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Irvine California White Collar Crime Defense Blog

A recent look at cyberbullying in america

Although cyberbullying laws can differ from state to state, most internet crimes receive serious attention. Each case can become incredibly complex, as investigations often require extensive time and consideration. California's laws on cyberbullying are straightforward, but can nevertheless bring confusion to an already stressful situation -- especially when that incident involves a wrongful accusation. 

According to Money magazine, cyberbullying in America has become so extreme that there now exists a special insurance policy to help mitigate damages. As of 2016, Chubb Limited offers cyberbullying coverage for clients, which falls under the insurance's Family Protection Policy. Areas of coverage include lost salary, psychological counseling and public relations assistance. By the same token, those who are falsely accused of cyberbullying might benefit from such coverage; when a person's reputation is on the line, finding this type of support could make all the difference. Money points out that, despite the potential advantages, some believe cyberbullying coverage is too extreme. Others claim it helps protect online reputations. 

What happens after a false accusation?

When someone spreads false information about another person, a myriad of issues can ensue. When that person falsely accuses another of a heinous crime, those effects can escalate quickly, leaving the wrongly accused feeling lost, confused and, perhaps most of all, fearful for the future of their reputation. It is natural for Californians going through such difficult times to be concerned about the future, as there are hidden dangers in a false accusation that can hurt a person's reputation for years. 

No matter the type of crime, a false accusation can be problematic in a number of ways. Slate magazine focuses on false rape accusations and the potentially lasting effects, stating that these specific types of cases generally rely on one person's word over another's. Slate refers to a former study to show that, out of countless rape reports, only a small percentage are false accusations. A lack of organized documentation on the part of law enforcement can also create gray areas. 

A hidden danger in California's cocaine

No matter how big or small, a drug charge can be both a nuisance and a threat to one's reputation. Even in the most minuscule amounts, a cocaine charge in California can result in a misdemeanor or felony. Although the state's laws surrounding this drug have become less severe in recent years, countless professionals face a daunting future of legal procedures, fees and even time behind bars -- a process that can linger for years.

Drug arrests often involve multiple people on multiple levels. As Los Angeles Daily News shared last December, one major case in the area involved the arrest of seven people for suspicious drug activity. The defendants had operated a cocaine and heroin delivery ring over a span of two months. Law enforcement seized the drugs, which amounted to 14 pounds of heroin and over a pound of cocaine; the ring had also circulated a significant amount of cash. Although the defendants faced arraignment in court, Los Angeles Daily News did not share additional information on the ring's customers. 

What was the first Ponzi scheme?

In recent years, there seems to have been a surge of authorities busting Ponzi schemes. Arguably the most famous Ponzi scheme in recent memory involved Bernie Madoff, who conned investors out of over $65 billion and now has to spend 150 years in prison. 

With any type of white-collar crime, it begs the question, "What was the very first Ponzi scheme?" The originator of this crime was Charles Ponzi. Born in Italy, Ponzi moved to the United States as an adult, where he developed a system to swindle people out of their savings. Before initiating the scheme, he had a reputation as a criminal, helping Italian immigrants cross the border illegally. Beginning in the early 1920s, Ponzi discovered a way to make money by deceiving others. 

You may want to consider a plea bargain

If you have used your computer to engage in illegal activity, you could well be facing federal criminal charges. We at Ron Cordova Attorney-at-Law often work with people who are seeking the best possible outcome to their case. Sometimes, a plea bargain may be a successful strategy.

You may worry that the evidence against you is insurmountable, and there is not a defense available to keep you from going to prison. However, as FindLaw explains, there are times when the prosecutor may be willing to discuss an agreement that could lead to much lower penalties. Plea bargaining gives you the opportunity to engage in negotiations that bring your case to a speedy resolution while also allowing you to avoid the expense and publicity involved in going to court.

Unreported cash payments could spark a criminal investigation

For many self-employed people in California who have multiple clients and are sometimes paid in cash, keeping records for taxes is a hassle. However, according to, failing to provide all the information to the IRS at tax time can result in disaster.

Even when a client or customer pays in cash, he or she should be reporting the expenses to the IRS on tax forms. These documents are matched to the income tax claimed by the person who should have received the payments. If it is not there, the IRS notifies the person of the discrepancy and gives him or her a chance to fix it. At this point, the assumption may be that the unreported income was simply a mistake. There will be financial penalties in addition to the original amount that should have been paid.

Ignition interlock device use in California

Residents in California who have been accused of and arrested for a suspected drunk driving offense will want to educate themselves about the potential penalties they may face if they are ultimately convicted of driving under the influence. One of the potential issues for people in this situation is the loss of their driving privileges. Some drivers, however, may be able to reinstate their ability to drive if they install and use an ignition interlock device.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles explains that in some counties around the state, a pilot program was initiated requiring IIDs for even first-time drunk driving offenses. Other counties may have different guidelines for IID use. In either case, if a driver is mandated to have an ignition interlock device installed in order to be legally allowed to drive, there are certain requirements they must meet.

What does the IRS say about money laundering?

The IRS involves itself in criminal investigations that have to do with money. So, if a federal agency believes that you may be involved in a money laundering scheme, you could find yourself the target of the IRS. 

Your financial transactions and other activities may be considered money laundering if they are designed to hide the source of your money. Many people use these tactics to make it appear that they have received the money from a legal source when it actually came as a result of illegal activity.

A current look at cryptocurrency and tax evasion

Inconsistencies in tax reporting could result in extended periods of investigation from the Internal Revenue Service, and worse, actual charges for tax evasion. Despite the severity of these charges, incidents such as these are rarely black and white. Lack of straightforward paperwork does not necessarily point toward this crime, but details involving recent modifications to taxation and other information can help Californians clarify an otherwise uncertain predicament.

According to Accounting Today, the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has driven the IRS to take a closer look into tax evasion cases. These forms of currency -- some of which have seen an explosive market -- can facilitate tax evasion. As a result, The Securities and Exchange Commission has taken action to prevent fraud, focusing heavily on companies that have thrived by illicitly selling digital currency. Blockchains (ledgers which can come in both private and public forms) are a particular target for the Commission, as they are known to serve as private bankers. Much like an investigation that can begin years before a charge, the IRS has made efforts to halt the use of digital currencies to avoid taxes since 2013.

Gaining private information could lead to insider trading

Managing your own investment portfolio gives you more control over your financial future as you plan for your eventual retirement in California. However, there are many pitfalls when making trading decisions. Our legal team at Ron Cordova Attorney-at-Law often provide counsel to investors who are unsure whether their activities are illegal insider trading.

According to, you really could accidentally engage in insider trading. For example, if you receive a tip on securities trading, and that information is given in breach of a fiduciary duty and is not public information, your purchase or sale of the security could be illegal. If you have a friend or family member who is part of a large corporation, and he or she regularly gives you advice about investments in that company, it is a good idea to verify that the information is public before you place your trades. 

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