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New York Criminal Defense Blog

Money laundering can occur even when you don't realize it

Money that is made illegally is sometimes funneled through legal channels to make it appear as if it was obtained lawfully. Doing this is a criminal act known as money laundering. You can face time in prison or fines when you are convicted of this crime.

There are several ways that money laundering can occur but these aren't always perfectly clear. It is sometimes possible that you can commit this crime without even realizing that you are doing it. Here are some important points to know about money laundering:

Do you qualify to have your federal record expunged?

There is a certain stigma that seems to accompany federal crimes, as though people in New York view them as being more serious than state offenses. The reality is that all criminally activity is equally serious; the only elements that designate a crime as being federal are jurisdictional issues. So ultimately, you would rather not have any infractions on your criminal record. Yet if you do, and yours happens to be for a federal offense, then you might be wondering if you qualify to have your federal record expunged. 

A better question may be is expungement even possible? Many believe that you simply to wait a certain period of time to qualify to have your record cleared. The truth is that if you were convicted of an offense, expungement is typically immediately off the table. Only in certain cases can you have an offense for which you were convicted (or pled guilty to) removed from your record. 

How does one prove intellectual property theft?

When you own your own business in New York (or are least charged with the marketing one), you may quickly discover that acheiving success often requires not only staying current with industry best practices, but also in observing and learning from your competitors. That may include taking some of the things that have helped make competitors successful and implementing them in your own business. Yet this prompts the question of at what point does doing so qualify as intellectual property infringement

"Intellectual property" is defined as those creations of the mind that companies use to grow and support their brands. These can include products, art, literary material, names, logos and symbols. Certain processes and trade secrets might also qualify as intellectual property. Your competitors may cry foul any time it appears as though you are implementing one of their ideas. It is important to know, however, that not all such scenarios qualify as infringment. 

Embezzlement allegations and your professional reputation

The consequences of being charged with embezzlement may disrupt a person's life in many ways. Aside from steep financial penalties and time behind bars, someone facing these allegations may have their life turned upside down by many other problems as well. For example, they could find themselves out of work or they may be unable to secure a job in a particular field in the future because of these charges. If you have been accused of embezzlement, it is important to defend yourself properly in order to protect your professional reputation. Unfortunately, even people who have been falsely accused of this offense have suffered irreparable damage to their career.

When someone has embezzlement on their record, it can become very difficult to find work, especially in certain fields. This can result in long-term financial challenges and create other problems as well, such as depression over the course of one's life. There are many different factors that need to be considered when it comes to an embezzlement case and each one is unique. You should take an individualized approach to your case if you are going through this and carefully examine any details that may seem minor but could have a significant impact on the outcome of the case.

Navigating a tax evasion charge

Like most white collar crimes in New York, a charge for tax evasion can be serious. However, because any process related to tax filing can be incredibly complex, gray areas often arise. There are some facts to know about tax evasion charges -- and the penalties that come with them -- that can make these areas appear clearer and more manageable. 

Those who are worried about a possible tax evasion offense are not alone: the United States Sentencing Commission reports that there were over 600 tax fraud cases in 2015. A large majority of offenders had no criminal history, and the average age for offenders was 50 years. Although the number of tax fraud cases has been on the decline, the penalties remain steep. The USSC also notes that roughly 63 percent of offenders in 2015 faced imprisonment, with an average sentence of 17 months. In addition, although the standard minimum sentencing increased from 24 to 26 months during that time, the past five years have shown that up to one quarter of offenders received sentences below the guideline range. 

Accused of wire fraud?

Wire fraud is often a misunderstood charge, possibly because many television shows and movies use the term in very loose ways, usually in a list of other charges that a suspect faces. While to is true that wire fraud charges often arise in conjunction with other charges, wire fraud is a serious crime in itself, and may singlehandedly result in significant legal consequences.

If you find yourself facing wire fraud charges, you have an important responsibility to do everything you can to defend your rights and fight the allegations. This probably requires a detailed, personalized legal defense, carefully prepared based on the facts of your individual case. Take great care to make sure that you do everything you can to protect yourself from life-altering, career-ending charges like these as soon as you possibly can.

Pyramid schemes versus ponzi schemes

Any financial crime can come with crippling costs, especially when it comes to actions related to pyramid or Ponzi schemes. Although most New York residents may assume these two crimes are the same, they involve different strategies. Although different in many ways, they can come with the same lasting effects on a person's life. 

As the Better Business Bureau explains, pyramid schemes generally span over shorter periods of time and involve recruiting other participants to make profits. Concentrating more heavily on the participants themselves than the actual supposed product, pyramid schemes frequently promise large amounts of money with little to no effort. Unlike Ponzi schemes, in which operators scout out new and vulnerable investors, pyramid schemes may only focus on the opportunity alone, mentioning little of the sale's purpose. Large start-up costs are another common promise at play in these financial ploys.

Understanding new york's counterfeit laws

When most New Yorkers think of counterfeit crimes, fake money typically comes to mind. However, there are a myriad of ways one can carry out this federal crime. More recently, there has been a seizure of parking placards in the state -- an item that has fuelled a black market industry over the years. While the act seemed minor in some ways, the penalties for these types of crimes can be serious.

As The New York Times relayed in a report on the incident, 30 people faced various charges last October for possession of a forged instrument, criminal impersonation and other illegal practices. The New York residents had used fake placards that emulated official city-issued documents to park in special zones without paying the price of a ticket. Five of the 30 allegedly used handicapped zone passes; three others were accused of submitting copies of the false placards to the city's financial department. One official from the Department of Investigation considered the crimes an act of stealing the city's resources. 

Business email compromises: a new threat

No matter how the situation panned out, a fraud charge can often be the beginning of a long and arduous legal battle. Some New York residents who have faced repercussions for such charges are left picking up the pieces long after a charge has come and gone. According to some sources, a new type of fraud has swept across the nation: business email compromises.

Last month, Forbes spent time explaining this relatively new wire transfer scam that has ultimately cost over $5 billion worldwide. Defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigations as "business email compromises," these scams occur when hackers collect information from various companies, acquiring sensitive information such as billing account statements. Then imitating customers, fraudsters can steal identities and bill the targeted company with directions to a scam bank account. Not only have fraudsters attacked companies across the map; Forbes adds that the issue has recently leaked into private sectors, wherein home buyers have become a central target. 

Understanding the details of narcotics laws

Penalties attached to most drug-related crimes can quickly become mountainous. When these crimes involve narcotics, the repercussions can become all the more extreme. While New York has worked diligently to address the antiquated elements within its Rockefeller Drug Laws, the penalties can nevertheless be severe, resulting in charges that can affect a person's reputation and overall quality of life.

As of 2015, The New York Post reported that a small number of New Yorkers were still behind bars under strict Rockefeller drug laws. However, The Post remarked on the state's recent efforts to minimize the number of inmates locked up for nonviolent drug crimes. These laws have been critized for the strict ways they handle even small possessions of cocaine or marijuana. Although marijuana left the list of drugs in 1979 -- and reforms made in 2005 and 2009 did away with mandatory minimum sentences for the drug -- some inmates continue to serve time for such charges. 

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