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Chicago Criminal Defense Blog

Federal courts split on application of CFAA in employment cases

The casual sharing of a computer access password between employees in Illinois could set the stage for a possible charge of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The federal government originally intended this law to penalize hackers who accessed protected computer systems. However, numerous cases against employees accused of unauthorized access to company computers have produced mixed results among federal appeals courts.

A case presented before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ended with the court deciding that the CFAA would not apply to an employee accused of downloading information from one employer that was allegedly given to a new employer. The court chose not to label the employee's misconduct as hacking.

Actress Rose McGowan to fight drug charges

Illinois movie fans may be interested to learn that Rose McGowan says she intends to fight a drug possession charge leveled against her in Virginia. The actress turned herself in to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police on Nov. 14, and she was scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 16.

According to authorities, officers discovered cocaine in a wallet McGowan left on a flight that landed at Virginia's Washington Dulles International Airport on Jan. 20. They charged her with possession of a controlled substance and set her free on bond.

Black people may face harsher punishments than whites

In Illinois, black people who are charged with crimes are likelier to be convicted of the charges that carry jail time and to receive harsher punishments than those who are white. While the disparate treatment of suspects by law enforcement officers has long been studied, a new study analyzed the treatment of defendants by prosecutors and the courts, finding that the disparate treatment continues within the court system.

A researcher at the Loyola Law School reviewed data from 30,807 Wisconsin cases in which the defendants were charged with misdemeanors over a period of seven years. He found that black defendants were 74 times less likely than their white peers to have charges that carried the potential of jail time reduced or dropped. Black people who had no prior criminal convictions were also much less likely than whites to have their charges reduced.

Brothers charged with drug possession, distribution

Two Illinois brothers were taken into custody for alleged drug crimes on Oct. 10, according to local authorities. The incident took place in Buffalo Grove.

Buffalo Grove police were reportedly tipped off to alleged drug activity taking place on the 400 block of Gregg Lane by area residents. The allegations included claims of drug handoffs and heavy vehicle traffic. Following an investigation, police executed a search warrant on the property of the two brothers, ages 18 and 22. During the search, officers allegedly discovered 2.2 pounds of cannabis and cannabis wax, approximately 1 gram of cocaine, various prescription pills and drug paraphernalia. A police K-9 named Hogyn assisted officers during the raid.

Elements of a possession with intent to distribute charge

For some Illinois residents, understanding what a federal possession with intent to distribute charge can entail can be difficult. There are three parts, and they include possession, intention and distribution.

When it comes to possession, individuals cannot legally be in possession of certaincontrolled substances under federal law. While individuals can be charged for simply having drugs in their hands, pockets or bags, they can also be charged if they have control over the drugs. This means that they could be charged if drugs are found in their vehicle or home. The intent part of the charge means that individuals had an intention to do something in particular with the drugs. In order for these charges to stick, the authorities must be able to prove that element.

The elements of a tampering with evidence case

Illinois residents can be charged with tampering with evidence if the authorities believe that the accused individuals attempted to conceal, alter, falsify or destroy the evidence. This evidence can include any object or documentation that could potentially be useful to a police investigation or inquiry.

When individuals are accused of tampering with evidence, the prosecution is required to establish all of the elements of the offense. In this case, the prosecution must establish that an accused person intended to falsify, conceal or destroy the evidence with the purpose of interfering with the investigation. Further, the person must be fully aware that concealing, destroying or falsifying the evidence could result in a specific outcome. In this case, that outcome would be to have an impact on the investigation.

3 actions that could raise suspicions of fraud

When you work as part of a company, you may appreciate that your actions help keep the business running as a whole. Though you could sometimes feel as if your actions go underappreciated or that your contributions may seem minimal, you certainly know that issues could crop up if you did not properly carry out your duties. As a result, you certainly do your best to attend to your responsibilities.

Though your job may seem insignificant at times, you may feel as if everyone knows your name if a problem comes about. If you work in your company's financial department, you may feel every eye on you if someone accuses you of fraud. Therefore, you may wish to understand what actions could raise suspicions when it comes to this type of activity.

Man facing drug charges following standoff

On Aug. 28, an Illinois man was taken into police custody following a standoff. The standoff occurred at a home located in the Cabrini Green apartment complex on the Near North Side of Chicago.

Officers responded to a report about a man who had a gun. They arrived to a home located in the 900 block of North Cambridge at about 3 p.m. When the man saw the police arrive, he reportedly ran into another home that was located in the nearby 500 block of West Delaware. A SWAT team arrived at the scene about an hour and a half later. The team members entered the home at about 6:30 p.m. and took two individuals into custody without the use of force.

Drug schedules and the Controlled Substances Act

Illinois residents who face charges related to Schedule 1 drugs may be facing more serious penalties than people whose charges involve drugs that belong to other schedules. Prior to the creation of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, there were more than 200 separate drug laws. The CSA made it easier for states to create their own statutes since they could cite schedules instead of having to list drugs. The Drug Enforcement Agency is responsible for adding or removing drugs from the schedules or moving a drug from one schedule to another.

Drugs in Schedule 1 are considered to be the most dangerous and have no medical use. Marijuana is included as a Schedule 1 drug despite the fact that it has been studied for its medical properties. Other drugs included in Schedule 1 are heroin and LSD. Morphine and cocaine are both Schedule 2 drugs while Vicodin is a Schedule 3 drug. Xanax, Ambien and Valium are all Schedule 4, and cough suppressants are Schedule 5.

Health Care Fraud Unit created to investigate healthcare fraud

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois has created the Health Care Fraud Unit. This team of five assistant U.S. attorneys was created to prosecute health care fraud cases of all types, including diversion of controlled substances and fraudulent billing schemes.

The announcement was made several days after two Chicago-area licensed physicians were charged as part of the largest national health care fraud enforcement takedown action led by the U.S .Department of Justice. This action ultimately accused 412 defendants of participating in fraudulent health care billing. Of these defendants, 15, including the two Chicago-area physicians, were facing federal criminal charges.

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