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Irvine California White Collar Crime Defense Blog

Justice Department announces forensic evidence working group

A deputy attorney general recently announced the creation of an internal forensic science working group within the Justice Department. It's main goals will be to develop uniform standards for how forensic evidence may be described in testimony and to set up a monitoring program to ensure federal analysts comply with those standards.

The group's creation is partly in response to a 2015 DOJ review of hundreds of trial transcripts from before 2000. In that review, the agency found that FBI experts had overstated the reliability of microscopic hair analysis evidence in at least 90 percent of the cases.

3 ways you could accidentally commit credit card fraud

Committing credit card fraud may be the last thing you intend to do. While this is a term often used to describe a wide range of theft and fraud using a credit card, it usually has an association with unauthorized credit card charges. There are seemingly innocent or accidental actions you can take that can get you in financial or legal trouble.

You do not want to end up in jail or be unable to obtain future credit due to a mistake. Here are some ways you can accidentally commit credit card fraud.

When does petty theft become embezzlement?

So you stole a stapler from your office because you didn't have one at home and your kid needed one for a school project. Later that month you took a box of paper clips and then four highlighters and a sheaf of office paper. Maybe you took two or three sheaves over the course of a few months. 

Is this taking for home use, and keeping, a crime? Technically yes. Is it embezzlement?  

Suspect found inside of couch in his home

A man in Ventura now faces charges related to a armed bank robbery after police arrested the man while he was allegedly hiding inside a couch in his home. After authorities received footage of a man they claim is the suspect using a weapon to rob a bank, a SWAT team descended on the man's house and took him into custody after they found him.

Not only does this man now face some very serious charges, his behavior when the arrest occurred may make his case even more complicated to defend. Now, not only is he a suspect in a crime, he also is memorable character. Unfortunately, the news of his unusual arrest may create some unfair momentum in his case.

At least 400 medical professionals are arrested on fraud charges

United States Department of Justice (DOJ) officials released a press release on Thursday, July 13, 2017, announcing that a Medicare Fraud Strike Force had made as many as 400 arrests in the past few days across Southern California. As for the charges the defendants face, they range from illegally prescribing or distributing opioids to filing fradulent Medicare claims.

In its press release, the DOJ notes that the task force was initially tipped off to the impropriety when they began investigating a Palm Beach area drug rehab facility. In the course of their investigation, they noted that the facility had long been attempting to woo addicts by providing them with visits to gentleman's clubs, gift cards and drugs.

2 Inland Empire residents arrested for string of car burglaries

The Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD) has reportedly arrested two individuals it believes are responsible for having burglarized various cars during June of 2017. A multi-department investigation led officers to one suspect who, once arrested, was able to identify another. Officers with the LBPD first began receiving reports of vehicle burglaries in north Laguna Beach on June 3, 2017. Detectives with the city's police force were assigned to investigate the crime given that there appeared to be not just one isolated incident, but a serial burglar on the loose.

The investigators assigned to the case were able to identify several suspects within a short period of time. By June 8, those detectives had successfully narrowed in on a few suspects on whom they began surveillance. One of those was a young woman from Inland Empire. While it's unclear as to what led police to suspect the woman or question her, she ultimately confessed to the burglaries and was arrested that same day. It's through her that police were able to identify her co-conspirator, a male, also from Inland Empire.

Money laundering charges could tie you to terrorism

White collar crimes come in all shapes and sizes, but most people assume that they are the territory of business people trying to bend the rules to turn a profit, not part of a larger, more sinister scheme. Unfortunately, in the last two decades, money laundering has become closely associated with terrorism, greatly increasing the stakes for business people facing money laundering charges.

Protecting your business and protecting your reputation are one and the same. If you are facing money laundering charges, that could also mean that you and your business are suspected of directly or indirectly funding terrorism, which is an extremely serious matter.

Diversion programs help soldiers avoid having a criminal record

In an era in which so many soldiers have not just experienced one, but several tours of duty in some of the world's disturbing war zones, Veteran's Affairs (VA) offices find themselves overwhelmed with how to prioritize the treatment of them. This has meant that many, with what are deemed to be less pressing mental health ailments, have had their treatment delayed.

It's while these soldiers have been awaiting mental health counseling that many of them have engaged in crimes that have the potential to further impact their ability to lead productive lives. Orange County prosecutors noted this increasing tendency early on and led them to create their Military Diversion Program.

Marijuana possession and flying on planes: Is it legal?

Currently, more than eight states have laws on the books that allow for adults to possess marijuana. At least 30 states have medical marijuana laws on the books as well. As people embark on trips this summer that take them beyond California's borders, it leaves many wondering whether they run any risk of arrest in flying somewhere much less receptive to drug use than this state.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) receives calls on a daily basis asking about the legality of carrying pot on airplanes. Many callers have trouble reconciling how marijuana possession is still considered illegal by the federal government, yet is legal in a particular state.

Newport Beach man sentenced to 10 years for role in drug ring

A 41-year-old Newport Beach resident was sentenced on Wednesday, June 21, 2017, for his role leading a synthetic drug ring that nearly resulted in several of his clients almost losing their lives. He is slated be transported to federal prison where he will spend the next 120 months serving his sentence.

In the indictment filed in 2014 in this case, the man was described as having spearheaded a synthetic marijuana drug operation. As leader of that ring, he and his associates were accused by law enforcement of having conspired to not only smuggle, but also manufacture and distribute this powerful street drug known commonly as 'spice'.

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