Recent Blog Posts

Money Laundering Carries Stiff Penalties

 Posted on November 22, 2022 in Federal Crimes

Chicago money laundering defense lawyerA suburban Chicago man who was convicted of laundering illegal narcotics proceeds was sentenced to seven years in federal prison. The man schemed to receive about $1.5 million in narcotics proceeds and send money back to traffickers in Mexico.

Federal criminal cases such as these call attention to how easily money laundering charges can arise in connection to all kinds of illicit activity, so many people can quickly find themselves accused of these offenses. In addition to the 20 years in prison, an alleged money laundering offender can also be ordered to pay a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in a transaction for money laundering.

Possible Money Laundering Defenses

When you are facing federal money laundering charges, you are going to need to invest in a criminal defense attorney who will know how to best develop a defense that can help create reasonable doubt in the mind of a juror. In many cases, alleged offenders may be able to argue that the money involved in their transaction was not obtained from any illegal activity and the episode did not involve any unlawful conduct.

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Federal Drug Crimes Remain Common in Chicago

 Posted on November 14, 2022 in Federal Crimes

Chicago federal drug crime attorneyThe United States Department of Justice and various United States Attorney’s Offices throughout the Illinois area were very busy in October detailing multiple stories of major drug charges in and around Chicago. On October 20, the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois announced 10 people were charged with federal drug conspiracy for allegedly conspiring to distribute at least 35 kilograms of fentanyl-laced heroin and crack cocaine on the West Side of Chicago.

The day before that, the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Wisconsin announced that a Chicago man was charged with drug offenses involving heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine that were punishable by several decades up to life in prison. Lest anyone think they can just run away from federal drug charges, the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois announced on October 14 that a 53-year-old man was arrested in Panama City on a flight from Colombia after failing to appear in federal court in Chicago before his 2009 drug trial.

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Federal Fraud Charges Carry Serious Penalties

 Posted on November 03, 2022 in Federal Crimes

Chicago federal fraud defense lawyerLate last month, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that a 33-count indictment showed that seven Chicago-area residents engaged in fraud related to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) and allegedly fraudulently obtained at least $16 million in small business loans and grants under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. Each wire fraud and money laundering charge is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.

Just two days before that, a United States District Court Chief Judge imposed a 21-month sentence on a 28-year-old Merrillville man for stealing money from customers’ accounts. He pleaded guilty to white collar federal criminal charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.

Possible Consequences of Federal Fraud Crimes

The federal government pursues a great many kinds of fraud cases, and fraud can involve many different aspects of everyday life. The United States Attorneys' Office will aggressively pursue convictions in these types of cases and all alleged offenders will need to invest in having experienced legal representation capable of providing a solid defense against the charges in court.

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What You Should Know About Federal Hate Crimes

 Posted on October 27, 2022 in Hate Crime Statute

chicago federal criminal defense lawyerIn May of this year, ten people were killed, and three others were injured when a 19-year-old man opened fire at a grocery store in downtown Buffalo, New York. All of the victims were Black, and officials say the evidence indicates that the shooting was racially motivated.  As a result, when a federal grand jury indicted the young man in July, the charges included 14 counts of federal hate crimes. The alleged shooter could face the death penalty if convicted.

Federal hate crime law prohibits certain crimes motivated by bias against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity. This means that if you commit a crime against someone because of their protected status, you could be charged with a hate crime in addition to the underlying offense.

What Is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is a traditional criminal offense like murder, robbery, or vandalism that is motivated by bias against a protected group. The term "hate crime" is often used interchangeably with "bias-motivated crime."

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Your Right to Remain Silent: A Brief Overview

 Posted on October 24, 2022 in Federal Crimes

chicago federal criminal defense lawyerIn the United States, every person who is charged with a crime—including a federal crime—has the right to remain silent. This right is enshrined in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects individuals from self-incrimination. "Self-incrimination" means saying something that could be used as evidence against you in a criminal trial.

The right to remain silent is a fundamental constitutional right that has been recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States for over 150 years. It is important to understand that the right to remain silent is not absolute; there are circumstances where an individual may be required to provide information to law enforcement. However, if you are ever questioned by law enforcement, you should always exercise your right to remain silent and speak to an attorney before answering any questions.

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Understanding the Details That Make a Crime a Federal Offense

 Posted on October 14, 2022 in Federal Crimes

chicago federal criminal offenseOne of the most common questions we get asked at our criminal defense law firm is "What makes a crime a federal offense?" It is a good question, and one that deserves a thorough answer. In short, there are three primary factors that determine whether or not a crime is considered a federal offense: the subject matter of the crime, the location in which the crime took place, and the laws that were violated. Let's take a closer look at each of these factors.

Subject Matter or Substance of the Alleged Crime

The first factor to consider is the subject matter of the crime. Some crimes, by their very nature, are automatically considered federal offenses. These crimes include but are not limited to drug trafficking, money laundering, and terrorism. Other crimes can become federal offenses if they involve some sort of interstate activity (i.e., activity that takes place between two or more states). Interstate activity can be anything from using the mail to transport illegal drugs across state lines to committing fraud against a bank that has branches in multiple states.

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Some Examples of Federal White-Collar Crimes

 Posted on October 07, 2022 in White Collar Crime

chicago white collar criminal defense lawyerWhite-collar crimes are non-violent offenses that are often prosecuted against business professionals. These crimes are typically motivated by gain and are characterized by deception or concealment. A goal of a white-collar crime is benefiting in regard to money, property, or services. In these cases, a prosecutor will typically rely on paper trails and digital history rather than physical evidence such as DNA. 

Understanding White-Collar Crime

The term white collar crime began to be used around 1939 and is a broad term for a variety of offenses. Since there are many violations that are considered white collar crimes, the consequences can vary. Possible penalties include fines, probation, community service, and imprisonment. 

Getting charged with a white-collar crime can ruin your reputation, business, and lifestyle, and it is important to understand the nature of the charges and the best way to respond to them. Some violations that are considered white collar crimes include:

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Could I Face Federal Charges for Using Someone Else’s Credit Card?

 Posted on September 27, 2022 in Fraud

chicago fraud defense lawyerIn today’s digitally connected world, we tend to use credit and debit cards to pay for just about everything. Most of us do not think twice before pulling out a card to pay for nearly any size purchase or typing in our card info to buy something online. But what could happen if you use someone else’s card to make a purchase or pay a bill? The answer depends on many different variables, but you could potentially face federal charges for credit card fraud.

A Changing World

When customer-facing credit card processing pads were first installed at retail establishments, cashiers were generally trained to verify that the person swiping the card was, in fact, authorized to do so. In practice, this process was little more than a cursory glance to compare the customer’s signature to the signature on the back of the card, but some cashiers would ask for identification from the customer. Some customers might not have been thrilled with the minor delay, but the purpose of the verification was to prevent fraud.

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Two Chicago-Area Men Convicted in Federal Drug Investigation

 Posted on September 19, 2022 in Federal Crimes

chicago criminal defense lawyerWhen you think of “getting busted” for the possession or distribution of drugs, you might think of a local police officer happening to stumble upon a “drug buy” and arresting the parties involved. Or maybe, the cops were called to an area where a loud party was disturbing neighbors, and the police found several people in possession of illegal drugs.

While these scenarios can and do occur, other arrests and subsequent prosecutions are the results of lengthy investigations by state and federal law enforcement agencies. In such cases, it is not unusual for those arrested to face many years behind bars if they are convicted. Last month, two Chicago area men learned this lesson the hard way when they were convicted for their roles in bringing illegal drugs to Chicago from Mexico.

Disrupting the Drug Pipeline

According to court documents and information released by the U.S. Department of Justice, two men from suburban Chicago were found guilty of federal drug conspiracy charges last month after a week-long trial in federal court in Chicago. Each man now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in federal prison with a maximum of life in prison. One of the men was also convicted on a federal drug possession charge, making his mandatory minimum sentence 15 years with a maximum of life in prison.

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Update: Federal Charges Filed Against an Illinois Businessman for Wire Fraud

 Posted on September 13, 2022 in Federal Crimes

Illinois federal criminal defense attorney

Originally Published: November 17,2020 ------ Updated: September 13, 2022

Defendant Pleads Guilty to Two Federal Crimes

In November 2020, we told you about a Chicago-area businessman who was facing federal charges of wire fraud and money laundering in connection with an alleged scam. According to federal prosecutors, the man’s scheme involved offering personal protective equipment (PPE) for sale to hospitals and medical facilities. The offer coincided with the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and prosecutors believed that the man was trying to take advantage of the international crisis.

Prosecutors alleged that the man offered the PPE for sale but never delivered the products, including more than one million N95 masks, to the ordering facilities. When the hospitals followed up with the man and his Willowbrook-based company, at least one facility was allegedly told that the man had no record of receiving the payment. Federal officials say, however, that the man altered bank records to hide the receipt of the funds from his business partners and that he used the money, in part, on Italian sports cars and a Range Rover. All told, the man was accused of stealing or misdirecting more than $3 million.

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