To protect your safety in response to the threat of COVID-19, we are offering our clients the ability to meet with us in person, via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options.

Articles Posted in Cybercrime

Manhattan federal agents arrested Archegos Capital Management founder Sung Kook “Bill” Hwang on April 27, 2022 on fraud charges, roughly one year after the investment firm’s huge losses back in March 2021.  Department of Justice prosecutors are charging both Hwang and Patrick Halligan, the firm’s chief financial officer, with racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud offenses as part of schemes allegedly designed to “unlawfully manipulate” the price of publicly traded securities.

The 59-page indictment, filed in federal court in Manhattan, alleges the men and others at Archegos sometimes timed their trades to drum up the interest of other investors, while borrowing money to make bigger and bigger bets. The Department of Justice states, “Hwang and his co-conspirators invested in stocks mostly through special contracts with banks and brokers called “swaps.” As alleged, these swaps allowed Hwang to cause massive buying of certain stocks, including at carefully selected days and times, to artificially pump up stock prices. Hwang, Halligan, and their co-conspirators lied to banks and used a series of manipulative trading techniques to keep those prices high and prevent them from falling. The lies fed the inflation, and the inflation led to more lies. The scale of this alleged fraud was stunning.  In one year, Hwang turned a $1.5 billion portfolio and fraudulently pumped it up into a $35 billion portfolio.” The effective size of the firm’s stock positions swelled to $160 billion — rivaling some of the biggest hedge funds in the world.  The case marks the biggest financial-crime charges to come out of the Southern District of New York under the leadership of Mr. Damian Williams, who was sworn in October 10, 2021.

The SEC has also filed a civil complaint stating that Mr. Becker, the former chief risk officer at Archegos, and Mr. Tomita, the firm’s former top trader, had led discussions with the banks about the firm’s trading positions but that Mr. Hwang and Mr. Halligan had directed and set the tone for those discussions.

Attorney General Merrick Garland made recent comments about what he considered to be the Department of Justice’s top priorities for 2022.  Since taking office in March 2021, Garland has tried to combat crime in a tumultuous time.  He has been criticized for his handling of January 6 investigation and has stated it’s the most urgent probe in history.

With all of this going on, the US Attorney’s office increased its prosecutions of individuals of white collar crimes in the year 2021.  White collar charges like fraud, theft, corruption, bribery, environmental crime, tax fraud, health care fraud, procurement fraud, money laundering, PPP loan fraud, etc will continue to get more attention from the Department of Justice.

What does this mean?  It means that investigations of any sort need to be taken seriously and that you should contact a lawyer immediately if any wrongdoing is alleged.

After the Hack: A Data Breach Post Game Show

As chair of the Cyber Crime committee at iTechlaw, Meg Strickler gives her insight on data breaches from various perspectives on an iTechlaw webinar this week.  She and the other panelists discuss:

  1. The criminal charge of BEC (Business email compromise) fraud

In late 2018, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations opened a new cyber center, training a new unit of investigators to take on cases of alleged cybercrime. The move was an attempt to stem the tide of theft, fraud and other offenses committed electronically. 

According to a special agent in charge of the new investigation unit, cybercrime costs the state of Georgia at least $38 million per year. However, that estimate could be severely low. 

Misleading numbers 

Right now, in Georgia and throughout the United States, investigators are watching people and keeping track of their activities on the internet. There is a great deal of information out there, however, and these investigators do not always get everything right.

Additionally, law enforcement officers sometimes overstep their bounds. At Conaway and Strickler, P.C., we make it our mission to ensure that our clients’ rights are protected. One of the ways we do this is by performing our own investigations.

There is an old saying it goes something along the lines of “what is good for one is good for the other.” We make a point of employing equal or superior techniques to state and federal agencies during our own examinations of the facts. We see this as the minimum requirement for a successful case. 

Taking a selfie is a common and popular phenomenon for people in Georgia and throughout the country. While many selfies are fun, they can be illegal if they contain sexual images and/or nudity of someone who is underage. If obtained in the wrong hands, a well-intentioned selfie can be the subject of a child pornography charge.

FindLaw discusses how teenagers, especially, participate in producing, possessing and distributing child pornography without even realizing it. Both teenage girls and boys take selfies of a sexual nature and send it to their boyfriend/girlfriend. This, in and of itself, in many states constitutes child pornography. If the receiver of the picture then forwards it on to others, this can become an even bigger issue. Once a sexually explicit picture passes state or international borders, it becomes a federal offense. Every person who is in possession of the selfie can potentially face charges for child pornography. 

Some may argue that purposely taking a naked photo of oneself and sending it to someone else is anyone’s right and it falls under the First Amendment. However, the United States Department of Justice reports that there is not protection regarding child pornography images and that they are illegal. In contrast to what some may believe, child pornography pictures do not have to depict a minor participating in sexual activity or acting against his or her will.

A lot has changed since the internet was first created and the profound innovation of such an incredible technology took the world by storm. In today’s world, an ever-growing technological challenge is the growing danger of cybercrime. For many industries in Georgia, protecting their intellectual property is not simply a matter of restricting access to its accessibility, but carefully crafting strategic methods for keeping unwanted viruses and criminals from exposing confidential information. 

Some interesting research that examined what the future of cybersecurity is going to look like, uncovered some interesting facts that may help people to better understand the risks they are facing. One development that businesses may notice is the incorporation of highly trained, often-retired military members who have experience in working with cybersecurity, being hired to take leading roles in providing security in the virtual world. They may also notice an increase in roles such as that of a security data scientist who will analyze data and its utilization in discovering ways to protect it without constricting its use. 

In an ever-growing business world, applications as a resource for optimizing transactions between consumers and companies, as well as between business-to-business, will continue to provide assistance in revolutionizing how business is done. However, thoroughly implemented security measures will be critical so long as applications are in use. Another development will be the way that social contracts are leveraged. While they will still be widely used, they may begin to include cybersecurity agreements as a way to solidify promises between data systems and humans. 

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.

Whether you have been accused of an online offense involving your phone or a personal computer, it is crucial to prepare for your case and realize how much may be at stake. These charges could disrupt your future in many different ways and completely shatter your reputation. We cover all sorts of issues related to cybercrime charges across our website.

Cases that involve unlawful pornography can be tough for a plethora of reasons. First, these cases carry a harsh stigma, and those who are accused of wrongdoing may feel too ashamed to stand up for themselves (even when details have been exaggerated or they are falsely accused of unlawful behavior). Moreover, some people may not be aware that certain types of behavior are against the law, especially since laws involving pornography have changed in recent years. In Georgia, for example, it is against the law for people to share nude images of their ex without their consent (this is known as revenge porn).

Revenge porn charges can lead to a number of harsh consequences. Those charged with breaking this law may face financial penalties and even time behind bars. For example, someone who is accused of sharing revenge porn again after they have been charged with this offense in the past may be sentenced to prison. Aside from the legal repercussions of revenge porn charges, one’s reputation may be completely destroyed. This could cause problems for them in regard to their career, and it may also cause personal relationships to fall apart.

If you have been accused of illegally sharing revenge porn, it is important to have a solid understanding of your legal options and figure out how to move forward. You should be aware of the potentially serious consequences you could face and try to identify the best way to handle this situation. Our cybercrime page has more related to revenge porn charges.

Online crime charges take many forms, but harassment is an especially tricky issue to deal with in many instances. People may be charged with harassment for a number of reasons, whether they were unaware that their behavior was against the law or they are even falsely accused of online harassment. For example, someone may break up with a spouse or partner and their ex may try to shatter their reputation and bring legal consequences by falsely accusing them of harassing them over the internet. We know how challenging these cases can be and it is pivotal to protect your interests.

If you have been accused of online harassment, it is pivotal to immediately go over your legal options, the ins and outs of the alleged incident(s) and the best course of action. Your future may be at stake, whether you run the risk of losing your job as a result of these allegations or you face serious penalties. If you are the parent of a teen who has been accused of cyber harassment, for example, it is equally important to protect their future by carefully examining the situation and exploring the legal options that may be on the table. Many teens have been falsely accused of harassment by a former friend or an enemy at school.

The consequences of these charges are not to be taken lightly and the outcome of an online harassment case could have a significant impact on your future. We cover other issues concerning this area of law on our blog.

Contact Information