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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 White Collar Crime

white collar crime, Elgin criminal defense attorneyNearly everyone has at least heard the term "white collar crime" before, but not everyone understands what it means. There are a wide variety of criminal activities that fall into the category of white collar crime, and they generally involve the theft of data and financial assets to be used for personal gain by the perpetrator. In many cases, the criminal does not even come into contact with their victim, and many victims of white collar crime are unaware of the crime until much later. White collar crime is very serious, and anyone facing charges related to a white collar crime should seek the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney.

Common White Collar Crimes

There are a variety of different offenses that fall under the umbrella of white collar crime. These types of crimes often occur in business or professional settings; hence the term "white collar" as a reference to dress shirts common in such environments. Crimes that are commonly considered white collar include:

  • Identity theft;
  • Money laundering;
  • Extortion;
  • Embezzlement;
  • Mortgage fraud;
  • Tax evasion;
  • Forgery; and
  • Fraud.

Penalties of White Collar Crime

Because white collar crime consists of a variety of different criminal activities, the penalties associated with a conviction can vary dramatically. Most crime in Illinois is classified according to severity, and while some white collar offenses are misdemeanors, many are considered felonies. As such, jail time is a distinct possibility in many cases. Additionally, a number of these types of crimes have minimum sentences, which means judges and prosecutors may have very little discretion in handing down penalties for a conviction. Therefore, it is vital that anyone facing white collar charges seek qualified legal guidance as soon as possible.

In addition to fines and potential jail time, being convicted of a white collar crime could harm you professionally. Your reputation can be destroyed by even the allegation of wrongdoing, and your future job opportunities will likely be affected. Many employers will simply not hire those suspected of being involved in such activity.

Experienced White Collar Representation

Are you facing charges related to tax fraud, embezzlement, forgery, or any crime that would be considered white collar? If so, contact an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney and get the help you need. Our firm is proud to represent those charged with white collar crimes, and we will work hard to protect your rights. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule your free, confidential consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.

Source:

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

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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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credit card, Elgin criminal defense attorneyCrimes that affect our wallets, bank accounts, and credit scores do more than interfere with our personal finances. They affect businesses and everyone depending on funds and income derived from those businesses. Advertising scams, internet fraud, and identity theft are not new crimes—they have been hurting consumers and business owners alike for years—but they do continue to evolve and increase in severity over time. One of the most prevalent and troublesome financial crimes today is credit card fraud, and the first thing that most consumers want to know when they discover they are victims of this theft is who will be held responsible.

Who Must Pay for Fraudulent Charges?

There are various Illinois state and federal consumer laws that address this issue in order to protect consumers victimized by credit card theft. For example, you are legally required to pay $50 per card, at most, in the event that someone steals and uses your credit cards. The moment you notify the bank or issuer of the card(s) that the card has been stolen, you are not legally required to pay for any unauthorized charges that incur after that notification.

Notifying the Bank

Although you are not bound by law to pay for unauthorized purchases on your card, timing is important. It is crucial to report the lost or stolen card immediately, as it is very common for thieves to rack up credit limits on stolen cards within hours or even minutes of the theft, leaving you responsible for any potential charges from that moment on. The sooner you report the card to the bank, the less you will be held responsible for when it comes time to address the charges on the account. It is also recommended that you follow up with written confirmation of your notification after you call the bank to report the case. Document everything, paying special attention to the time, date, and any details surrounding the fraudulent charges.

Other Important Details

There are number of things to keep in mind if you think that may have been the victim of credit card fraud:

  • Federal law states you should notify a card issuer of a lost or stolen card via written notification immediately, particularly within 60 days of the event. The issuer is required to respond to your notification within 30 days of receipt;
  • You have zero liability if you make your report before any fraudulent charges are made, or limited to $50 if you report within two days. After that, you can be liable for up to $500 or more within a 60-day period; and
  • If your card is not lost but only the number is used to make unauthorized purchases, you are not responsible for paying any of those charges as long as you report them within 60 days of your credit card statement.

Most credit card issuers offer credit monitoring programs, and you can take a proactive approach to monitoring yourself by being vigilant with your account statements and activity. Fraudulent charges, however, can still slip through the cracks.

Criminal Charges for Credit Card Fraud

While there are resources available to help consumers protect themselves financially, being charged with credit card fraud can change your life, especially if the allegations are not true. If you have been accused of using fraudulently using another person’s credit card, contact a Kane County criminal defense attorney today. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule a free consultation with The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola.

Source:

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

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