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More serious penalties for federal charges may be ahead

California residents who are facing various types of federal criminal charges may also face longer sentences than they would have during the Obama administration. In 2013, Eric Holder, who was the attorney general at the time, issued a memo directing federal judges to limit mandatory minimum sentencing. The issue was that nonviolent offenders were facing long prison sentences, and that was costly for taxpayers.

In a two-page memo issued on May 11, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed prosecutors to seek the most serious possible charges. This is expected to lead to a growth in the prison population, which had been going down. However, officials said that unless low-level drug offenders were also involved in gangs or had firearms, or unless there were other aggravating circumstances, they would not face these types of severe charges. An example of a case that would lead to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years is one in which a person allegedly had 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, 1 kilogram of heroin or 5 kilograms of cocaine.

California woman charged with embezzlement

A 47-year-old California woman has been charged with embezzling over $200,000 from the Lamont Public Utility District. The charges were announced during a press conference by the Kern County District Attorney's Office on April 25.

According to court documents, the defendant worked as an office manager for the district, and she came under scrutiny when a district board member noticed a suspicious credit union statement on her desk. An investigation discovered that more than $228,000 in LPUD funds went missing between 2010 and 2013. A warrant issued in January showed that three LPUD employees were targeted in the investigation, but the district attorney only charged the defendant.

What should I know if I'm facing a federal criminal charge?

When you found out that you were facing criminal charges, the fact that the charges were on the federal level likely incited a new fear. These are very serious and can lead to time in the federal penitentiary.

There are several things that you need to think about if you are facing federal charges. Understanding these points might help you as you go through your federal criminal case.

California woman accepts plea deal in identity theft case

In a plea agreement that was negotiated by her defense attorney with a U.S. prosecutor, a 36-year-old woman from San Francisco admitted to using identity information stolen from multiple credit card and debit card accounts to create new accounts. From February to July 2014, she opened credit accounts at a number of financial institutions in other people's names without their knowledge or permission.

According to the prosecutor, she filled out applications on the internet for 42 credit cards with other people's personal information. Authorities obtained evidence that she made purchases under at least two stolen names.

City worker arrested for embezzlement

California residents may be interested to know that on March 29, 2017, the former Compton deputy city treasurer was taken into custody by the FBI for embezzling. The 47-year-old man is facing federal charges for allegedly stealing $3,721,924 from May 2010 through December 2016 from programs supported by federal funds.

The worked in the city's treasurer's Office for over 20 years and was tasked with recording the cash that the city received each day for business licenses, parking tickets and other fees. After tallying the cash, he was responsible for preparing it to be deposited in the city's bank account.

Taking legal marijuana out of the state could be a federal crime

There are still a lot of issues with California's legal marijuana law. From the delay in creating secondary regulations to an increase in illegal growers using questionable chemicals, legal marijuana has created many new issues.

One legal issue that Californians and tourists may encounter is how state law clashes with the federal legislation. If you leave the state while in possession of marijuana or marijuana-infused products, like edibles, you could be facing serious federal charges. The federal government isn't going to care that you legally purchased the marijuana or that it was a gift.

Former mayor accused of financial theft

On March 10, it was reported that a former mayor of a California city was seeking to have his $1 million bond reduced as he said that he could not afford it. The 43-year-old, who was the former mayor of Stockton, was accused of embezzlement, grand theft and misuse of public funds from the Stockton Kids Club, among other offenses.

The man was taken into custody in mid-2016 after he was accused of supplying alcohol to minors at a camp that he was running in Amador County. The FBI had been investigating the former mayor for at least two years prior to the probe becoming public in late 2015. During his first court appearance, which occurred on March 6, he pleaded not guilty to six felony charges. He had reportedly been traveling in Columbia but returned to the U.S. to comply with the arrest warrant.

Man receives probation after being convicted at trial

A California man was sentenced to probation on Feb. 23 for crimes of embezzlement, tax evasion and forgery. The 74-year-old man was convicted of his crimes following a trial in September of 2016.

According to reports, the man was a co-owner of a pizzeria in Sunnyvale. Over a period of at least six years, he reportedly embezzled $350,000 from the restaurant. During that time, he also reportedly spent more than $1 million at casinos in Nevada and California.

Tax fraud vs. negligence: Know the difference

Preparing a tax return is very complicated, especially when you have multiple sources of income. In many cases, people choose to prepare their own returns instead of hiring a professional. When your income includes wages, income from your sole proprietorship, and other sources, it is easy to make mistakes. This is especially true when you are unfamiliar with the tax code and profit and loss presentation techniques.

Before you find yourself in hot water with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), it is important to understand the difference between income tax fraud and negligence. While your best resource is advice from an attorney experienced with tax evasion cases, read below for more information on understanding the difference between fraud and negligence.

Banker sentenced to 11 years for stock scheme

On Feb. 15, it was reported that a California-based investment banker was sentenced to prison after being convicted of fraud charges in 2016. The man, age 46, was convicted of securities fraud, investment adviser fraud and conspiracy after he became involved in a scheme to manipulate shares at a reinsurer that has since gone out of business.

Prosecutors stated that the man headed a subsidiary and had control over the defunct reinsurer through his associates. He was ultimately able to amass approximately half of the former company's public float without revealing who he was. After supposedly bribing investment advisers to purchase shares for their own clients, he was able to sell shares from his own account and ultimately generated approximately $20 million in profits. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

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