Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Renewed Focus on Drug Cartel Money Laundering

"The authorities uncovered billions of dollars in wire transfers, traveller's cheques and cash shipments through Mexican exchanges into Wachovia accounts. Wachovia was put under immediate investigation for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering programme." -

During the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, many banks were made more vulnerable to money laundering activity. Although Wachovia and other banks were subject to a number of regulations directed at preventing money laundering, such as the Bank Secrecy Act, many of these firms had growing problems that were, at the time, more cause for concern.

When an organization could seriously use an influx of cash to avoid insolvency, hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable deposits can have a tendency to become a whole lot less questionable.

Of course, authorities eventually did launch an investigation that resulted in Wachovia being fined $110 million for allowing the transactions, with an additional $50 million fine levied for not monitoring funds that were used to ship 22 tons of cocaine. Of course, these finds are dwarfed by the hundreds of billions of dollars the bank had transferred without the proper restrictions, between United States and Mexico based accounts.

In much the same way that the recent financial crisis has brought about an increase in public pressure to better-regulate the financial industry, exposes of large-scale laundering activity by drug cartels is sure to bring a renewed focus on ensuring the banking industry is doing more to prevent the system from being used for money laundering.

Peter J. Scuderi is a Philadelphia Money Laundering Lawyer with experience representing clients charged with money laundering. Because of the increased focus on bringing legal action against those suspected of money laundering, many individuals have found themselves as a target of laundering investigations.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Philadelphia Federal White Collar Crime Attorney

White collar crimes are defined as crimes that lack any physical violence and mainly revolve around a financial objective.  Because of the nature of these crimes, they have tendency to be more complicated and difficult to work with than many other criminal offenses.

The Philadelphia white collar attorneys at the law offices of Peter J. Scuderi understand that an established and sophisticated level of expertise is required in order for legal council to be successful in the defense of their clients.  Most if not all white collar crimes are federal offenses and therefore require a strong defense team to avoid harsh penalties.

Forfeiture Attorney in Philadelphia

There are many practices within the legal system that can generate confusion or debate among the people involved.  One of the most controversial and confusing practices is forfeiture.  Asset forfeiture is a legal process in which the government can exert the right to seize any property that they feel has been connected or directly involved in criminal activities.

Because the forfeiture procedure is unique compared to other criminal proceedings, many defendants can feel severely disoriented and helpless.  The government often oversteps their bounds and seizes much more property than what can be proved was related to something criminal.  When facing forfeiture, it is imperative that you contact a skilled and knowledgeable Philadelphia forfeiture lawyer from the law offices of Peter J. Scuderi.

Extortion: A Problem Facing Business Owners Worldwide

In The Godfather II, Don Fanucci demands "protection" money from small business owners and shopkeepers in New York City's Little Italy. The shopkeepers comply, fearing repercussions at the hand of Fanucci as a result of not paying the fee, rather than some other danger.

Later in the movie, a young Vito Corleone loses his job when his boss is asked by Fanucci to provide his nephew a job. Unable to afford both Vito and Fanucci's nephew on the payroll, he has to let Vito go.

Although these and other aspects of the Godfather series are fictionalized accounts, this kind of extortion took place frequently during that time, just as it did in the Vito's native Italy. In fact, extortion continues to take place worldwide, every day.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fraud in the Wake of Hurricane Irene

Whenever there is a large storm that causes widespread property damage, there are always people who then attempt to profit from fraud in the aftermath.

Although insurance fraud is a commonly cited example in these sorts of cases, it is far from the only fraud that takes place.

In the wake of Hurricane Irene, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has asked that residents report suspected scams via their telephone hotline.

Insurance Fraud is a Serious Charge with Far-Reaching Consequences

Despite the prevalence of insurance fraud convictions in the news, many continue to file false claims, overstate their losses, and utilize various other methods for attempting to defraud insurance companies.

Although lengths of incarceration for insurance fraud convictions are not typically as serious as sentences for violent crimes, being convicted of insurance fraud utterly destroys one's reputation, especially in the business community.

Take for instance the recent convictions of those involved with an insurance fraud scheme in Rhode Island. Because of fraudulent insurance claim, Lori Sergiacomi received a sentence that includes confinement to a halfway house, home confinement, 200 hours of community service, fines, orders to pay financial restitution, and more. Two others were convicted as a part of the scheme

Forfeiture and Seized Assets

One of the more controversial aspects of law is asset forfeiture. When an asset is alleged to have been used in the commission of a crime, or to be proceeds of a crime, the state is allowed to seize it.

This makes sense when you consider the idea of someone indicted for bank robbery mounting a big defense, using the proceeds of that same bank robbery to cover legal fees and other expenses.

Of course, it cannot be conclusively said that the funds are from the bank robbery. After all, the accused bank robber has only been charged; a fair trial must take place and a guilty verdict rendered before they are convicted.

Forfeiture is intended to prevent assets from being used before a verdict is returned. In addition, forfeiture can also work to prevent assets that might be viewed as evidence from being destroyed. As we will see, a variety of things can happen to forfeited property.

Stock Fraud and Its Effects

Of all the various types of fraud, perhaps none causes repercussions as dramatic as stock fraud.
Shares of Sino-Forest, as quoted over-the-counter on the Pink Sheets, closed Friday at $1.38, down 70%, on volume of more than 15 million. The stock closed at $18.64 on June 1, the day before Muddy Waters issued its rating. -
The above quote refers to the effects of a research firm alleging that Toronto-based company had engaged in stock fraud. The CEO had voluntarily resigned, the stock price tumbled, and then trading of the stock was suspended simply because of fraud allegations. Nobody has been convicted of stock fraud and nothing has been proven conclusively, but the effects are obvious as they are significant.

Search and seizure and the Fourth Amendment

The Juneau School District Board of Education has yet to agree on updated policies regarding search and seizure in schools. Because of the pressure involved in coming to an agreement that can both protect students' rights as well as their safety, it makes a lot of sense that the board members are careful in making their decision.
Board member Mark Choate, an attorney, spoke to the constitutionality of the proposed changes, particularly in the general terminology of "reasonable suspicion" versus "probable cause". -
This distinction between what is considered "probable cause" as opposed to "reasonable suspicion" is the crux of just about any argument related to search and seizure. We take the Fourth Amendment very seriously in this country and, as a result, government encroachment on our privacy and personal property is rightly viewed with a careful eye.

Insider Trading Charges

The world of business thrives on information. Comprehensive research and planning is a strong arbiter of success and nowhere is this truer than in investing. The most obvious concern, however, is the issues brought about by unequal access to information that can have a huge impact on financial markets, companies, and economies in general. 
"He wasn't just a financial technician. He had leadership skills, interpersonal skills and the ability to bring in business, which fit the role of a managing partner of a big accounting firm. He also has a great sense of humor," the friend said. "What he admitted to is out of character given everything everyone knows about the guy. He knows the rules." -
The above quote is from a former colleague of H. Clayton Peterson, an accountant from the Denver area who was recently charged with insider trading. Mr. Peterson and many like him are not necessarily mean, scheming, malevolent people. In fact, those who are caught up in insider trading scandals have decades of unblemished careers behind them.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Constitutionality of DUI Refusal Charges

Americans are endowed with certain natural and unalienable rights that guarantee them due process and protection from unfair treatment, as well as protection from the law. Believing this to be violated, many are now protesting the policy of DUI refusal charges.
To understand why some oppose this type of charge, one must first understand what a DUI refusal charge is. This charge would include:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What is the Statute of Limitations?

In the interest of pursuing real, egalitarian justice in the United States, the statute of limitations exists. In order to keep plaintiffs from preying on defendants at their most vulnerable and to keep evidence and other time-sensitive materials from being tampered with or deteriorating, the statute was put into place. For all practical purposes, it acts to allow justice to be served in a timely and swift manner.
The statute of limitations is the period of time in which prosecution for a crime must occur. This is meant to allow for a fair trial in the swiftest manner. For example, if a civil suit occurs, it protects the defendant from being sued when they are more successful or when their reputation would be more damaged. Additionally, it maintains that the evidence cannot have deteriorated and aspects of the case must still be relevant.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What is a Bench Warrant?

While many people understand what a simple arrest warrant is, fewer are entirely sure of what constitutes a bench warrant. At the lowest level, a bench warrant is simply a mandate to appear before the court. They are complicated, very different from arrest warrants and definitively not something a person would want on their police record.

Unlike arrest warrants, which are issued by the police and approved by the courts, bench warrants are issued by individual judges. The most common reason why a judge would issue a bench warrant would be contempt of court.