A federal grand jury handed down an indictment this week charging a Sacramento resident of mortgage fraud. The landscape of the housing market has seen extreme upheaval over the last decade. There was a point when home values were very high and it seemed like there was no way to lose when investing in residential property this led to an atmosphere in which credit and income checks were a mere formality because it was seemingly impossible for anyone to lose money.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the "Barefoot Bandit," as he was came to be known, was sentenced Friday in federal court for his four-year international crime spree involving stolen planes, boats and weapons.
Prosecutors are not allowed to use evidence in a criminal trial if the evidence was collected illegally, in violation of our Constitutional rights. The Fourth Amendment guarantees us the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by the government. This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition on unreasonable searches included the use of a GPS tracking system that the police had attached to a suspect's car.
There are many kinds of offenses that can be prosecuted as federal crimes. And individuals who are facing allegations by the federal government may face a tough legal challenge. The United States Department of State's Diplomatic Security Services recently announced that nine California residents in the Central Valley were arrested in 2011 on federal passport fraud charges.Two of the nine persons arrested are Stockton residents. Authorities say the men were accused of applying for passports with fraudulently obtained, counterfeit, or stolen identification materials. A spokesperson for the Diplomatic Security Service indicated that it is illegal to "apply for or obtain a United States passport under false pretenses."
Californians are no strangers to news of alleged criminal activities. By definition, some of these activities are known as white collar crimes and can involve the most unlikely of suspects. This may be the case with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent who was recently found guilty of a variety of offenses.Federal prosecutors accused the man of obstructing justice and lying to federal authorities. The case involved a complex scheme that the immigration agent allegedly put into place concerning an informant who was also facing criminal charges. The agent purportedly used his influence to keep the so-called informant out of prison for a conviction in Florida. But the agent also secured a lucrative consulting job for himself in the process. One major problem was that the so-called informant apparently never agreed to be an informant.
Increasingly, federal officials are joining with California police agencies to prosecute drug trafficking and other drug-related activities. California authorities are said to bring knowledge of the local territory, while federal investigators bring the resources and the power of federal courts. In one such combination of efforts, a number of alleged gang members were recently arrested in California.The combination of California and federal police actions resulted in 22 arrests. More than 400 local and federal officers served warrants at more than 20 locations in California. The secret operations ended last month, as authorities alleged that a member of a gang agreed to sell 10 pounds of methamphetamine and four kilograms of cocaine to undercover agents for $200,000. Three alleged gang members were arrested, and a total of six people were charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and sell firearms without a license.
For many of those who may be facing federal drug charges, the rules concerning courtroom behavior may seem complicated and confusing. Lawyers and judges are bound by certain rules that must be obeyed, and when those rules are not obeyed, appeals courts can intervene. This was the case when a California federal appeals court threw out a drug trafficking conviction because of a San Diego prosecutor's statement to jurors.
According to the U. S. Attorney's Office, authorities recently made federal firearms and drug trafficking charges against two men and one woman from Ventura County, California. The arrests were made in connection with an undercover police operation targeting alleged California gang members. Several law enforcement agencies have taken part in the operation, which has reportedly spanned a number of months and resulted in a total of six arrests.