Recent Blog Posts

Who Can Face Charges of Insurance Fraud?

 Posted on February 28, 2024 in Fraud

IL criminal lawyerInsurance fraud costs the average American household an additional $400 to $700 in increased premiums annually. Insurance fraud is an increasing problem, estimated to cost more than $40 billion per year.

Insurance fraud can be committed by an insurance agent, adjuster, contractor, or even consumer, which can land the offender in federal prison.

If you or a family member are facing charges of insurance fraud, our Chicago criminal defense attorney is here to provide legal representation.

Common Insurance Fraud Schemes

Insurance fraud is the defrauding of an insurance company, another party, the state government, or the federal government for financial means. This defrauding can take place in a number of ways but does involve an individual making a false representation.

The most common insurance fraud schemes include:

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Pleading Guilty to Federal Charges

 Posted on February 22, 2024 in Federal Crimes

IL defense lawyerMost defendants plead guilty as part of a plea bargain. A plea bargain is negotiated between a defense attorney and prosecutor, requiring judge approval. In a plea agreement, the defendant will plead guilty to a crime in exchange for certain charges being dropped or to a lesser charge.

Attorney Hal M. Garfinkel would like to provide an overview of federal plea bargaining and how our Chicago federal criminal lawyer can assist you in the process.

What is a Plea Bargain?

If the government has sufficient evidence to implicate the defendant, a federal prosecutor may offer the defendant a plea bargain. The defendant is only allowed to plead guilty if he or she committed the crime.

When both sides come to an agreement on a plea deal, there will be no trial, but rather, the defendant will proceed directly to sentencing. Even if the defense counsel and prosecutor can come to an agreement on terms, the judge still has full control over sentencing. The prosecutor may recommend a more lenient sentence, but the judge can impose whatever sentence he believes to be appropriate.

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Federal Charges for Human Trafficking

 Posted on February 13, 2024 in Human Trafficking

IL federal crimes lawyerHuman trafficking involves the exploitation of people for forced labor or commercial sexual services. To crack down on crime, our judicial system imposes severe penalties for human trafficking offenders.

Human trafficking often involves force, fraud, or coercion to get the victim to perform forced labor or sexual acts. These acts are against the victim’s will but are performed due to financial hardship, emotional vulnerability, or out of fear.

If you have been accused of human trafficking, you need to speak with a Chicago federal criminal lawyer to defend the charges brought against you.

Trafficking Victims Protections Act of 2000

The Trafficking Victims Protections Act of 2000 (TVPA) was created to assist victims of human trafficking by establishing a federal task force to combat such illegal activity. Along with preventing trafficking, the law gives certain federal agencies the power to establish programs that will help victims reintegrate into society.

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Federal Child Pornography Investigations: You Need a Lawyer

 Posted on February 11, 2024 in Child Pornography

Blog Image Child pornography involves the visual depiction of minors engaging in explicit sexual conduct. The pornography could be depicted through film, videos, photographs, or computer-generated imagery (CGI).

If you are found guilty of such charges, you can expect harsh penalties, including significant jail time and even fines. If you are facing allegations of child pornography, do not hesitate to contact our Chicago federal child pornography attorney today.

Federal Child Pornography Charges

Child pornography charges may include:

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Is it Possible to Have Federal Criminal Charges Dropped?

 Posted on January 30, 2024 in Federal Crimes

IL defense lawyerIf you are awaiting trial for federal criminal charges, the process can be agonizing. Between pre-trial hearings and meetings with your attorney, you are more than ready to put the entire ordeal behind you. 

While the vast majority of criminal cases are resolved through plea bargains, others never make it to trial due to other factors. If you are facing federal criminal charges, do not hesitate to contact a Chicago criminal defense lawyer.

Reasons Criminal Charges May Be Dropped

A prosecutor may drop charges against a defendant in the following circumstances:

Prosecution Has Not Met Burden of Proof

In every criminal case, the prosecutor must prove the defendant's culpability beyond what we call a reasonable doubt. This is the highest standard in criminal law, meaning that based on the information available, a person of reasonable intelligence would draw the conclusion that you committed the alleged crime.

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Federal Sentences: More Severe than State-Level Criminal Cases

 Posted on January 27, 2024 in Federal Crimes

IL defense attorneyIf you have been charged with a crime at the federal level, you can expect a longer prison term. On average, those charged with a federal crime were sentenced to 145 months, or 12 years, in prison. In contrast, offenders charged with a state crime served an average prison sentence of 3.8 years in Illinois.

Attorney Hal M. Garfinkel would like to discuss what makes federal sentences more severe than state-level criminal cases and the advantages of hiring a Chicago federal criminal lawyer to represent your interests.

Why Federal Charges Are More Severe Than State Charges

Federal-level charges are noticeably more severe than state-level charges for the same or similar crime. There are a few main reasons for this, such as:

Federal Crimes are Investigated by Federal Agencies

Federal crimes are investigated by federal agencies, all overseen by the Department of Justice. The federal government will be thorough in its investigation, uncovering any piece of incriminating evidence against you. 

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Are You Under Investigation for Federal Drug Trafficking?

 Posted on January 21, 2024 in Drug Crimes

IL defense lawyerDrug trafficking is the illegal transportation of a controlled substance. Penalties for federal drug trafficking will depend largely on the type of substance that you had in your possession if you have prior offenses, and if there was a death or serious injury associated with the drug use.

If you are being investigated for drug trafficking, you need the assistance of a Chicago drug crimes lawyer who has a successful track record for defending these charges.

What is Federal Drug Trafficking?

Of the over 20,000 drug cases reported, 99% of these cases involved drug trafficking. Surprisingly, 41.7% of offenders had little or no criminal history.

Federal drug trafficking is the crime of manufacturing, transporting, or distributing illegal substances. The top seven illicit drugs that were distributed in fiscal year 2022 were:

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Overview of RICO Charges

 Posted on January 14, 2024 in Federal Crimes

IL defense lawyerThe Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) was developed to eradicate organized crime. Created in 1970, RICO was intended to prevent criminals from taking over legitimate businesses.

If you are convicted on racketeering charges, any punishment you face will be accompanied by damage to your personal and professional reputation. Racketeering is also known to break apart families and communities.

If you have been arrested for racketeering, your first line of defense should be to hire the services of a Chicago criminal defense attorney

What is Racketeering?

Racketeering is the act of performing illegal activities with the intention of making an ongoing profit. These dealings are disguised as commercial business deals. RICO (18 U.S.C. § 1961) defines racketeering to be “any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion.”

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Who Investigates Federal Crimes?

 Posted on December 27, 2023 in Federal Crimes

IL defense lawyerIf you are facing federal crime charges, there are seven federal law enforcement agencies that may possibly conduct an investigation. These are independent agencies that are overseen by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

A federal investigation is the first step in the prosecution process. If you have been charged with a federal crime, you need to speak with a Chicago federal criminal lawyer regarding your next steps.

Federal Bureau of Investigation 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, was established in 1908 by the U.S. Attorney General as the main law enforcement agency responsible for investigating federal crimes. The FBI has over 30,000 special agents, analysts, and other support staff that strive to keep U.S. citizens safe from threats. 

The FBI investigates a wide array of crimes, including:

Federal Cybercrime Charges

 Posted on December 23, 2023 in Federal Crimes

IL defense lawyerCybercrime is usually associated with using a computer or network system to carry out a number of criminal activities.

In 2022, there were more than 800,000 cybercrime complaints reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Since these offenses are a growing concern for our nation, the government typically imposes severe punishments for those individuals convicted of a cybercrime offense.

If you are facing federal cybercrime charges, do not hesitate to speak with a Chicago internet crimes lawyer to discuss potential next steps.

Federal Law on Cybercrime

With an increase in technology comes an increase in cybercrimes. Also known as “computer crimes,” cybercrimes have become more common in recent years as more sensitive information is stored online.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act “CFAA” (18 U.S.C.§ 1030) outlaws any activity that allows a person to access a computer system without prior authorization. It protects federal computers, bank computers, and computers with internet access from being used for fraudulent purposes.

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