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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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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

chicago federal crime lawyerYou may be wondering why you have been charged with a crime at the federal instead of state level, especially if you and any alleged victims are all in the same state, or you never left Illinois while allegedly committing a crime. There are a number of reasons that a crime may be federally prosecuted. Being charged with any federal crime is a very serious matter that puts both your freedom and, often, your financial well-being at grave risk. It is important to contact an experienced and well-qualified attorney as soon as you learn that you are facing federal charges. 

What Are Some Reasons a Crime Might be Prosecuted in Federal Court? 

For a crime to be charged at the federal level, it must affect some kind of national interest. Internet crimes like fraud and possession of child pornography are frequently prosecuted under federal law because they may impact interstate commerce or involve victims outside of Illinois. Here are some other reasons your charges may be treated as federal offenses: 

  • Location - If your alleged crime took place on federal property, it automatically becomes a federal offense. Federal property includes places like national parks, Medicaid offices, and military bases. 

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Posted by on in Federal Crimes

In short, immigration marriage fraud is when a citizen and a non-citizen enter into a “sham marriage” strictly for the purpose of gaining some type of legal benefit relating to immigration status. Because this type of immigration fraud is common, marriages between a U.S. citizen and an immigrant who is facing challenges due to their legal status may fall under scrutiny. Immigration fraud is a serious crime and carries severe penalties for both parties - including deportation for the immigrant. If you are being investigated for immigration fraud related to your marriage, always contact a qualified attorney as soon as you can. 

What is a Sham Marriage? 

A sham marriage is one that was entered into for the sole purpose of allowing an immigrant to obtain lawful permanent residence in the U.S. It may be referred to as a “green-card marriage.” If the married couple actually intended to form a real marital relationship and build a life together, then it is not a sham marriage. Even if a couple was partially motivated by immigration benefits, the marriage can still be legitimate as long as immigration concerns were not the only reason the couple married. It can be very difficult for government officials to tell the difference between a legitimate marriage that was entered into in good faith and a sham marriage that was entered into for the purpose of committing immigration fraud. 

How Does the Government Decide Whether a Marriage is Legitimate? 

Marriages generally come under suspicion as soon as the immigrant spouse applies for permanent legal residence based on the marriage. If you and your spouse are suspected of immigration marriage fraud, the process you will go through can be invasive and nerve-wracking. The government will examine your life together to try to determine whether you are living in a genuine marriage relationship. They may consider whether you: 

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