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Cincinnati Federal Crimes Blog

What is computer fraud?

Ohio residents, like their counterparts across the country, use their computers for practically every thing, from running their business to ordering their groceries. With so much information out there on the Internet and the use so rampant, it is inevitable that crimes related to computers also pop-up. But not all computer crimes are the same and when someone finds themselves facing white-collar criminal charges related to computer fraud, it is important to understand what the charges are so one can defend themselves accordingly.

Phishing is perhaps the most common form of computer fraud. It involves sending an email asking for someone's personal bank account information while misguiding him or her as to the use of the information. The email typically includes a link to a website where the alleged phisher asks for the relevant data.

Judges becoming harsher in dealing with white-collar crimes

White collar crimes have established a reputation of being victimless-though the victims lose a chunk of their live savings, the perpetrator does not come face to face with their victims as one would if accused of robbery or assault. Perpetrators know that there are harming the market, not specific identified victims. This is why the psychology of the crime is different-there is no signal to the brain that a crime is going to be committed. Rather, there is a gradual slipping over the line until one does not even realize what they have done.

Unfortunately though, white collar crimes are treated seriously by the legal system and gone are the days where judges would give light sentences to those Ohioans convicted of committing white collar crimes. Where in 1958 40 percent of those sentenced under fraud guidelines received some prison time for their crimes, the number had increased to approximately 70 percent in 2013, as per the U.S. Sentencing Commission's 2013 Report on Sentencing Trends. In fact, where the loss caused was at least $2.5 million, judges were handing out prison sentences of between five and 17 years in 2012. This demonstrates that judges are getting harsher, not lenient.

Criminal appeal may give you hope for the future

If you are convicted of criminal activity, such as a white-collar crime or a drug crime, you may not necessarily agree with the jury's verdict or with the judge's sentence. In this situation, filing an appeal is generally your only option.

The court system is currently clogged with appeals for vacating convictions and reducing sentences. For this reason, having an applied understanding of the law is critical for increasing your chances of winning your criminal appeal.  

100 indicted in drug crimes

As has been mentioned before on the Cincinnati Federal Crimes Blog, an indictment indicates a speedier criminal trial. A grand jury is charged with determining whether there is adequate reason for bringing criminal charges against an individual and when the indictment is granted, it allows the government to continue prosecution against the accused individual. Since the grand jury has already seen the evidence and decided to proceed against the accused, there is an assumption that the evidence must be strong.

Ohio saw a 756-page indictment against 100 people, all related to drug crimes. The huge drug trafficking investigation took place this week and the Attorney General's office claims the alleged ring operated primarily between Cuyahoga and Columbiana. According to them, around one million potentially fatal doses of carfentanil and around 350,000 potentially fatal doses of fentanyl in one of these counties alone. According to some officials, it may be the biggest case in Columbiana's history.

Elements to prove embezzlement

Fraud has different types and it is important to know which type of fraud one is being accused of in order to ensure all the elements of the crime are being fulfilled. One common type of fraud is embezzlement, also known as employee theft.

It involves the fraudulent taking of personal property by someone who was entrusted with the property. As mentioned above, the most common instances of it are when money has been misappropriated, like a bank teller pocketing deposits or a retail employee taking a gift card. These may seem like innocent mistakes, which is why understanding what constitutes the crime of embezzlement can help those accused of committing the crime defend their rights.

Avoid penalties for drug crimes with a strong advocate's help

Ohio, like a majority of the states, is strict on drug crimes. As noted previously on this blog, the rising drug crisis in the country has pushed authorities to strictly penalize even minor drug related infractions, causing people to face long-term consequences for minor crimes. Consequences can include not only prison time and fines, but could also include the suspension of driving privileges.

The law regarding drug crimes is confusing though -- certain paraphernalia may be legal in some contexts while illegal in others. Similarly, someone may not even be aware that the prescription they are carrying is not an original one or they may not know that the drug they are ingesting is a controlled substance. When facing drug crimes, it is important to have someone by your side who can explain the law to you and can also be a strong advocate for you. Lawyers at our firm do just that for our clients.

What are the penalties for forged prescriptions?

The rising use and abuse of prescription drugs has fuelled a serious problem in the country. The number of deaths caused by drug overdoses has also skyrocketed in the same period. Many states, including Ohio, have responded by creating laws that curb prescription drug abuse and severely penalize those who forge drug documents.

Defined as illegal processing of drug documents, it is now a crime to possess, make, sell or utter a drug document, including prescriptions and uncompleted printed prescription blanks utilized for writing prescriptions. It is also a crime to knowingly make a false statement about a drug order or prescription. Additionally, someone who knowingly makes or affixes a false or forged label to a packet containing drugs could also face drug charges.

Thirteen indicted on fraud charges

When someone knowingly executes or attempts to execute a plan that defrauds a financial institution or obtains the money, credit, funds or property owned or under the control of a financial institution by using fraudulent means or by using fraudulent misrepresentation, they may find themselves facing bank fraud charges. These charges carry with them serious penalties, including a fine that is no more than $1,000,000, and could include imprisonment of up to 30 years.

These are the penalties that 13 people from Ohio may be facing as they have been charged with committing bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. According to authorities, financial institutions have lost around $150,000 through their scheme.

When police are knocking, do you have to let them in?

Let's say you're sitting at home one evening, enjoying a movie or football game on TV. Your family is throughout the house, carrying out various activities typical to an average household in America. Overall, you're feeling pretty well satisfied with life, and safe and secure within your own home. That is, until a loud rapping at the door causes you to startle. Perhaps you approach your entry way and look through a nearby window to see who's outside.

That's when you notice the people at your door appear to be several uniformed police officers. You have a feeling your quiet evening at home is about to drastically change. The first question that pops into your mind is: Do I have to answer the door?

Know the difference between different drug charges

Readers of this Cincinnati criminal defense legal blog are encouraged in all cases to discuss their pending charges with attorneys who practice criminal law. Information contained in this and other posts on this site are offered as information only and readers should not rely on the contents presented herein as legal advice.

In the realm of criminal drug charges, a big difference can exist in terms of punishments based on the type of charge a person faces. From paraphernalia charges to distribution charges, this post will touch on some of the different drung-based legal dilemmas Ohio residents may face.

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