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Like many white collar crimes insider trading can be extremely complicated. It is not uncommon for a person to get information and use it on the stock market, without having any idea that they are committing a crime.

If you deal at all with securities, it is critical to have a basic understanding of insider trading so you can avoid these charges and defend yourself against them if necessary.
A recent case
According to a recent report from the Department of Justice, a Chicago physician has been charged with insider trading. Because of his role as a primary field investigator
Continue Reading What you need to know about insider trading

The law is changing all the time. It is no small task keeping up with the changes that occur in every area of law from one year to the next.

Illinois lawmakers have drafted nearly 300 new laws and changes to existing legislation, according to NBC Chicago online. These legal changes involve everything from permitting and licensing of lemonade stands to a minimum wage increase. In the realm of criminal law, one of the most important legal changes to be implemented is the change to Illinois’ longstanding felony murder rule.
What is the current felony murder rule in Illinois?
Continue Reading  Understanding the new felony murder rule in Illinois

Gun control and aggressive prosecution of gun crimes have been significant stories in Chicago and throughout Illinois in recent months. In a recent post, we talked about the federal crackdown of straw purchasers of weapons.

An important related issue involves “ghost guns” and various gun modifications. It is important to understand when a personal modification to an otherwise legal gun becomes criminal firearm possession. Similarly, when can owning various pieces of a firearm, each of which is legal in itself, become criminal gun possession? It is important to understand the basics of these issues to avoid criminal prosecution.
Ghost guns
Continue Reading Are “ghost guns” illegal?

Two trends have emerged in recent years: An increase in seemingly isolated “smash and grab” burglaries of high-end retail establishments throughout Chicago and the suburbs, as well as an increase in so-called organized crime. In response, the federal and state authorities have been increasing their efforts to thwart and prosecute these crimes.

There are times when a larger smash and grab or a series of smash and grabs become one larger crime. When this happens, the stakes are much higher and the penalties much more severe.
A recent arrest by the Organized Retail Crime Task Force
As reported by WIFR
Continue Reading When can a few isolated smash and grabs become “organized crime”?

Due to a marked increase in violent crimes in recent months, especially those involving firearms, authorities at every level are coordinating renewed efforts to minimize the violence and curb gun crimes in Illinois and throughout the country.  In a recent post, we discussed the recent efforts by federal authorities to crack down on illegal firearms trafficking and violent crimes in general.

One area worthy of specific attention involves straw purchasers and their part in illegal gun trafficking. In a recent press release, John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, called out straw purchasers
Continue Reading Straw purchasers being targeted by federal gun crime crackdown efforts

Given events of the past couple years, the importance of and enforcement of criminal laws regulating gun ownership and use have become front page news. Instances of gun violence, charges and convictions seem to be increasing drastically in the past year.

Perhaps nowhere is this increase more prevalent than in Chicago. According to the Chicago Sun Times, “The number of shooting victims [in 2021] is more than triple what it was for all of 2019.” But this trend is not limited to the greater Chicagoland area. In fact, there are strong federal initiatives focused on curbing gun crimes throughout
Continue Reading Is there an increased crackdown on gun crimes?

While news stories play an obviously important role in our culture, they tend to gloss over many of the important details, to make things seem crystal clear when they are anything but.

One important example is loss amount, restitution, and forfeiture calculations in federal fraud cases.
A recent story
One recent example involves a story from the Wisconsin State Journal online, about the owner of two Illinois marketing firms who pled guilty of fraud charges. According to the story, two people were involved with overcharging Mercyhealth for marketing services rendered.

The potential problem is, the article doesn’t make clear
Continue Reading Loss calculations in federal court are often more complicated than it may seem

There’s a changing perspective in society. It was less than a decade ago that Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize marijuana. Before that, possession of marijuana was a crime throughout the country.

Since many states are legalizing marijuana in various forms and uses, the prevailing attitude is one of less concern over the drug in general. Because of that lessened concern, many people think that marijuana-related crimes are no longer being pursued by federal and state prosecutors.

However, this is a misconception. Although significant changes in the law regarding marijuana have and likely will continue to be
Continue Reading Marijuana prosecution is still happening on both the state and federal levels

When we think of public corruption, most of us think of governors, senators and other high-level government officials engaging in multi-million-dollar fraudulent schemes with tax-payer money. In Chicago, you might think of local Aldermen.   Although these common impressions of corruption charges are not unfounded and is unlikely to change anytime soon, it tends to obscure the fact that public corruption is not reserved exclusively for the powerful and influential. It can occur at any level of government.
Public corruption at the local library
According to CBS Local Chicago news online, Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones recently shut down the
Continue Reading Even librarians can be targeted for public corruption charges

One of the primary draws of cryptocurrency is that is supposedly shielded from government intervention and oversight. However, this myth is beginning to come unraveled. In fact, one of the benefits of blockchain technology is its transparency.

In a recent post, we discussed the announce of the launch of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET), a federal initiative to investigate and prosecute crimes involving cryptocurrency. And even before this national effort gains full steam, we are already seeing signs of law enforcement using cryptocurrency surveillance to obtain evidence of criminal activity.
A recent guilty plea for murder
The Miami Herald
Continue Reading The police can track your cryptocurrency transactions

Recently, the Department of Justice has focused its attention on the use and criminal misuse of Cryptocurrency in a very public way.  On October 6, 2021, the Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco announced the launch of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET) to place a greater focus on the “complex investigation and prosecution of criminal misuses of cryptocurrency.” This team will combine several resources and areas of expertise as they relate to cryptocurrency and its potential abuses, including Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS), the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) and
Continue Reading Got Cryptocurrency? Watch Your Wallet; Because the Government Is Too!

There are times when only the most experienced, aggressive legal representation will be able to adequately defend you against criminal charges. When the charges and potential penalties are severe, and when the evidence is powerful, you must work with an attorney with proven ability to get the job done.

In a recent case in point, a co-founder and former CEO of Silicon Valley tech company, HeadSpin, is facing charges of securities fraud and wire fraud, according the report from Reuters online.

The HeadSpin case

HeadSpin is a technology company that serves individuals and companies who are putting out products
Continue Reading Fraud Charges Against Tech Company

Purchasing weapons for people who are not authorized to own them can have dangerous consequences. Currently, a Chicago woman faces charges related to purchasing guns for people not permitted to have them, and prosecutions are happening at the federal level all over the country.

The idea behind prohibiting specific individuals from owning firearms is that it limits their ability to commit dangerous crimes. Before owning a gun in Chicago and throughout Illinois, residents must go through a background check before receiving a permit to purchase firearms. Also, anyone who purchases a gun in the United States must pass an ATF
Continue Reading When is a straw weapons purchase a felony?

A felony conviction can carry more penalties than prison time and fines. While the prison time will end, consequences like losing the right to carry a firearm can last forever.

This week, rapper Lil Wayne was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The charge comes from an incident last year where authorities found a gold-plated handgun in his luggage after arriving in Miami on a private plane.

Carrying a firearm after a felony conviction can come with severe consequences, including jail or significant prison time. Still, there is speculation that the newest addition to the
Continue Reading Should the Supreme Court revisit whether felons can have firearms?

The federal government takes drug crimes seriously. They have virtually unlimited resources to prosecute these crimes and aggressively prosecutes serious drug crimes. If a person is facing federal drug crimes charges, they can be scared and stressed over the situation. Recently, dozens of people were arrested on various serious drug crimes charges on the West Side.
Major drug investigation culminates in dozens of arrests
The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois recently announced that 26 people are facing criminal charges after a federal drug investigation. Federal officials purchased fentanyl-laced heroin and crack cocaine on two dozen undercover purchases
Continue Reading Dozens of people arrested in West Side drug bust

In our last post, we began a discussion about the problems of forensic fire investigation. It is one of numerous types of forensic testing that is far less reliable (or scientifically sound) than the general public tends to believe. Problems with burn-pattern analysis have led to a number of wrongful convictions, as mentioned in our last post and in a recent Washington Post article.
Far from a perfect science
Arson investigation based on analysis of burn patterns is, at best, partly conjecture. It is not an exact science, even when investigations are conducted by the most knowledgeable experts. And
Continue Reading Forensic fire investigation often riddled with problems: Part II