White Collar Crime Sentences

When someone is convicted of a federal crime, their sentence is determined by using a set of guidelines where “points” are added or taken away with relation to aspects of their conduct and the crime or crimes involved.  In recent times, these guidelines for sentencing white collar criminals has come under review, with penalties increasing in severity, especially in certain fraud cases.  A criminal defense lawyer may have some new guidelines to research.

Some feel that the guidelines in white collar cases rely to heavily on the financial-loss calculations.  The financial-loss calculations have been known to be very large, sometimes mushrooming to enormous amounts.  This happens especially in cases where public companies have seen declines in their stock price due to fraudulent acts of others.

The US Sentencing Commission, which is responsible for writing the guidelines and was created by Congress in the 1980’s, will review the economic crime rules and will get feedback on changes at a symposium this month.  Some federal judges feel that the guidelines for sentencing white collar crimes should be completely re-vamped.

One example involves fraud cases, where “putting heavy emphasis on the calculated loss in determining fraud sentences does not fairly convey the reality of the crime or the criminal.”  Some judges would like to replace the calculation system for sentencing fraud cases with a system where the judges would use a wide array of factors to determine the sentence.  Judges also feel that none of those factors should “automatically carry extra weight.”

In fact, some judges seem to be departing from the guidelines already.  Statistics show that federal judges had given sentences below the guideline recommendation in 23% of the cases from 2007 to 2011.  Some feel that this is not helping win the battle against crime and that “certainty in sentencing is critical to reducing crime.”  Thankfully, the Justice Department is in support of the fraud guideline review and potential revisions being made.

Some would argue that the reason penalties for white collar crimes has increased is due to the Enron scandal and Jeff Skilling’s 24-year sentence for committing fraud and conspiracy.  Although Skilling’s sentence fell within his guideline calculation, he is now being resentenced  due to the appellate court’s determination that a mistake had been made in the initial calculation.  The Judge in his resentencing may decide to go for a higher sentence, or a lower one.

A good federal criminal defense lawyer will help you in many ways, including discussing your legal options, determining facts and aspects of your case which may work in your favor, uncovering potential problems that can be foreseen and by letting you know what to expect at the different stages of the process.

Having the support of a skilled criminal defense lawyer is beneficial because it can provide security that you are dealing with someone who has the legal knowledge and experience necessary to ensure the best chance of having your case defended properly.  Call a South Carolina criminal defense lawyer at The Mace Firm to schedule your free consultation.

Google Loses Federal Appeal

Google loses federal appeal regarding Street View.  Most of the people who use Google are aware of a feature on the site known as Street View.  Street View allows users to see real photos of maps they are searching, instead of drawings.  To make this possible, Google uses vehicles known as Street View cars with camera poles mounted on their roofs to take photographs of roads all over the world.  The photos not only capture images of roads, they also show viewers homes, stores and vehicles located on those streets at the time of the photo.  Sounds like a useful tool, and innocent at that.  However, as the cameras on the Street View cars were taking the photos of the roadways, they were also collecting “detailed information” and transmitting it over Wi-Fi networks they passed through.  This information included emails, usernames, passwords, photos and documents.  In the federal appeal filed in the case, Google was said to have wrongfully collected this personal information and, as a result, violated wiretap laws.

In their defense, Google argued that the Street View activities were not in violation of the wiretap law because data transmitted over Wi-Fi is considered a “radio connection” and is easily accessible to the public.  The federal appeals court disagreed with their defense and sided with the lower court judge’s ruling.  This is the first time an appeals court has ruled that it is illegal to “sniff out and collect” personal data from Wi-Fi networks supplying internet connections to people’s homes.  This is also the first time a company, Google, has tried to do something like this.

Internet privacy experts are thrilled at the news, saying that the federal appeals court decision “is a tremendous victory for privacy rights.”  In addition to that, Google is no longer allowed to “wi-spy.”  Google has even offered an apology for their snooping, which happened between 2008 and the beginning of 2010.

Since the federal appeals court’s ruling, all of the plaintiffs whose privacy was compromised will be able to move forward with their case against the company.  Due to the extensive reach of Google’s “snooping,” potential damages may amount to billions of dollars.  In fact, earlier in 2013, Google settled a lawsuit involving 37 states for $7 million.  In that case, Google was sued by the attorney general for invading privacy by collecting various data.

Since the appeals action was finalized, Google has disabled the equipment responsible for collecting the data and plans to destroy the data which was collected.

When you are involved in a federal appeal case, it is wise to have the help, experience and knowledge of a federal appeal lawyer.  A good federal appeal lawyer will research past precedent and existing legal cases to find grounds for your appeal.  This is necessary because a the federal appeals court will not simply reverse the lower court’s decision for frivolous reasons.

If you or someone you know would like to file a federal criminal appeal in the Federal appeals court or state appeal, it will be in their best interests to speak with an experienced federal appeal lawyer.  Please call an appellate attorney at The Mace Firm for a free consultation today.

Reality TV Stars Indicted

Federal criminal lawyer discusses indictment for two Real Housewives of New Jersey stars.  Most are familiar with the Bravo television series “The Real Housewives.”  This week, two of the stars from the New Jersey Housewives show, Joe and Teresa Giudice, have been indicted on federal charges.  The charges in the indictment include bank fraud, bankruptcy fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and making false statements on their loan applications.  Joe has also been charged with failing to file tax returns from 2004 through 2008–during those years it is alleged that Joe earned close to $1 million.

An IRS special agent involved in the criminal investigation stated that “the Giudice’s did not live up to their responsibilities by failing to file tax returns, falsifying loan applications and concealing assets in their bankruptcy petition. The reality is that this type of criminal conduct will not go undetected and individuals who engage in this type of financial fraud should know they will be held accountable.”

Not only this, but In 2009, the couple filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Following that filing, they began to file several amendments to their bankruptcy petition.  Their bankruptcy filings required them to disclose all assets, liabilities, income and things of that nature.  The criminal investigation revealed that, during that time, the Giudice’s concealed their anticipated increase in income from the then-upcoming season 2 of the Bravo television show. Concealing their income and making false  declarations about the assets and income during their bankruptcy case is another huge issue in this case.

Now that the pair has made an appearance before a judge to hear their charges, the television network who “employed” them may come under fire.  There is a chance that employees used for filming the Bravo TV show could be called as witnesses to confirm or deny that the Giudice’s made large purchases with cash during their bankruptcy.  Bravo network may also be called to confirm or deny that Teresa’s anticipated income was left undisclosed in the bankruptcy action.  According to a legal expert, it is very serious that Bravo filmed the couple speaking to their bankruptcy attorney.  The expert feels that raw footage that did not make the air could be incriminating.  The question on unintentional conspiracy may also come up because of the filming.  Investigators will need to find out who knows what and how much they know.  It is not clear whether Bravo will actually be charged, but it is becoming clearer that the Giudice’s may need to be released from the show.

It is unclear how the couple managed to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy while they were living in a mansion and appeared to have a highly lavish lifestyle.  They filed for bankruptcy between Season 1 and 2 of the show, but no one noticed Teresa cutting back on her shopping sprees.

Of the most serious charges they face, bank fraud and loan application fraud, they could face up to 30 years in prison and be fined $1 million.  Both Teresa and Joe have retained federal criminal lawyers to help them handle this matter.

Having the support of a skilled federal criminal lawyer is beneficial because it can provide security that you are dealing with someone who has the legal knowledge and experience necessary to ensure the best chance of having your case defended properly, especially at the trial level.  Call a federal criminal lawyer to schedule your free consultation.

SAC and Insider Trading Charges

Federal attorney discusses insider trading charges.  SAC Capital is a large ($10 billion) group of hedge funds founded in 1992 by Steven Cohen.  The firm employs nearly 1,000 people at offices across the U.S. and international satellite offices.  Three years ago, in 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating insider trading practices at the firm and a criminal indictment is expected this week from the FBI in Manhattan.

As a matter of fact, in 2010, the SEC conducted raids at the offices of Level Global Investors LP and Diamondback Capital Management LLC, two funds run by former SAC traders.  Loch Capital Management LLC was also raided on the same day. This led to wide speculation that the real target is SAC Capital Advisers, and that Steven Cohen was directly involved.  As of today, it is unclear as to whether Cohen will be charged criminally as authorities are still finding more SAC employees to charge.

The indictment is coming right after the SEC filed their civil action last week.  The lawsuit accused Mr. Cohen of failing to supervise employees who were suspected of insider trading.  Those employees, Mathew Martoma and Michael S. Steinberg, had been criminally charged.  While the lawsuit makes a strong case that Cohen was not knowingly trading on inside information, it is unclear whether it will rebut the SEC’s claims that he did not prevent employees from doing so.  Now, the SEC must prove that Mr. Cohen did not “reasonably” supervise the employees.

There is pretty damning evidence against Cohen at this time.  The SEC uncovered an email message sent to Cohen in 2008 from an SAC analyst which stated that he had a “second-hand read from someone at” Dell Computers who provided financials for the company prior to the release of their annual earnings statement.  Only minutes after receiving this email, Cohen sold all of his stock in Dell.  Now, Cohen and his team of federal criminal lawyers claim that he never saw or read the email.  The lawyers also stated that Cohen would receive, on average, 1,000 emails per day in 2008 and only opened 11% of them.

According to financial experts, criminal charges against SAC would likely “serve as a death blow to the firm.”  Investors have already begun pulling money from the fund since January 2013 and this looming indictment may put more pressure on investors to move their money.  Also, very large Wall Street banks will likely suspend business with SAC.

Before bringing indictments against large companies, federal prosecutors consider a many factors when deciding to bring a case before a Judge, including the “pervasiveness of wrongdoing and the company’s level of cooperation in the investigation.”  The Dell e-mails are expected to play a central role in the criminal case against SAC.

Having the support of a skilled federal attorney is beneficial because it can provide security that you are dealing with someone who has the legal knowledge and experience necessary to ensure the best chance of having your case defended properly, especially at the trial level.  Call a federal attorney at The Mace Firm to schedule your free consultation.

White Collar Fairy Tale

Once upon a time…

A husband approaches his wife and informs her of his great idea to start a construction site cleaning and security business.  He also tells his wife that he would like to have his mother’s name and her name on the business checks so that he would be more eligible for funding.  The wife says that she doesn’t know anything about that line of work and her husband assures her that everything will be fine, he only needs her name and signature on the checks.  The unsuspecting wife signs everything her husband needs, never asking any questions along the way.

The wife continues to work a part-time job while raising their children.  The husband continues to ask wife to quit her job and spend more time with their children.  The wife complies and the following year, the husband decides (for reasons unknown to the wife) to slow their business down and find a job working somewhere else.  The husband also refuses to speak with his wife about their struggling finances.  In fear of her husbands wrath, the wife stays quiet.

One year after the husband closes his business, police show up at the couple’s home just as the wife was getting ready to take the children to school.  The police ask the wife if she is familiar with the business and if her signature was on documents.  She tells the police the truth, having no reason to lie.  This is when the police inform the wife that her husband had continued to bill under his business for no work.  The husband had raked in nearly $2 million.  The husband and wife are both arrested for embezzlement then and there.

More surprises lurk for the wife when police search their home.  They find money and over 50 watches that she had no idea existed.  Authorities could not prove whether the wife knew about anything and her federal attorney encourages her to take a plea bargain.  Her criminal defense lawyer also mentioned that if she fights the charges, she would risk going to jail for up to three years.  The wife ends up being charged with a class B felony and served four months in county jail.  Her husband was not so lucky; he was charged with a class A felony and was sentenced to 4-12 years.

More bad news for the pair is that the wife is now responsible for half of her husband’s debt.  She will even have to pay restitution.

When someone is facing criminal charges, even crimes classified as misdemeanors can seem frightening. Having the support of a skilled criminal defense attorney is beneficial because it can provide peace of mind and someone who has the legal knowledge and experience necessary to ensure the best chance of having your case defended properly.  Call a Myrtle Beach criminal defense attorney to schedule your free consultation.  SC Criminal defense attorney.

Ramasir Sentenced in Real Estate Fraud Scheme

Criminal defense lawyer discusses man sentenced in real estate fraud case.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation in New York announced that Elviston Ramasir, the former president of Home Free Realty, Inc, was sentenced to 51 months imprisonment for committing real estate fraud schemes in New York. Ramasir pled guilty to stealing $1.5 million from an investor. In that scheme, Ramasir promised significant returns if the victim invested in properties, but Ramasir never purchased them. He told the investor that he had obtained 38 properties in Brooklyn and Queens; however, most of the properties did not exist or were owned by other individuals. Ramasir also created false documents and forged them to make the investor believe he had actually purchased the property. In reality, Ramasir had used the $1.5 million for his own personal use. Ramasir also pled guilty to another scheme in which he used Craigslist to solicit renters for properties he owned. The renters would provide him money, but Ramasir would not allow them to occupy the property. Ramasir was sentenced to 51 months in prison for the crimes, three years supervised release, and was ordered to pay over $1.4 million in restitution.

Today, defendants involved in white collar crimes are sentenced more harshly due to the increase in these types of cases. There are several different types of white collar crimes (i.e. mail fraud, wire fraud, real estate fraud, etc.) and the appropriate defenses often depend on the particular crime charged in the indictment and the amount of money involved. Sentencing will usually vary according to the amount of money at issue, the number of victims that have been harmed from the fraudulent conduct, and the defendant’s role in the illegal conduct. An experienced federal criminal defense lawyer will be able to consider these factors and come to a accurate estimate of the penalties that the defendant could potentially face. As such, it is important to seek a criminal defense attorney in both the pre-indictment and post-indictment stage so that they can advise you on the best approach to take in your case.

If you or someone you know needs a criminal defense attorney, contact our office at 1-800-94-TRIAL for a free consultation.

White Collar Crime

Criminal defense attorneys know that white collar crime is a term for crimes involving bank fraud, blackmail, bribery, cellular phone fraud, computer fraud, counterfeiting, credit card fraud, currency schemes, embezzlement, environmental schemes, extortion, forgery, health care fraud, insider trading, insurance fraud, investment schemes, kickbacks, larceny/theft, money laundering, racketeering, securities fraud, tax evasion, telemarketing fraud, and welfare fraud. Our good criminal defense lawyers have experience in defending white collar crimes in federal and state court.

White collar crime is nonviolent and involves deception. Most people who commit a white collar crime are caught because they leave a paper trail of evidence. Depending on which type of law is broken, state or federal, these crimes can be prosecuted at the state or federal level. If you are convicted of any of these crimes, you stand to spend time in jail, pay large fines, and you will probably have to pay restitution to the victim. It is important that if you are charged with a white collar crime that you contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Federal white collar crimes are extremely complex. You will need someone who is experienced in the federal court system. Our Charleston criminal defense attorney has been defending companies and individuals in federal court for many years. If you or someone you know has been indicted or is worried that they may be indicted for a white collar crime, please call The Mace Firm to schedule a consultation with one of our Charleston criminal defense lawyers.

If you are indicted for a white collar crime you will need to hire a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Please call our Charleston criminal defense attorney to represent you.

S.E.C. Approves New Rules on Whistle-Blower Program

Federal defense lawyers discuss the Madoff scheme.  According to the New York Times, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved rules on a $300 million whistle-blower program. The provisions were partly incorporated since the agency failed to uncover the Ponzi scheme of Bernard Madoff. The new rules allow the S.E.C. to provide payment of 10 to 30 percent of the penalties collected to tipsters when the amount exceeds $1 million. The size of the reward will depend on the value of the tips provided and the tipster’s cooperation. Further, a whistle-blower is permitted to bypass the company without giving them a chance to investigation the allegations and provide information directly to the S.E.C.

Several individuals involved in the S.E.C. do not believe that these rules will create a reduction in this type of crime. Rather, many argue that white collar crime and fraud will be prolonged because the S.E.C. will react slower than the companies themselves. Opponents of the new rules also state that the S.E.C. will likely not be able to handle the overflow of complaints that will occur in the future. However, Sean McKessy, the chief of the S.E.C.’s whistle-blower office, explains that the agency will be able to improve on its ability to distinguish credible tips from false leads because whistle-blowers will be required to provide sworn statements under penalty of perjury. On the other hand, the United States Chamber of Commerce believes that this will only cause attorneys to advise potential whistle-blowers to bypass the company and go straight to the S.E.C. The Chamber of Commerce did not address the incentive that whistle-blowers would have to receive an increased reward if the company was notified first. Of course, the rules exclude persons involved in the wrongdoing from receiving an award. It is not yet known how future whistle-blowers and attorneys will react to this new set of rules.

If you or someone you know is involved in a white collar crime, contact one of our federal defense lawyers at (843) 839-2900.