Every day, Californians are faced with decisions that fall within gray areas. Is it okay to accept money under certain circumstances? Is it alright to give benefits to friends? Will you get in trouble for failing to report certain acts? These are all very important questions, and going one way or the other could mean the difference between a good business or personal decision and facing criminal allegations.
Extortion is a very serious white collar crime. White collar crimes are those that often involve some sort of illegal financial gain. Extortion, in short, occurs when you acquire property or money by threatening an individual, his or her loved ones, or property. It can also occur if you falsify your claim of right to the property or money. You might think this crime sound like robbery, since there is an element of intimidation or threat, but extortion differs in that the threat does not pose an immediate risk of harm.
Our last post on the blog discussed bank robbery and its potential penalties. If you are facing robbery charges or other criminal allegations, then you might be in for a fight. Federal prosecutors are aggressive, and they often seek not only a conviction, but also the strictest penalties allowable under the law. As mentioned last week, for example, people can face 20 years or more if convicted, depending on the underlying circumstances of the case.
Federal investigators handle a wide variety of crimes. Amongst those offenses is bank robbery. Bank robbery and attempted bank robbery are taken extremely seriously by the federal government, and a criminal conviction for such a crime could land an individual in prison for up to 20 years. This lengthy sentence, in addition to imposed fines, can really take a toll on an individual's life, making it extremely difficult for the person to get it back on track.
The law can be confusing. This statement is no surprise to many, but to some, the intricacies of the legal system can be damning. Particularly, those who operate in the corporate world can suddenly find themselves being accused of running afoul of the law. When this happens, those facing criminal allegations should do everything they can to get the law to support their side of the story.
You might, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case and the quality of your criminal defense. According to federal law, if you receive, store, sell, or dispose of any goods, merchandise, securities, or money over $5,000 in value, those items have been stolen, and they have crossed a state line or a U.S. boundary, then you might be charged with a federal crime. Additionally, if you accept or promise to hold stolen goods to secure a loan, the value of the stolen goods is $500 or greater, and the goods crosses a state or United States boundary, then you could face federal criminal accusations.
Last week's blog post introduced readers to the idea of mens rea, or the mental state that must be shown by a prosecutor in some cases in order to obtain a conviction. Though not all offenses require the prosecutor to show the appropriate mens rea, many do. This can be a hotly contested area during the course of plea negotiations or a trial and should be dealt with aggressively, as failure to do so could lead to a conviction and serious penalties.
In many criminal cases, the prosecution, in order to obtain a conviction, must show that a defendant possessed a certain mental state when committing the alleged offense. This mental state is often referred to as "mens rea." For example, many statutes state that a defendant must have "willfully" committed the offense in order to be found guilty. But what is a "willful" act?
It may sound frightening, but anyone can find themselves subject of a criminal investigation simply by being at the wrong place, at the wrong time and surrounded by the wrong circumstances. Though this can apply to any criminal offense, it is often particularly true for those accused of white collar crimes, which are those offenses involving finances. One California man may be finding this out firsthand after being taken into custody for alleged computer fraud.
You might face such allegations if certain circumstances exist. In fact, telemarketing scams are amongst the most common, so the federal government has really cracked down on telemarketers and what they can and cannot do over the phone. For example, if you offer significant products, services, or winnings in exchange for an individual's personal information, you should make sure you make good on your promise. Failing to do so could result in fraud charges.