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Archive for the ‘white collar crime’ tag

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

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.

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.

Prevalence of White Collar Crime Higher than Perception

May 14th, 2014 at 7:00 am

Rolling Meadows criminal lawyer, white collar crime, credit card fraud, identity theft, price misrepresentations, street crime, mobile devices and crimeThere are numerous examples of white collar crime in popular culture. Box office standouts like American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street are two hugely popular films just released in the last year whose plots revolve around the crime.

Often, celebrities and other notable figures who find themselves in trouble as the result of white collar crime remain fodder for news reporters and other media outlets long after their cases have made their way through the courts.

Yet despite the seeming prevalence of white collar crime on our television sets, movie screens, and newspapers, many people simply consider themselves far removed from such criminal offenses, and are likewise mistaken about the rate at which they occur in real life. Unfortunately, many studies and statistics prove that these perceptions are simply not true.

Troubling Statistics

A study performed in the recent past showed that white collar crime affected more individuals in the United States than every other type of crime combined. In fact, in 2010, the National Public Survey on White Collar Crime found that approximately 25 percent of households in America had been affected by white collar crime that year.

The survey was performed on just over 2,500 adults and included questions about their experiences with common sources of white collar crime, including mortgage and credit card fraud, identity theft, losses due to less than honest advice from stockbrokers, Internet scams, and price misrepresentations.

The study helped show the staggering number of people affected by white collar crime, and also tended to prove that this type of crime is not victimless or far removed from actual people. That survey also noted that people are far more concerned with white collar crimes they feel are more serious, like identity theft, than others.

The study found that the most common white collar crimes were credit card fraud, the misrepresentation of prices, and repairs that were unnecessary. It was also found that despite the acts being considered at law to be criminal, individuals were far more likely to report the incidents to their financial institutions than they were to report the incidents to law enforcement.

A Shift in Crime

In years past, data has revealed that what is considered “street crime” has been waning, perhaps for decades, while white collar crime is on the rise. Some suggest that the increase in white collar crime is due to the fact that there is often a higher return on investment for such crime. Also, it takes advantage of the increase in information and the current economy; the internet’s popularity produces greater profits. Finally, it exploits the widespread use of consumer electronics and mobile devices.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a white collar crime, hiring a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in such matters is crucial to the success of your case. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley for a consultation with one of our attorneys who has successful experience representing clients charged with white collar crime. Our offices are located in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

White Collar Crimes

August 14th, 2013 at 10:49 am

LucyThe white collar community is made up of members of the middle and upper classes that have business-related, salaried jobs.

White collar crimes most often have dishonesty or cheating as their base, as entrepreneurs or other businessmen or women commit nonviolent, illegal activities behind the cover of their legitimate businesses.

Because white collar crimes are nonviolent, they usually have a lesser punishment than other criminal activities, but the punishments often include heavy fines and sometimes jail time.

Although dishonesty in a business setting is the common background for all white collar crimes, this category of criminal activity has a very broad spectrum and is hard to define. In order to avoid allowing loopholes in the law for these well-educated, intelligent criminals, the federal and state governments in America have laws that protect against specific, more common white collar crimes, but also general white collar crime laws to catch everything in one law.

Tax crimes are great examples of more common white collar crimes. Usually people are charged with tax crimes alongside other white collar crimes. Tax crimes include failing to file your tax returns, interfering with internal revenue laws administration and filing fake tax returns.

There are specific laws against tax crimes that prohibit crimes such as bribing tax officials, extortion and obstruction. Other more broad laws, though, will catch other types of tax crimes that do not have their own specific laws.

Another law against white collar crimes is the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). This is a federal law that finds people guilty of violation if they have participated in “racketeering activity” in relation to any interstate commerce or if they have participated in the collection of unlawful debts.

Racketeering activities at the state level include the following:

  • arson,
  • bribery,
  • gambling,
  • kidnapping,
  • dealing obscene materials,
  • murder,
  • dealing narcotics, and
  • dealing other dangerous drugs.

When RICO was created, these were the most pertinent criminal activities in the white collar community, however, more recently, RICO has been used to charge against other illegal activities as well.

If you have been charged with racketeering, tax crimes or some other white collar crime, contact a criminal attorney for assistance in Rolling Meadows, Ill. Attorney Chris Cosley will help you with your criminal case today.

White Collar Crime

July 23rd, 2013 at 8:47 am

LucyWhite collar crimes cover a very broad spectrum because there is no exact definition. Most often, however, white collar crimes are thought of as crimes committed by business people that involve cheating and dishonesty. Usually these people commit these crimes under the cover of a legitimate business as well, so the crime can remain hidden for a long time without suspicion.

Because it is very difficult to create a definition that defines all white collar crimes, there are federal laws and state laws that are specific to certain types of white collar crimes and also umbrella laws that encompass anything else.

Here are two examples of white collar crimes:

Obstruction of Justice

Obstruction of justice can be committed in many ways, as long as it somehow interferes with one of the three branches of government. Some examples of obstruction include influencing a juror outside the courtroom, altering a record process, obstructing any criminal investigation by law officials and assaulting a process server.

Other actions that many be prosecuted as obstruction of justice include using any sound amplification device, picketing or parading in front of any building occupied by a court office, witness, juror or judge.

Perjury

When anyone willfully and knowingly swears to tell the truth, it is not taken lightly. If someone swears to honesty orally or in writing and speaks falsely under oath, they will be charged with perjury. Under this piece of the law, it is also illegal for someone to force someone else to commit perjury.

If you have been accused of committing a white collar crime such as obstruction of justice, perjury or some other form of a white collar crime, contact attorney Chris Cosley in Rolling Meadows, Ill. Cosley criminal attorneys will do everything they can to assist you with your white collar crime court case today.

White collar crimes

May 16th, 2013 at 8:37 am

Lucy 5-8White collar crimes are not specifically defined, however, they are most often considered to be a variety of nonviolent crimes that are based around dishonesty and/or cheating. Usually, these crimes are committed by entrepreneurs and other professionals in the business area that are under the cover of a legitimate business activity. White collar crimes also typically have a lesser punishment than other crimes because they are nonviolent. Although these crimes do not have severe punishments, they do usually involve very heavy fines, and can include jail time. There are very specific laws that prohibit white collar crime activities, but many of them are covered in less specific catch-all laws that prohibit dishonest behavior.

Embezzlement

If someone take another’s money or property by ways of an official job position of trust or through abuse, they have committed embezzlement. For example, an accountant with access to all personal financial information may falsify records to gain a profit from his or her client(s). Bank tellers, as well, have easy access to finances and may walk away each day with a small amount of money from a client instead of placing it in the client’s account as he or she should.

False Statements

Although the crime that is making a false statement is not only a white collar crime, it is also included within white collar crimes along with other types of crimes. This is one of many more broad laws that will catch white collar criminals in their wrong doings and allow for punishment. In order to convict someone of making a false statement, proof is required of the statement that contains false information and that statement must be made willingly and knowingly by the speaker.

If you have been accused of a white collar crime, contact a criminal attorney for assistance. Attorney Chris Cosley will help to fight for alleged white collar criminals in Rolling Meadows, Ill. today.

 

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/Freedigitalphotos

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Pleads Guilty to Fraud

March 6th, 2013 at 8:00 am

American FlagIn a surprising turn of events, Jesse Jackson Jr. went from a man with huge political aspirations to someone who seems to have lost control.  The Democratic Representative from Chicago stepped down recently while being investigated and dealing with health issues.  He pleaded guilty to one felony fraud charge on Wednesday February 20th to secure a plea deal.  He was charged with fraud for using $750,000 in campaign money to pay for his lavish living expenses.

The court filed a 22 page report which outlines the spending habits of a politician who many thought would one day run for Mayor in Chicago or President of the US.  It started when Jesse opened a campaign account and then withdrew nearly $45,000 to purchase a Rolex watch.    He went on to purchase “high-end electronic items, collector’s items, clothing, food and supplies for daily consumption, movie tickets, health club dates, personal travel, and personal dining expenses,” according to the prosecution.

The details of his plea agreement allow his punishment range to be between 46 to 57 months in prison.  Though, it is not set in stone because both the defense and prosecution can influence the sentencing of the case.  The defense will urge the judge to consider probation given Jesse’s recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Jesse’s wife Sandi has also been charged with assisting the cover-up of this fraud.  Sandi was formerly an alderman for the city of Chicago.  She pleaded guilty of failing to report that money from her aldermanic campaign was used as personal income also for failing to report this income on her tax return.  Her possible sentencing will be in the range of 1 to 2 years in prison.

What was once a promising career in politics for the Jackson may now be forever damaged.  White collar crimes can ruin reputations and result in jail time.  If you have been charged with any white collar crime, then it is important to receive legal guidance.  Contact a skilled criminal defense attorney in Rolling Meadows today.

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