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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

Chicago federal fraud charges lawyerThe Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act—commonly known as the “CARES Act” provided critical assistance to an enormous amount of American families and small businesses. This funding was designed to keep struggling people and small companies afloat in the midst of lockdowns and a general economic downturn during a public health crisis. Most businesses used these emergency relief loans to manage expenses - like payroll - that they otherwise would not have been able to cover during the pandemic. However, there have also been a large number of fraud accusations relating to misused funding. As the nation adjusts to COVID as an endemic disease, moving away from the panic of a pandemic, the federal government is beginning to crack down on those who fraudulently claimed or used these funds. 

If you used CARES Act funds and are now being accused of fraud, it is important that you promptly reach out to a qualified federal crimes attorney. These cases are now being investigated and prosecuted at a much higher rate than they were during the height of the pandemic. 

How CARES Act Fraud Schemes Worked

CARES Act fraud took a number of forms during the pandemic. Some business owners in particular effectively defrauded the federal government by doing things like: 

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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

Chicago federal crimes attorneyWith the tax season beginning, it may be a good time to take a look at a few rather common types of tax crimes. It can be very tempting for individuals at any income level to try to maximize their return or minimize their liability using illegal methods. This type of white-collar crime is being cracked down on. There is no such thing as a “white lie” when it comes to filing your income taxes. If you are caught, the IRS makes a formidable opponent, and you could end up in federal prison. Should you be accused of a tax crime, you will need a highly experienced attorney to help you resolve your case and reduce the likelihood of severe consequences. 

What Are the Types of Tax Fraud the IRS Looks for?

Honesty is the best policy when it comes to filing a tax return. Often, the higher your income, the more scrutiny you may be under - but this does not mean those with lower incomes can get away with tax crimes. Types of tax fraud the IRS will be looking out for on 2021 tax returns include: 

  • Identity theft - Some people will attempt to file a fraudulent tax return using someone else’s identity in order to obtain a tax refund that does not belong to them. As with voter fraud, the person whose identity is used is frequently deceased. Otherwise, the scheme is typically discovered when the victim tries to file their own tax return. 
  • Not reporting income - All sources of income must be reported. “Side gigs” are increasingly ubiquitous as many individuals and families struggle to stay afloat after being affected by COVID-19. This (usually cash) income must still be reported. 
  • Not filing - Single individuals under 65 years old must file if they earned over $12,550. Married couples filing jointly who are both under 65 must file if they collectively earned over $25,100. Willfully failing to file a return when you are required to is illegal, and you can expect the IRS to notice. 
  • False claims - Any type of untruthful claim on a tax return can amount to tax fraud. Often, this relates to false reporting of deductible expenditures. 

Another increasing problem the federal government has had to deal with involves frivolous claims made in an effort to avoid paying taxes. “Sovereign citizens” may file ridiculous claims, making patently silly arguments. Others have filed suits alleging that only federal employees are subject to income tax. The IRS has lost its patience with these frivolous claims. Do not file one - you will not prevail, and you could be heavily penalized for wasting a federal court’s time with this type of lunacy. 

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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

Chicago federal criminal defense attorneyLife imprisonment without the possibility of parole is all but the worst-case scenario for those charged with a serious federal crime. Some may even say that they fear spending the rest of their life in prison more than they fear the death penalty. Fortunately, these sentences are strikingly rare. Less than 0.5% of federal inmates are serving a life sentence. This harsh punishment is typically reserved for the most serious offenders, convicted of major felonies. 

If you are facing serious federal charges, your best bet is to find a highly skilled criminal defense lawyer with experience in the federal courts who can fight to avoid a conviction in the first place. 

Which Convictions Can Lead to a Life Sentence?

There are some crimes, like multiple homicides, that you might expect a life sentence to result from. Others may surprise you. Federal felonies that could land you in prison for life include: 

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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

Chicago federal criminal defense lawyerYou almost certainly do not want to go to any type of prison. Naturally, the most desirable outcomes are having your case dismissed or being found not guilty, followed by some type of probation that does not involve incarceration. In many cases, a skilled attorney can work with the prosecution to achieve a resolution that does not involve you wearing an orange jumpsuit. In other cases, a prison sentence is nearly inevitable, and your attorney may recommend defense strategies aimed at reducing the length of a sentence - or advocating for you to serve your time in a lower security prison. 

If you are worried that your federal criminal case may end in a prison sentence, you may want to know more about the different types of federal prisons, and which one you could be sent to. If prison is a possibility based on your charges, you will need to work closely with an experienced attorney. 

What Are the Five Security Levels of Federal Prisons?

A number of factors go into deciding which type of prison a convicted person should be sent to. The type of offense and your criminal history are important factors, but other factors like your physical and mental health can be considered. The security levels are: 

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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_438352297.jpgBeing charged with a hate crime puts you in a very difficult position. If you are accused of committing a crime based on prejudice against the victim, you are likely to be branded a bigot. That image can be difficult to shake, especially since alleged hate crimes are often publicized. On top of a lengthy prison sentence, you could have to deal with permanent social repercussions. Sometimes, people are surprised to learn that they have been charged with a hate crime based on their choice of victim - it can be difficult for prosecutors to discern whether the crime was motivated by hate or by something else. 

If you have been accused of a hate crime, it is important to tread carefully. Your best bet is to immediately contact a federal crimes lawyer and follow his advice. 

When is a Crime Considered a Hate Crime?

Most offenses that involve a victim could potentially be charged as a hate crime. “Hate crime” is not an offense in and of itself - it is a sort of enhancement that is added onto another crime. So, for a hate crime to be charged, there must first be a crime of some type. Assaults and criminal damage to property are common examples. Then, the crime must be motivated by hate towards a particular group of people. The requisite hate can be directed towards the victim based on their: 

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