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New York Criminal Defense Blog

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.

The outlook of trading cryptocurrencies

Contrary to what many New Yorkers might believe, Ponzi schemes can involve more than inexperienced investors and greedy schemers. Many of these cases are complex and easily overlooked; what can seem a wise financial step can become a disaster overnight. More recently, a different angle of this crime has reached the spotlight: that of cryptocurrencies. 

Last September, Market Insider focused on a case in which a New York man faced accusations of operating a bitcoin Ponzi scheme. Nicholas Gelfman, Brooklyn resident and head trader, allegedly solicited $600,000 from 80 different clients -- which, according to Market Insider, involved false strategies and reports. Gelfman purportedly "staged" a hack in attempts to cover up the scheme. Such cases are not isolated, either; Market Insider points out that this form of Ponzi scheme is a popular strategy of the Italian mafia to launder money. Others have extorted large amounts of cryptocurrency from malware victims.

Bank fraud may not include intent to defraud a bank

Fraud charges are often very difficult to understand, especially considering just how complex our banking systems are in 2018 as opposed to banking even 10 or so years ago. More than ever, we live in an interconnected world, and those interconnections often blur the lines between legal boundaries, giving rise to criminal charges a defendant may not expect.

Bank fraud is a complicated charge that may arise a number of ways. If you or someone you know faces accusations of bank fraud, or criminal charges to that effect, it is important to remain calm and controlled as you assess your options. In many white collar crime cases, it is the behavior of the suspect after he or she receives charges that causes the greatest harm in the long run.

When an identity theft charge threatens a reputation

A growing problem across the nation, identity theft is a crime that has taken on many meanings. For those found guilty of identity theft, just one wrongful accusation can result in years of fines and negative repercussions. New York is one of many states that is significantly more vulnerable to such crimes, but is also one that applies serious penalties.

Repercussions to this type of white collar crime may be valid, but as for those falsely accused, gray areas can arise. The New York City Bar's website lists options one can consider when falsely accused of a crime, stating that a person who spreads the false information could be responsible for paying damages to the falsely accused. The two types of defamation -- libel, which is in written form, and slander, which refers to orally published defamation -- help clarify the statements. However, the elements in each carry the same meaning. Plaintiffs in these incidents must prove that, first and foremost, the defendant made a false statement that he or she knew to be incorrect. False statements must also be specific, as vague statements cannot trace to a particular person. There must also be proof that the defendant shared the false information with one-third party who is not the target and, lastly, the statement must have damaged a person's character. 

Laws on cyber-insider trading not always clear

It is not all that uncommon for people in New York to hear reports about a person, often a corporate executive of a company, being accused of some form of embezzlement, insider trading or other white collar crime. This is not because the people are likely criminals or in search of some easy way of making money. It may be due in part to the fact that the roles these people hold provide them insight into certain information and that the laws on what is and what is not legal here are not completely black and white.

Even when it comes to hacking into products or computer systems, the legality of such an action may differ based upon what is done after the actual hack occurs. If, for example, a person is able to successfully break into a system that controls a medical device designed to essentially keep a person alive, they may or may not be on the verge of an illegal act. After hacking in, if the hacker then disables an active device that results in harm to or the death of a person, criminal charges may come into play. 

Is insider trading actually legal?

When business-minded individuals in New York look into the stock market, they're met with a whole world of possibilities. Unfortunately, you're also going to run into a lot of laws dictating what can and can't be done when it comes to buying or selling your stocks. Insider trading is known as an illegal move, but did you know that there's actually a legitimate form of insider trading, too?

According to the United States Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), insider trading can actually refer to both legal and illegal conduct in the stock market. Generally speaking, it's the latter that comes to mind. However, there is also legal insider trading that you can take part in. In this scenario, stock within your own company is bought and sold by employees, directors, or officers of the company itself. Though they must report these trades to the SEC, the act is not illegal.

Copyright infringement and criminal charges

Many people in New York might not associated copyrights and criminal charges but it is important to know that the two can in fact be linked. Among the many examples of this is one that involves alleged illegal distribution of two Hollywood blockbuster films earlier in the century. As explained by the United States Department of Justice, four different individuals were charged with federal crimes involving copyright infringement and conspiracy.

Copyrights are granted to individuals or multiple persons for the creation of original creative works. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, these works might include novels, movies, music, sculptures, paintings and more. While the person or persons who hold a copyright are granted exclusive rights to their works, the law does recognize some references or uses thereof for select purposes.

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