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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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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

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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerDifferent states have varying laws on carjacking. Many people do not understand, however, that this offense can also be charged as a federal crime. When carjacking is prosecuted at the federal level, the prison sentences for those convicted are typically much longer, and the fines are also much higher as compared to those for a conviction at the state level. Fortunately, there are possible defenses to such charges. To understand what they are, you first must understand when carjacking becomes a federal crime and what the prosecution must prove to secure a conviction.

When Is Carjacking Considered a Federal Crime?

Under 18 USC 2119, carjacking is a federal crime when a person takes a motor vehicle that has been transported, shipped, or received in interstate or foreign commerce. Essentially, the vehicle must cross state or country lines for the crime to be considered a federal offense.

The law states that for federal carjacking to have occurred, a vehicle must be taken from someone else by use of force, violence, or intimidation. The statute also includes attempting to use force or intimidation, even if these attempts are unsuccessful. Additionally, under the federal statute, that force or intimidation must be done with the intention of causing death or serious bodily harm.

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