Many people are arrested by police when suspicions are raised in cases when they’re pulled over for simple traffic stops. This also frequently happens when law enforcement is given access to people’s homes for indeterminate reasons, such as a 911 call for a domestic argument that wasn’t actually serious and may have even been resolved before police arrived.
For example, if a police officer notices a pouch of what appears to be marijuana with a box of rolling paper in plain view, they can possibly make an arrest, even though they were called to the scene for a totally different purpose.
But in many cases, when police notice items that cause them to assume that a more substantial crime may be involved due to what they feel to be evidence witnessed with their own eyes, they may choose to further investigate and hold parties they believe to be involved as they begin and continue the inspective process.
Michael Cohen is a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney whose practice concentrates on the defense of federal charges. In cases such as these, his help can be invaluable for resulting in the best outcome if charges are filed by the federal government or the State of Florida.
When an arrest takes place by law enforcement when they assume the evidence they stumbled upon by chance may be a fragment of a greater possible crime, in many cases they may be correct.
Such was the case when Miramar Police were investigating an armed home invasion that took place in 2013 at a residence inhabited by three men: Harlan and Frantz Decoste, and Francis Jeudy.
During their investigation police found evidence of narcotics activity which turned out to just be the tip of the iceberg for other evidence they would uncover as they continued their search of the premises; leading to one of the largest identity theft and tax refund fraud cases ever perpetrated in the country.
These circumstances of course were not the first time that law enforcement came across evidence of a greater crime while investigating another… or when a simple traffic stop led to expose a much more serious offense.
David Berkowitz, the “Son of Sam” mass murderer who terrorized the boroughs of New York City during the 1970s was apprehended when a woman noticed him tearing up a parking citation after he returned to his car which he parked by a fire hydrant on the way back from committing one of his savage murders. The police investigation was going on for months before this simple slip up led to his capture.
Serial killer Ted Bundy was apprehended for failure to stop for a police officer when he was driving his VW Beetle late at night through a Highway Patrol Sergeant’s Salt Lake City, Utah neighborhood. The police officer attempted to pull over what he deemed to be a suspicious-looking vehicle when Bundy bolted. After a brief pursuit, the officer caught up with Bundy and after stopping his car found a crowbar, ski mask, rope, handcuffs, trash bags, and an icepick in the back seat. He arrested him for possession of what he believed to be burglary tools. Further investigation linked Bundy to the assault rape, and kidnapping, of many young women.
Even the domestic terrorist bomber, Timothy McVeigh was caught when he was pulled over for driving without a registration tag on his old yellow Mercury, not long after he committed the act of bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.
In this latest case it was the group itself that slipped up by reporting a home invasion robbery that occurred at their Miramar home. Detectives who responded to the call found over 600 stolen or altered debit cards, along with wads of cash and many expensive material items.
Further evidence revealed that the men, along with accomplices filed tens of thousands of income tax returns by using false identities, fleecing the IRS out of what may to turn out to be more than a hundred million dollars in total.
Harlan and Frantz Decoste, as well as Francis Jeudy pleaded guilty to identity theft and income tax fraud conspiracy charges earlier in the year along with their co-conspirators Kerby Luna, Andy Cherrelus and Chad Davis who pleaded to lesser charges.
Just last week (April 8, 2016) crowned the announcement of the sentencing of five of the six defendants named in the Stolen Identity Tax Refund Fraud Scheme. The sentences varied from four and one half to almost twenties years in prison and will be followed by supervised release at the completion of their sentences. All men will also be charged to pay joint restitution of tens of million dollars at a minimum. The sixth defendant Chad Davis is already serving a four month sentence based on authorities agreeing that he played a lesser role in the fraud.
To read the full breakdown of this case, visit *this page on my Website.
Michael Cohen’s close to forty years of experience in the criminal legal profession can be a strong asset in the defense of all charges filed by the federal government or the State of Florida.
As a former Assistant United States Attorney as well as a former Assistant State Attorney for Broward County his tested experience can play a key role advocating for the defense of charges filed against you, a friend or loved one through his criminal defense firm with offices located in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.