Hal M. Garfinkel

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Did you know that you could be charged with a federal crime even if authorities are aware that you did not actually commit what most people would consider an illegal act? At some point or another, most of us have talked or joked about the idea of committing some type of crime—such as robbing a bank when family finances get tight. Doing so may seem harmless, especially when such conversations are light-hearted, but in reality, having serious discussions or making plans related to the commission of a crime could lead to the filing of federal conspiracy charges. It is possible…
Over the last few weeks, more than 1,000 arrests have been made in major cities around the country, and over 215 individuals have been charged with at least one federal crime. These numbers come from an announcement made by U.S. Attorney General William Barr last week. The arrests were made as part of “Operation Legend,” a focused, nationwide effort to combat violent crime in America’s large cities. In Chicago alone, more than 60 people have been charged with federal crimes since the initiative began in the city on July 22. Attorney Barr said the charges are related to bank…
Earlier this year, the federal government rolled out the CARES Act, which included the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). The PPP was intended to help small business owners keep their employees on the payroll during the pandemic, and help them pay for other costs, such as utilities and rent. Now, it is being learned that many large businesses, such as Shake Shack, are improperly applying for and being granted these loans. Even smaller businesses may face federal charges if it is found out that they have not been using the funds appropriately. So, what should you do if you become the…
The offense of driving under the influence is typically a state charge, meaning a person will be tried in state court and if convicted, possibly have to serve time in state prison. There are times when these offenses are charged and tried at the federal level. The penalties associated with a conviction of any federal offense are typically much harsher than sentences in state court. It is for this reason that it is particularly important that anyone facing federal DUI charges speaks to a federal criminal defense lawyer that can help. What Is a Federal DUI Charge? According to the…
Ponzi schemes have become famous after news was made of Dona Branca’s scheme, the “Double Shah” and of course, the original Charles Ponzi scheme. Still, even though Ponzi schemes often make the news, few people really understand what they are, and what is at stake if they are charged with running such a scheme. Learn more about Ponzi schemes below, what types of criminal charges are involved, and what to do if you are charged. What Is a Ponzi Scheme? Ponzi schemes are considered white-collar crimes that typically involve some type of fraud. They are not violent crimes, but they…
Learning that your loved one has been charged with a federal crime is very scary. You want to help, but you do not know how to do it, or what steps to take. You may also want to post bond as soon as possible, so your spouse can come back home to you. The federal justice system though, is very different from the state justice system most people think of in criminal cases and so, it is important to understand those differences, and what you should do after your spouse is arrested. State Court vs. Federal Court Many people are…
Too often, people are charged with a federal offense, such as tax evasion or drug trafficking, and they quickly hire a lawyer that was recommended to them, or that they heard about from an advertisement. As the case progresses, the lawyer’s shortcomings become quite evident and the accused individual starts to lose trust in their attorney. In these instances, people often want to change their lawyers, but wonder if they are allowed to under the law. This is just one question that arises when people want to change lawyers. Below are other frequently asked questions about hiring a new attorney,…
If you have been charged with a drug crime, a weapons offense, or any other federal crime, you may be wondering if you can post bail so you can remain out of jail until a decision is made at trial. Most people think that as long as they have the money, it is fairly easy to get bail. This is mainly due to the fact that when most people think of jail, they think of state facilities. The federal justice system is much different, and that includes how decisions are made about bail, bond, and pretrial release. Initial Hearing Shortly…
Protests have erupted all over the country with protesters calling for equality after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who was killed while in police custody. Although many of the protests have remained peaceful, looting has also occurred in many cities. Buildings have been burned down, storefronts have been vandalized, and mass theft has occurred. Protesters and looters alike have both been arrested with many asking whether looting is a federal crime. The answer to that question is that it depends on the facts of a specific case. While some of the crimes that result from looting…
Billions of people use search engines such as Google every day to look up information, videos, local businesses, and more. Most searches conducted are fairly innocent and will not attract the interest of federal authorities, such as the FBI. Unfortunately, there are some search terms that could catch their attention, and that may even leave you facing federal criminal charges. It is important to know what these search terms are, as even just searching for mere interest’s sake may not provide a valid defense. Child Pornography Generally speaking, viewing pornography online is not a criminal act. However, when pornographic…
Many people are familiar with the term ‘stalking,’ but because this offense is commonly charged at the state level, individuals are often surprised to learn that they are facing federal charges. Under certain conditions, a stalking charge can quickly turn into a federal offense and when they do, it is important to speak to a lawyer experienced with the federal criminal justice system. The Definition of Stalking Under Federal Law The federal statute that governs stalking defines the offense as: Placing another person in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or death to themselves, their family members, spouse, or intimate…
Pharmacists help people every day, providing the necessary medication that helps patients with their illnesses and injuries. Few pharmacists expect to receive a target letter or a federal subpoena and when they do, it is easy to imagine the worst-case scenarios. While pharmacists are often the target of prescription drug fraud investigations, it is important not to panic. There are defenses available for these cases and ways you can protect yourself. Becoming Involved in the Government’s Investigation Once you learn that you are under federal investigation, it is easy to want to wait it out, hope for the best, and…
Federal offenses are often misunderstood, mainly because people are more familiar with state crimes that are prosecuted at the state level. Federal crimes are those that violate federal law and, although state law often mirrors this law, there are times when the crime has certain elements that make it a federal offense. A drug crime, for example, violates state law but if the crime involves a border crossing, it becomes a federal crime. Drug offenses are one of the most common federal crimes, as are weapons crimes and white-collar crimes. Drug Crimes Any offense that violates the federal Controlled Substances…
When most people think of tax fraud, they typically think of a person that tries to avoid paying the proper taxes they owe and then get charged with tax evasion. While that is certainly one type of criminal offense involving taxes, there are others as well. These offenses fall under the umbrella term of tax fraud and many people can be charged with these crimes, including accountants, without even realizing that they engaged in criminal activity. What Is Tax Fraud? Tax fraud, in its simplest terms, occurs when a person makes intentional misrepresentations, or false statements, on a tax…
In its most basic form, perjury is defined as lying under oath and it is a federal offense. There are two federal statutes that define perjury. The first outlines general perjury, while the other defines making false declarations before a court or grand jury. Although these statutes differ slightly, with one requiring a federal court proceeding, the definition of the act of perjury largely remains the same. That definition may seem simple, but there are five elements that must be met in order for the prosecution to secure a conviction. Perjury Must Happen Under Oath A person can make false…
It was in late March that a major credit card fraud ring was shut down, an effort that was coordinated between Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and United States law enforcement. One man is believed to be the mastermind behind over 40 websites on the dark web that were used to collect and sell stolen credit cards. The man and his associates used cryptocurrency to move hundreds of millions of dollars gained from the credit card theft, and it was this gain that the American authorities seized. Although stealing credit cards is one type of credit card fraud, there are…