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Milwaukee embezzlement defense lawyer white collar crimeBy Ray Dall’Osto and Brianna Meyer

If you pay attention to the news, you will often see stories about an employee being charged with embezzlement. A common embezzlement fact pattern involves an office manager or bookkeeper who is accused of diverting their employer’s money to his personal account, often in small increments over a long period of time, or charging and purchasing personal items using the employer’s credit. Another situation involves a company officer, attorney, or trustee who diverts funds they are entrusted with for their personal use or for another, without the company’s or client’s knowledge and permission.  

By the time the employer or entity detects possible impropriety and embezzlement, thousands to millions of dollars will have gone unaccounted for. A 2017 study of embezzlement cases nationally found the median loss to be at $300,000 and the average loss over $1 million.

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Milwaukee white collar crime defense lawyer identity theftIdentity theft occurs when someone utilizes another person’s personal information without their permission and uses this information to commit fraud or other crimes. With today’s technology, this type of white collar crime can be easy to perpetrate, and it can take place in a variety of settings.

For example, a recent data recent breach at a major credit reporting agency affected 143 million consumers. The hackers accessed Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. This personal information is now readily available and could be used to take out loans or credit cards. 

Identity theft is also prevalent in filing income taxes. An identity thief can utilize a taxpayer's personal information to file a tax return and receive a refund without the taxpayer's knowledge before the taxpayer has a chance to file their own return.

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federal crimes, Wisconsin defense attorneyTo combat criminal and fraudulent acts of money laundering evident throughout the underbelly of criminal conspiracies, multiple federal statutes have been enacted to empower several federal agencies to uncover and prosecute the offenders.

Under Title 26 of the United States Internal Revenue Code, IRC Section 61(a), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) maintains investigative jurisdiction to investigate income earned from such illegal activities as:

  • Drug trafficking;
  • Embezzlement;
  • Extortion;
  • Healthcare fraud;
  • Bankruptcy fraud;
  • Income tax evasion;
  • False income tax forms; and 
  • Failure to file an income tax.

The Internal Revenue Code is supported by the guidelines of Title 31, USC Section 5331 relating to investigations of fraudulent activity. Passed in 2001, the USA Patriot Act or “The Act” extends to money laundering and the possible connection to funding of terrorist entities.  

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Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyerMost Americans are aware of the mandated sex offender registry for convicted sex offenders. Used in all 50 states, it is accessible by the public and provides names, descriptions, and photographs of those that have served their time and then been released back into society. However, few are aware that there are many other types of criminal registries that, depending on state and circumstance, may also be viewable by the public. The most recently opened is a white collar crime registry in Utah.

The Rise of Offender Registries

Over the last several years, registries for convicted offenders of various crimes have grown exponentially. Five states monitor those convicted of arson. Seven have registries for methamphetamine producers, and Indiana offers a public website that lets visitors use Google Maps to find the location of homes that have been used as meth labs. In Tennessee, those convicted of animal abuse must register. And in the state of Florida, anyone convicted of a felony of any kind must register for up to five years after completing their sentence. Some of these registries are restricted to law enforcement or fire official use, but others are searchable to the public, just like the sex offender registries.

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Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Wisconsin white collar crimes attorneyWhite collar crimes are often complex and involve months and years of preparations before prosecutors bring formal charges. There is no official set of crimes under the law called white collar crimes. However, federal and state crimes involving fraud and finances are generally considered to be white collar crimes. These include things such as embezzlement, securities fraud, computer crimes, and identity theft.

Dangers of a Lengthy Investigation

Because white collar crimes often involve many different sets of financial records and a complicated set of facts, the investigations are often lengthy. Law enforcement investigations may span months, or even years..

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