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Articles Posted in Federal Crimes

The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020. It is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering financially from the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the CARES Act is the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and other expenses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional funding, and in December 2020, another $284 billion. Now that the pandemic feels a bit more handled and businesses are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, the government is now making a sweep of people who abused PPP loans. Several people are being accused and charged with fraud for claiming businesses and payroll expenses that do not exist. A recent notable case is Jeremie Saintvil, a Florida man who allegedly obtained more than $1.5 million in PPP loans from credit unions and banks. This includes committing identity theft against eight elderly individuals. Before leaving office, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida coined South Florida “the fraud capital of the world” and she may have a point. Over the past year, 38 criminal cases with $75 million in fraudulent COVID-19 relief claims have been filed. This is the highest number of any region in the country. A few things that fall under the umbrella of PPP fraud are:

  • Spending PPP funds for unapproved purposes
  • PPP loans from multiple lenders

Perhaps the country’s founding fathers did not mean to create a constitution that can be as polarizing as it is and yet, that is the case for a few of the amendments. One that always seems to get feathers riled up on either side of the aisle is the second amendment. It clearly states “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” However, this is not the case if you are a felon. It is illegal in Florida for convicted felons to possess firearms, unless the convicted felon has had his/her civil rights restored and firearm authority restored by the state’s Clemency Board or the gun qualifies as an antique firearm under Florida statute 790.001(1). However, a deciding factor in the severity of the punishment is if the firearm was actually possessed or constructively possessed. Actual possession of a firearm means the firearm was in the person’s hand or on them, in a container in the hand or on the person, or is so close that it is under the control of the person. Constructive possession means the firearm is placed somewhere the person has control over. Possession of a gun by a felon is considered a second-degree felony. Actual possession brings a three-year minimum mandatory sentence with it and the judge can impose a combination of up to 15 years in prison, up to 15 years of probation, or up to $10,000 in fines. Constructive possession of a firearm does not have a minimum mandatory sentence however a judge can still impose a combination of those three listed penalties. 

The consequences of a conviction, especially a felony, can have a wide range of negative effects on your life. Therefore, you need to contact a defense attorney immediately. Michael B. Cohen can help you fight a gun charge by thoroughly investigating your case.

One of the most frightening things to go through is being convicted of a federal crime, but even scarier is not picking the right post-conviction attorney to help you navigate through your case and fight for the best outcome.

When Googling post-conviction attorneys, you will get more than 58 million search results, making it very difficult to determine who is the right fit for your case, however, there are certain characteristics you should be looking for in your attorney to help you narrow the list down.

Appeal Experience

There are countless benefits to immigrants who marry a U.S. citizen. For that reason, it is no surprise that many seek to marry a citizen for the sole purpose of obtaining them. However, due to the potential for abuse of these special benefits, authorities apply a high level of scrutiny to immigrants and U.S. citizens who wish to marry. 

The three types of marriage frauds are:

  • A marriage where one or both of the parties know the marriage is a fraud.

Grand juries are embedded into our constitution. Their purpose is to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that a federal felony was committed. A grand jury consists of 16-23 citizens from the community. If 12 of those jurors find there is probable cause, it is signed by the prosecutor which then becomes an indictment: a formal charge the government must prove at trial. 

However, there can be several reasons why you may have received a grand jury subpoena:

  • Target:

Being charged with a federal crime can be a scary thought, however, many don’t know that within three days of your arrest, you have the right to appear before a judge, or also known as, a federal detention hearing. A federal detention hearing allows you to let the judge know that you are no danger to the general public or a flight risk and they can choose to release you until your trial date.

Preparing for Detention Hearing

Before your federal detention hearing, a pre-trial services officer will conduct a full review of any of the details about you. For example, this can include your education, occupation, financial stability, how many family members you have, etc.

From the moment you awake in the morning to the second you lay your head down to go to bed, there will have been 550,000 shoplifting incidents in the U.S.

Although most think of shoplifting as one of the more “harmless” crimes, it is considered “retail theft” in the state of Florida. According to the Florida Senate, a person commits theft if he or she knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to either temporarily or permanently:

(a) Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property.

By Brian Bandell – Senior Reporter, South Florida Business Journal

December 23, 2020

Philip Esformes will be released from federal prison after President Donald

If you’ve watched enough law movies and drama shows, chances are you have at some point seen a character plead insanity as a defense. According to a PBS article, less than 1 percent of county court cases involve the insanity defense, and that of those, only around one in four were successful. Despite this statistic, there are instances when this defense is successful. The first successful attempt at this defense was in 1843 when an Englishman shot and killed the secretary of the British Prime Minister, believing that the Prime Minister was conspiring against him. More recently, a teenager in Iowa was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity in the death of his 5-year-old foster brother. So what exactly determines “insanity”?

First, the defendant must prove that he did not have control over his conduct similar to sleepwalking or being in a state of hypnosis. Secondly, the defendant does not have the ability to form criminal intent. They have no understanding of conduct that is “evil” or considered wrong by society’s standards. For example, if someone commits a crime and then tries to purposely mislead officers, they demonstrate an awareness that they did something wrong even if their behavior was mentally imbalanced. Due to these two factors in play, a defendant’s behavior is likely to be repeated again and again. As a result, there is no punishment or sentence that would rehabilitate the person. The only appropriate remedy is to treat their mental condition.

It is important to note that just with other areas of law, the insanity defense varies from state to state. Below are rules states use to define “insanity”:

As the Coronavirus spreads exponentially across the United States many local and states have been releasing thousands of low-risk inmates who could be at risk, particularly the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. Additionally, many criminal-justice reform advocates have urged the president to use his power of clemency to commute the sentences of numerous inmates who may be eligible for “compassionate release”.

In the opinion of many experts it has been said that each Governor should name a high-level health coordinator to address the growing problem faced by low-risk state prisoners.

The federal prison system is coming under intense pressure to take similar action, however, as is the case, especially with those who have been sentenced to prison terms and are currently incarcerated already know that the needs of those in federal custody usually face a long drawn out process.

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