The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola

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47 DuPage Court, Elgin, IL 60120

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Posted on in Fraud

fraud, Kane County criminal defense attorneyNot all crimes are violent in nature, but they can still have serious consequences for those found guilty of committing them. Financial crimes such as advertising scams, internet fraud, and fraudulent credit card charges can damage a person’s credit score and negatively affect businesses. Many people who open their bank account or wallet only to realize they have been stolen from ask the same question, "Who must pay for fraudulent charges?"

Credit Card Fraud in Illinois

There are several Illinois state and federal consumer laws that address credit card theft. Credit card payments processed by Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover are subject to a "zero liability" policy. This means that the owner of a credit card which is compromised is not held responsible for any fraudulent charges. Fortunately, consumers do not have to pay for charges which they did not make, but they do have a responsibility to tell their credit card company about the fraudulent charges as soon as they find them.

If a person’s credit card company does not have a zero liability policy and their card is used fraudulently, the most they will be required to pay back is $50 – the limit set by the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA). Debit cards are not treated the same as credit cards, so it is possible that those with debit cards may be help responsible for fraudulent charges made on them. The sooner you report the stolen card to the bank, the better. Sometimes a credit card number is stolen but not the physical card. In this case, a consumer is not responsible for paying those charges as long as they report the charges within 60 days of their credit card statement.

Criminal Charges for Credit Card Fraud

The use of a counterfeited, forged, expired, revoked, or unissued credit or debit card is a Class 3 felony if more than $300 worth of property was obtained in a six-month period. Possession of another person’s credit card, the sale or purchase of a debit or credit card, and the making of a false statement in order to procure a debit or credit card are considered class 4 felonies. A person found guilty of one of these crimes can face punitive consequences of one to three years in jail and a fine of up to $25,000.

Facing Charges?

If you have been accused of credit or debit card fraud, contact a Kane County criminal defense attorney for the legal guidance you need. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free consultation with The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lru/consumerlaws2014.pdf

https://www.creditcardinsider.com/learn/credit-card-lost-stolen-now/

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Posted on in Fraud

skimmer, Elgin criminal defense attorneyIn the past, thieves used to have to steal physical property or cash in order to get their payout. Today, much of the money floating around the United States is stored electronically as data, and is transferred via digital transactions. Thus, most people own a debit card and a credit card or two. Virtually anyone who has one or more such cards may have unknowingly been exposed to one of the most complex credit card fraud schemes yet.

If you have ever used an ATM, you are familiar with the plastic slot in which you place your debit or credit card in order to withdraw money from your account. Similar slots are also present on gas pumps and other self-payment machines. According to the Chicago Police Department, some of these innocuous looking plastic slots are actually intricately-designed devices called encoders or skimmers which are capable of stealing a person’s debit or credit card information. Many people whose information is stolen by a encoder are scammed and do not even realize it. Often, it is only when mysterious purchases show up on a credit card statement or there are insufficient funds in an account does the victim realize they have been deceived.

Fraudsters Face Serious Consequences

Just because this method of capturing credit or debit card information does not involve physically stealing from another person does not mean that the criminal penalties are less strict than other types of theft. In Illinois, a person who unlawfully uses a scanning or re-encoding device with the intent to defraud is guilty of a class 4 felony. This becomes a class 3 felony for any subsequent offenses. A class 4 felony can result in up to $25,000 in fines and up to three years in prison. A class 3 felony can result in up to 25,000 in fines and up to five years in prison.

Just the act of stealing the credit card information is a crime itself. A person who unlawfully uses a financial transaction device to capture, copy or transmit or otherwise obtain personal information without the consent of the person will be guilty of a class A misdemeanor which can result in fines of up to $2500 and up to one year in county jail. The severity of criminal punishment can vary based on the amount of money stolen and the fraudster’s criminal history.

Facing Charges?

If you have been charged with using a credit card skimmer to commit fraud, you need an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney who will help you understand your options going forward and build the best plan possible for your defense. Call The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola at 847-488-0889 for a free consultation today.

Sources:

http://www.ncsl.org/research/financial-services-and-commerce/credit-card-skimming-devices-laws-and-legislation.aspx

http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2017/10/23/bbb-stresses-vigilance-after-card-skimmers-found-chicago-atms

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Posted on in Fraud

fake ID, Kane County criminal defense attorneyA quick Google search for "fake IDs" returns over a million results. Many of the top search results are websites touting their business of manufacturing and distributing fake driver’s licenses and identification cards. The websites claim that their IDs "even fool experts!" and "pass blacklight tests!" With school is starting for most colleges, many young people will be tempted by the appeal of purchasing a fake ID. Students under the legal drinking age may be drawn by the possibility of being able to buy alcohol or to get into bars and nightclubs that are 21 and over. It may seem easy to get away with using a fake ID, but the reality is that obtaining or using a fake ID is a crime that can have very serious consequences.

Consequences of Buying or Using a Fake ID

The state of Illinois takes fake IDs very seriously. It is illegal to obtain, distribute, use or even possess a fraudulent state ID card or driver’s license, as well as to help anyone else do the same. The state has the authority to suspend or even revoke a person’s driving privileges if they are caught possessing another person’s license or state ID card. This can happen without a conviction.

You could be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor for:

  • Letting another person (such as a friend or relative) use your license;
  • Claiming another person’s license as your own;
  • Possessing a driver’s license or identification card with false information on it;
  • Possessing or using falsified documents with the intent of obtaining a fake ID; or
  • Altering or attempting to alter a driver’s license or state identification card.

The penalties for a conviction include up to one year in jail and $2,500 in fines. A conviction also becomes a permanent part of your criminal record.

The charges can become even more serious in other situations. Under Illinois law, you could be charged with a Class 4 felony for:

  • Possessing a fraudulent driver’s license or ID card which was produced by an entity other than a government office;
  • Possessing equipment that can be used to produce an ID designed to mimic a government-issued ID;
  • Manufacturing, distributing, or selling fraudulent IDs; or
  • Advertising fake IDs.

A conviction could result in a prison sentence of one to three years in jail and fines up to $25,000.

Contact a Knowledgeable Lawyer

If you or your son or daughter has been accused of possessing or attempting to use a fake ID, contact an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney. At The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola, we are equipped to help you protect your rights at every stage of the process. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.illinois.gov/ilcc/All%20documents%20site%20wide/Education/Under%2021/Materials/MinorFakeIdEnglish.pdf

http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/unit-5-fake-id-cards-180284131.html

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Posted on in Fraud

identity theft, Elgin criminal defense attorneyIdentity theft crimes involve using sensitive personal information to steal money or property in a variety of ways, often remaining undetected until the victim discovers inconsistencies in his or her financial records. By the time this happens, the damage is usually already done and may take a significant amount of time to repair. Even when victims discover fraudulent charges or accounts they never opened early on, a great deal of work may be necessary—along with more than a few headaches—to dispute the charges and restore their standing with a financial institution.

How Stolen Identities are Used

Using someone’s identity allows a thief to open new accounts under the victim’s name, make charges on his or her credit cards, and even make withdrawals from his or her bank accounts. Other common scenarios involve tax-related theft, where a person’s refund is stolen, or medical-related theft, where the victim’s identity is used to acquire medical treatment under his or her health insurance plan.

The scope of these crimes can range greatly. Some might result in a few minor fraudulent charges that end up costing the victim nothing after dispute. Others include the theft of much larger amounts of money that end up severely damaging the victim’s credit and bank balances.

Reasons You May Be Accused of Identity Theft

If you are under investigation for being involved in an identity-related crime, chances are your name has somehow been tied to an activity that was discovered by the victim through methods such as:

  • Mysterious medical bills: Identity theft victims will often receive medical bills or statements for services they never acquired that are in their name. Alternatively, the victim’s health insurance provider may reject medical claims when the record shows that he or she has already reached the benefits limit.
  • IRS notifications: When more than one tax return is filed under someone’s name or when the IRS reports that a person received income from an employer they never actually worked for, the identity theft victim may eventually discover the crime when the IRS sends them notices informing them of the information on record.
  • Debt collector calls: It is also common for victims to discover their identity was stolen when they begin receiving relentless telephone calls from debt collectors about debts they never incurred. Once they are aware of the mysterious debts, they often turn to their credit report and begin an investigation from there.
  • Strange bank withdrawals: Whether it be a checking or savings account or charges on a credit card account that cannot be explained, strange bank withdrawals of any kind usually alert victims right away that their identity has been compromised. In some cases, the fraudulent activity may not be discovered immediately, as a victim may not notice such activity until skimming their monthly bank statements after some time has passed.

If you have tampered with someone’s personal information or have involved yourself in any way with an identity theft crime, you are at risk for being prosecuted under federal law. If you feel the accusations brought against you are unjust, it is imperative you speak with an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and your reputation. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.

Sources:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/identity-theft

https://www.identitytheft.gov/Warning-Signs-of-Identity-Theft

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Posted on in Fraud

white-collar crime, Elgin criminal defense attorneyWhen you think about white collar crime, you may visualize the country’s top executives participating in unlawful actions and reaping a wide range of beneficial perks. This is understandable, to an extent due to a number of Hollywood box office hits such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Boiler Room, or Catch Me If You Can. In real life, many such crimes are handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), making white collar offenses like forgery and deceptive practices major issues.

As early as 1939, white collar crime—a term that refers to fraudulent actions committed by business government professionals—was characterized by deeds of deceit, concealment or a gross violation of trust but not through the application of threats, violence or physical force. Such actions are typically motivated by financial gain and the avoidance of financial loss.

Types of White Collar Crime

Though these offenses generally do not involve physical harm, white collar crime is certainly not a victimless crime. The FBI notes that a single fraudulent action can destroy a company or wipe out a family’s savings. As white collar crime increases in sophistication, the FBI has dedicated both additional manpower and technology-based strategies to uncover such white collar crimes as:

  • Public corruption;
  • Corporate fraud;
  • Bank fraud;
  • Commodities fraud;
  • Securities fraud;
  • Mortgage fraud;
  • Embezzlement;
  • Money laundering; and
  • Crimes against the government.

Over the years, the FBI has developed working relationships with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as well as the Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The objective is to target fraud cases that, if left unaddressed, could cause significant harm to the U.S. economy.

Economic Dangers

According to the Bureau, corporate fraud remains one of the highest priorities. Fraud in this sector appears to cause the most damaging financial losses not only for the investor but presents a significant danger to the health of the U.S. economy. Most often, crimes of this type involve accounting schemes, unlawful actions of corporate executives, and plans to deceive potential investors. One of the most infamous examples of such fraud can be found in the damage caused by Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme that cheated investors out of some $65 billion.

As the global economy expands, so does the reach of white collar crime. Prosecutors across the U.S. have followed the FBI’s lead in ramping up efforts and diligence. Fraudulent financial cases are moving away from the civil court circuit and are now being tried in federal and state criminal court as felonies.

White Collar Crime Defense

If you are being investigated for forgery or deceptive practices, you need an advocate who will fight to protect your rights. Contact an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney for help. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule your free consultation at The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.

Sources:

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

http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/genres-movies/drama/10-best-white-collar-crime-movies/

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-bernie-madoffs-ponzi-scheme-worked-2014-7

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