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New York Criminal Defense Blog

Mortgage fraud is complex and must be taken seriously

The mortgage industry deals with high-dollar investments in massive quantities. There is a lot of room for error, but there are many different instances in which something will go amiss that is viewed as more than just a mistake during the process.

Some people who are being accused of mortgage fraud might not have ever heard the term before. For those individuals, this is a very scary time because they have to figure out how to address criminal charges with which they aren't familiar. Here are some important points to know about this type of crime.

Safeguards against investment fraud

When New York residents want to invest their money, they typically trust financial professionals to guide them through the process. Sometimes, though, someone may embezzle money instead of investing it. It is important for people to recognize different kinds of investment fraud and understand how they can protect themselves.

There are many types of investment fraud. SaveAndInvest.org says that sometimes people might use a kind called advance fee fraud to embezzle money. When people use this kind of fraud, they typically ask someone to pay a fee before they buy stock that is not worth much. In a pump-and-dump scheme, people sometimes think that a particular stock is favorable and purchase it at a high price. In this situation, though, the information about the stock was false, and people find that their stock is worthless.

More alleged dealers targeted for drug deaths

People in New York who are accused of crimes involving illegal or prescription drugs have long had to work hard to defend themselves and protect their rights when facing these allegations. Now their challenges may be increasing as more emphasis is being put on finding people to blame for the deaths of those who die due to drug overdoses. Rather than simply acknowledging that a person may have had a drug addiction that ended up claiming their life, authorities want instead to hold someone else accountable. The alleged drug dealers may well be the someone else in many cases.

One man who lived in Williamsville has recently been indicted for his alleged role as the leader of a group of people that included four others who are said to have sold fentanyl and heroin to at least five people who have subsequently died. The group is said to have conducted its drug sales in Amherst and Buffalo. Reports indicate that for two years multiple law enforcement agencies worked together with the Drug Enforcement Administration to investigate the defendants prior to searching the home of the man said to be the group's leader.

What is "churning?"

Wise use of your money may include placing it in investment accounts in the hope of generating a strong return over time. However, if you are like most in New York, you are more than likely a "hands off" investor that leaves the management of your portfolio to a professional. There is wisdom in this; after all, the industry specific knowledge and experience a broker brings makes him or her more likely to develop a sound investment strategy. However, relying solely on him or her may open the door for fraud. One form of such fraud is known as "churning." 

What exactly is churning? Your broker makes commissions when he or she uses your money to execute sales and trades. Thus, he or she is incentivized to do so. Churning occurs when he or she engages in excessive trading to generate increased commissions. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, a broker that has discretionary power over your investment accounts and effects transactions that are excessive "in view of the financial resources and character" of your account is guilty of fraud. 

What a white collar crime means in new york

No matter the situation, a white collar charge can become incredibly complex and time-consuming. It is for this reason that such cases are generally handled very seriously. New York has long been familiar with these types of crimes, but what might they mean for the defendants themselves?

The New York Post spent time considering white collar crimes in the state, immediately recognizing the differences between New York law and federal law. The Post highlighted the case of Congressman Michael Grimm, who evaded payroll taxes with a restaurant he owned. Grimm's schemes also lowered workers' compensation insurance premiums that the business owed. Also taking into account other recent arrests on the same charges, The Post looks at the state's 2004 Crimes Against Revenue Program, which requires people who cheat the state's system to pay fines and money owed. When it comes to technological white collar crimes, it appears that New York has many gray areas, resulting in an unclear foundation on the state's decisions to avoid pursuing criminal charges.

Are america's federal drug laws too strict?

Propelled through popular media portrayals, federal drug charges are no form of entertainment in reality. New York's penalties surrounding such crimes can have lasting effects on individuals who might not have even had a strong hand in the incident. There have been many instances of controversy in regard to the ways the nation handles serious drug charges, but many would argue that the severity of penalties often far outweighs the crimes themselves.

Earlier today, Public News Service released an article on America's drug laws and the penalties currently in effect. The news outlet found through a study that jail time does not necessarily deter people from committing drug-related crimes. Despite President Trump's demand for harsher sentences -- that even go as far as to call for the death penalty for drug traffickers -- experts in drug research claim stricter repercussions may not be the answer. While New York's drug imprisonment rates have been some of the lowest in the nation, other states such as Louisiana have had the highest incarceration rate in the U.S. As a result, taxpayers have taken the ultimate blow, and penalties have had no significant effects on actual drug users.

4 examples of serious financial crimes

You've run your company successfully for the past two decades. That puts you in a position of power. You handle company assets. Shareholders trust you with their money. Banks offer loans and lines of credit.

Moreover, no one questions you. It's your company. You're the boss. You make the decisions. That, too, is a benefit of this position of power. People simply assume you're always working for the good of the company.

Tax evasion: the current outlook in new york

No matter the reason, discovering that a tax evasion charge may be right around the corner can set the stage for a world of stress. New Yorkers going through this difficult time might express confusion over the steps to come -- including the defense of a federal crime and the legal process in general. Even when the situation appears bleak, there are details to each case that are deserving of special time and attention. 

Just how serious are charges for this type of crime? Forbes highlights the case of one New York restaurant owner, in which the man received 150 months in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion. Christopher Swartz admitted to having deceived lenders and investors, stealing over $19 million in total. Swartz also pleaded guilty to obstructing the IRS and evading roughly $4 million in taxes. The New Yorker used restaurants and other companies to conceal these financial crimes, and now owes millions in restitution. 

Facing a federal drug charge

Unlike small drug offenses, a federal drug charge can mean extensive cooperation with court systems, costly fees and even months and years behind bars. As jarring as a drug charge may be, these types of offenses happen to average, working professionals across New York. Because one case can be entirely different from the next, the repercussions that follow can vary, as well. 

Facing a federal drug charge can certainly be daunting. Findlaw outlines New York's drug laws, particularly those concerning distribution, manufacturing and trafficking. Often a difficult fact to discover, New York has some of the most severe penalties when it comes to the country's drug laws. One reason for this strictness is that the state considers all compounds that make up the drugs -- as well as the drugs themselves -- when considering penalties. As Findlaw shares, there are five different categories that can apply to the distribution of a controlled substance; a defendant only needs to make an offer to receive penalties for this offense. Penalties can range anywhere from one year to 20 or more years in prison, with fees between $5,000 and $100,000. 

Two men accused of bank fraud scheme

New York residents may frequently hear reports about people who are accused of white collar crimes such as money laundering or embezzlement. Just as with any other type of criminal charge, it is always important for people to remember that every defendant is innocent until proven guilty. The often limited amount of information provided in media reports about these cases may make it difficult to think that defendants are innocent but this is always a possibility.

Today two men in New York are among those who have been arrested and charged with a white collar crime. In fact, the duo have been charged of multiple offenses including identity theft, conspiracy and federal bank fraud. The charges are the result of arrests made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and are said to relate to transactions made over a roughly five month period of time starting November 2016 through March 2017.

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