Monthly Archives: June 2016

Writing a Bad Check

Writing a bad check occurs when a person deliberately writes a check for an amount that he or she knows is not available in the bank account for which the check was written. In some cases, it involves writing a check for an account that has already been closed. In other cases, the process involves writing a check for an amount that is over the balance in that account, depositing the check in another account and withdrawing the funds before the check has a chance to clear.

In some cases, a person floats a check for money that is not available but for which they think a future deposit that will be made within a few days will be able to cover. Many states do not consider it a crime or will dismiss charges against someone if the check is paid within a few days, usually ten, after receiving notice of insufficient funds from their bank. However, people that use this process may place themselves in a precarious position in the event that they forget to make the deposit or they ignore a notice they receive from the bank.

Many states have loose definitions of the element of knowing that the account did not have sufficient funds. The law assumes that a person operates as a reasonable person and reviews statements and has an active knowledge of how much is in an account. Therefore, in many states, a person does not have to have actual knowledge of the exact amount in the account in order for the government to be able to prove that the defendant “knew” he or she was writing a bad check.

Criminal Penalties

The severity of being convicted of this crime depends on how the crime is defined under state law. In some cases, there may be criminal and civil implications. In other, there may only be civil penalties. In New York, a person faces up to three months in jail and a fine up to $750 based on the face value of the check. In California, a person may face up to a year in jail if convicted of the crime. In Texas, the penalties are particularly harsh where writing a bad check is considered a felony. A person may face between 180 days to two years in a state jail and a fine up to $10,000.

Some states have treble, or triple, damages so that a person will have to pay three times the face value of the check, subject to certain minimum or maximum payments.

Fraud and Abuse Act

These guidelines have been changed over the years, and some parts of these acts have evolved to allow further instances of crimes that were not conceivable in the 1980s. Various state and federal agencies use the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as a basis for charging criminal activity and the computer logs as evidence for a potential conviction.

Devices have diverted from the simple computer to encompass smartphones, Apple devices, tablets, MP3 players and various other electronics to provide internet access throughout the world. As demand and popularity of advancing technology grow, greater research and development goes into these machines. This means that citizens across the world are able to access the internet almost instantaneously. The need for information has become an obsession in youth and elderly alike. This also correlates to crimes in the computer and internet worlds increasing at an ever-growing rate. Tracking down these perpetrators of law violations has become difficult and time-consuming.

Needed Information about Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Since 2015, over 60,000 cyber-criminal violations around the world were reported to law enforcement agencies. Many big businesses are victims of these offenses each year due to hacking and infiltration of protected documentation. This could include customer information, financial data, detailed records of how things are fun and other similar documents. While large companies are impacted in varying degrees, even smaller businesses have been hit. A report explained that since 2014, over 60 percent of all attacks completed with the internet and computers has been against small and mid-size companies.

Due to the rise in cyber-criminal violations, Congress altered the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 1986. Through this alteration, it is illegal to access unauthorized computers and networks by any means of outside individuals or groups. During the years, the Act has been amended several times to attempt to keep up with new age criminal actions of hackers and those determined to ferret out information from companies through the use of the internet and computers. Cyber-criminal offenses may include acts such as espionage, trespassing through a computer, theft of a person’s identity, stolen information, the harm of computers and networks with viruses, scams through phishing, and various instances and types of fraud.

Severity and Penalties of Cyber-Criminal Violations

The levels of severity dealing with these criminal actions may vary depending upon certain factors. The same is said of the penalties applied to convictions for computer and internet offenses. Fines may rise to as much as $100,000. Other penalties may include jail or prison terms, probation, suspension of computer use and various other punishments.

To determine what type of level of severity and its accompanying penalties, certain factors must be in place. The level may be determined if any children were involved in the crimes committed. The type of data stolen or damaged is a large factor when concerning a company, but less of a factor when involving individuals. Additional crimes and penalties may be charged and issues against a person in regards to governmental agency cyber-criminal actions. Another factor to consider when determining the severity level of a charge is the criminal past of the person on trial.

Collar Crime Defendants

This may assist the defendant of these offenses with the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer. Time in many criminal proceedings in court often allows the defending party to provide additional witnesses and evidence to back up the claims of the person accused of the crime. In certain instances, this may assist in acquitting the individual of all charges.

What Are White Collar Crimes?

White collar crimes are those that involve persons out for money with their connection to businesses or within the government. These offenses usually have no violence or force used. Weapons such as firearms, knives and fists are not typical for these violations of the law. If a weapon is used in a white collar crime, it is usually in the form of a computer virus. These offenses are frequently only committed by those of respectable backgrounds and high social status in a job or career. To be considered white collar, the crime is usually done from within the business such as fraud, embezzlement, trade secrets theft of a corporation and similar acts.

Charges and Filing a Case

Many who commit these crimes cause the legal struggle against them to become complicated through various factors. Governmental agencies and law enforcement find prosecuting many of these individuals complex due to strong defenses with legal assistance by these individuals. The problem is usually in trying to simplify the case. Concepts and evidence with these claims of white color crimes are multifaceted in various instances.

Numerous cases of financial white collar crimes need some type of expert with numbers, math or finance in order to fully understand what occurred. This causes doubt and issues with the prosecution. This is especially true if a professional in these matters is unreachable. These cases may require the understanding of hundreds or thousands of pages of financial documents, accounting methods and various additional types of evidence for lawyers and the jury to understand. It is more difficult to convict a person of a crime if the evidence is too complicated for jury members to fully grasp. Adding in the fact that those accused are upstanding persons in communities or members in good standing with honest backgrounds may cause doubt when attempting to convict.

Plea Bargain Instead of Conviction

Because the evidence and person accused may cause a jury to become confused or doubt the crime occurred, legal representatives may confer with each other to reach a plea bargain. These may be more beneficial than a full conviction, but when the outcome looks more like an acquittal, the prosecution may seek this alternative. This may be the option taken if the prosecuting lawyer feels the risk of a trial is too great in favor of the defendant. This information is not shared with the defending party, but a plea bargain is usually offered before any court case may occur. These usually are the only option due to challenges with the investigation, evidence and the character of the accused.