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Atlanta Federal Criminal Defense Law Blog

Is it illegal to buy a house for someone else?

There are a lot of people here in Atlanta who would do anything for their parents, especially considering how much our parents give to us over our lifetimes. For some people, this need to payback their parents for their generosity came to a head when the housing market burst and parents all over the state started losing their homes to foreclosure.

In order to recoup some of this lost investment, some children wanted to help their parents out by purchasing homes for them. But while this might seem like an incredibly sweet idea, people considering this should stop before they act because it could be considered fraud in some cases. Let's take a look.

What really constitutes entrapment?

In the 1999 film "Entrapment," starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jones' character convinces Connery, an aged thief, to help her steal an expensive piece of art. Because of the title of the movie, and the shenanigans that ensued, a lot of people across the nation probably believed that this was an example of entrapment. There are some who may still believe this to this day.

Like with most things in Hollywood though, the creators of this movie took some creative license with the story, including what entrapment actually is in accordance with the law. This might leave you asking today's question: what really constitutes entrapment? Let's take a look at the law and an example that might clarify the legalese.

How bank account activity could lead to a legal mess with the IRS

Did you know that if a business or an individual frequently deposits cash in amounts close to but below $10,000, a financial institution has the right to alert the IRS? If you didn't, you're not alone. Many people across the nation, including some here in Georgia, may not know that the Bank Secrecy Act gives financial institutions this power, nor do many realize that this report of cash flow could lead to criminal accusations from the federal government as well.

For those who don't know, the Bank Secrecy Act is designed to alert the federal government to potential illegal operations. If the IRS believes that the cash flow could be connected to illegal activity, civil asset forfeiture laws give the agency the right to seize assets in an account. But here is where things can get incredibly challenging for those suspected of committing a crime.

A look at election crimes that can lead to federal charges

Most people have heard of voter fraud and election fraud.  While most people can't name the specific laws applicable to elections, or know where they might be found in the criminal code, just about everyone knows that misrepresentation at the voting booth or during the course of a campaign can lead to some serious charges. Did you know that there are other actions that could also be considered election crimes? If not, then you may want to continue reading today's post because we describe a number of things that the Federal Bureau of Investigation considers criminal activities that may lead to serious federal charges and litigation as well.

Has federal law set Americans up for failure? Some say yes

If we asked you to list off as many laws as you could, how many do you think you'd get? Would the number be closer to a few dozen than a few thousand? If so, then you wouldn't be alone. Most people in Georgia only have a general understanding of the law and typically can only list the laws they have encountered in their lifetime.

But you might be shocked to learn that there are hundreds of thousands of laws -- both state and federal -- currently on the books that could easily apply to a majority of our readers, including you. Many of these include regulatory crimes, which is a category that is not only growing but is creating major problems for Americans all over the nation.

Case against Robert Durst escalates as grand jury files charges

Some of our Atlanta readers may be following the case of Robert Durst, the wealthy real estate heir whose family operates the World Trade Center tower in New York. If you're among those following the case, then you too have probably realized the gravity of the case and what is at stake for Durst.

As you may know, he is facing allegations in three jurisdictions that may involve both state and federal courts. Though he's been dealing with these criminal allegations for months, his situation became more precarious recently when a federal grand jury charged him with illegal possession of a handgun, which is a charge that can carry with it a chance of spending more than a decade in prison.

Don't let investigators label you a criminal, get legal help

As many of our Atlanta readers know, criminal investigations can come in all shapes and sizes. Some can be relatively short, spanning only a few hours as is the case with traffic stops or other encounters with the police. Others can be more lengthy, spanning months or even years, such as with state or federal investigations into potential criminal activity.

It's important to note though that no matter how long it took investigators to attempt to put together a case against you, you do have the right to protect yourself against their accusations. Rather than learn the hard way, it's a right you should definitely exert.

Two federal agents face federal charges for actions on Silk Road

With the invention of the Internet, it truly became a small world. The internet has made it possible for people to do business with others as far away as the other side of the world. As with traditional business, it also created a new vehicle for criminal activities deemed illegal by our federal government. Law enforcement efforts have resulted in civil as well as criminal litigation and resulted in the shutdown of sites like Pirate Bay in 2014 and Silk Road in 2013.

Some believe that the Internet creates a level of anonymity, making it easier for people to conduct illegal activities. In some instances, law enforcement agents have used such anonymity in undercover criminal investigations, leading to a variety of arrests and criminal charges. The thought behind these investigations is to "catch" people while they are doing illegal things and hold them accountable for their actions.

Payday lending operations can lead to criminal charges, FTC warns

You've probably all seen a commercial at one time or another for a payday lender. These businesses provide people with small loans at high interest rates. The expectation is that the person will pay back the loan once they receive their next paycheck or risk being accessed a high interest charge. Such businesses are highly restricted here in Georgia, as the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection explains on their website, and violating the law can also lead to misdemeanor criminal charges with the chance of fines and possible jail time as well.

But Georgia is not the only state that has made payday lending operations nearly illegal. Other states have also placed harsh restrictions on lending practices and may also enforce criminal prosecution if these regulations are violated. The federal government has also stepped in on occasion, seeking prosecution against businesses believed to have engaged in deceptive lending practices, failed to adhere to the requirements of the Truth in Lending Act, or used abusive debt collection practices, just to name a few.

Could Hilary Clinton's email scandal lead to criminal charges?

Whether you've been following the story or not on the news, chances are you've heard about the scandal concerning Hilary Clinton's emails. According to an article in the IRJ Review, the former Secretary of State used her "personal email account to conduct official State Department business," a maneuver that has political figures and the media up in arms, so to speak, calling her actions an "egregious violation of the law."

Some people though, which may include some of our Atlanta readers, might be asking how a political figure using their personal email account for business purposes can be a violation of the law. This is especially true if California Senator Dianne Feinstein's statement is correct and Hilary Clinton meant no ill intent by using the account. It certainly begs an important question: could Hilary Clinton's email scandal lead to criminal charges?

Nick Lotito Seth Kirschenbaum

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