You may have been hooked by Showtime’s Billions over the last few months. With Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti it was pretty hard to turn away from. It’s a fictional story of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (a very real office), Giamatti, and a billionaire hedge fund manager operating out of Westport, Connecticut played by Lewis.
Giamatti is convinced that Lewis cheats the markets, uses inside information, bribes officers and directors of publically traded companies and a host of other white collar crimes. Lewis is all Giamatti despises in the post-recession world and he makes him the target of his office’s very deep resources.
Lewis, for his part, knows Giamatti is coming and pretty much goads him on. He, obviously, has vast resources himself and would rather employ them – legal and quasi-legal – than settle with the ‘government’ and go on with his life.
There’s a lot more to it, of course, and a lot of it is high drama, some of it’s fairly funny, most of it is implausible, but it does suck you in.
In the course of the first season that just ended last Sunday, there have occurred – maybe once or twice a show – a few fundamental truths of how the federal system works in regard to white collar investigations.
These moments may be missed under the glitz and great acting, but to someone who defends white collar cases they were jolting in their realism.
Take, for instance, the propensity for federal agents to raid houses – sometimes just to bring people in for ‘a chat’ – in the early morning hours. Fast, quick, brutal, they don’t knock, they burst in, drag people out. Yes, it’s dramatized, stylized for television, but it happens. All the time. It’s the reason my slogan is “I’m the guy you call when the feds knock on your door at 6 in the morning.”
About halfway through the season, Giamatti’s team has discovered that one of Lewis’ traders used inside information on a series of trades. They bring him in to offer him a deal – his boss for immunity. This is very realistic, if not a constant motif in TV and the movies. The different thing about Billions though, is this: the guy turns them down, tells them to prove the allegations.
In investigating further, they discover that the trader shared his ‘good fortune’ with his parents, who promptly enriched their retirement account, although it’s clear they had no idea of the origins of their son’s tip.
Giamatti, his assistants, and several FBI agents show up at a park in Greenwich, CT where the trader is coaching a Little League game, his parents are in the stands. Giamatti tells the trader he’s come to arrest his parents – unless, of course, he now wishes to cooperate. It’s a chilling moment. It’s also real. It happens.
The season’s finale finds Giamatti on the trail of a corrupt judge. He has him dead to rights. Giamatti meets with him – a fairly creepy Anthony Edwards – and convinces him to resign from the bench while promising that the Southern District has no interest of dragging him and the court system through the mud of a trial.
Edwards resigns … and is promptly arrested by the Eastern District U.S. Attorney’s office. A perplexed Edwards turns to Giamatti, he explains, “Hey, I said you had nothing to worry about from the Southern District, I can’t speak for other jurisdictions.”
The one thing to take from all this? Don’t talk, don’t believe anything you’re told, don’t react, listen and take notes . . . then leave it to an experienced – as in seen everything the fed has to dish out and more – attorney to deal with.
If you find yourself in need of an attorney, contact Tim Anderson Law for an initial, confidential consultation at 732-212-2812.
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
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.
As New Jersey criminal defense lawyer Timothy R. Anderson knows, if you or a loved one has been taken into custody for an alleged criminal offense, navigating the often-confusing criminal justice system can be difficult, beginning with understanding bail. Understanding bail, what it is and how it works is often the very first step in the process of allowing you or your loved one to remain out of custody while the case proceeds. Here are the essential points you need to understand about bail.
Conditions of Release
For most criminal cases, you will have bail set by the court. The judge will determine the appropriate amount of bail as well as other conditions by which you will have to abide. Such conditions may include your being required to put up some property as collateral against the bail amount as well as following certain restrictions on your freedom.
Bail at the Police Station
If your offense is very minor, New Jersey law allows the police department to set your bail at the police station. In most cases, however, your bail is likely to be set by a judge.
Bail Bonding Companies
Your New Jersey criminal defense lawyer may refer you to a bail bonding company. These companies then post your bail in exchange for your paying them a percentage fee, typically about 10%. The amount required of you will generally not be refundable, as it is the company’s fee. If you miss court, the company may then send a bounty hunter out to find you. Bounty hunters are not police officers and do not have the same training. If you use a bail company, it is very important you make it to court when required, to not run afoul of your bail conditions.
“White collar” crime can be a confusing area of the law for those who are not familiar with it because many aspects of this type of crime are different from other, more common crimes that are alleged and prosecuted. Understanding a white collar criminal case may require an attorney who is well-versed in this area of the law.
Generally, white collar crime is defined as criminal conduct used to deceive or defraud another party for the purposes of obtaining money, property or services. This can also be thought of as “paper” crimes because they usually occur in the workplace and are nonviolent. This does not mean, however, that they are minor or insignificant. To the contrary, egregious white collar crimes can be even more devastating and crippling to the livelihoods of innocent victims than physical crimes.
White collar crimes are prosecuted at both the state and federal levels, depending on the circumstances of a particular case. Because white collar crimes often involve investigations and acts that cross state lines, or that otherwise are covered by federal statutes, they are often turned into federal cases and prosecuted by an Assistant United States Attorney from the Department of Justice. However, such alleged crimes can be prosecuted by state assistant prosecutors as well. In either case, it is important to have a knowledgeable New Jersey white collar criminal defense attorney in your corner.
Do I really need a lawyer?
Anyone who faces a criminal investigation or charges would benefit from being represented by experienced legal counsel. If an accused person is innocent, he or she is especially in need of counsel because there is no guarantee that the legal system will recognize his or her innocence. Having a knowledgeable New Jersey federal white collar defense attorney on your side will help protect your rights and help ensure the best possible outcome for you. Conversely, if you intend to plead guilty, you would still benefit from an attorney able to negotiate on your behalf and work to minimize the negative effects of the plea on your future.
Don’t go into your white collar case unprepared. Talk to a New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney who specializes in white collar cases. Call attorney Tim Anderson today at 732-212-2812.
If you have been accused of a crime involving fraud, you will want to work with a New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney who can help you develop a defense strategy.
Fraud is a very serious crime that is typically prosecuted at the federal level. As a result, the penalties for a conviction can be severe; an experienced New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer will know how to defend your rights against hardened prosecutors and federal agencies.
A New Jersey Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses Types of Fraud
As a New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney can tell you, there are many different types of fraud crimes. Generally, fraud involves an offense that has an element of dishonesty, misrepresentation, or deception against another person. Different types of fraud may involve different elements, and you will want to discuss the specific charge against you with a New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney.
Some common types of fraud include:
computer crimes and identity theft
credit card and bank fraud
The above is just a sample of some of the more common types of fraud crimes. To learn more about a different fraud accusations, talk to a New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer.
Defending a Fraud Case
Depending on the type of fraud charge you face, your New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney may employ several different defenses.
Generally, fraud is a crime that requires specific intent. As a result, prosecutors typically must show that your conduct was knowing and intentional. In addition, most fraud crimes require that the misrepresentation be material. In other words, the alleged fraudulent conduct must have influenced the victim and not have been a harmless action. There may be other defenses to fraud that your New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney can explain to you.
Contact a New Jersey Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
A conviction for a fraud crime can have severe consequences, including jail time, monetary fines, civil penalties, and other sanctions. That’s why it is so important to work with an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer to fight the charge. To discuss your case, contact New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney Tim Anderson at 732-212-2812.