When people in New York hear or read stories about financial professionals being accused of illegally or unethically obtaining or using company funds, they may automatically assume the person is guilty or has little to no option to defend themselves. That is certainly untrue as the justice and legal system is set up to allow all defendants the right to prove their innocence. Sometimes, charges can come to be dropped in what may seem to some by unusual circumstances.
Most in New York are likely familiar with the term "money laundering" and might even have a general understanding of that it means: taking supposedly "dirty" money and making it appear clean. "Dirty money" is typically that which is gained unlawfully, and indeed, it is illegal to try and attempt to conceal its origin by making it appear as though one secured it through legitimate means. Yet the exact details of what activity actually qualifies as money laundering might be unknown to most.
You hear the word "fraud," and immediately may think of nefarious characters looking to steal millions from businesses or private citizens in New York. In reality, however, fraud accusations can be far-reaching. The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines it as "the intentional perversion of the truth for the purpose of inducing another person or other entity in reliance upon it to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right." This potentially broad application has led many of those that we here at Sapone & Petrillo, LLP have worked with to be unwittingly accused of conducted fraudulent activities. One such activity that is becoming increasingly prevalent is return fraud.
Organized crime has a long history in this country. It has always been a portal for illegal drugs and financial crimes. The history of these organizations is checkered across the country. One thing that is fairly common is that the activities cross state lines. This means that the criminal charges are often federal.
The common assumption amongst most in New York is likely that it is impossible to "accidently" commit a crime (particularly a federal one). Thus, claims if innocence to criminal activity are often met with great deal of skepticism. However, there are indeed where circumstances unbeknownst to you could indeed invite criminal scrutiny, especially if you are in the business of employing the others.
Many in New York may view the question of you being accused of criminal activity as one that is fairly cut-and-dry: either you did commit an offense, or you did not. However, such a simplification does not always apply (particularly in cases involving perceived "white collar crimes" such as embezzlement). Many come to us here at Sapone and Petrillo, LLP having been accused of such a crime wondering how they landed in such a situation. After all, if your actions in managing another's property were genuine, how can you then be accused of a crime of this magnitude?