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New York Criminal Defense Blog

How do guilty people act?

Getting accused of a crime is stressful. This stress can make you act nervous and guilty, whether you really are guilty or not. That, in turn, can lead you to make mistakes that incriminate yourself or at least make your situation worse.

As some are fond of saying, the cover-up often leads to more mistakes than the crime. A lot of people get arrested because they commit secondary crimes or make themselves appear guilty when trying to do just the opposite. You need to be very careful with what you say and how you act.

Alleged types of fraud

If you are like many people in New York, you may often struggle to understand some white collar crime charges. Most of these cases center around a person, a group of persons or a company earning a profit from their actions. This in and of itself is not only not illegal but is central to a healthy capitalist economy. The line between what is legal and what is illegal when it comes to making these profits can be quite thin and blurry at times.

As explained by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, there are numerous actions that may contribute to criminal charges involving fraud. One of these is offering to sell shares in a then-private company prior to the company completing an initial public offering. Another situation that may result in criminal allegations is when a person or entity requests payment from a client at the outset of a deal. This is referred to as advanced fee fraud.

Social media post leads to IP lawsuit

When many people in New York think about intellectual property, they might think about patents or trademarks in the setting of what some may call traditional businesses. However, there are many creative forms of works that may be protected by copyrights as well. These protections are utilized by businesses across a wide array of industries. Artistic works including photographs may be copyrighted which opens up the possibility of legal action over them if any copyright is violated.

An example of this can be seen in a recently filed lawsuit involving a photograph and a social media post. The photo was taken by an agency that indicates it is the owner of all intellectual property rights regarding that particular image. In the photo was a woman who is a well-known model. The woman is said to personally manage her social media accounts. While it is not uncommon for a person to post a picture of themselves on social media, that does not mean it is acceptable to post a picture that is copyrighted even if it is of one's own self.

Insider trading can be hard to identify

If you have heard people in New York talk about white collar crime, you have likely heard references to things like embezzlement, money laundering or fraud. Another type of alleged white collar crime is insider trading. This particular offense can sometimes be hard to identify and may make it hard for people to avoid being charged with this crime even if they had no idea they were potentially doing something illegal.

As explained by Money Crashers, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has over the years broadened the scope of what might be considered insider trading. The purpose of this is to cast a wider net to catch potential offenders. One of the things that may be a factor in an insider trading allegation is the active trading of securities based on information that was not common knowledge or publicly available at the time.

Seven face charges of forgery, conspiracy and more

When many people in New York think about forgery, they might automatically think about one person illegally signing another person's name. That is one type of forgery indeed but it is not the only thing that can lead a person to be charged with forgery as a crime.

An example of a different type of forgery allegation can be seen in the case of a group of men who have been arrested for their respective roles in what is being called a vehicle forgery scheme. According to a report by QNS News, the group is said to have been operating essentially a forgery business for at least three-and-a-half years, going back to July of 2015. The allegations against them indicate they made forged temporary vehicle documentation including registrations and temporary license plates.

Unique challenges associated with insider trading charges

The United States is a capitalist society in which individuals and businesses alike eagerly pursue making money for themselves and their companies. This is the nature of the system yet there are some situations in which these efforts may lead people to be faced with allegations of criminal activity.

As explained by The New York Times, insider trading is a form of white collar crime that seems to be especially difficult for defendants to navigate. It is also a type of crime that has been involved in several recent cases.

Why is it called money laundering?

You've probably heard of money laundering. You know it has to do with moving money around to try to hide illegal activity. You know that the act of laundering it is also illegal in its own right. But have you ever wondered why they call it that to begin with?

You really just have to think of the end goal of the process, and it makes a lot of sense. Initially, you start off with "dirty money." This is usually money that is related to a criminal enterprise. Maybe you got it by selling drugs or embezzling money from a company or defrauding people who thought you were going to invest the money for them. Regardless, it comes from an illegal source.

Defining different types of bribery

The word "bribe" is often applied so broadly in everyday conversation in New York that you might reasonably forget that it actually refers to criminal activity. The line between being incentivized and actually being bribed is often so razor thin that many come to us here at Sapone & Petrillo, LLP completely surprised to be facing bribery charges. Understanding exactly what constitutes a bribe can help you respond to being accused of such an offense. 

Per New York Penal Law, the state actually recognizes several different forms of bribery. These include: 

  • Commercial bribing
  • Bribery of a labor official
  • Sports bribery
  • Tampering with a sports contest 
  • Impairing the integrity of a pari-mutuel betting system
  • Rent gouging 

How does the law treat community mailboxes?

You have likely seen examples in film or other popular media of kids destroying mailboxes for fun. While such images do typically represent delinquent behavior, few would likely the seriousness with which the destruction of mailboxes is treated by authorities. Indeed, the fact that vandalizing or destroying mailboxes is a federal crime has been detailed on this blog before. Recent years, however, have seen individual mailboxes become less common as communities are adopting the practice long utilized in apartment buildings of utilizing a community mail receptacle. These units make it easier for postal carriers to complete their rounds, and are built to be more secure than a standard mail box. Yet that added security does not necessarily mean they are immune from vandalism and theft. 

One might even argue that the fact that since you do not consistently have your eyes on your community mail receptacle, it is more vulnerable to abuse. That individual boxes require keys also means that more damaging effort is needed to open them. As is the case with individual mailboxes, it is also a federal crime to tamper with a community mailbox in any way. 

Defining internet auction fraud

The Internet offers you a wealth of opportunities to extend commercial endeavors far beyond New York City. Whereas in the past, if you had something to sell, you would typically only advertise the sale locally, you can now reach a national (or even international) purchasing audience. The exposure the Web offers also allows you to generate significant interest in what you have to sell, even to the point of creating a potential bidding war. Yet as many of those that we here at Sapone & Petrillo, LLP can attest to, overseeing an online auction should be done with caution. 

Internet auction fraud has quickly become one of the more commonly recognized fraud schemes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines "internet auction fraud" as either the misrepresentation of goods for sale or non-delivery of goods purchased through an internet auction site. You might think that you are not subject to scrutiny when placing items up for bid online (especially if you advertise them "as is"), yet that is not always the case. You must still operate in good faith when arranging any type of online transaction. Examples of actions that could lead to accusations of internet auction fraud include: 

  • Promising the sale of the same item to multiple parties
  • Favoring a single bidder in an auction-style scenario
  • Failing to deliver items purchased through an online auction

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