What is the difference between a grand jury and a jury that decides the facts in a trial? If you don’t understand the difference between them, the following should be helpful to you, whether you are simply a witness or a target of an investigation.
In this article, an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney outlines what is required of the target in a grand jury investigation and what the target can expect to occur.
The First Notification
The first indication that you may have that a federal investigation is under way is the target letter. If you receive one, it means that the federal prosecutor has reason to believe that you may have been involved in a federal crime. In other words, you have been “targeted” for investigation under a federal grand jury.
Purpose of the Target Letter
The primary purpose of the target letter is to alert persons that they are targets of an investigation, as well as to notify such persons that they have a right to legal counsel. By sending the target letter, prosecutors sometimes are sending the signal that they are interested in initiating plea bargaining procedures, or event that they are interested in potentially seeking cooperation from the target against other, more serious targets. Obviously, it is critical to have an attorney representing the target in such potential discussions and negotiation. While the prosecutor may issue a subpoena requiring you to present yourself, it does not follow that you are required to testify. In fact, it is usually better if you do not. Normally, your attorney will invoke the Fifth Amendment clause on your behalf, thus obeying the subpoena without risk of answering questions that could lead to self-incrimination.
Lack of the Target Letter
Sometimes, a subpoena accompanies the target letter, requiring you to appear before the grand jury. If that happens, it is likely that your attorney will advise you to invoke your Fifth Amendment right to silence. If you receive a subpoena but no target letter accompanies it, it does not necessarily indicate that you cannot later be designated a target. Lack of the letter or the form that states the recipient’s rights is no bar to being indicted, nor does it preclude the possibility that testimony may be brought forward at the trial against the defendant.
Your Attorney’s Objectives
Prior to indictment, options for you and your New Jersey criminal defense lawyer include:
- Taking steps to persuade the prosecution that he or she has no or insufficient grounds for an indictment.
- Negotiating for immunity, a lesser charge or a lighter penalty in return for testimony concerning a guiltier party.
- Being alert to what is happening, study the events and begin to prepare your defense if it becomes evident that an indictment is the likely outcome.
Seek Legal Counsel Now
If you have received a target letter, you are in immediate and dire need of a lawyer. Contact Tim Anderson, your New Jersey criminal defense attorney, by calling 732-212-2812.
If you have been convicted of a federal crime, you should know that your legal battles are not over. The judge presiding over the case will still have to determine your penalties. While there are federal sentencing guidelines, judges are not bound to follow them. As a result, you may want to work with a New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney to help argue for a lesser penalty.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines
The federal sentencing guidelines are a point-based system to determine the severity of potential penalties for someone convicted of a crime. While judges may give considerable weight to the guidelines, the guidelines do not have to be followed exactly due to a 2005 Supreme Court decision. So depending upon the whims of the judge, you could face wildly different sentences. That’s why having an experienced attorney represent your interests during sentencing is so important.
Federal Sentencing Process
The federal sentencing process typically consists of:
- Pre-Sentencing Interview. The Department of Probation will interview the defendant and get information for which to recommend a sentence. The defendant will have a chance to see the report and comment on it;
- Defendant’s Words. The defendant will have an opportunity to argue why a lesser sentence is appropriate in the defendant’s memorandum, prepared by his or her defense attorney. A properly drafted memo may greatly impact a judge’s decision-making; and
- Sentencing. The judge will consider the pre-sentence report, defendant’s memorandum and prosecutor’s recommendation. The defendant will then appear before the judge and the judge will hand down the sentence. The judge must consider the guidelines, but may go above or below the guidelines depending upon the specific facts of the case.
Contact a New Jersey Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
Even if you have been convicted of a crime, you should know that a major part of your legal fight awaits. There can be a lot of leeway in federal sentencing. An experienced attorney knows how to argue your case to help get you the least amount of penalties possible. To learn how attorney Tim Anderson can help your case, call 732-212-2812.
A common type of fraud in the digital age is identity theft. Given some high-profile identity theft cases, the federal government has cracked down on the crime and passed several laws addressing the crime. If you have been accused of identity theft, you should be aware that you face very serious penalties including lengthy prison time. An experienced New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney can help review the circumstances of your case and shape your defense.
Types of Identity Theft
Identity theft may be committed through a variety of ways. Some common types of identity theft include:
- Financial. The defendant may be accused of stealing another person’s identity to commit financial crimes like bank, mortgage and credit card fraud;
- Cloning. Identity cloning is a sophisticated crime that can involve the defendant using personal information to recreate an identity to commit other crimes; and
- Medical. Individuals may engage in identity theft related to federal medical benefits such as collecting Social Security disability checks and Medicare benefits.
There are many other types of identity theft, and you should contact an experienced attorney to learn more about your case.
Penalties for Identity Theft Explained by a New Jersey Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act is an oft-cited federal law that prosecutors use to fight identity theft. This act makes it a crime to intentionally use someone else’s identifying information without the permission of that person. Someone convicted of a crime under this act can face felony charges and monetary fines.
In addition, under the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act, whoever knowingly engages in a felony identity theft offense faces a mandatory two-year imprisonment. The two-year prison sentence must be served consecutively to any other penalties, meaning that the two years may not be served concurrently with the prison sentence for a related offense.
Contact a New Jersey Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of identity theft, you should contact an experienced attorney. The penalties for identity theft are very severe. An attorney can help explain your options and defenses. To learn more about your case, contact attorney Tim Anderson at 732-212-2812.
There are federal laws that prohibit kickbacks in the healthcare industry. Generally, these laws prohibit healthcare providers from profiting from referrals they make for federal Medicare-related services. These laws carry serious penalties, and if you have been accused of such a crime, you will want to work with a New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer.
The federal anti-kickback statute prohibits healthcare providers from receiving compensation when they make a referral for Medicare services. The laws prohibits referrals for money along with receiving payments to order, purchase or lease goods or services paid for by Medicare. Someone convicted under the Anti-Kickback statute faces felony charges. The penalties can include up to a five-year prison sentence, or even more. In addition, the individual may be prohibited from participating in federal healthcare programs in the future. Individuals who may be convicted under the anti-kickback statute can include both the party receiving the kickback as well as the party offering it.
Contact a New Jersey Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of violating the federal Anti-Kickback law, you will want to contact an experienced attorney. This law is very complex, and your attorney can help review the facts of the case to come up with your best options and defense. To learn more about your case, contact federal criminal defense attorney Tim Anderson at 732-212-2812.
Money laundering generally means that the defendant engaged in a financial transaction while having knowledge that the money involved in the transaction was obtained through some specified illegal means. If you have been charged with the crime of money laundering, you should know that you face serious penalties. To learn more about the charges you face, your options and possible penalties, you will want to talk to a New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney.
Elements of Money Laundering
Your attorney can explain to you that there are several elements that a prosecutor needs to prove to show money laundering:
- Knowledge. The defendant must have knowledge that the money was the proceeds of an illegal act. The defendant does not need to know the details of the illegal act, just that the money represents illicit gains;
- Financial Transaction. The defendant must have initiated, participated or concluded a financial transaction such as a sale, transfer, delivery or other disposition of illegal funds; and
- Intent. The defendant needs the intent to engage in some illegal act such as tax evasion, concealment or disguise. So a simple mistake may not be enough to support a money laundering charge.
Prosecutors have the burden of proving each of these elements. Your money laundering defense attorney can help defend any of these elements to make efforts to exonerate you of the crime of money laundering.
Penalties for Money Laundering
The penalties for money laundering are very severe. Someone who has been convicted of the crime can face both civil and criminal penalties:
- Up to 20 years in a federal prison;
- Possible $500,000 fine or twice the amount involved in the transaction, whichever is greater;
- Civil penalties if a private lawsuit is brought; and
- Order to pay restitution of the ill-gotten gains.
To learn more about the potential penalties, you should consult the federal sentencing guidelines.
Contact a New Jersey Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with money laundering, schedule a consultation with attorney Tim Anderson at 732-212-2812 to learn more about the charges and penalties you face.