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Archive for the ‘White collar crime’ Category

What Should I Do if I Am Charged with Credit Card Fraud?

September 5th, 2018 at 6:41 am

Rolling Meadows white collar crime attorney, white collar crime, deceit concealment, credit card fraud, credit card crimesThe Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines white collar crime as crimes characterized by “deceit concealment, or violation of trust” that are also not “dependent on the application or threat of physical force or violence.” Usually, motivation behind a white collar crime is some type of financial gain. A common type of white collar crime is credit card fraud, and Illinois treats credit card fraud cases very seriously. 

Credit Card Fraud in Illinois

There are several instances in which a credit card fraud charge could be brought. Essentially, credit card fraud involves the improper use or possession of a credit card, whether it be your own credit card or someone else’s credit card. Examples of credit card fraud include:

  • Using incorrect information or making a false statement in an attempt to receive a credit card;
  • Using another credit card, without permission or consent;
  • Transferring or selling another person’s credit card;
  • Defrauding another individual with a credit card;
  • The use of an expired, revoked, or counterfeit card;
  • Possessing a credit card that you know is lost with the intention of using the card, transferring, or selling it; and
  • Signing another person’s credit card with the intent to defraud.

Penalties

The type of charge associated with credit card fraud (misdemeanor or felony) depends on the amount of fraud at issue. A credit card fraud charge can be a Class 4 felony, Class 3 felony, or a Class A misdemeanor. The more amount of money at issue, the more serious the charge – a felony over a misdemeanor charge. The following are the penalties associated with each type of charge:

  • Class A Misdemeanor results with property values less than $150. A sentence of up to one year, potential fines of $2,500 for each offense, or restitution can result.
  • Class 4 Felony is appropriate when the value of property is between $150 to $300. There is the potential for one to three years in prison, periodic imprisonment, up to $25,000 in fines for each offense, or restitution.
  • Class 3 Felony results when the value of property is over $300. There is a potential for two and a half to five years prison, supervision for one year following release, and potential fines up to $25,000.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you have been charged with credit card fraud, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Skilled Rolling Meadows white collar crime attorney Christopher M. Cosley is here to help you. Attorney Cosley combines a passion for aggressively defending someone with the skills, knowledge, and resources needed to provide the best defense possible. Contact us today to get your defense started.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=56800000&SeqEnd=58900000

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime

White Collar Crime: An Overview

March 5th, 2018 at 7:41 am

Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, white collar crime, check fraudX embezzelment, insurance fraudMany people in Illinois have heard the term “white collar crime,” although they are unsure of its true definition. In this case, some think of investment bankers embezzling millions from their corporate office. Or, others may think of someone forging a document. Ultimately, white collar crime includes a wide variety of crimes. Due to the severity of the penalties, it is imperative that you reach out to an attorney immediately for help if you are facing white collar crime charges.

What is white collar crime?

The FBI characterizes white collar crime by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust. There is no need for there to be a threat of physical force or violence. White collar crime usually involves theft or retrieval of financial assets with the intent of personal gain. This includes the theft or retrieval of data, too, not just monetary assets.

Technically, white collar crime is not a formal category in the law, but an assignment to a group of crimes that share similar characteristics. White collar crime is usually attributed to professionals who commit a crime in a business setting. Examples of white collar crime include the following:

  • Theft, including identity theft;
  • Bribery;
  • Check fraud;
  • Counterfeiting;
  • Embezzlement;
  • Tax evasion; and
  • Insurance fraud.

There are more crimes that fall under the umbrella of white collar crime, but the above are a few of the more commonly committed crimes.

Penalties for Committing White Collar Crimes

Just like other crimes, there are varying degrees of severity in white collar crime. The bigger the crime, the bigger the punishment. Common punishments include probation, fines, community service, restitution, property forfeiture, and imprisonment.  Courts have sentencing guidelines for each crime to give a guide of what the proper punishment should be, with the ultimate goal of having a consistent sentencing policy for the same crime.

Defense to White Collar Criminal Charges

There is a wide range of defenses available, depending on the crime. Common defenses like insanity, duress, incapacity, or intoxication are available. One of the most common defenses is entrapment. Entrapment is when a government actor presents an individual with the opportunity to commit a criminal act. This criminal act would not have otherwise been committed had the opportunity not arose.

725 ILCS 5/7-12 states that a person is not guilty of a crime if their conduct is incited or induced by a public officer, or their agent, for the purpose of obtaining evidence against them.

Speak with an Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer in Illinois Today

If you have been charged with a white collar crime, you need the support of a legal team that is dedicated to you. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we have the experience and skill to defend you. Talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher Cosley will provide you with an excellent defense. Contact us today for more information.

Sources:

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/072000050K7-12.htm

What Are the Penalties for Committing Forgery in Illinois?

January 10th, 2018 at 11:32 am

forgery, Rolling Meadows white collar crime lawyer, white collar crimes, forgery conviction, forgery allegationWhite collar crimes, especially the crime of forgery, have been featured prominently in the news recently. The crime of forgery is committed when an individual drafts or alters a writing with the intent to defraud another. However, it is important to note that each state in the U.S. defines forgery slightly differently in their respective criminal codes.

In Illinois, according to code section 720 ILCS 5/17-3, forgery is committed in Illinois when a person knowingly, and with the intent to defraud:

  • Falsifies a document in order to defraud another,
  • Issues or delivers a falsified document while knowing it to be false,
  • Possesses a falsified document with the intent to issue or deliver it while knowing it to be false,
  •  Illegally uses someone else’s digital signature, or
  • Illegally uses someone else’s signature device in order to create an electronic signature for that person.

Penalties   

Forgery is generally charged as a Class 3 felony in Illinois; however, if the violator forged only one Universal Price Code Label then the crime can be charged as a Class 4 felony. Additionally, if the violator was convicted of forging a coin or an academic degree (that did not explicitly state “for novelty purposes only”) then he or she can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

Although the various penalties that are available for committing forgery under Illinois law vary a bit depending on the manner in which the forgery was conducted, one count of forgery that is charged as a Class 3 felony can generally be accompanied by one or more of the following penalties:

  • Restitution: The offender will almost always be ordered to pay restitution to those he or she defrauded (aka he or she will be required to pay compensation to his or her victims),
  • Imprisonment: The offender may be ordered to serve two to five years in prison; however, as an alternative to imprisonment, the offender may be placed on probation, and
  • Fine: The offender may be ordered to pay up to $25,000 in fines.

Additionally, it should also be noted that an individual who is convicted of forgery in Illinois will generally be forced to carry the forgery conviction on his or her permanent record forever as it is unlikely to be expunged or sealed.   

Charged with Forgery in Illinois? Contact a Local White Collar Crime Lawyer

If you are in need of a talented Rolling Meadows white collar crime lawyer to defend you in Illinois against a forgery allegation, look no further than the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Attorney Chris Cosley has extensive experience defending clients throughout Illinois against a wide variety of white collar crimes including conspiracy, counterfeiting, extortion, fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, bribery, and of course forgery. To find out what The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can do for you, contact us today for help.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K17-3

 

Embezzlement in Illinois: The Need to Know Basics

September 20th, 2017 at 8:48 am

embezzlement, Illinois embezzlement cases, Rolling Meadows white collar criminal lawyer, penalties for embezzlement, theftEmbezzlement is a type of theft that occurs when a person who has been entrusted with another’s property fraudulently keeps that property for his or her own personal gain or illegally transfers it to a third party. Embezzlement most frequently occurs when money is entrusted to the care of someone who then misappropriates that money in some way.

Examples of Embezzlement

While embezzlement can occur in countless ways, common examples of embezzlement include the following:

  • A waitress who pockets cash from a patron’s bill and enters a lesser amount into the cash register so that the till still balances at the end of her shift;
  • A payroll department manager of a large company who adds his family members who do not work for the company to the payroll in order to collect checks that they have not earned; or
  • The person in charge of counting a church’s weekly offerings who pockets $20 in cash from the collection each week.

Penalties

The penalties for embezzlement in Illinois vary depending on the value of what was stolen in accordance with code section 720 ILCS 5/16-1(b) of the Illinois Compiled Statutes. While those convicted of embezzlement can be forced to pay restitution and substantial fines, they can also be sentenced to serve significant time in prison. For example, consider the following prison sentences that can be handed down in Illinois embezzlement cases:

  • Theft not exceeding $500: Class A misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in jail. However, if the crime was committed in a place of worship or a school, or if the theft was of government property, then the crime is a Class 4 felony (punishable by up to three years in prison). Additionally, if the offender was previously convicted of another theft crime (for example, armed robbery, forgery, residential burglary etc.) then his or her embezzlement crime may also qualify as a Class 4 felony (punishable by up to three years in prison).
  • Theft of $500 to $10,000: Class 3 felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison. However, if the crime was committed in a place of worship or a school, or if the theft was of government property, then the crime is a Class 2 felony (punishable by up to seven years in prison).
  • Theft of $10,000 to $100,000: Class 2 felony that is punishable by up to seven years in prison. However, if the crime was committed in a place of worship or a school, or if the theft was of government property, then the crime is a Class 1 felony (punishable by up to 15 years in prison).
  • Theft of $500,000 to $1,000,000: Class 1 non-probationable felony that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
  • Theft exceeding $1,000,000: Class X felony that is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Consult With a Local White Collar Criminal Lawyer

As you can see, embezzlement is a serious crime that carries steep penalties in Illinois. Therefore, anyone who has been charged with embezzlement is strongly encouraged to retain an experienced Rolling Meadows white collar criminal lawyer to defend his or her interests. At The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley our criminal defense team has extensive experience defending clients accused of white collar crimes and is intimately familiar was the unique complexities that white collar cases pose.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-1

Counterfeiting as a Federal Crime and a State Crime

January 25th, 2016 at 10:58 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois white crimes lawyer, Illinois criminal lawyer, Counterfeiting is a serious crime that involves the illegal and unauthorized reproduction of legal tender (i.e., money), goods or documents that is made in a way that would likely fool an unsuspecting recipient of the counterfeited item. It is a form of fraud with very serious consequences. Common examples of counterfeiting include:

  • Counterfeit U.S. or foreign currency;
  • Counterfeit government issued bonds;
  • Counterfeit educational degrees;
  • Counterfeit legal documents (i.e., passports, birth certificates, immigration papers, Social Security cards, etc.);
  • Counterfeit common goods, which includes knock off products;
  • Counterfeit of a trademark;
  • Counterfeit credit cards or debit cards;
  • Counterfeit luxury goods, such as name brand watches, sunglasses or purses; and
  • Counterfeit checks.

Advances in printing technology have made it substantially easier to commit this white collar crime than in decades past. This means that more people have the ability to create counterfeit items with a high level of accuracy in terms of resembling the real thing. Counterfeiting is usually a fairly large operation, as it requires someone to make the counterfeit item, but operations also often include someone to sell the counterfeit item. Simply being caught with a counterfeit item with the intent to distribute or sell the item is illegal.

Counterfeiting Laws

Counterfeiting is a crime at both the state and federal level.

  • In Illinois, the counterfeiting laws include:
    • Counterfeiting Credit or Debit Cards. Counterfeiting is specifically defined under 720 ILCS 5/17-0.5 as the manufacture, creation or production of a credit or debit card without authorization or consent from the purported issuer of the card.
    • Counterfeiting Goods or Trademarks. 765 ILCS 1040/1 addresses what constitutes a counterfeit item, or trademark and 765 ILCS 1040/2 details the crime of using or circulating counterfeit or imitation goods.
  • At the federal level, federal counterfeit law includes:
    • 18 U.S.C. Section 471. Under this law, it is illegal to defraud, forge, counterfeit, falsely make, or alter any form of money, security or obligation of the United States.

Counterfeiting Money Is the Most Popular Form of Counterfeiting

Counterfeiting money is the most popular form of counterfeiting in the United States, with the $20 bill being the most commonly counterfeit dollar bill. If too much fake money enters into circulation, U.S. currency will lose value. The federal government has spent a lot of time and money trying to design complicated currency with a number of counterfeit prevention and detection features. The government takes counterfeiting of money very seriously and prosecutes it aggressively.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

There are significant consequences to be faced if you are convicted on counterfeiting charges. If you have been notified by the authorities that you are being investigated for counterfeit operations, an experienced white collar crime lawyer can help you with your criminal defense. Contact a passionate Rolling Meadows white collar crime defense attorney to discuss the specifics of your case with a professional today. We are prepared to help you with your case.

 

Sources:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt.+24&ActID=1876&ChapAct=720%26nbsp%3BILCS%26nbsp%3B5%2F&ChapterID=53&ChapterName=CRIMINAL+OFFENSES&SectionID=60752&SeqStart=50300000&SeqEnd=53000000&ActName=Criminal+Code+of+1961.

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2233&ChapterID=62

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/471

Forgery: White Collar Crime

January 11th, 2016 at 9:24 am

Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal laws, When an act of forgery involves money in someway, the crime is generally characterized as a white collar crime. According to 720 ILCS 5/17-3, forgery occurs when a person knowingly, with the intent to defraud someone else, makes a false document, object or statistic, or alters any of these to make them false. The forgery must be capable of defrauding another individual. Simply supplying a document that you know to be false can be considered forgery, as can merely having a forged document in your possession, with the intent to defraud another.

Forgeries can take many forms. Some of the most common examples of forgery include:

Identity Theft

Forged documents are commonly used in identity theft cases. One person poses as another by misrepresenting their identity, which can be as simple as filling out a form as if you were someone else, or manufacturing a fake passport or driver’s license with your photo, but someone else’s personal identification information. These crimes often arise when a person tries to take out a line of credit or obtain a credit card with personal identification information that has been misappropriated or stolen.

Counterfeiting

Counterfeiting is related to forgery, but is a more serious offense. Counterfeiting, for the most part, falls to the purview of federal jurisdiction (meaning it is a federal crime), but Illinois law also tackles the crime under the deception and frauds statutes, 720 ILCS 5/17-0.5. Counterfeiting occurs where a person manufactures something that is fake, but acts or uses the manufactured item as if it were legitimate, authorized or real. A person can counterfeit, or manufacture, any number of items, including but not limited to fake money, passports, IDs, credit cards, legal papers, and goods.

Bad Checks

When it comes to writing bad checks, there are two main types: issuing a check when you know that there are insufficient funds to cover the check’s value, and fraudulently issuing a check (either posing as someone else, or using a fraudulently obtained or stolen check). Issuing bad checks can fall under the umbrella of forgery if some aspect of the bad check is deceptive, and the person who “issues” the check does so with the intent of defrauding the recipient of the check.

What Defenses Can Be Used for Forgery Charges?

When you are charged with forgery, there are a number of defenses that could be raised on your behalf. For instance, if someone posed as you – i.e. stole your identity – and then committed forgery, you are not the person who had the intent to defraud, and you were not the person involved in the forgery.  You were merely a victim of identity theft.

It is also possible that your forgery charges could be defended against if you lacked knowledge that you were committing a forgery, which is commonly tied to lacking the intent to defraud someone. Simply making a mistake on important paperwork, or failing to notice a mistake, is not fraud or forgery, unless you had the intent to defraud another. An experienced criminal lawyer can go over the details of your alleged crime, and can help you develop the best legal defense you have available in light of the specific facts of your case.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Forgery charges are serious charges. When you need a white collar crime lawyer, contact a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you protect your rights in your criminal case.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K17-3

http://ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt.+24&ActID=1876&ChapAct=720%26nbsp%3BILCS%26nbsp%3B5%2F&ChapterID=53&ChapterName=CRIMINAL+OFFENSES&SectionID=60752&SeqStart=50300000&SeqEnd=53000000&ActName=Criminal+Code+of+1961.

White Collar Crimes: Falsified Financial Documents

November 3rd, 2015 at 8:35 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois tax fraud attorney, Illinois white collar crimes lawyer,Falsifying financial documents can take many forms: falsifying tax returns, bank statements, financial records, accounting documents, earnings reports, securities information, income statements, signatures, and checks are all actions that are meant to deceive the recipient of the falsified document into believing one thing, when the truth is another. These types of white collar crimes constitute deception-based crimes, which take advantage of someone else for personal financial gain.

Forgery

Under 720 ILCS 5/17-3, a person is guilty of committing forgery if he or she knowingly makes a false document or alters a document to make it false with the intent to defraud someone such that the forged document is capable of defrauding another. Forgery can including knowingly giving someone a forged document, with the intent to defraud the recipient, or simply being found in possession of a forged document with the intent to deliver the forged document to someone, with the intent to defraud.

Forgery is generally a Class 3 felony; however, if the forgery is of a coin or an academic degree, it is a Class A misdemeanor, but if the forgery is of a Universal Price Code Label, it is a Class 4 felony.

Tax Fraud

Tax fraud is another common white collar crime that often involves the falsifying of financial documents in an effort to decrease the amount of state or federal taxes that are owed to the government. While no one ever wants to pay more in taxes than they have to, every person has a legally imposed tax obligation that they are required to pay. Of course there are a number of deductions, tax credits, and tax breaks that eligible individuals may take advantage of, and when these benefits are calculated and accounted properly there is no problem.

However, some people might under-represent their earnings, fail to include or document a large transaction, or might forget about a large monetary “gift” they received during the year, and fail to report it for tax purposes. For example, knowingly evading the payment of any sales tax owed to the State of Illinois is a felony crime under 35 ILCS 120/13(b), and the seriousness of the penalties for this offense depend upon the total amount of sales tax that was not paid. These types of actions are fraud if the person who does them does so with the intention of defrauding the tax authorities.

But that is not to say that making a mistake on your taxes is the same thing as tax fraud. Filing your taxes is complicated and requires filling out a lot of different forms and schedules, and people are bound to make mistakes. A mistake could be a valid defense to tax fraud criminal charges if there is proof that an error was made.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with a white collar crime, such as forgery or tax fraud, it is important that you need to get into contact with a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately in order to preserve and protect your rights. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 for help today.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K17-3

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=003501200K13

What Is a White Collar Crime?

August 10th, 2015 at 8:10 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois criminal statutes, Some types of crimes are motivated purely by financial gain, and these types of crimes are called “white collar” crimes, referring to the non-violent and money-centric nature of these crimes. White collar crimes often involve fraud in some form, dishonest behavior, or the inappropriate handling of funds or money that belongs to someone else. White collar crimes are often characterized by a highly complicated scheme devised to improperly make or steal money without anyone either noticing that money is missing or being able to easily identify the source of the theft. When white collar crimes happen, many people are affected and victimized.

Most Common White Collar Crimes

There are a number of white collar crimes that result in criminal charges. Fraud is the most common white collar offense, and it takes many forms. Wire, mail and internet fraud; business, business investment, and business opportunity fraud; bank, insurance and mortgage fraud; medicare-medicaid fraud; and securities fraud are some of the most highly popularized and widely reported white collar crimes in the media. For example, failed Ponzi schemes and insider trading are two white collar crimes that many people have heard about in the news due to the high profile individuals that have been involved in these crimes.

Misrepresentation is another common basis upon which white collar crimes are perpetrated. Misrepresentation is the underlying action behind criminal charges for crimes such as falsifying financial documents, falsifying tax documents, and forgery. Tax evasion, corruption, embezzlement and money laundering are all common white collar crimes that are also based on dishonest behavior and the improper handling of money.

Investigation for a White Collar Crime

When law enforcement suspects someone of being involved in a financially motivated crime, they will often openly inform the suspect that they are conducting an investigation. Due to the convoluted nature of the crime, it may take police a significant amount of time to sort out the specifics of the case.

However, in some white collar cases, innocent people get swept up in the mess. It can be difficult to determine ultimate liability, since the whole scheme may be orchestrated so that many unsuspecting people are involved, thereby depleting liability by spreading out accountability to many other people. Sometimes an employee was simply following orders, and had no idea that their actions contributed to something criminal. Whatever the case might be, if you are notified that you are under investigation for the commission of a white collar crime, you need to seek the help and guidance of an experienced white collar criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with one of these white collar crimes, or have been informed that you are being investigated, you need to get into contact with a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. Our phone number is (847) 394-3200.

What is Official Misconduct?

May 18th, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois criminal statutes, Often times politicians and government employees frustrate the taxpayer. Most of the time this is just a matter of political disagreement, and while it can lead to heated disagreements, the criminal justice system does not get involved. However, sometimes things go a bit further and there are actual accusations of criminal wrongdoing. In many situations government employees and public officials have protections from being prosecuted for doing their jobs, but there are lines that they can be accused of crossing. One crime of which they may be accused is known as official misconduct.

What is Official Misconduct?

Official misconduct is divided into two types. One type is official misconduct by a public officer or employee or special government agent, while the other is official misconduct by an employee of a law enforcement agency. The first type of official misconduct occurs when any of the covered individuals does any of the following when acting in his or her official capacity or capacity as a special government agent:

  • Fails to perform his or her mandatory duties;
  • Conducts an act that he or she knows he or she is legally prohibited from performing;
  • Performs an act in excess of his or her lawful authority intending on obtaining a personal benefit for him or herself or another; or
  • Solicits or accepts a fee or reward which he or she knows is not authorized by law for performing an act.

Committing any of these acts can result in the official or employee losing his or her job and being charged with a Class 3 felony. Official misconduct by a law enforcement agency employee happens when he or she uses information obtained through his or her employment with the intention of interfering with the investigation, apprehension, or prosecution of a crime. The official misconduct statute is not the only one that applies to police officers. They are also governed by a gang-activity statute.

Police Prohibited from Gang Activity

It may seem obvious that police are not allowed to be gang members, but there is actually a statute that deals specifically with gang activity by police officers. It is against the law for a police officer or a corrections officer (prison guard) to knowingly commit an act that furthers gang-related activity unless the officer is doing it to further an undercover law enforcement investigation. Violating this law is a Class 3 felony, meaning it can carry prison time.

Call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley

If you are a public official who has been charged with a crime related to your public duties, you will need the help of a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley now at (847)394-3200. We will schedule an appointment at your convenience to discuss your case and figure out how we can help.

2014 Marks Decrease in Federal Prison Population

October 16th, 2014 at 10:50 am

 Illinois defense lawyer, prison population, federal prisons, White collar crime is often not considered as serious as other types of criminal conduct, but it is often punished just as harshly. Depending on the type of crime and the severity of the offense, the defendant could be looking at a substantial amount in prison. In many cases, white collar crimes may be prosecuted at the federal level in federal court. Such cases involve slightly different laws and procedure, plus the imposition of a federal prison term.

There has been discussion in Illinois and across the country recently about sentencing reform, decriminalization of certain criminal acts, and shorter prison terms. All of this is likely in an effort to achieve both fair and practical effects by both reforming the criminal justice system and decreasing prison populations. According to recent report, there has been an important shift in the federal prison population toward those ends.

First Drop in Decades

The federal prison population has decreased by about 4,800 inmates in the last year. The Justice Department reports that this marks the first time the number has gone down in several decades. In addition, the Justice Department reportedly projects that the prison population will be about 215,000 inmates at the end of the current budget year, which would reflect a total decrease of about 5,000 from the same count taken just one year ago. If that happens, it would mark the first time since 1980 that the federal prison population has actually declined over the course of a year.

Going forward, it seems as though the trend will continue. The Bureau of Prisons released internal figures that show an expected decrease of over 2,000 prisoners to happen in the next year, and almost another 10,000-inmate decrease the year after that.

What is Causing the Shift?

In commenting on what factors have contributed to the decline in federal inmates, Attorney General Eric Holder said that a decrease in crime rates has had an effect on prison populations.

Holder has been working to reduce prison populations across the country over the course of the past year. His efforts included taking actions such as discouraging prosecutors from charging nonviolent offenders with crimes that would carry mandatory minimum sentences, to encouraging certain prisoners to apply for clemency, to supporting reduced sentencing guidelines. He is also encouraging the government to measure the success of its criminal justice policies by how many people are prosecuted and sentenced to prison. He is purportedly of the opinion that the idea of using enforcement as the measure of success is outdated and that a holistic approach is preferable and more useful.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorney to advocate for your rights. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We have successful experience representing clients in Cook County and surrounding areas.

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