One common charge I have fought in past is of phishing. This act is directly tied to identity theft and is considered a type of white collar crime. According to the FBI, phishing costs American taxpayers more than $1 billion annually, which is why prosecuting it has become a top priority. If you’ve been accused of phishing, my experience as a New Jersey computer crimes attorney can help.
What Is Phishing?
Phishing is a type of fraud that occurs whenever a person sends some form of electronic communication, usually an email, to try to gain access to sensitive personal or financial information. Phishing emails often look as though they are coming from an official, reputable site, such as from a bank, credit card company or retail store, when in reality they are just a fake email.
Common Phishing Scenarios
All phishing attacks have one thing in common, and that is they all ask for some type of sensitive information from the person receiving the email. This can be anything from Social Security numbers to account passwords. Phishing emails often claim to be from official representatives, and may contain what seem to be actual company logos. These emails might even threaten coercive action such as the closing of an account if the receiver does not respond within a certain amount of time.
What are the Criminal Elements of Phishing?
To be charged with phishing, you must “knowingly and intentionally” attempt to gain another party’s sensitive information in a fraudulent manner. This happens whenever someone pretends to be someone else in order to gain information that they otherwise would not have access to. This means that if a person sends a mass email pretending to be a bank representative, and asks recipients to provide them with account information, that could be considered phishing.
Acquiring Information Not Required
It’s important to note that you can be charged with phishing, even if you do not successfully obtain any sensitive information. The mere act of sending out fraudulent communications, to include creating a copycat website, is enough to establish probable cause for phishing. Therefore, it is not necessary for another person to respond to your email in order to be charged. Simply intending to garner private data is enough to warrant charges and the need for a New Jersey computer crimes attorney.
Acts That Are Not Phishing
Merely asking others for sensitive information does not necessarily constitute phishing. For example, if you are a retailer who offers lines of credit to your customers, you would not be guilty of phishing if you asked for financial information on a credit application. In this instance, you are not pretending to be someone you are not, and there is also a legitimate need for the information. As such, there wouldn’t be cause to charge you with a crime.
While most phishing scams are perpetrated via email, they can also take place via the Internet. This happens whenever a website is created that closely mimics that of another reputable organization, and is designed to “trick” people into providing sensitive information such as an account number or password. If a person creates, operates, or gathers information from such a website, they could be charged with phishing. As with emails, there is no requirement to actually obtain information. Rather, the act of putting up such a website may be enough to lead to criminal charges and require that you hire an experienced computer crimes attorney.
Federal Phishing Charges
A person can be charged in federal court with phishing, but there is no specific federal statute concerning phishing. Rather, a federal allegation of phishing likely would be charged as identity theft, or else as wire fraud, which occurs whenever fraudulent communications are sent through electronic means, such as by email.
New Jersey State Laws
Like many other states, New Jersey does not have any specific laws pertaining to phishing. Instead, phishing is generally classified under the broader category of identity theft.
Accused of Phishing? Contact a New Jersey Computer Crimes Attorney
If you’ve been accused of phishing, contact a New Jersey computer crimes attorney from The Law Offices of Timothy R. Anderson at 732-212-2812.
This post explains how the investigating grand jury process works in the federal court system, from the point of view of an experienced New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer,
The Investigating Grand Jury in Federal Cases
This type of grand jury investigates a case to determine whether or not an indictment is warranted. First, an investigating grand jury typically requests and obtains documents through issuing subpoenas. From there, the prosecutor typically follows this process with the investigating grand jury:
- Calls non-essential witnesses or presents their testimony via agents
- Calls immunized cooperators and witnesses
- Goes back to see if previously uncooperative witnesses are now willing to testify
- Finishes presenting their case with an agent who summarizes the investigation and provides information about missing details
This process can take months or even years to unfold, and the investigation doesn’t end just because the grand jury’s term does. The prosecutor may elect to extend the grand jury’s term, or they may have a government agent summarize everything for a new grand jury. When the time comes to make a charging decision, the prosecutor summarizes all documents and testimony to the grand jury. Before the grand jury votes, the prosecutor explains the legal aspects of the charges and how their evidence may satisfy the elements of those charges. The prosecutor asks the jury if there are any questions and then provides them with the completed proposed indictment. Investigating grand juries don’t draft indictments. Rather, they vote up or down on them. A majority vote is enough to return an indictment, and the defense never learns the specific numbers of the vote, just that they indicted or not.
Hire a Skilled New Jersey Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing federal criminal charges, including are being investigated by a federal grand jury, it is crucial to obtain experienced legal representation as soon as possible. You can call me, Tim Anderson at (732) 212-2812 to schedule an appointment to confidentially discuss your matter.
All legal cases can include complex factors that should only be handled by qualified legal professionals. While it’s not a legal requirement to hire a lawyer to represent your case in court, the following information can lend advice on why it’s probably your best bet to ensure that your case is tried quickly and effectively.
If you are approached by a law enforcement officer to give a statement, asserting your right to counsel is one of the most important things you can do to help protect yourself, whether innocent or guilty. As soon as possible after invoking your right to counsel, you should call a New Jersey criminal defense attorney to discuss your situation. If you do not clearly and unambiguously assert your right to speak with an attorney, law enforcement officers do not have to stop questioning you. The longer that questioning goes on, the more likely it is that they will obtain evidence against you, again whether or not you are innocent.
When Should I Say That I Want to Speak with an Attorney?
The courts have established that the right to speak with an attorney only applies when you are “in custody” (arrested or not free to leave) and being interrogated. If you were arrested and they are asking questions, it is likely that will read you the required Miranda warnings. After this warning you should immediately say “I do not want to answer your questions. I want to speak with a lawyer.” You must be very clear in your request for an attorney. After asserting your right to a lawyer, the police cannot continue asking questions. If you inadvertently make an incriminating statement after asserting your rights, you will want to ask your New Jersey criminal defense attorney about your options for excluding the statement from evidence.
What If the Police Ask Me about a Different Crime?
If you have asserted your right to counsel, police are not allowed to ask about other crimes because the 5th amendment right to counsel is not offense specific. Prior to being charged, the 5th amendment right to counsel forbids police from asking about any offense. If they have violated this right, you need to fully explain what happened to an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney.
Contact a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
Regardless of the charges you are facing, a skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney can make sure your rights are protected. At The Law Offices of Timothy R. Anderson, LLC, we have years of experience fighting the most serious federal and state charges. Call (732) 212-2812 today for an initial consultation.
Allegations of criminal fraud have been more prominent in the news lately, such as regarding alleged fraud on Wall Street or in such organizations as FIFA, the world soccer organization. I’m a New Jersey white collar crimes lawyer and I can explain the details of what constitutes acts of “fraud” and what defenses can be used to combat the allegations.
What Is Fraud?
If a person uses deception to embezzle or steal various forms of property, including money from others, it is considered fraud. I, as a New Jersey white collar crimes lawyer know that when the state or government allege fraud there is usually an allegation of intentional misrepresentation of one form or another by the alleged perpetrator. Additionally fraud can occur if vital information isn’t provided regarding the product or offer.
Various Forms of Fraud
There are numerous forms of fraud. The following are different acts that are classified as fraud:
With the increasing number of ways in which a person makes his or her personal information available, identity theft is becoming more common. Stealing a Social Security number or other important pieces of identifying information is a form of identity theft. Stealing banking information or credit card numbers is also identity theft.
There are federal laws against the use of the mails to commit fraud. Mail fraud allegations can apply to shipments made through the US Postal Service or any other mail carrier, such as UPS or FedEx, and such charges carry potentially severe penalties, including up to 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud.
After Bernie Madoff committed what was said to be the largest Ponzi scheme in the history of the United States, it became well-known as the epitome of such a scam where many victims lose their entire life savings. Named for a thief from Italy who operated in the 1920s, the idea is that investors are attracted by the promise of a safe investment and big returns. As more and more investors join and provide money, the operators of the scheme will take a portion of the money and use the rest to make “lulling” payments to the investors who came in earlier. This type of scam is destined to eventually collapse under its own weight as the scammer runs out of people who will join while simultaneously being unable to provide enough money to keep the current investors from becoming suspicious.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey White Collar Crimes Lawyer
If you have been accused of some type of criminal fraud, including any of the above-listed acts, it is imperative that you immediately begin preparing a strong defense. Call me, an experienced New Jersey white collar crimes lawyer, at (732) 212-2812. I can help.
The Constitution guarantees people the rights of protection against unwarranted searches and seizures. Law enforcement authorities need a legitimate reason to stop you but, in some cases, the reason for the stop might be that they suspect you committed a crime. If they detain you,you should talk to a New Jersey criminal defense attorney about your rights as soon as possible.