2 celebrity federal fraud cases net prison sentences
2 celebrity federal fraud cases net prison sentences
Two unrelated, high-profile federal fraud cases involving celebrity victims were concluded recently in the Los Angeles area. Both convictions came about as the result of guilty pleas, and both actions resulted in prison sentences for those convicted.

Federal fraud charges included wire fraud, money laundering

In the first case, a business associate of San Diego Chargers linebacker Dwight Freeney was indicted on eight counts of fraud, including wire fraud, access device fraud, money laundering, and obstruction of justice in August of 2012. According to Federal prosecutors, Freeney’s financial manager defrauded him of approximately $3 million between 2010 and 2011, by operating under a fictitious name and gaining access to many of Freeney’s personal and business accounts. In January 2013, the former financial manager pleaded guilty to a single count of access device fraud and was sentenced in October to 60 months in federal custody. He was also ordered to pay more than $2.5 million in restitution to Freeney.

In the second case, an insurance broker pled guilty to federal mail fraud charges involving actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson. In that case, federal prosecutors charged a Thousand Oaks insurance agent with fraudulently inflating insurance premiums on the couple’s insurance policies between 1998 and 2011, and billing them with fake invoices. In addition to a 27-month federal prison sentence, the former insurance agent was also ordered to pay Hanks and his wife more than $840,000 in restitution.

Federal fraud statutes are often used to prosecute individuals, and the federal government’s conviction rate in fraud cases exceeds 90% across all Federal District Courts. In fact, two out of three convicted federal fraud defendants can expect to receive at least some time in prison. One of three persons convicted of federal fraud charges can expect to receive a sentence that is at least 3 years in length, and one in seven can expect to spend at least 5 years in prison. Those statistics alone should raise concern for people who are facing federal fraud charges, and they underscore the need to hire a competent federal criminal defense attorney.

No criminal defense attorney can promise a guaranteed positive outcome for his or her clients. The options your attorney has depend upon the specific circumstances of your case. In any case, a competent, experienced criminal defense attorney will work aggressively to get your federal fraud case dismissed, or get the charges against you reduced or eliminated in an effort to help you avoid conviction and/or prison time altogether.

Conviction on federal fraud charges can result in a permanent criminal record, incarceration, loss of employment and personal asset forfeiture. If you’re facing federal fraud charges, you need the assistance of an experienced Federal criminal defense attorney like Robert M. Helfend.

Robert M. Helfend is a noted Federal criminal defense attorney located in the Los Angeles area, who practices Federal criminal defense throughout the United States. If you are facing Federal fraud charges, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Helfend toll-free at (800) 834-6434 or locally at (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for a consultation. Robert M. Helfend is an experienced Federal criminal defense attorney who can help!

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Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious criminal offense that can lead to time in jail, fines and a suspended license. Anyone who has been arrested for DUI will need to take action in order to defend against the charges. There are five things to do after being charged with DUI.

Remain Mostly Silent

The first step should be to remain mostly silent during the entire process. Providing explanations of the event or extraneous details could cause problems during trial. Basic questions such as name and age should be answered concisely. It is advisable not to admit guilt or intoxication by politely declining to answer until a lawyer is present.

Write a Statement of Events

Anyone who has been charged with a DUI should write a personal statement detailing the facts of the event as soon as possible after being released from custody. The statement should clearly list everything that happened leading to the DUI charge in chronological order. Even negative details should be included since omitting them can cause issues if prosecutors discover contrary information. The completed statement should not be shown to anyone but an attorney.

Contact an Attorney

The most critical thing to do is to contact an attorney. It is important to choose a criminal defense attorney who can handle a DUI case near Oceanside so that there are no delays. The attorney should be given the written personal statement once the case is accepted. Several meetings might be necessary to discuss events, clarify legal points and decide on a course of action as the case moves forward.

Schedule a Department Of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Hearing

The next step should be to schedule a DMV hearing once an attorney has been secured. The DMV hearing must be requested within 10 days after the initial arrest. The hearing allows an attorney to argue that a driver’s license should not be revoked or suspended. A successful hearing will allow defendants to continue driving sometimes under limited conditions.

Prepare For Arraignment

The final step is to prepare for arraignment. This means assembling formal clothes for court, meeting with the attorney and reviewing the facts of the case. It also means deciding how to plead. Most defendants plead not guilty unless the attorney has made a plea agreement with the prosecutors. An arraignment could lead to a longer trial.

It is important to remain informed and engaged at every stage after the DUI arrest. Paying attention to small details, providing clear information to the defense attorney and actively taking part in the defense will create a stronger case. Staying engaged will improve the odds of success during arraignment or trial.

3 things you should know about public corruption
3 things you should know about public corruption
In the past year, federal prosecutors have scored some high-profile victories in public corruption cases. Earlier this month, former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to nearly 30 years in federal prison for his role in a wide-ranging scandal that produced convictions on charges of racketeering, extortion, bribery, mail and wire fraud, conspiracy, tax evasion and filing false tax returns.

Other former public officials have also been involved in illegal activities while in office. For example, in July, former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. (Illinois) and his wife Sandi, a former Chicago alderman, pleaded guilty to misuse of campaign funds. In June, former US Representative Rick Renzi from Arizona was convicted of influence peddling.

Public corruption can take many forms, and according to the FBI, the frequency of official corruption investigations has increased by 60% in the last five years. In 2011, the last year for which conviction statistics are available, the federal government won 1,107 public corruption convictions.
What constitutes public corruption, how are public corruption cases investigated and prosecuted, and what is the federal conviction rate for persons convicted of public corruption? Here are three things you need to know about public corruption.

What is public corruption?

The FBI defines public corruption as “a breach of trust by federal, state, or local officials—often with the help of private sector accomplices.” Cases that involve high-profile politicians tend to grab headlines, but the majority of public corruption investigations and prosecutions are directed at ordinary individuals in positions of public trust.

Anyone, from high-ranking judges to parking meter attendants can be convicted under either federal or state public corruption statutes. Public corruption can include the theft of federal, state or local funds; fraud; bid-rigging and contracting irregularities; using a public position to influence the actions of others for personal benefit; misusing campaign funds; bribery; immigration fraud; election fraud; and even “ticket-fixing.” Generally, using the power and/or resources of a public position for personal gain is considered public corruption.

How is public corruption investigated and prosecuted?

The FBI says that public corruption cases receive the agency’s highest investigative priority because the impact of public corruption can be so negative. According to the FBI, public corruption can affect everything from national security to legislation, and wastes billions in public funds annually.

Public corruption can be prosecuted in either Federal Court or State Court. In a Federal prosecution, “official corruption” is a general category of related crimes that include bribery, money laundering, the misappropriation of federal disaster and economic stimulus funds, election-related crimes, border and immigration crimes, and using the power of an elected office to influence legislation for personal gain.

What is the federal conviction rate for public corruption?

The average federal conviction rate for all official corruption prosecutions in 2010, the last year for which comprehensive convictions analyses are available, was 90%. In that year, case filings increased by 15 percent over the previous year and case terminations dropped by 7 percent over the previous year. 57% of convicted defendants were sentenced to some form of incarceration. 26% of convicted defendants were sentenced to serve terms exceeding 3 years, and 11% of convicted defendants were sentenced to serve terms exceeding 5 years.

The FBI and other investigative agencies have significant access to sophisticated surveillance and intelligence-gathering technology. Often, the evidence they collect during surveillance is central to their case. While Federal investigators maintain that their use of these technologies is lawful, an experienced Federal criminal defense attorney may be able to prove that evidence was illegally collected or investigations were illegally conducted.

Federal public corruption charges can be serious, and can result in the possible loss of employment, the loss of personal assets, a felony conviction and incarceration. If you’re the subject of a public corruption investigation, you need the assistance of an experienced Federal criminal defense attorney like Robert M. Helfend.

Robert M. Helfend is a noted Federal criminal defense attorney located in the Los Angeles area, who practices Federal criminal defense throughout the United States. If you are facing Federal official corruption charges, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Helfend toll-free at (800) 834-6434 or locally at (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for a consultation. Robert M. Helfend is an experienced Federal criminal defense attorney who can help!

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2 New Crime Fighting Tools Raise Criminal Defense Questions
2 New Crime Fighting Tools Raise Criminal Defense Questions
Police in Southern California are increasingly turning to technology in the fight against crime, but the technologies also raise criminal defense questions for those accused of committing crimes.

Criminal Defense Takes on Crime Data

Predictive policing software.Recently, the City of Milpitas approved a three-year contract with a software company called PredPol. The company produces a predictive policing software package that purports to reduce crimes by predicting the geographic areas where crimes are most likely to happen. The tool is supposed to allow law enforcement agencies to adjust staffing levels appropriately to discourage criminal activity in the targeted areas.

As proof, the Milpitas Police Department cites a 13% drop in some crimes, like burglaries, registered in the Los Angeles Foothills Division, where PredPol has been in place since 2012. In other areas of Los Angeles, where the software has not been introduced, overall crime has risen by about one-half percent.
The software does not attempt to predict individual behaviors, but relies on crime data to predict future criminal activity in a given geographic area. According to the software manufacturers, this allows police departments to make better decisions about deploying limited policing resources.

Mobile phone apps.A new mobile policing application, designed for use with smartphones may help put more information in the hands of police on the street. JusticeMobile, a new smartphone application, gives police officers instant access to state and federal crime databases. The application was created by the California Department of Justice and is being tested now by officers in the San Francisco Police Department.

In addition to giving access to a large volume of crime data collected over decades, the application also allows police on the street to identify suspects, document crime scenes, record video and audio accounts of crimes, share information about active crime investigations and upload the information to crime-mapping software. The application will also make available Department of Motor Vehicles records, 911 call histories, and suspects’ criminal histories, and will allow DOJ officers to conduct criminal background checks in advance of firearm sales.

For criminal defense attorneys, these applications open up the questions of profiling and misidentification of responsible individuals. Much like the State of California’s generous DNA collection and storage practices, which are now under judicial review, criminal defense attorneys may be called upon to combat improper data collection, storage and interpretation practices by officers with access to large volumes of potentially irrelevant crime data.

An experienced attorney can help identify and protect you from the results of improper investigations and illegal searches. Robert M. Helfend is a noted criminal defense attorney who works in the Los Angeles area. If you are facing criminal charges of any kind, or believe that you have been unjustly targeted by local law enforcement, do not wait to act! Contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Helfend toll-free at (800) 834-6434 or locally at (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for a consultation. Robert M. Helfend is an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who can help!

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