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Posted by on in Fraud

chicago bank fraud lawyerIt is easier than you might think to find yourself facing federal bank fraud charges, even if you did not intend to do anything wrong. The problem with fraud cases is that a prosecutor must prove that you were knowingly trying to defraud a financial institution - when you may have in fact have unknowingly made a mistake on some paperwork. Facing federal charges is a frightening experience. You may be afraid of long prison terms, asset forfeiture, and loss of a career or your reputation in the community. These fears are reasonable. It is important that you are represented by an experienced attorney during any federal criminal proceeding. 

What Are Some Defenses to Bank Fraud? 

To convict you of federal bank fraud, the government will have to show that you knowingly defrauded or attempted to defraud a bank or obtained or tried to obtain assets from a financial institution through fraudulent means. The operative word is “knowingly.” Forgetting to list an old debt on a loan application, or absentmindedly writing your nickname on an official form could be construed as attempts at fraud, despite being inadvertent, if careless, mistakes. 

The most common defenses to federal bank fraud are based around a lack of intent. It is impossible to prove with certainty what was going on inside your head at the time you performed the act that allegedly constituted fraud. However, that is often the issue a bank fraud trial is decided based on. It may take the skill of an experienced attorney to successfully raise intent-based defenses, as there is often little evidence beyond your own statements. 

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Chicago federal criminal defense attorneyThe short answer is yes, but there is much more to the story. Your Illinois medical marijuana card allows you to possess and use a reasonable amount of THC product within the state. It does not give you permission to sell THC products or to transport them across state lines. Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, and you can still be charged at the federal level even if you are not breaking any Illinois state laws. If you are being charged with federal drug trafficking or another federal drug crime, you will want to find an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can. All federal charges are extremely serious, and you could be facing years in prison. 

When Can a Medical Marijuana Patient Be Charged With Trafficking?

If you are just using your medical marijuana yourself, appropriately, you are unlikely to ever be charged even though marijuana is federally illegal. When medical marijuana patients get charged with marijuana crimes, it is almost never related to personal use. Medical marijuana patients generally only get charged at the federal level if they: 

  • Transport across state lines - The federal government rarely prosecutes individual marijuana users who are following the laws of their state, in their state. However, trying to transport marijuana across state lines will attract federal attention. 
  • Carry onto federal land - For frequent users of medical marijuana, it can be easy to forget that you are carrying your THC products when you enter the federal property. Many medical marijuana patients also do not always realize when they are entering federal land - any national forest or park, for example, is federal property. Marijuana is illegal on federal property whether or not you have a medical card. 
  • Re-sell the product - Because medical marijuana patients have easy access to safe, good quality THC products, they are often pressured into re-selling the product. It is very easy for a patient to fall into the trap of selling their medicine to others. This conduct may seem relatively non-serious, but it could result in a federal drug trafficking charge. 

It is important for medical marijuana patients to keep their THC products at home and not to share them with others. The dubious legality of medical marijuana can easily give patients a sort of false confidence that leads them to make a mistake and get arrested. 

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chicago defense lawyerWhether you have heard this type of scheme referred to as “phishing” or not, you are likely familiar with the scheme itself. “Phishing” involves pretending to be someone else in order to gain access to sensitive information. While no specific federal statute criminalizes phishing specifically, phishing is a common precursor to other internet crimes, like identity theft and wire fraud. If you are facing a criminal charge as a result of a phishing scheme, you should make securing strong legal representation your top priority. 

What is Phishing? 

Phishing is when a scammer sends an email or makes a phone call impersonating someone else in an effort to gain access to sensitive information. One common example of a phishing scheme is when someone sends out a mass email pretending to be from a bank and asking recipients to turn over personal information, such as their social security number or account numbers. The phisher then uses that fraudulently obtained information to steal the victim’s identity. 

Corporations are common targets in phishing schemes as well. Criminals attempting to gain access to trade secrets or corporate accounts may impersonate corporate officials, call employees asking for login information, or instruct them to send money. Phishers hope that employees will simply comply with a request they believe is coming from their boss. 

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chicago defense lawyer Money laundering is the crime of hiding money earned through criminal enterprise by filtering it through what appears to be a lawful business in order to make the money look “clean.” But for money laundering to take place, there must have been some other crime committed that resulted in a profit in the first place. Yet, some people find themselves charged with federal money laundering alone. How does this happen? 

If you are facing federal money laundering charges, it is important that you take the matter very seriously, even if you do not feel that you did anything wrong. Federal charges can lead to years in prison, steep fines, and far-reaching social and economic consequences. You will need to work with an experienced and qualified attorney to minimize your chances of suffering these harsh consequences. 

How is Money Laundering Committed as a Crime by Itself? 

For money laundering to take place, there must be “dirty” money in the first place. This means that a second, profitable crime was committed before the money could be laundered. So how exactly does someone commit money laundering without committing a different offense first? 

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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

chicago defense lawyerBeing charged with any serious federal crime is bound to be an intensely stressful experience. If your case garners media attention, the experience can become not only even more stressful, but riskier legally. Press attention can influence the outcome of a case, so its power is not to be underestimated. There are special considerations in defending a high-profile case that not every lawyer has the experience needed to manage well. You will need to ensure that you are represented by a defense attorney who is prepared to represent you both in the courtroom and to the public. 

Ways an Attorney Can Protect You in a High-Profile Case

“Trial by Media” has the potential to become a serious problem for some defendants. It is often to the media’s advantage to “convict” someone accused of a crime, well before the case actually goes to trial - it makes for more exciting news. However, the media often does not paint a complete or accurate picture of the events leading to an arrest. If not managed correctly, a negative public view can lead to unfair treatment of a defendant during trial. There are a few ways a lawyer might try to mitigate problems caused by an unfair “trial by media.” 

  • Venue Change - Local media outlets near where the crime allegedly occurred may influence public opinion so heavily that it becomes impossible for a defendant to get a fair jury trial in the area. A venue change can help reduce the impact of bias on the outcome of the case. 

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