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Posted on in Fraud

IL defense attorneyIllinois has two separate laws covering forgery and identity theft, however, they are both deceptive practices that are taken seriously due to the harm it causes a victim. Forgery is a crime that could lead to identity theft because it starts with using someone else’s signature to steal money, goods, or personal information. Both crimes are felony offenses, but for identity theft, punishments become more severe depending on the harm done to a victim.

What Is the Difference?

Illinois law says that someone commits forgery when they do any of the following with the intent to defraud a victim:

  • Make or alter a document that has false information
  • Deliver false documents with the knowledge that the information is false
  • Possession with intent to deliver false documents
  • Obtain, possess, or sell another person’s personal information unlawfully
  • Use an electronic device to create a false signature for another person
  • Writing the signature of another person to cash a check or purchase goods

These actions touch the shallow end of identity theft because once a person has the personal information of another, they have the tools they need to commit the more hurtful crime. Forgery is a Class 3 felony most of the time; charges are elevated to a Class 4 felony if a Universal Price Code Label is forged.

Identity theft is covered in greater detail by Illinois law. The crime is defined as someone using the personal and financial information of another in order to obtain money, goods, property, or anything else of value.

Once the alleged thief has the victim’s personal information, they commit identity theft by:

  • Using another’s information to commit another type of felony
  • Selling or distributing another person’s information to others who will commit another felony crime
  • Using another’s information even though they know the information is stolen
  • Using another’s information to portray themselves as the victim in order to commit a crime or obtain items of value
  • Using another’s information in order to gain access to more personal of financial information
  • Aggravated identity theft: stealing personal or financial information from a person over the age of 60 years

Like forgery, identity theft is a felony offense. Depending on the severity of the crime - the monetary value of goods stolen and the amount of previous identity theft convictions against a thief - the charges can range from Class 4 to Class X felonies.

Contact an Elgin, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer

Any deceptive crime can be harmful to a victim and can change the life of an alleged thief not only through a criminal record, but also their reputation in the community. If you are being accused of identity theft, hire a lawyer from the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola. Our lawyers have experience making sure a client’s rights are not being violated during a litigation. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County criminal defense lawyer, call our office at 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

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

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-30

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Posted on in Fraud

IL defense lawyerThere are several types of deceptive practices that can be punishable as felony charges in Illinois. The most common deception that goes on today is forgery which is defined by Illinois law as:

  • Making or altering documents to defraud another person.
  • Issuing or delivering altered documents.
  • Possessing with intent to deliver altered documents.
  • Unlawful usage of another person’s signature.
  • Unlawful usage of another person’s PIN number as an electronic signature.

Forgery is a felony offense in most situations, but the worst punishment of this type of conviction is the damage that it does to one’s personal reputation.

If you are convicted of a forgery charge, others will change the way they see you and question your morals. People will begin to wonder when you are lying to manipulate a situation or if you are trying to harm another person for selfish reasons.

What Are the Legal Ramifications to Forgery Charges?

A forgery charge is only punishable as a misdemeanor - Class A misdemeanor - when the document being altered is an academic degree or coin. The misdemeanor punishment is less than one year in prison, probation, and a fine of up to $2,500.

All other forgery violations are considered felonies:

  • Most violations are considered Class 3 felonies and are punishable by two to five years in prison, periodic imprisonment for up to 18 months, probation or conditional discharge for up to 30 months, a fine of up to $25,000 for each offense, and/or restitution.
  • A Class 4 felony is charged when a forged document has only one Universal Price Code Label. The punishment for this type of felony is the same as a Class 3 felony except the jail time is reduced to 1-3 years in prison.

 

 How to Defend Against Forgery Charges

The first step to defend against forgery charges is to hire a knowledgeable attorney who can build a strong case on your behalf. They will also be able to dig into the prosecution’s case and discover if any of your rights were compromised in order to obtain incriminating evidence.

If the charges cannot be dismissed, the defense can argue that there was no intent to defraud or deceive the alleged victim. Other defenses include:

  • Mistake of fact.
  • Duress or compulsion.
  • Infancy - for alleged forgers under the age of 13.
  • And insanity.

Previously mentioned, forgery does include academic degrees. However, the defense for altering this type of document can be avoided if the paper is clearly marked as “for novelty purposes only” according to Illinois law.

Contact an Elgin, IL Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know is facing felony forgery charges, a lawyer from the Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola can help build a defensive strategy to protect you from a negative outcome. To schedule a free consultation with a Kane County forgery defense lawyer, call 847-488-0889.

 

Sources:

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

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K17-1

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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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