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Atlanta Federal Criminal Defense Law Blog

Criminal investigation leads to arrest of married couple

When people are arrested and charged with robbery and identity theft in Atlanta and surrounding areas, there are many issues they will have to consider as the case moves forward. Since identity theft has become so prevalent with the number of people using credit and purchasing items online, identity theft laws are in place to try and stop these activities and punish those who are convicted. Given the serious penalties that are possible for those convicted, it's imperative to know how to move forward when lodging a defense.

A husband and wife, ages 25 and 26, were arrested on numerous charges including burglary, breaking into a vehicle, identity fraud, credit card theft and fraudulent financial transactions. The couple is alleged to have broken into a vehicle to steal a purse. They are accused of using the debit card they found in the purse. They are also accused in other burglaries as well as stealing a Florida woman's identity and getting a credit card in her name. There might be other crimes pending as the investigation continues.

Prosecution of tax violations up in 2013 fiscal year

Tax violations, such as tax fraud, tax evasion and filing false tax returns are taken seriously in Georgia and across the United States. In fact the Internal Revenue Service has reported that in the 2013 fiscal year, enforcement activities significantly rose leading to convictions against alleged perpetrators.

Federal criminal court is different than state criminal court

There are two main bodies of law in the United States, federal law and state law. Most crimes committed in the United States fall under one or more state laws and, as such, are heard in a state criminal court. Some acts, however, constitute violations of federal law for which the alleged perpetrator must appear before a federal court to plead his or her case.

Federal criminal cases are normally investigated by one or more federal agencies such as the DEA, FBI, and the ATF, among others. Before charges are filed, evidence is brought before a grand jury. A U.S. attorney acts on behalf of the United States as the prosecutor and presents evidence to the grand jury; the grand jury, in turn, decides if the evidence is sufficient to bring the case to trial.

Five arrested in Georgia identity theft ring

Identity theft can take many different forms. Whether it involves social security numbers, checks, mail, credit cards or more, this type of crime can carry severe consequences. Recently, an extensive identify theft operation was caught by law enforcement. The case shows how complex such operations can be and the serious penalties that accompany it.

Five residents of Georgia have been arrested on various charges after law enforcement busted what appears to be an extensive identity theft ring. Police say the two oldest members of the operation rented a house to serve as a base of operations as they recruited several other members to assist in the fraud. The members would steal mail from mailboxes to obtain personal information before using that same information to create bogus bank accounts, credit cards and more. When police investigated the house of the operation, they found stolen mail numbering in the hundreds, counterfeit currency, check-making materials, fake driver's licenses and more.

What is identity theft?

If you are facing federal theft charges, it is very important to understand the nature of the charges you face. There are a number of different types of theft, including robbery, shoplifting and cyber crimes such as identity theft. Penalties vary depending on the nature of the crime, but can be serious.

When an Atlanta resident is accused of identity theft, it means they have been accused of wrongfully obtaining someone else's personal information and using that personal information to commit theft or fraud. Personal information includes names, Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, passport numbers, bank account numbers and even telephone numbers.

Politician faces federal charges for mail, wire fraud

Federal charges carry serious repercussions, even if they do not lead to convictions. Criminal charges have the potential to ruin the accused individual's personal and professional life, from his or her reputation in the workplace to family relationships. This is why they should be taken seriously, especially if they involve federal crimes since these carry harsher penalties, prison sentences and fines than some state crimes.

This may be the problem a famous politician is facing in Georgia after an indictment revealed federal charges of wire and mail fraud. According to the U.S. Attorney, he is accused of defrauding clients to the tune of $1.8 million, sometimes under the pretense of creating trusts for them. In addition to this, the allegations include that he falsely represented that he was taking down payments from his clients to assist them in getting loans. The 55-year-old man is accused of using the funds to pay his credit card bills, personal expenses and repaying other clients. The alleged crimes took place between 2008 and 2013.

What do I do if I am facing fraud charges?

Georgia residents may not know that their state takes a hard stand against crimes of all kinds. This means that those facing criminal charges could face heavy fines, prison times and other penalization based on the type of crime they are accused of. When someone is accused of committing a crime that crosses state lines, that person may face prosecution by the federal government, which can carry even harsher sentences.

As Georgia readers of our Atlanta Federal Criminal Defense Law Blog may have read recently, white collar crimes cover a wide variety of crimes and people can unknowingly find themselves accused of committing these crimes. Even though there may be no physical harm to the alleged victims in this type of crime, the financial and emotional loss are enough cause for levying serious penalties against the accused.

A closer look at white-collar crime and fraud

The term white-collar crime is generally used to refer to nonviolent crime that are most often committed in commerce situations for financial gain. According to the FBI, white-collar crime costs the U.S. more than $300 billion annually. White-collar crime is a category of crime that includes various forms of fraud, including financial fraud and securities fraud; embezzlement; tax evasion; and a variety of other financial crimes.

Fraud occurs when a party deliberately deceives another party with the intent to cause damage, which is often financial damage, to the other party. Penalties for white-collar crimes such as fraud often include fines; forfeitures of property improperly obtained; restitution to victims; home detention; supervised release; and imprisonment, among other possible penalties. The penalties for white-collar crimes and fraud crimes are unquestionably serious.

What is an indictment?

Atlanta readers of our blog may have read about the recent indictments being issued in multiple fraud cases and how this may speed up a trial. However, some readers may be unsure of what that actually means and why this is so. According to one news source, an indictment is issued by a grand jury. Again, the term grand jury is misleading because a grand jury does not actually decide on someone’s guilt or innocence. Rather, a grand jury decides whether to pursue charges against an individual or not.

Usually, only the prosecutor is present in front of the grand jury members of 23 people. After explaining the relevant law to the grand jury, the prosecutor works with them to collect evidence and listen to testimony. A grand jury can view almost any evidence they wish to and are not subjected to the same rules of admissibility as a normal jury. Grand jury proceedings are conducted in confidentiality, which protects the accused, if the case does not end up going to trial.

What are white collar crimes?

Readers of the Atlanta Federal Criminal Defense Law Blog may have become familiar with the terms "fraud," "embezzlement" and "identity theft." However, they may not know that all these crimes, including a variety of other ones, all fall broadly under the head of "white collar crimes." White collar crimes are typically motivated by financial gain and involve crimes that are committed through deceit. Many of the common crimes touched upon on in this blog are encompassed by this term.

Fraud, the crime of deceiving someone for monetary gain, is perhaps the most common type of white collar crimes, but even fraud has many different categories, including securities fraud, mortgage fraud and insurance fraud. If an executive knows some confidential information about the company he works and takes advantage of this knowledge, like selling his stock, he may be guilty of insider trading, a type of securities fraud. If someone lies on their insurance application for the purpose of illegally collecting on an insurance policy, this may be considered insurance fraud.

Nick Lotito Seth Kirschenbaum

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