Federal Fraud Charges Carry Serious Penalties

Posted on in Federal Crimes

Chicago federal fraud defense lawyerLate last month, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that a 33-count indictment showed that seven Chicago-area residents engaged in fraud related to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) and allegedly fraudulently obtained at least $16 million in small business loans and grants under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. Each wire fraud and money laundering charge is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.

Just two days before that, a United States District Court Chief Judge imposed a 21-month sentence on a 28-year-old Merrillville man for stealing money from customers’ accounts. He pleaded guilty to white collar federal criminal charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.

Possible Consequences of Federal Fraud Crimes

The federal government pursues a great many kinds of fraud cases, and fraud can involve many different aspects of everyday life. The United States Attorneys' Office will aggressively pursue convictions in these types of cases and all alleged offenders will need to invest in having experienced legal representation capable of providing a solid defense against the charges in court.


chicago federal criminal defense lawyerIn May of this year, ten people were killed, and three others were injured when a 19-year-old man opened fire at a grocery store in downtown Buffalo, New York. All of the victims were Black, and officials say the evidence indicates that the shooting was racially motivated.  As a result, when a federal grand jury indicted the young man in July, the charges included 14 counts of federal hate crimes. The alleged shooter could face the death penalty if convicted.

Federal hate crime law prohibits certain crimes motivated by bias against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity. This means that if you commit a crime against someone because of their protected status, you could be charged with a hate crime in addition to the underlying offense.

What Is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is a traditional criminal offense like murder, robbery, or vandalism that is motivated by bias against a protected group. The term "hate crime" is often used interchangeably with "bias-motivated crime."


Your Right to Remain Silent: A Brief Overview

Posted on in Federal Crimes

chicago federal criminal defense lawyerIn the United States, every person who is charged with a crime—including a federal crime—has the right to remain silent. This right is enshrined in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects individuals from self-incrimination. "Self-incrimination" means saying something that could be used as evidence against you in a criminal trial.

The right to remain silent is a fundamental constitutional right that has been recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States for over 150 years. It is important to understand that the right to remain silent is not absolute; there are circumstances where an individual may be required to provide information to law enforcement. However, if you are ever questioned by law enforcement, you should always exercise your right to remain silent and speak to an attorney before answering any questions.

The Fifth Amendment and the Right to Remain Silent

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "No person ... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” This protection against self-incrimination is commonly known as the "right to remain silent."  It is a fundamental constitutional principle that has been reiterated by the Supreme Court of the United States on numerous occasions.


chicago federal criminal offenseOne of the most common questions we get asked at our criminal defense law firm is "What makes a crime a federal offense?" It is a good question, and one that deserves a thorough answer. In short, there are three primary factors that determine whether or not a crime is considered a federal offense: the subject matter of the crime, the location in which the crime took place, and the laws that were violated. Let's take a closer look at each of these factors.

Subject Matter or Substance of the Alleged Crime

The first factor to consider is the subject matter of the crime. Some crimes, by their very nature, are automatically considered federal offenses. These crimes include but are not limited to drug trafficking, money laundering, and terrorism. Other crimes can become federal offenses if they involve some sort of interstate activity (i.e., activity that takes place between two or more states). Interstate activity can be anything from using the mail to transport illegal drugs across state lines to committing fraud against a bank that has branches in multiple states.

Where the Alleged Crime Was Committed

The second factor to consider is the location of the commission of the alleged crime. Generally speaking, crimes that take place on federal property, such as national parks or military installations, or that cross state lines are going to be considered federal offenses. It is important to understand that federal property can also include federal office buildings, courthouses, and post offices, regardless of where they are located. Additionally, certain crimes that take place on Native American reservations may also be prosecuted as federal offenses.


chicago white collar criminal defense lawyerWhite-collar crimes are non-violent offenses that are often prosecuted against business professionals. These crimes are typically motivated by gain and are characterized by deception or concealment. A goal of a white-collar crime is benefiting in regard to money, property, or services. In these cases, a prosecutor will typically rely on paper trails and digital history rather than physical evidence such as DNA. 

Understanding White-Collar Crime

The term white collar crime began to be used around 1939 and is a broad term for a variety of offenses. Since there are many violations that are considered white collar crimes, the consequences can vary. Possible penalties include fines, probation, community service, and imprisonment. 

Getting charged with a white-collar crime can ruin your reputation, business, and lifestyle, and it is important to understand the nature of the charges and the best way to respond to them. Some violations that are considered white collar crimes include:

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