when the alleged act was not performed in space. If you have been charged with a crime, you need the help of our experienced Chicago federal criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, we will work hard to prepare the defense you need and give you the best chance of a possible outcome in court. Call us today at 312-629-0669 for your free consultation to learn how we can help.


Posted by on in Fraud

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerMaybe you picked up some designer bags from a street vendor that you knew were not really designer. Or, maybe someone was selling a watch you knew was not actually a Rolex. Sometimes the temptation is too great. These counterfeit products look very similar to the real thing, and they come at such an affordable price. However, if you buy them, are you breaking federal law?

Defining Counterfeit Goods

Legally speaking, counterfeit goods are products that are of inferior quality and sold under another company’s trademark. Trademarks are typically the logos company use and attach to their products to identify it as being from a certain brand. The purpose of a trademark is to protect a company’s reputation and make it easier for customers to distinguish one brand from another in the marketplace.


Posted by on in White Collar Crime

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerIt was in late March that Michael Avenatti, the attorney that became famous while representing Stormy Daniels, was arrested on multiple charges, including extortion.  Extortion becomes a federal crime when certain factors are involved, such as the use of mail or computer communication to extort someone, or when the victim of the crime is a federal employee or public official.

There are many different types of extortion covered under the United States Code, and each carries its own penalties. When a person is facing charges of extortion, it is important they speak to a federal criminal defense attorney that can help them retain their freedom.

What Is Extortion?

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