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Chicago criminal defense lawyerWhen someone is convicted of a federal crime, their life, as they knew it, is irrevocably changed forever. The immediate consequences of being convicted of a crime may be prison time, probation, or monetary fines. Regardless of the immediate consequences, it may be argued that the most severe of consequences are not set by a judge but by the drastic changes you may experience in your life as a result of being convicted of a crime. In addition, as many convicted individuals discover, there are “collateral consequences” that they may encounter. These consequences are related to changes imposed on your life not by a court but by the crime you have been convicted of.  

The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction can have a devastating impact on your life. Sometimes, you do not need to be convicted to feel collateral consequences. Sometimes, being associated with allegedly committing a crime can be enough for some people to feel the repercussions of being accused of committing a crime. The most effective thing someone can do to prevent or lessen the collateral consequences of a crime is to hire a highly knowledgeable attorney to work with as you navigate the particulars of your case.  

What Are Some Collateral Consequences of a Federal Criminal Conviction?  

More than simply serving your time or paying any necessary fines is needed to escape the effect of a conviction. However, this is not true. Collateral consequences for having committed a crime often include the following:  

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What Constitutes Credit Card Fraud in Illinois?

Posted on in White Collar Crime

Chicago credit card fraud attorneyYou have probably heard of the term “white-collar crime.” This term refers to non-violent financial crimes, often committed by people, businesses, or government entities to unlawfully conceal or obtain money to benefit themselves or a business. White-collar crimes may include mortgage fraud, bank fraud, internet crimes, wire fraud, money laundering, identity theft, and credit card fraud. Today, we will delve deeper into what credit card fraud is and what activities can lead someone to be arrested and charged with credit card fraud.

At the outset, it cannot be stressed enough that if you have been charged with credit card fraud, your first step should be consulting with an experienced attorney. A common myth associated with many white-collar crimes is that such offenses do not carry serious jail time. This is patently false. If you have been charged with a white-collar crime, understand that you are in serious legal jeopardy and must take such charges seriously. 

What Is Considered Credit Card Fraud? 

Various situations can constitute credit card fraud. These situations may include but are not limited to:  

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Chicago federal identity theft defense attorneyYou may be aware of the term “white-collar crime.” Generally, white-collar crimes involve the theft or misuse of a person or organization’s financial information to deceive the person or organization of capital or property. The crime of identity theft is a perfect example of a white-collar crime. Unfortunately, many people incorrectly believe that since white-collar crimes are generally non-violent, they are, therefore, not very serious and are something not to worry about. This could not be farther from the truth.  

If you have been charged with identity theft, you may face state and federal charges. Understand that if you are convicted of identity theft, you are likely facing stiff monetary penalties and extended prison sentences. To give yourself the best opportunity for a positive result in your case, you must consider hiring an experienced identity theft attorney who knows the law and will be able to inform you of your rights and ensure that your rights remain protected.

What Constitutes Identity Theft? 

Notably, several different activities may constitute a charge of identity theft. For instance, someone may be accused of identity theft if they unlawfully acquired an individual’s identifying information and then peddled or transferred that information to another person or used the information to deceive someone else. Often, identity theft may be brought forth with an additional related offense, like credit card fraud or wire fraud. For instance, an individual may be accused of contacting an intended victim via the telephone or email. At the same time, under false pretenses, they try to acquire that individual’s personal information, such as their Social Security Number. In this case, that would constitute wire fraud. Furthermore, identity theft would be committed if the perpetrator tried to use the private information they obtained under false pretenses to obtain a loan.  

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Dealing With Wire Fraud Charges

Posted on in Federal Crimes

Chicago federal wire fraud defense lawyerAn Episcopal Church priest and a businessman are facing federal charges after allegedly defrauding a foster care organization of approximately $10 million. A federal grand jury indicted both men, with the priest facing one count of money laundering, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and 15 counts of wire fraud while the businessman is charged with three counts of money laundering, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and 10 counts of wire fraud.

Whereas mail fraud encompasses crimes committed using physical mailing systems, wire fraud charges rely on electronic systems and can thus be much more expansive. Wire fraud is a serious federal crime because a conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. However, an alleged offense involving a financial institution could be punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $1 million.

Possible Defenses Against Wire Fraud 

The key phrase in Title 18 U.S. Code § 1343 is “having devised or intending to devise,” meaning an alleged offender in a wire fraud case must have had the intent to defraud another party. The most common defense against wire fraud charges usually relies on proving an alleged offender did not intend to do anything wrong.

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Money Laundering Carries Stiff Penalties

Posted on in Federal Crimes

Chicago money laundering defense lawyerA suburban Chicago man who was convicted of laundering illegal narcotics proceeds was sentenced to seven years in federal prison. The man schemed to receive about $1.5 million in narcotics proceeds and send money back to traffickers in Mexico.

Federal criminal cases such as these call attention to how easily money laundering charges can arise in connection to all kinds of illicit activity, so many people can quickly find themselves accused of these offenses. In addition to the 20 years in prison, an alleged money laundering offender can also be ordered to pay a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in a transaction for money laundering.

Possible Money Laundering Defenses

When you are facing federal money laundering charges, you are going to need to invest in a criminal defense attorney who will know how to best develop a defense that can help create reasonable doubt in the mind of a juror. In many cases, alleged offenders may be able to argue that the money involved in their transaction was not obtained from any illegal activity and the episode did not involve any unlawful conduct.

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