Most people have an idea in the heads about what a criminal should look like. For many people, they typically think of someone who has no regard for the law and partakes in illegal activities for personal gain. Unfortunately, as our regular Missouri readers know all too well, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes good people make ill-fated mistakes that can end up costing them a lot more than their reputation in the end.
Take for example the recent federal case where two agents — one from the Secret Service and one from the Drug Enforcement Administration — who have been charged with serious federal crimes because of their actions during a particular investigation into the black-market website known as Silk Road. According to the criminal complaint that was unsealed last month, the two agents are both accused of laundering money and committing wire fraud. In addition to these charges, one of the agents is also facing theft charges.
Although some of our more regular readers can recognize the seriousness of the situation above, new visitors to our site may not be able to see the gravity of the case without looking at the laws that apply. Under the U.S. Code, money laundering is considered a criminal offense, punishable by fines that can total hundreds of thousands of dollars and imprisonment of up to 20 years. People facing wire fraud charges fair just the same under the U.S. Code, which carries equally serious penalties that can also result in several years in prison and even fines.
Knowing this is not enough though to defend yourself against prosecutors who typically gather evidence for months in order to build a case against you. With the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney who has particular experience with fraud charges, such as money laundering and wire fraud, you have a better chance of presenting your side of the story to the court and a better chance at protecting your rights through the legal process.
Sources: New York Times, “Inquiry of Silk Road Website Spurred Agents’ Own Illegal Acts, Officials Say,” Benjamin Weiser and Matt Apuzzo, March 30, 2015
Cornell University Law School, “U.S. Code. Title 18, Part I, Chapter 95, Section 1956, Accessed April 1, 2015
Cornell University Law School, “U.S. Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 63, Section 1343,” Accessed April 1, 2015