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Don't neglect your federal criminal defense planning

Facing federal charges is a shock to many people. You have specific rights in these cases, so you must ensure that they are being respected. Your criminal defense attorney can help you to find out what these are and how you can work toward them. Just be sure that you have a team you can trust on your side.

There are several stages in a federal criminal trial. You must ensure that you are ready for each one when it arrives.

Anti-gang operation leads to 126 arrests

On Oct. 8, federal authorities announced the arrest of over 120 California residents following a three-month gang enforcement campaign dubbed "Operation Triple Beam". The campaign took place in Fresno County.

According to a news conference led by the U.S. Marshals Service, around 50 or 60 officers from various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies targeted area gangs from July 1 until Sept. 30. During the operation, they arrested 126 people and seized unspecified amounts of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine. They also confiscated over $13,000 in cash and 61 firearms, including a "ghost" gun that had no serial number. "Ghost" guns are typically bought off the internet in pieces and later assembled into a whole weapon. Under federal law, such firearms are only legal if owners acquire and apply a unique serial number.

Federal charge calls for 20-year sentence for political donor

The wealthy political donor known for contributing to high-profile candidates like Barack Obama and Gavin Newsom could face a mandatory minimum 20-year prison sentence if convicted on federal drug charges. A grand jury in a California federal court indicted the 65-year-old man after he was arrested on state charges for allegedly operating a drug house in West Hollywood.

According to the indictment, the man distributed methamphetamine that caused a man to die in January and another previous death in 2017. Prosecutors claim that the man injected men with drugs before having sex with them. Relatives of the alleged victims believe that he targeted gay African American men, some of whom were sex workers, because authorities would not take crimes against them as seriously. Family members believe that the man's reputation as a wealthy political donor shielded him from local law enforcement despite mounting evidence of illegal activity.

What is money laundering and why is it illegal?

People who illegally make money might try to make that money appear as though it was obtained lawfully. The process of doing this is known as money laundering, and it is unlawful. You can face charges on a state level or a federal one if you are accused of this.

A lot of the evidence that comes into the picture in these cases comes from a questionable paper trail. To plan a defense strategy for charges, you need to understand a few points about money laundering.

Felicity Huffman sentenced in college admissions case

California resident Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Sept. 13 for the role she played in the largest college admissions scandal in the nation's history. Huffman admitted in May that she paid a college counselor $15,000 to improve her daughter's SAT score. The payment was allegedly concealed as a charitable contribution. The Oscar-nominated star of 'Desperate Housewives" will also serve one year of supervised release, pay a $30,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service. Huffman will begin serving her sentence on Oct. 25.

U.S. attorneys had asked the judge who sentenced Huffman to send the actress to prison for a month followed by a year of supervised release. Her attorneys wanted no jail time, 250 hours of community service and one year of probation. Huffman is the first parent involved in the scandal to be sentenced. Federal prosecutors have charged 51 people with crimes ranging from money laundering to tax evasion.

California man admits to using Bitcoin kiosk to launder money

Federal prosecutors in California have announced that a 25-year-old Westwood man has admitted to using a Bitcoin kiosk to launder approximately $25 million for a list of clients that included drug dealers who used illicit websites to sell narcotics on the dark web. According to an Aug. 23 press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California, the man has entered guilty pleas to four felony counts including operating a money transmitting business without a license and distributing methamphetamine. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance in September.

Federal agents took the man into custody in June 2017 after gathering evidence during a sting operation. A federal agent posing as a drug dealer asked the man to launder about $400,000. The man is said to have told the federal agent that he routinely performed such transactions. He is also accused of selling the agent about two pounds of methamphetamine for $6,000.

3 people admit to embezzlement

Three people who once served as the economic development director, administrator and treasurer of a California Native American tribe have admitted embezzling more than $4.9 million from a casino operated by the tribe. The 56-year-old man, 76-year-old woman and 64-year-old woman entered guilty pleas to conspiracy to steal or embezzle from a tribal organization on Aug. 15. The man also admitted to filing a false tax return and the 64-year-old woman admitted to failing to file a tax return.

The group was indicted in 2017 following an investigation into improprieties at the Rolling Hills Casino near Sacramento. The casino, which generates approximately $100 million each year, is operated by the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians. According to media reports, the money embezzled by the group was used to fund their lavish lifestyles and purchase items including gold coins, jewelry, designer handbags and luxury cars. The group is also said to have taken trips including a World Series excursion and a vacation in Hawaii.

Method of delivery can impact your defense

The criminal defense strategy you choose can have a big impact on the outcome. One mistake that some defendants make is that they don't take the time to review all the options. Instead, they focus on one without thinking about whether any others could work with it.

Your defense can only be based on facts. You can't have any mistruths or anything similar in it. This is where your defense attorney comes in. They can review the situation and give you an idea about what options you will have and then they will tailor those to your case's specific circumstances.

California CEO pleads guilty to pension fund embezzlement

A 65-year-old California man who was the chief executive officer of a Sacramento-based real estate investment firm has admitted to embezzling $1,243,154 from his workers' pension plan. The man entered his guilty plea on Aug. 1. He faces a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced in January. The case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California and the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration.

According to media reports, the man's firm was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and handled transactions for institutional investors and public pension funds as well as individuals. The firm sponsored several retirement plans for its employees under the provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, and one of them was a traditional pension plan over which the man was the only trustee.

Poker star faces embezzlement charges

A man accused of embezzling money from a California company was indicted on July 11 by a federal grand jury. The man, Dennis Blieden, has become well-known in the poker field for his quick climb from unknown to superstar, but according to court papers, he may have used stolen money to help fund his rise.

Blieden allegedly forged the signature of an executive at the company where he worked, StyleHaul, on a fake lease for a condominium in Mexico. He then transferred funds for his own use by claiming expenses on the condo from employees and company clients. Furthermore, he created fake wire transfer letters that appeared to be client payments. The press release from the Department of Justice says that he purchased cryptocurrency with the money he had embezzled and used it for online gambling. He reportedly wrote more than $1 million in personal checks to some other poker competitors, moved over $8 million into cryptocurrency accounts and paid more than $1 million in credit card bills with embezzled funds.

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