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Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Wisconsin white collar crimes attorneyFraud, forgery, and criminal charges resulting from writing a bad check can seem rather similar. However, there are some significant differences between these types of offenses; the most notable of which rests in the defendant’s intentions. If you are facing criminal charges for fraud, forgery, or charges related to writing a bad check, know your rights and how you may best take action to avoid maximum penalties.


Forgery is defrauding another through the alteration or writing of an object so that it appears it was written or made by another individual. For example, a woman recently had a warrant issued for her arrest after allegedly altering a check written to her by a resident at the centerat which she works. Originally written for $11, she reportedly changed it to read $11,000 and then deposited the check into her bank. Possession or use of an altered document may also constitute forgery charges, even if the person in possession of the document was not the one who altered it.


Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Wisconsin white collar crimes attorneyAlthough Wisconsin does not call it “embezzlement,” the act of pilfering money or property by an employee is delineated under Wisconsin statute 943.20 is a felony. This “theft” statute defines the illegal action of any person who has taken funds or property, greater than $10,000 in value, without the owner’s consent and resulting in personal or business gain for the offender. Although prosecution and restitution may be handled as a civil matter between the business or entity that has experienced loss and the alleged person responsible for the loss, embezzlement cases are often charged criminally.

In fact, one historical Wisconsin embezzlement case secured a coveted ranking on the Marquet International, Ltd. top ten list of embezzlement cases in the United States.  Marquet International, Ltd.© is an international investigative and security consulting firm, headed by industry veteran Christopher T. Marquet.  Sujata “Sue” Sachdeva of Wisconsin was placed in the ninth slot on his list of historical embezzlement cases. As Chief Financial Officer for Koss Corporation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sachdeva reportedly embezzled an estimated $40.9 million dollars (2010 calculations) through fraudulent fund transfers. The scope of her embezzlement spanned 12 years, beginning in 1997 and ending in December 2009 when her white collar crime spree was disclosed. Although Sachdeva first pled not guilty, she later changed her plea and on November 17, 2010, received an 11 year prison sentence. Although embezzlement cases may bring to mind corporate indiscretions, another infamous Wisconsin embezzlement case is that of Laura J. Craig of Oakwood, Wisconsin. Craig, who served as the bookkeeper for the Salem United Methodist Church, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, was sentenced to nine months in jail after she was found guilty of embezzlement of $113,000 from the church between January 2007 through May of 2008. For those accused of committing embezzlement fraud under Wisconsin law, the guidelines for punishment are as follows:
  • If the value of the property is less than $2,500, the defendant is looking at a misdemeanor punishable by up to nine months in jail and a fine of $10,000;
  • If the value of the property is between $2,500 and $5,000, the defendant is looking at jail time up to four years with the crime now being identified as a felony and punishable by a $10,000 fine;
  • If the value of the property extends from $5,000 to $10,000, the charge is also classified as a felony and punishable by up to six years in prison with an attached $10,000 fine; or
  • If the value of the property exceeds $10,000, the charge is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison with a $25,000 fine.
If you are currently facing a theft charge under Wisconsin Statute 943.20, the experienced Milwaukee criminal law attorneys of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP would like to review your case. Contact our office at 414-271-1440 to discuss the charges, possible penalties and what legal options may be available to you. Sources: http://wicourts.gov/services/judge/truth.htm http://marquetinternational.com/ http://marquetinternational.com/pdf/top_10_embezzlement_cases_in_us_history.pdf

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Wisconsin white collar crimes attorneyThe mention of the Rico Law or more formally, the 18 U.S. Code Chapter 96, Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) often brings to mind the five Mafia families convicted in New York City on November 19, 1986. Although the Rico Law has been on the books since 1970 when Congress passed the Act in an effort to combat organized crime, many criminal defense attorneys first shied away from using the act as a prosecution tool because they did not fully understand the power of the Act.

Often referred to as the atomic bomb that brought the Five Mafia Families to their knees, the RICO Act was evoked to establish the intertwined families as an operating commission linked to criminal activity for monetary gain.

Although today’s crime syndicates appear less territorial and open to stronger collaborative bonds, prosecution under the RICO Act remains in play today.


Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Wisconsin white collar crimes attorneyIf you thought working your way up the corporate ladder to a top executive position was difficult enough, you also need to be aware of the need to avoid criminal prosecution. “Stung by years of criticism that it has coddled Wall Street criminals”, the Justice Department issued new policies in the Fall of 2015 that prioritize the prosecution of individual employees — not just their companies — and “puts pressure on corporations to turn over evidence against their executives.”   Currently, there are an estimated 4,500 federal criminal statutes and 300,000 administrative regulations that could lead to criminal charges for company executives and professionals, and the list of white collar and regulatory crimes keeps growing. Equally concerning is how, under some of these statutes, an executive may be charged with a crime she or he did not personally commit and was not even aware of.

Criminal Prosecution of Businesses Going Too Far?

A joint report of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Heritage Foundation “How Congress is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law” points out that many regulations criminalize conduct that is not inherently wrongful, sometimes with near strict liability regardless of intent or state of mind.  As a result, “neither criminal law professors nor lawyers who specialize in criminal law can know all the conduct that is criminalized.  Ordinary individuals are at even greater disadvantage.”  Citing the NACDL report, Milwaukee attorney Raymond Dall’Osto said, “Today, everything can be charged as a federal crime.”  In the absence of specific intent elements in the regulatory area, Dall’Osto, an attorney with Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, said strict liability has become the norm.


Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Wisconsin white collar crimes attorneyIn today’s technologically savvy world, fraud is more rampant than ever. Foreign “companies” promise products or services that they cannot deliver on. Unsuspecting Americans are pulled into counterfeit fraud. And companies are able to manipulate the markets in order to fool investors and increase their stock. This last offense — otherwise known as spoofing— has only recently seen its very first criminal conviction. As such, many U.S. businesses may be facing increased scrutiny in how they conduct business, making them more susceptible to accusations of fraudulent activity.

Spoofing and the Market

Manipulation of the stock market is not a new concept; companies, both small and large, have been trying to do it for years. For the most part, such actions were largely unsuccessful, but relatively new high-frequency trading tools have made spoofing much easier to do, and with less risk of detection. In fact, the government has had a hard time keeping up with the activity until recently, unsure of how to convict and prove such actions. However, the recent verdict indicates they may have found a way to start analyzing and criminally convicting businesses, in mass.

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