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Minneapolis Federal Criminal Defense Law Blog

Former accounting firm head to lead IRS

With the end of the calendar year fast approaching, many residents in Minnesota may be eyeing ways of maximizing tax deductions in the last few weeks of the year. This is nothing new and is actually a well-accepted practice among consumers and businesses alike around the nation. However, there can be many fine lines between what is considered a legitimate means of reducing one's tax burden and what is a potential illegal violation.

One man who was the head of a major accounting firm for a span of 10 years at the start of this century ran the entity during a time when its accountants are accused of having illegally helped clients avoid their legitimate tax responsibilities. Over the period of many years, as many as 200 clients are said to have not paid up to $2 billion in taxes that they may otherwise have without the assistance of the accounting firm's employees.

Why does embezzlement seem more prevalent in small towns?

Embezzlement is when an employee steals money from a business or organization. It happens everywhere, but in small towns in Minnesota, it may more prevalent than anyone knows. Small towns across the country often run into financial trouble due to workers stealing from the budget. It may seem as if the government should have a handle on its finances, but the very nature of a small town government makes it the prime candidate for embezzlement. 

According to the New York Times, there are several reasons why embezzlement often goes unnoticed in small towns, making the damage add up. To begin with, there is little supervision of those in power. While the state ultimately has the right to check the books and monitor each local government, it does not stay on top of things. Even when it does do an audit, bookkeeping in these governments are often not done properly or even in an organized manner. Furthermore, many of the people in power have little to no training on how to do their jobs. Think about your local mayor or city council. Many of them likely have no formal education or training in how to run a government. This makes it simple for errors to occur and for someone who has the desire to take money to do so.

What are the rights of the US Customs and Border Protection?

There are many different federal law enforcement agencies. Each has its own specific jurisdiction. As a resident of Minnesota, you are always under the control of any government law enforcement because you are a U.S. citizen. One branch you may have contact with more than others, especially if you travel, is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

According to the CBP, it is responsible for keeping the country safe from things and people coming into the country from outside its borders. The main way it does this is through identification verification. Typically, any interaction you have with the CBP starts with identification. An officer will usually ask to see your papers, which could include your passport or other travel documents. This is to verify that you have a legal right to be in the country.

Sports betting subject of new case

Many people in Minnesota are avid fans of professional or collegiate sports and many may even find the occasional bet on a game, meet or other event fun. While certainly this form of gambling can be enjoyable it may also prove lucrative depending on the amount of money a person bets. However, when it comes to betting on sports, this is currently not legally allowed in Minnesota but a case before the U.S. Supreme Court now may well change that.

As of today, there are only four states in which people may legally place bets on sporting events. Those states include Nevada, of course, but also Montana, Delaware and Oregon. This is based in part on a 25-year-old piece of legislation known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Enacted in 1992, this law limits gambling activities related to sports. 

Allegations of new phishing scheme

Minnesota residents who try and follow news about online safety and security know that this can be a very tricky area. While certainly there is a need to ensure that people's data and activity online are safe, it is also important to understand the difference between illegal activity and some type of bug in a computer system or even a standard marketing campaign. Many people may get annoyed at marketing emails and assume spam and phishing messages are the same.

Today, a group of researchers located in Silicon Valley that is said to investigate potential illegal activity online is looking into what some believe to be a new phishing scheme. Despite allegations that the scheme has been active since the spring of this year, there are no stated leads on who the group thinks may be responsible for it. The reach of this alleged activity is global and has spanned multiple continents.

How spam and phishing are different

If you have ever heard or read reports of people being charged with internet crimes in Minnesota, you might wonder just what is phishing and how is it different that other marketing emails that people might refer to as junk or spam. This is a legitimate question and the fact is that the two can sometimes seem similar but the law does distinguish between them in very clear ways. 

Kasperky Lab explains that junk or spam emails may be sent by companies as part of their outbound marketing efforts. Many people find these communications very annoying, especially if they receive too many of them. Inboxes can become cluttered and the constant push of sales pitches can be tiring. The goal of these messages is ultimately to make money by selling more goods and services.

Most of woman's sentence to include home monitoring

Minnesota residents who are accused of white collar crimes like embezzlement, conspiracy and other offenses may well be nervous about the prospect of spending time in prison. The inability to keep working or maintain other parts of their lives can be seriously hampered which yields consequences that last much longer than a sentence on its own might.

A woman who was accused of not filing tax returns for 13 years has been convicted of six counts of failing to do so for the years starting in 2010 and ending in 2015. Accusations relating to prior years were dropped due to a statute of limitations. The defendant had been a professor at the University of Minnesota and has been handed a sentence that include both time in custody and probation.

What can lead to a charge of conspiracy?

If you are like most people in Minnesota you have heard reports about other people being charged with criminal conspiracy in some form. There can be many types of criminal offenses in which conspiracy may come into play such as conspiracy to distribute drugs. At the federal level there are also charges relating to conspiracy to defraud the United States government in some way. Understanding what this means and how it can be interpreted is important.

As explained by the United States Department of Justice, there are both defraud clauses and offense clauses relating to conspiracy charges against the government. The definition of what may be pointed to as conspiracy is very broad and potentially open to a lot of interpretation. It is also important to know that the government does not need to prove that any harm or loss resulted from what it says is conspiracy. It only needs to show that some form of interference occurred and that there was some level of consciousness associated with creating that.

C-level departures at credit bureau

State and federal laws relating to alleged crimes committed online or via software may be difficult for people in Minnesota or other states to fully understand. Additionally, the nature of the Internet means that these events are often not relegated only to one legal jurisdiction or state. The data breach that has been exposed recently regarding one of the big three credit monitoring agencies is a great example of this.

While many people are being extremely critical of the company itself, no person either within the company or outside of the company has been charged with any type of crime. That said, two of the top executives from the agency are said to have retired and their retirements are believed to be directly connected to the breach. The two people to leave had previously held the roles of chief security officer and chief technology officer.

Little discussion of charges in latest breach

Residents in Minnesota and around the nation may well be feeling concerned about what is perhaps one of the largest and most concerning data breaches to be experienced in recent years. One of the three largest credit monitoring organizations has said that personal information for more than 140 million people may have been accessed inappropriately or even fraudulently.

While details of this alleged security breach are still being disclosed and uncovered, one area has yet to receive much focus. There have been few to no reports about who may be suspected of having been involved in or responsible for this event. It is not known whether or not criminal charges may be filed in the case or if it may be chalked up to a technical glitch. Also unknown is exactly who may have received any information.

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