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Westfield NJ Criminal Defense Law Blog

Federal tax avoidance, tax evasion and you: an overview

The federal penalties for failing to pay taxes are severe. Tax evasion is a felony under the U.S.Code, and conviction can lead to a sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $100,000 for an individual (five times that amount for a business).To add insult to injury, the government can also tack on the costs connected with trying the case in court.

But what constitutes "tax evasion?"

What are federal hate crime laws?

This post cannot cover all aspects of federal hate crime laws, and it is not intended or offered as legal advice. If you have questions or require more information about such laws, a criminal defense law firm can help to provide you with answers.

In an earlier post we discussed the state of New Jersey's version of what are known as "hate crime" laws, specifically the state's bias intimidation laws. The federal government has its own set of hate crime laws which may apply to crimes against persons. These laws may take effect in addition to or separate from any state-level criminal prosecution.

What is New Jersey's definition of a "hate crime"?

A development in criminal law in New Jersey and other states has been the implementation of statutes that effectively enhance the penalties of other crimes when the motivation of the criminal act involves animus toward the victim based on categories such as race, gender or sexual orientation. These statutes are generally known as "hate crime" laws.

This post is not an exhaustive explanation of how New Jersey's bias intimidation law works, and does not address separate federal hate crime laws. Defending against a criminal charge of bias intimidation requires considerable factual investigation, as well as the determination of what would constitute "intimidation" in a given setting.

Sony computer hacking: The gaming Grinch that stole Christmas

The month of December has been fraught with news of hacking. The Sony debacle, reportedly the product of retaliation from North Korea over the subject matter of the film "The Interview," and the Christmas Day hacking of Sony PlayStation computer gaming systems, to the chagrin of numerous gamers who received a new one for Christmas have made headlines.

While hacking is at the least, an inconvenience to its victims, a situation such as the one surrounding "The Interview" has the makings of a plot for another espionage movie. But, regardless of the severity of the hacking, it is against the law in both state and federal courts.

What exactly is "cyberstalking"?

Stalking behaviors by one person directed at another are nothing new. The motivation may be anger, unrequited romantic interest, jealousy or other reasons.  But actions such as following a person, attempting to interact with a person or communicating with others about that person in a harmful manner is frequently illegal.

What is relatively new is the misuse of the Internet as an extension of stalking activity. But while "ordinary" stalking is easy to identify, for example, following a person, showing up at his or her home or place of work unexpectedly, making unwanted phone calls, leaving unwanted gifts, or even issuing threats, the question in the age of the Internet becomes, "How does one 'virtually' stalk another?"

Squatters in foreclosed houses growing area of white collar crime

Over the last several years, mortgage fraud has made headlines as one of the most prominent forms of white collar crime. Now another crime involving foreclosed and abandoned property is gaining prominence.

Squatting, which is legally defined as occupying abandoned property without the owner's permission, has become prevalent in areas where the number of foreclosures have skyrocketed.

White-collar crime charges are new target of FBI

An allegation that prosecutors have failed to go after white-collar crime came from an unusual source at a recent meeting in New Jersey where participants discussed securities fraud issues. The source of the accusation was the former chief financial officer of an electronics company whose principals, including the CFO, were convicted of tax fraud and other white-collar crime charges in the 1980s.

Speaking about his old company, the CFO said it was engaged in fraudulent conduct from the minute it opened for business. The former company executive claims that his company engaged in tax fraud by devising methods for under-reporting its income. Securities fraud entered the picture when the decision was made to take the company public.

You can defend yourself against charges of Internet crime

There was a time not that long ago when computers and the Internet were seen as tools to assist businesses to operate in a faster, more efficient and organized manner. The Internet was seen as an aid to students researching a topic and to help ordinary people expand their knowledge.

Today the Internet is not only seen as a peripheral tool to help people but it has become a business itself. So many people can now enter into transactions and conduct business without any paper, and cross international borders without ever leaving their home because of the Internet. The former niche tool has become the lifeblood of many businesses

Federal investigation leads to defense motion in New Jersey court

A New Jersey Superior Court judge must decide if evidence obtained in an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration can be used by state prosecutors at the trial of a pharmacist on conspiracy and drug charges.

After federal prosecutors elected not to file federal charges in the case, the evidence was turned over to state investigators who pursued the allegations that eventually led to the suspect's indictment and arrest.

White-collar crimes: an overview

Some crimes by their very names can conjure images of the type of person who commits them. Crimes such as assault, strong-arm robbery, or burglary may bring to mind a rough sort of individual. Another type of crime, though, may produce a different kind of mental image: "white-collar crime."

When we hear the term white-collar crime, we may think of a business executive wearing a business suit planning some sort of arcane scheme involving complex and little understood corporate financial matters, like money laundering or insider-trading. But is this understanding entirely accurate? While these examples do indeed represent types of white-collar crime, the term itself includes many different kinds of the illegal activity.