Posted by on in Fraud

IL defense lawyerThe Justice Department recently indicted 10 men from the Chicago area on bank fraud charges. According to a press release issued by the department, the men allegedly deposited the counterfeit money orders, which were issued by the U.S. Postal Service, into bank accounts they had access to and then immediately withdrew the money. The indictments allege that the men committed fraud by altering the money orders, changing them from $10 to a higher sum, typically $800 or $1,000, and then depositing the fraudulent amounts. In all, the men allegedly defrauded more than $1 million from various banks.

For many, a couple of things might jump out in this case. First, the alleged crime was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Although you rarely hear about the Postal Inspectors, they are actually one of the oldest federal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. Like the FBI, they have the power to enforce a wide range of federal laws, but the crimes usually have to somehow involve the Postal Service.

The other part is the severity of the punishment. The defendants, in this case, are being accused of bank fraud and not a crime of violence, yet if they are convicted, each individual could face up to 30 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines. Now, you might be wondering: why is the punishment for bank fraud so harsh?


Posted by on in Federal Crimes

Illinois federal gun crime defense attorneyIn response to a sharp increase in gun deaths across the country, the Department of Justice this week launched a multi-jurisdiction strike force to target illegal gun traffickers. Officials hope cutting off the supply of illegal weapons will result in fewer gun deaths.

With 19,410 victims killed in 2020, last year saw about a 20 percent increase in gun-related murders, according to the Gun Violence Archives, an organization that tracks gun violence across the country. Almost seven months into the year, 2021 has already seen 11,635 people die from gun violence.

The Justice Department said the strike force is part of a larger comprehensive strategy introduced by the attorney general and president earlier this year. For the strike force, the feds will work with local and state officials, and while the entire country is fair game, they will primarily focus on regional areas like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Bay area, and the District of Columbia.


Illinois federal criminal defense attorneyThe U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois indicted a Chicago man for allegedly producing child pornography earlier this month. According to the news release, the man allegedly persuaded several minors to engage in sexual activities and then secretly recorded it. When federal agents searched his home, they found a plethora of explicit material of a similar nature on hard drives, a cell phone, and a computer. Given the severity of the alleged child sex crimes, the man could face serious prison time.

Federal Child Pornography Laws

According to federal law, there are about half a dozen statutes covering child pornography, but they can be categorized into four groups: producing child pornography; buying and selling it; possessing, distributing, and receiving it; and producing sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the U.S.

The Justice Department considers child pornography to be any visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. This does not necessarily mean the child is engaging in sex, but rather the child is “sufficiently sexually suggestive.” The activities described in these statutes are considered criminal offenses regardless of whether the minor was willing to pose or participate.


Illinois federal crime defense attorneyEarlier this month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed charges against a Chicago man for trafficking cocaine and transferring a loaded submachine gun. While it is fairly common to hear about drug and gun charges being filed together, machine gun charges are actually kind of rare. In fact, only about 7 percent of the more than 65,000 federal gun charges filed between 2008 and 2017 involved a machine gun.

A History of U.S. Machine Gun Laws

One partial explanation for the small number of machine-gun charges is that the federal government started cracking down on machine gun ownership following the Prohibition Era. In 1934, Congress passed the National Firearms Act, which requires anyone who buys an automatic weapon, short-barreled rifle or shotgun, or silencer to register the item, pay a $200 tax, and complete a number of other bureaucratic steps.

A half-century later, after a number of high-profile assassinations, Congress passed the Gun Control Act of 1968, and then updated it in the 1980s amid an uptick in crime. The latter limited machine gun transfers by essentially prohibiting the production of machine guns after 1986.


Illinois federal criminal defense attorneyDuring the social unrest in the summer of 2020, gun stores were a popular target for burglars and looters. In most cases, thieves arrived in groups, gained entrance by smashing through the storefront, and proceeded to ransack the store. Using that method, they could often steal dozens of firearms in a short amount of time.

Most gun stores have alarm systems and surveillance cameras, and they are required by federal law to keep detailed records of their inventory. Before any of that, though, gun stores need a federal firearms license (FFL) in order to operate, which puts them in federal jurisdiction.

Gun thefts from a store with an FFL are primarily investigated by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Suspects identified in such an investigation could face federal charges such as stealing firearms, possessing stolen guns, and even conspiracy.

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