Being the target of a state or federal investigation can turn your world upside down. It can place your reputation and future on the line. The stress can be unbearable. Jacqueline Cistaro is an experienced white collar crimes criminal defense lawyer who can assist you with cases such as:
- Money laundering
- Technical support fraud schemes
- Ponzi Schemes
- Health care fraud
- Wire/Mail fraud
- Securities fraud
- Tax evasion
Our representation is not about whether you actually committed a crime. Rather, it is about protecting your rights and developing your defense.
Conspiracy is the catch-all crime charged by state and federal governments. Typically, a criminal conspiracy consists of an agreement between two or more parties to commit a crime. It also includes an “overt act” by at least one of the co-conspirators in furtherance of the crime. To prove that a criminal conspiracy existed, the government does not need to prove that there was a written agreement or that all of the co-conspirators knew one another.
Criminal conspiracies are punishable by significant fines and potential terms of imprisonment. These penalties are in addition to the applicable punishments for any underlying criminal offenses of the conspiracy. Moreover, co-conspirators are liable for one another’s criminal acts that they commit in furtherance of the conspiracy.
Ms. Cistaro has nearly 20 years of experience handling conspiracy cases, with all types of underlying offenses, as both a prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer.
Money laundering is the process of concealing illegally gained proceeds by integrating it into the legitimate financial system. The process aims to disguise the identity, source, destination of the profits of or money used to fund criminal activities.
Generally, money laundering involves three steps: placement, layering, and integration. First, a suspect obtains money through illegal activity and entered into the financial system. Next, the suspect moves the money around to create confusion, for example by wiring or transferring the money through numerous accounts. Lastly, the suspect returns the money to the launderer from a legitimate-looking source. After the money is clean, it becomes difficult to distinguish from legitimate financial resources. At that point, the funds can be used without detection. Common sources used to launder money are shell companies, offshore accounts, and tax evasions schemes.
In most cases, the government believes that those involved in money laundering often do so to facilitate crimes such as drug trafficking, terrorism and organized crime, and will investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
Technology Support Schemes
Tech support fraud schemes have become commonplace due to emerging technology developments worldwide. The schemes operate in several ways. They often use internet pop-up messages, emails, and telephone calls to appear legitimate. These communications claim to be from Microsoft computer technicians. They may also use internet pop-up messages to warn about non-existent detected viruses or malware on a person’s computer. The person pretends to be “tech support” and asks for remote access to the computer. Eventually, they diagnose a non-existent problem and ask for payment for remedial services.
The objective of the scheme is to obtain money, personal information, and/or access to your files. These schemes often target the vulnerable classes of the population. Such classes include the elderly and college students, but also businesses and companies that do not have intra-office tech support.
Prosecutors sometimes charge technology support schemes as a more general federal criminal offense such as conspiracy, mail and wire fraud. But given the nature and complexity of such schemes, it is imperative that individuals facing these charges are represented by a criminal defense lawyer with the knowledge and experience that is necessary to defend such a case.
Health Care Fraud
Health care fraud can be committed by practitioners as well as by patients. The most common forms of health care fraud include over-billing insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid, for supplies or services that the perpetrator never provided or that the patient didn’t need. Over prescribing medications, improperly distributing prescription drugs, and using another person’s insurance information are other forms of health care fraud. Additionally, performing unlicensed medical procedures may also constitute health care fraud.
There are various federal health care statutes, including the False Claims Act, the Affordable Care Act, the Federal Healthcare Anti-Kickback Act, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which provide for significant criminal penalties for health care fraud. Also, prosecutors can charge health care fraud as a more general federal criminal offense, such as mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, and false statements.
Given the high stakes involved in the prosecution of health care fraud, including loss of professional license, lengthy imprisonment, and hefty civil penalties, it is important that individuals facing charges for health care fraud choose a criminal defense lawyer with the knowledge and experience necessary to defend such a case.
Ponzi schemes offer an investor high financial returns utilizing fraudulent investments that will ultimately leave the investors with no money. In the beginning, the schemer provides fictitious accounting statements. The schemer then pays dividends to investors with money they obtain from subsequent investors. At some point, the schemer fails to bring in new investors and the dividends cease. This leads the investors to complain. The schemer will suddenly disappear with all the proceeds leaving the investors without their money.
Ponzi schemes are also frequently affinity frauds where the schemer is able to convince a large group of connected investors to invest in a fraudulent investment program because they belong to the same religious organization, ethnic background, or professional association. In many situations, Ponzi schemes are able to grow because the schemer is associated with a reputable brokerage, accounting, or law firm.
Bribery can take many forms and is punishable under a variety of state and federal statutes. These laws prohibit government officials and employees from demanding, seeking, receiving, accepting, or agreeing to accept anything of value in exchange for influence in their conduct or decisions, as well as prohibiting anyone from giving, offering, or promising to give anything of value to a government official or employee in exchange for such.
Additionally, federal law prohibits other forms of bribery, such as bribery of, and acceptance of bribes by, foreign officials, bank officials, private citizens connected to federally funded programs, and sporting contests. Lastly, the law prohibits bribery of witnesses before state and federal courts.
Bribery can be punishable by serious statutory penalties, including fines of up to three times the amount of the bribe. It can also result in imprisonment for up to fifteen years. Moreover, the law may also prohibit public officials convicted of bribery from holding a public office.
Racketeering/RICO involves a commissioned pattern of predicate offenses by a group with a common purpose or course of conduct making up an “enterprise.” It covers a broad category of criminal acts that includes bribery, extortion, prostitution rings, illegal gambling, murder, dealing in controlled dangerous substances, money laundering and many more. The law considers Racketeering/RICO as part of organized crime, since a group carries it out.
Racketeering/RICO can be associated with a legal business or illegal entity. Racketeering/RICO charges can be prosecuted at both the state and federal level.
A criminal defense lawyer that can help with your white collar crime case
If you have questions or concerns, I invite you to contact me directly to discuss the issue you may be facing at 646.253.0583 or JEC@cistarolawfirm.com. You will discuss your concerns with me personally – never an associate or paralegal. Additionally, you should know that your contact with me, and with my firm, is privileged under the law. The law protects you regardless of whether or not you decide to retain my firm to represent you.