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Review of the elements of money laundering

Although this blog has talked about it before, there may be some confusions in the mind of Cincinnati, Ohio, residents as to what exactly money laundering is.

It is a term often thrown around in drug prosecutions, prosecutions relating to mob or gang activity and the like, but even those facing federal charges related to money laundering might not understand fully what precisely they are being accused of.

Woman accused of shoplifting also faces drug charges

An Ohio woman who was initially detained on charges related to alleged shoplifting was also charged with several drug offenses after police searched her purse.

According to reports, the woman took an item of merchandise without paying for it as she was leaving the Wal Mart store. Apparently, someone who worked for Wal Mart managed to keep the woman in the vicinity until local police showed up.

What do you mean the police are allowed to lie to me?

Most people hold law enforcement officials to a higher standard, and Ohio residents are probably no exception. To find out that police officers can deceive you when they question you may come as a shock. It is also something that you need to be aware of if you find yourself on the receiving end of an interrogation.

It doesn't matter whether it happens on the side of the road, at the police station or even in your home -- if you let them in -- which is a separate issue. Police can tell certain lies in an attempt to get you to provide them with information.

Insurance fraud allegations can snag good people

As is the case in other states, insurance fraud is a crime in Ohio that prosecutors and law enforcement officers, as well as insurance companies, will take very seriously.

All Cincinnati residents need to remember that insurance fraud is often a felony and, as such, can land a person in prison, even if that person simply a made a one-time error in judgment.

Innocent activity can look like fraudulent billing

Whether in a private corporation, a public entity or even a charitable non-profit organization, those who control the money have a great deal of power and responsibility.

Particularly if they are under financial stress, it can be very tempting to dip into the company's money as a way of temporarily fixing a tough situation. At other times, what may well have been a mistake could look to a forensic accountant like a fraudulent act, leading to a false accusation of fraud, embezzlement or some other criminal activity.

The difference between insider trading and being in the know

Several large, publicly traded companies call Cincinnati their home, while many other big corporations have regional offices or other important business hubs here.

Likewise, lots of individuals in the area, and throughout Ohio, invest in the stock market and other regulated securities. One need not be independently wealthy in order to do so.

Proposed drug law changes divide the state

Ohio prisons are 30 percent over capacity right now, which is one of the reasons that many experts are supporting a ballot measure that would make the possession of a low-level drug a misdemeanor instead of a felony. Ohio is heading to the polls and will be voting on Issue 1, a proposal that's getting a lot of pushback.

Non-criminal parole violations would also not be sent back to prison if Issue 1 passes. As a result, it is expected that the state would save around $100 million, and the measure would put aside a major proportion of that for addiction treatment. This is because many believe that incarceration often comes in the way of recovery. Where the threat of punishment would work for the majority of the population, those familiar with treating drug addicts believe that the average drug addict does not think the same way an average sober person does.

The repercussions of environmental crimes charges

White collar crime charges are serious, even when it does not seem like it. It may be tempting to underestimate the potential impact that a conviction of these charges can have, but in reality, a person may be facing years behind bars. Individuals facing allegations of white collar criminal activity, including environmental crimes, would be wise to start learning more about their defense options. 

Environmental crimes are those that harm or could potentially harm the environment. Both individuals and organizations can face charges over violation of state or federal regulations, such as illegal waste dumping and much more. Environmental law is complex, and it may be beneficial to seek experienced guidance when facing these charges. 

Are the drug crime charges I am facing fair?

Ohio residents reading the newspapers or listening to the news often hear that a certain person or group has been charged with committing a number of crimes and mostly assume that if someone has been charged with committing a crime, they most certainly must have committed it. However, many people are not aware of the process known as criminal charge stacking-the process of adding more criminal charges than is actually fair.

Police officers have a lot of discretion when pressing criminal charges and this ends up in charges that are not substantiated by the facts existing at the time of the arrest. This is quite common when it comes drug crimes, as the crimes of drug trafficking and possession are often conflated together. Arguments such as why would someone have multiple small amounts of drugs if they were not intending to sell it are common in front of jurors and more often than not, they work. The podcast 'Serial', focusing its third season on the legal system in Ohio, also brought the matter into the limelight, pointing out that this is often a tactic employed by prosecutors to get defendants to plead down to lesser crimes.

Alternative sentences explained

While many people facing criminal charges may find themselves getting a prison sentence, this is not always the result of a conviction. Depending on the type of the crime one has committed, the severity of it, the defendant's criminal history, their age and the effect of the crime on others, different types of sentences could be pursued. Alternative sentencing can be especially beneficial when it comes to dealing with minor drug crimes, as an Ohio defendant could get treatment for an addiction rather than penalized for it.

One of the options available, known as pretrial diversion, is taking the defendant out of the ordinary course of prosecution to get the charges dropped if certain conditions are met. For minor drug offenses, as mentioned above, this could mean counseling and probation, along with the condition that the individual stay out of trouble. This gives the defendant the opportunity to demonstrate that he or she can behave responsibly. If the requirements are met, the charges could end up being dropped.

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