Federal crimes are frequently very serious, carrying a far greater risk that the accused will be convicted and sentenced to a long period of incarceration compared to a State court originating charge. The biggest difference between a State prosecution and a Federal prosecution is the investigation process. Federal law enforcement is famously thorough and efficient and generally has an unlimited budget with unlimited resources. Federal investigations are usually handled by the FBI, DEA, US Marshal, IRS, CIA, and ATF, however sometimes they use local law enforcement to aid in their investigations. The prosecution of the charges is handled by the United States Attorney’s Office, and these federal prosecutors are very thorough and prosecute with great skill and determination.
Another reason why federal cases are generally more serious than their state counterparts is that federal sentences are frequently extremely harsh. Federal sentencing law is governed by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines which layout an advisory range of sentence to which the judge will sentence someone who is convicted. There are also statutory minimum sentences. For example, people charged with possession with intent to distribute narcotics usually face a mandatory minimum sentence of five or ten years and sometimes even more. In white collar cases mandatory minimum sentences can also apply. Someone convicted of some types of fraud in tandem with aggravated identity theft faces a mandatory sentence of two years over and above whatever sentence he receives on the fraud conviction. People convicted of fraud often face double digit sentences depending on the amount of the intended loss.
This is not to say that federal charges are hopeless. They absolutely are not. As experienced federal criminal defense lawyers Giovannini & Olshansky have special expertise in defending federal criminal cases can make a huge difference in the outcome of a case. Through motion practice, trials, plea bargaining and sentencing advocacy we can lift the cloud of hopelessness that falls on the person accused of a federal crime. Many seemingly hopeless cases can be dismissed, can be won a trial, negotiated in a way that results in a favorable outcome to the defendant.
Federal charges can stem from white collar offense like theft, fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement to drug trafficking, gun possession, conspiracy charges, and terrorism.
The law firm of Giovannini & Olshansky represents doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers, law enforcement officers, and businessman who are under investigation or facing very serious federal, international, and state charges.
Within the field of criminology, white-collar crime has been defined by Edwin Sutherland "...as a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation." Sutherland was a proponent of Symbolic Interactionism, and believed that criminal behavior was learned from interpersonal interaction with others. White-collar crime therefore overlaps with corporate crime because the opportunity for fraud, bribery, insider-trading, embezzlement, computer crime, and forgery is more available to white-collar employees.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has adopted the narrow approach, defining white-collar crime "...as those illegal acts which are characterized by deceit, concealment, or violation of trust and which are not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence. Individuals and organizations commit these acts to obtain money, property, or services; or to secure personal or business advantage." The most common white-collar offenses include anti-trust violations, Medicare fraud, healthcare fraud, computer and internet fraud, credit card fraud, phone and telemarketing fraud, bankruptcy fraud, environmental law violations, insurance fraud, mail fraud, government fraud, tax evasion, financial fraud, securities fraud, insider trading, bribery, kickbacks, counterfeiting, public corruption, money laundering, embezzlement, economic espionage, and trade secret theft.
Federal prosecutors, with the use of federal agents, and a grand jury consisting of 16 to 23 citizens, gather information about white collar crimes. The grand jury has the authority to subpoena individuals to appear before them to answer questions or to turn over documents to obtain information about an individual’s, or business’, participation in a white collar crime. This information is also used to see if there is enough evidence to indict that person. This can be a lengthy process that takes several months or even years. Individuals often know that they are under investigation before charges are filed. When an individual is under investigation they become know as the “target” of that investigation.
White collar offenses are often complex. The penalties for white collar offenses include fines, home detention, community confinement, cost of prosecution, forfeitures, restitution, supervised release, and imprisonment.
If you are the target of an federal investigation, white-collar or not, or have already been charged with a federal crime, it is crucial to obtain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney who can defend your rights, image, and future. Giovannini & Olshansky offer a free initial consultation to discuss your matter.