Martin Sandoval, a 56-year-old former Illinois state senator, pleaded guilty in late January 2020 to tax fraud and bribery charges. He has admitted to taking $250,000 in bribes from a local red-light cameral company as well as other individuals and their business interests. As part of the plea agreement, he also admitted to having his accountant underreport his earnings to the Internal Revenue Service from 2012 to 2017.
Illinois animal lovers might be happy to learn that the U.S. House of Representatives has approved a bill that makes animal cruelty a federal crime. The measure was passed by a unanimous vote on Oct. 22.
An Illinois resident was charged with multiple counts of money laundering after it was discovered that he was running an illegal sports betting business. The 35-year-old defendant paid a fee to use an online sports betting platform in Costa Rica. He would then collect money from bettors and pay out their winnings in cash. In addition to money laundering, the defendant was also charged with two counts of bankruptcy fraud.
Illinois residents may have heard that actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced for her role in the Operation Varsity Blues college admissions scam. However, a second parent has also been convicted for paying an individual $250,000 to help get his son into college as a water polo recruit. The 53-year-old businessman was sentenced to four months in jail in addition to a $95,000 fine and 500 hours of community service.
In Illinois, kidnapping may be charged under state or federal law. The offense can become a federal crime if the circumstances meet one of six different scenarios. People who are charged with kidnapping may be initially arrested by state or local law enforcement officers but then transferred into the federal court system depending on the circumstances of the offenses.
There are many ways in which a person can use a computer to commit a crime. For instance, one may use an internet connection in Illinois to bully or otherwise harass individuals throughout the world. Computers can also be used to commit offenses such as identity theft and creating or sharing child pornography. The Department of Justice has a task force that helps parents protect their children from becoming victims of online predators.
As an increasing number of people in Illinois rely on digital identity information for their daily lives and financial management, allegations of identity theft have become more common. In many instances, identity theft cases are investigated at the federal level, especially as computer fraud is often associated with these charges. Identity theft can encompass a wide range of accusations; it can refer to email phishing attempts that seek to gain credit card or banking information, false IDs for immigration purposes or new identities for fugitives.
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.
Twenty-four people have been indicted for allegedly transporting drugs into Illinois using Amtrak Express trains. Authorities investigated the alleged drug transportation scheme for several years, calling their investigation Operation Derailed. Investigators believe that wholesale quantities of heroin and cocaine were moved from Los Angeles to Union Station in Chicago and then sold in the Chicago area.
Few can argue that computers have changed people's lives for the better, connecting the entire world via a convenient communication platform as well as providing a boundless source of both information and entertainment. Along with the numerous benefits of computers, however, there are drawbacks, some so severe that they can endanger an Illinois resident's identity, credit score and overall safety. Those who use computers regularly should be especially vigilant about what they share online in order to avoid potential fraudulent use.