Articles Posted in White Collar Crimes

With Steve Bannon arraigned in New York County Supreme Court and his “We Build the Wall” indictment unsealed, along with the joint presser with District Attorney Alvin Bragg and NYS Attorney General Tish James, the public now has far more color into the Manhattan District Attorney’s case against former President Donald Trump’s Chief Strategist and his purported bilking of $15 million in contributions to erect a wall on our southern border with Mexico along with funneling north of $100,000 through his own not-for-profit to pay We Build the Wall, Inc.’s president. Now that the indictment is available, along with the overt acts that are the foundation of the Conspiracy to commit Money Laundering and Scheme to Defraud, what does this all mean for Bannon and We Build the Wall Inc.?

Continue reading

** Indictment Unsealed * Bannon charged with Money Laundering 2nd as top count along with other offenses including Conspiracy 4th and Scheme to Defraud 1st. Money Laundering 2nd requires no minimum incarceration and as much as five to fifteen years prison while the other two crimes also have no mandated minimum imprisonment but as much as one and one third to four years. No charge of either Grand Larceny or Criminal Possession of Stolen property presumably due to jurisdictional issues*

According to numerous reports, Stephen Bannon is expected to surrender on Thursday to Manhattan prosecutors at the fabled 1 Hogan Place. After he is presumably fingerprinted by District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s detective squad, Donald Trump’s former Chief Strategist and central figure of  We Build the Wall Inc., a fund-raising organization that spurred then-President Trump’s efforts to build a wall on our southern border with Mexico, will be arraigned in New York County Supreme Court. Although I have no inside knowledge of the indictment, from what I have read online, the boiled down allegations stem from monies illegally funneled from We Build the Wall Inc. by Bannon and others for his and their personal use.

Continue reading

While it is not atypical for a victim of Extortion, Blackmail, Sextortion, or some other fraud scheme to summon the courage and fortitude to stand up to the campaign of terror waged by his or her abuser, there is a reason you do not hear much about these extortees turning to law enforcement out of concern of the obvious: what embarrassed or humiliated them so much, true or not, will ultimately find its way into the public arena. That said, similar to a catfishing Blackmail matter I brought on behalf of a victim to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office that resulted in the extortee’s indictment, conviction, and incarceration for scheming our client and other men she met on an online adult site, Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District Of New York, along with the FBI, announced the indictment of Sakoya Blackwood for Catfishing, Sextortion, and Blackmail. Like the case referenced above, it is alleged Blackwood targeted high net worth men with public profiles in order to maximize her ill gotten gains.

Continue reading

Maybe you stole a handful of COVID-19 vaccine cards when you got your Moderna shot. Maybe you made some fake vaccination cards and created a totally fraudulent one that looks like the real deal when you got your first and only Pfizer injection. You don’t need a criminal defense attorney to brainstorm the countless ways you could make a few dollars selling your wares or how you could use one of these counterfeit vaccination documents to satisfy an employer’s mandate, gain entrance into some type of venue, or demonstrate your “jab” status wherever it may be required. For that matter, if you want to dupe the State of New York and get yourself an Excelsior pass based on a Johnson and Johnson vaccine you never received, there is no doubt a way to handle that too. The reality, however, is if you get arrested in New York City’s Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, or Staten Island, or the police charge you in Westchester’s White Plains, Rockland’s New City, or anywhere from Putnam to Dutchess and beyond for a counterfeit COVID vaccination card, you should expect that the local District Attorney is going to take the matter quite seriously. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and use the ole’ Google and see for yourself.

Continue reading

U4-Disclosure-300x166Financial professionals who have taken and passed the Series 6, 7, 63, 65 or 66 exams know that an arrest and conviction can decimate careers regulated and overseen by FINRA. Many of these men and women, however, are unaware that New York State allows people with no more than two criminal convictions, of which only one can be a non-violent felony, to apply to have their criminal record sealed pursuant to NY Criminal Procedure law 160.59. Although not expunged, once the record is sealed, except for some specified organizations and law enforcement agencies, employers and the general public are prevented from “seeing” their past. With the above in mind, the following questions come time mind that are worthy of review with a lawyer versed in New York sealing law.  If, for example, you were convicted of Assault, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance or even Grand Larceny, must you disclose on your FINRA U4 the old arrest and criminal conviction if you successfully had the same sealed? For that matter, if you already shared the information as broker-dealers are obliged, is there a way to remove these records or prevent FINRA from keeping or sharing your history or taking adverse actions? Simply (albeit, not that simply), before responding to Criminal Disclosure questions 14A and 14B and determining how to protect yourself if you already disclosed a now sealed criminal conviction, it behooves you to discuss your specific matter with a knowledgeable attorney experienced in NYS’s pseudo-expungement law, FINRA’s U4 and relevant statutes including NYS Human Rights Law 296(16).

Continue reading

As miserable as it likely was for Kristaps Porzingis to play for the perennially cellar-dwelling New York Knicks, the current Dallas Maverick’s All-Star forward is in the type of foul trouble that outweighs any he experienced at Madison Square Garden. Either a victim of Extortion and Blackmail or a man on the precipice of an arrest for a heinous Rape crime, the “Unicorn” finds himself playing both offense and defense as the game clock is expiring.

If what alleged is true, forcing another person to engage in sexual intercourse by a threat or use of physical force – defined as “forcible compulsion” in the New York Penal Law – is not only a statutorily identified “violent crime” of First Degree Rape, but exposes a person to registration as a sex offender upon conviction. Alternatively, if the complainant’s allegation was nothing but a money grab to unjustly enrich herself, then in lieu of find himself with handcuffs slapped on his wrists, 7’3” Latvian can steal the ball of public opinion and the criminal justice system and demand that the Manhattan District Attorney’s office prosecute his accuser for Second Degree Attempted Grand Larceny by Extortion in violation of New York Penal Law 110/155.40.

Continue reading

Some may deem Paul Manafort’s roughly seven and a half year sentence in Federal Court as light, but should the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office prevail in its prosecution of Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, lobbyist and jet-setter will likely not be so fortunate the second time around. While there may be Double Jeopardy grounds that the criminal defense team can explore to dismiss the indictment if close enough to the Federal case, if convicted of First Degree Residential Mortgage Fraud or the lesser offense of Attempted First Degree Residential Mortgage Fraud as reflected in New York Penal Law sections 187.25 and 110/187.25 respectively, Manafort’s days (years?) of yearning for the penthouse will be that much longer as he cools his heels in the Big House.  Whether or not he is deemed a “predicate felon” for his Federal conviction, meaning New York views his plea and sentence as a prior felony in this state, Manafort would face up to 25 years in prison and no less than 1 to 3  years for the class B felony of Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree. In the event he is deemed a “predicate felon,” his minimum sentence would be 4.5 to 9 years “upstate.” All of this ignores the lesser, but nonetheless serious crimes of Attempted First Degree Mortgage Fraud, a class C felony, and the class E felonies of First Degree Falsifying Business Records, Fourth Degree Conspiracy and First Degree Scheme to Defraud. If convicted, as a predicate, Manafort’s sentencing judge would be mandated to incarcerate him to no less than 3 to 6 years and 1.5 to 3 years on these two respective felony classes and a corresponding maximum of 15 and 4 years as a temporary leasee of an 8 by 8 SRO with unobstructed views of New York’s finest concrete and iron construction.

Understanding Residential Mortgage Fraud

If what prosecutors claim is true, Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin could have Razzy worthy roles starring next to Marlon Brown in a remake of 1989’s “How I Got into College.” The alleged easy way out amateurs who, with others, collectively paid millions of dollars to “assist” their genetic lottery winners’ successful college admission into such universities as USC, Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forrest, Ramsey (well, not really), and others, relied on the good old power of the almighty dollar to perpetrate the nationwide college entrance scheme. In lieu of cheating the old-fashioned way, “Operation Varsity Blues,” the relatively unoriginal but cutely named federal bribery and cheating investigation, resulted in dozens of arrests involving paid off Division 1 coaches, photoshopped pictures of high schoolers playing sports when they were likely absorbed in selfie inspired “insta” posts, and some old school cheating on SATs and ACTs. A heck of a scheme if you don’t get caught, this entire criminal enterprise had nothing on the one-man professional test-taking operation and self-proclaimed “GMAT Hero” along with his larger band of [admission slot] thieves. Responsible for taking in excess of 500 GMAT, GRE and TOEFL exams (go ahead, Google “Lu Xu” and “GMAT”), his proficiency  and skill was unparalleled even among his test-taking cohorts. Sorta’ a lesser known of the Uncanny Xmen of the college admissions underground.

Continue reading

As of November 2018, New York Coercion laws and crimes have changed. Penal Law 135.61 replaces Penal Law 135.60 as the “new” Second Degree Coercion making the latter statute the Third Degree offense. This class “E” felony adopts much of the language from the lesser misdemeanor but adds a new and critical element that in turn elevates the direct and collateral consequences of an arrest and conviction. Although you should fully examine the law with your attorney to ensure you do not conflate Extortion and Blackmail with any level of this statute, the following provides some basic insight into the definitions, elements and punishment of and for PL 135.61.

Continue reading

It is a crime to use a computer without permission? The short answer is “depends.” if a person uses your computer without authorization he or she is potentially committing a crime. Of course, that statement needs clarification on many levels. First, must permission be express and is permission to use a computer carte blanche authorization to access anything and everything therein? Second, what the heck is a “computer” as it relates to the New York Penal Law? The answer to these questions and more is either codified in New York Penal Law Article 156 or the case law that interprets the criminal code. The following blog generally addresses the above questions and can serve as guidance for further discussion with a computer crime attorney.

Continue reading

Contact Information