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Think twice before misusing that credit or debit card

The cost of living in New York is skyrocketing. Times are tight, money is getting harder to come by and you may feel you can get away with using the ATM to make a few fraudulent check deposits or skimming device to make a little extra money to get by. Before you make a decision that could land you in prison, take a few moments to consider the impact of such actions. 

ATM fraud is a serious crime that, at minimum, is prosecutable at the state level. It carries serious penalties. There is a good chance you could even face federal criminal charges because it is also bank fraud. It does not matter what your intent is or that you mean to repay the funds. Once you misuse/abuse a debit or credit card to illegally access unauthorized funds from a financial institution, you could end up facing criminal charges for bank and ATM fraud. 

What is tax evasion?

The thought of paying taxes may not be anyone's idea of a good time, and some people in Georgia make decisions to purposely report improper information on their tax returns so they do not owe as much money. This is known as tax evasion. This is different than tax avoidance, and there may be serious federal charges for those who intentionally fool the Internal Revenue Service.

According to Investopedia, tax evasion, also known as tax fraud, costs the government millions of dollars every year. As a result, the consequences for getting caught may include fines, interest, penalties and potential imprisonment. The IRS understands the tax code can be complicating and confusing, and they know some tax preparers make mistakes, so this is not the same as tax evasion. Examples of fraud include:

  • Claiming personal-related expenses as business ones
  • Falsely claiming credits or deductions
  • Purposely underreporting income
  • Failing to report cash payments either as payer or payee
  • Purposely failing to withhold federal income tax from worker paychecks
  • Intentionally failing to report payroll tax reports
  • Purposely not paying tax debt owed

Drug charges and mental illness

When people are taken into custody over a drug-related offense, there are many different factors to consider, some of which could have a major impact on the outcome of their case. Some people are falsely accused of a drug crime, while others may be able to secure a better outcome by shedding light on key details surrounding their case. Some people are apprehended for a drug offense due to an isolated incident, even though they do not regularly use or sell drugs, while others may struggle with long-term drug addiction. Moreover, some people are simultaneously dealing with drug charges and mental illness.

If you are facing drug charges and also have difficulty with a particular mental illness, it is important to assess the unique details that surround your circumstances and figure out the best way to handle your case. Moreover, if you have a loved one who is mentally ill and facing drug charges, it is important to help them understand their options and you may want to assist them throughout their case. Some people benefit from consulting a legal professional who has handled many drug cases and knows how certain details can shape the outcome of a case.

Marijuana legalization and drug charges

In recent years, many parts of the country have legalized the medical and/or recreational use of marijuana. For some people, these changes are seen as a major relief. However, people continue to be charged with drug-related offenses due to marijuana across the country, and these charges can be very serious. There are many reasons why someone may be charged with a drug crime even if marijuana is legal where they live. For example, they may travel to another state without realizing that it is illegal to possess this substance on the other side of the state's border.

Even if someone realizes that marijuana is illegal in another part of the country, they may forget that they have a small amount of the drug in their car or in their backpack, for example. When a law enforcement official discovers marijuana, the individual may face serious charges. Even though many people consider this to be a relatively safe and harmless drug, the consequences of being charged with a drug offense can be extremely detrimental to one's future and their life may be disrupted in all sorts of ways.

Reviewing some consequences of immigration offenses

Those who have been charged with any type of immigration offense may be under an incredible amount of pressure. These charges can make someone feel very vulnerable and completely unsure about their future. Unfortunately, many people have found themselves in this position over a misunderstanding or accidental failure to abide by various immigration laws. However, the consequences can turn their lives upside down regardless. If you are facing charges related to immigration, you should review your case carefully and be aware of how these charges could have an impact on your future.

Many people worry about deportation, but this is not the only consequence of an immigration-related case. Some people may face financial hardships as a result of these allegations and the emotional impact can be staggering. After all, many who are going through this feel very stressed out and they may also struggle with anxiety. From a career standpoint, these charges can be extremely detrimental. Not only could someone lose their job, but they may have a hard time finding work in their field down the road.

How does Georgia define fraud?

Issues of fraud most often arise from business transactions in Atlanta. Thus, if and when you find yourself in the position of acting as a broker or agent of another in such a transaction, you should be aware that your actions will be highly scrutinized by those who entrusted you with assets. Any losses (accompanied by your profits) may immediately be met with skepticism and accusations. Defending yourself from allegations of fraud requires that you understand how Georgia defines this offense. 

Section 16-8-3 of Georgia's Code of Crimes and Offenses states that obtaining property by deceitful means or artful practice with the intention of depriving another of that property constitutes fraud. Notice the inclusion of the words "with the intention of." Per the law, you cannot accidently commit fraud. Rather, you must have intended to secure a business partner's property through your actions. 

Smartphones and cybercrime charges

When some people envision a cybercrime, they may picture someone huddled over a computer. However, people may also be accused of an online offense as a result of activities that were carried out on a smartphone. For example, someone may be charged with sharing or possessing unlawful material with their phone or harassing another person through an app that they accessed on their smartphone. When it comes to cybercrime charges, the consequences can be just as serious if the offense was carried out using a smartphone, so it is crucial to realize that unlawful activity on a smartphone can be just as serious.

Unfortunately, some people may not realize that certain behaviors on their phone constitute an illegal offense. Moreover, someone may find themselves in this position even though they were not aware of any wrongdoing. For example, someone may let their friend borrow their phone, or another person may use their phone to carry out an illegal act without their knowledge. After all, it can be difficult to keep track of a phone at all times, and many people bring their phones with them to restaurants, bars and other settings.

What can I say to a loved one with addiction issues?

Many people who face drug charges in Atlanta also suffer from addiction issues. In addition to legal woes, addiction can hurt a person's health, cause rifts between family members, and jeopardize employment. If you have a loved one who is suffering from addiction, your support is crucial during this time. To help you open an honest and trusting dialogue, Very Well Mind offers the following communication advice. 

First, realize that there's no easy solution to drug addiction. It's not usually a matter of will power, nor does it relate to a person's ability to "pull themselves together". In most instances, drug addiction is caused by numerous factors, including a person's background, environment, and even genetics. Accordingly, it's not helpful to admonish a person for not having their life together when addicted to drugs. Drug addiction is more like a medical problem, in the sense that formal treatment may be needed to allow your loved one to finally get clean. 

An overview of the Georgia RICO Act

Popularized by movies and television, many people in Georgia have heard of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. While it was enacted and is often associated with organized crime, the state’s RICO Act does not only apply to mobsters. Therefore, it is important for people to understand the act in order to help avoid unnecessary arrests and prosecutions.

According to FindLaw, carrying out illegal activities in order to sustain or further the reach and influence of organizations or criminal enterprises is considered racketeering. Under the Georgia RICO Act, obtaining or keeping control of or interest in any businesses or types of property through racketeering activities is prohibited. In order to prove a pattern of racketeering, there must be at least two felony illegal activities involved.

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