For most Ohioans, tax season has come and gone without a hiccup. Sure, some individuals may have had to pay more into taxes than expected, or their return may have been less than they wished, but other than that they will not have any further communication with the IRS until next year's tax time. Others, though, will find themselves being audited for any number of reasons. When this happens, these individuals may find themselves being accused of a serious crime, like tax evasion.
As our lives become more digitized, our personal information has become more valuable, requiring extensive protection. While it is nearly impossible to fully protect one's personal identification information, when his or her personal information is allegedly stolen and funds are accessed as a result, he or she, along with the prosecutor, may consider aggressively pursuing criminal charges. Those individuals who are at the receiving end of these charges can come face-to-face with the potential for serious penalties that can redefine their lives.
Criminal offenses that deal with bilking people out of money without violence are often referred to as white collar crimes. These crimes, which may include identity theft, embezzlement, computer crimes, and fraud, are aggressively prosecuted. After all, everyone wants to protect their finances, so when money unexpectedly goes missing, or goes missing in a questionable way, those involved are going to seek to place the blame somewhere. This means that those who face white collar crime allegations may be in for a hard fight for their freedom and reputations.
The mortgage industry is booming as the economy recovers from the Great Recession. However, since the economy collapsed about a decade ago, many lenders have tightened their lending standards, meaning that many everyday Ohioans are left unable to obtain a loan. Of course, these mortgage loans are only given after people submit an application which details their income and their debts. With mortgage companies facing an influx of applications, it can be hard for them to thoroughly vet all applications, which could tempt some to fudge the numbers a bit. However, under Ohio law this is considered mortgage fraud.
Many Ohioans find themselves in positions where they handle money that belongs to others. These jobs carry great responsibility, as any discrepancies regarding fund allocation can draw sharp questions and allegations of criminal wrongdoing. When this happens, the stakes can be incredibly high, and those who fail to aggressively defend themselves can wind up facing serious penalties that affect their lives for years, or even decades, down the road.
Over the last several decades, as debit and credit cards have become more universal and online shopping has become more popular, fraud and identity theft have become increasingly common. Yet, the law regarding identity theft is much broader than many think. Ohioans who have been accused of this criminal offense need to familiarize themselves with this law, as their freedom could be on the line.
The Cincinnati-area has its fair share of aggressive prosecutors who seek harsh penalties for those who are alleged of committing a crime. This is especially true when an alleged crime involves financial harm to another individual or a business. Yet, far too often these prosecutors overstep their bounds and either charge innocent individuals with serious crimes, or charge individuals with crimes that are much more serious than the alleged events that occurred.
When people are arrested, they often forget that they are innocent until proven guilty and that the U.S. Constitution provides them with certain guarantees that cannot be taken away. One of those rights is enshrined in the Fourth Amendment, which protects people from unreasonable search or seizure. Courts interpret this to mean that police must have probable cause before they can search or arrest a suspect.
Since white collar crimes seem like victimless crimes, many in Cincinnati don't take the charges seriously. For example, when a violent crime is committed, the victim and their injuries can be identified and therefore charges stemming from those crimes are considered serious and those facing them fight aggressively to protect their rights. However, some people may not fight as aggressively when it comes to white collar criminal charges, and this can be a huge mistake.
As mentioned last week on this blog, regardless of the amount of money involved, embezzlement is a crime. But what exactly is embezzlement and what needs to be demonstrated in order to prove it in court?