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What is Bitcoin money laundering? Bitcoin money laundering is the process of using Bitcoin to conceal the origins of illegally obtained money. This can be done by transferring the Bitcoin to multiple accounts, mixing it with other Bitcoin, or using it to purchase goods or services.  Some believe that Bitcoin transactions are anonymous.  There are, however, transaction records that are stored in the blockchain and publicly visible.  The FBI recently stated “Criminals always leave tracks, and …[this] is a reminder that the FBI has the tools to follow the digital trail, wherever it may lead” .

Bitcoin is definitely attractive to money launderers because it is a decentralized currency that is not subject to government regulation. This makes it difficult, but not impossible, to track and trace Bitcoin transactions. Additionally, Bitcoin is often used in online transactions, which makes it easy to conceal the identity of the sender and receiver.

There are a number of ways to launder money using Bitcoin. One common method is to use a mixer, which is a service that mixes Bitcoin from multiple sources together. This makes it difficult to trace the original source of the Bitcoin. Another method is to use a tumbler, which is a service that breaks up Bitcoin transactions into smaller pieces and then reassembles them. This makes it difficult to track the individual transactions.

By Brandon Fitz

Wire Fraud is a serious white-collar crime and is defined under 18 USC §1343 and states:

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both. 18 U.S.C.A. § 1343.

By Maya Fouad

Tax evasion is the most common federal tax crime and involves the failure to report taxes, reporting taxes inaccurately, or failing to pay taxes. Federal law defines the crime broadly; 26 U.S.C. 7201 states, “[a]ny person who willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by this title or the payment thereof shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be guilty of a felony. . .” The penalties for tax evasion can include significant monetary fines, imprisonment, or both.

To establish a case of tax evasion, the Government must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

On May 17, 2021, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the establishment of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

On March 10, 2022, Garland announced Associate Deputy Attorney General Kevin Chambers as the Director For Covid-19 Fraud Enforcement.

In August, 2022, President Biden signed laws that give the Department of Justice and other federal agencies more time to investigate and prosecute Covid-19 fraud. It extended the statute of limitations for fraud charges involving PPP and EIDL fraud to ten years.

The federal criminal appellate process begins when a person is convicted at the district court.  A conviction can occur after a jury trial or after a plea of guilty.

If a person has entered in to a plea agreement, the person may have agreed to waive many of their rights to appeal.

If a person had a jury trial, there can be some issues that can be argued on appeal.  The first thing that occurs after judgement/conviction, is the attorney must file a “notice of appeal” which usually must be filed within ten days following the district court’s entry of judgment. If the government is appealing the district court’s decision, a timely notice of appeal may be filed within thirty days following entry of judgment.

The International Bar Association created a “President’s Task force on Cybersecurity”.  Meg Strickler was appointed to serve on this prestigious task force and helped draft Cybersecurity Guidelines.  Today, it is all the more important to be weary of a data breach if you own and operate a small business. Data breaches can interrupt operations, cause chaos and most importantly impact the bottom line severely. Just this month, Atlanta based law firm Hall Booth Smith experienced a data breach.  Meg Strickler was quoted in the Fulton County Daily Report in discussing this breach, stating that the most important thing for law firms to do is educate their employees on how to stay safe online. One of the biggest issues she’s seen recently is data breaches resulting from Trojan emails, when employees click on links from unfamiliar senders. She also advised other precautionary measures, such as making sure bookkeepers don’t transfer money without protections in place and establishing safeguards to prevent disgruntled employees from internally dismantling a system.  Please see here for the full article.

So what to do to prepare?  Some obvious first steps are educating employees on cyber safety measures, making sure emails are encrypted, ensuring cyber insurance is up to date and becoming familiar with your company’s assets. You want to have a procedure and plan written ahead of time.




Here is the definition from the statute, cut directly from the 11th circuit’s jury instructions:

It’s a Federal crime to commit aggravated identity theft.

The Defendant can be found guilty of aggravated identity theft only if all the following facts are proved beyond a reasonable doubt:

Written by Maya Fouad

When a police officer is conducting a roadside investigation of a suspected drunk driver, a variety of mechanisms are employed as indicators of intoxication.  Law enforcement are trained to conduct specific behavioral tests and use certain devices designed to detect levels of intoxication.  Officers are often additionally trained to make more general observations of the suspect during roadside investigations of this nature.  For instance, the potential odor of alcohol, an individual’s flushed face, or the appearance of the eyes, can all also be additional indicators of intoxication; however, few evidentiary limits apply when an officer with personal knowledge testifies to such observations.  In contrast, evidence of intoxication resulting from officers performing more established methods of testing implicate more potential grounds for exclusion.  

Since 1981, the National Highway Traffic Safety Admission (NHTSA) of the United States Department of Transportation has produced a series of standardized field sobriety tests which are considered the most effective procedures for testing drivers at roadside for intoxication.  The NHSTA’s behavioral test battery has been incorporated into law enforcement training in all states to help police officers in assessing whether a suspected drunk driver is legally impaired.  The tests are administered roadside, outside of the car, and after the suspected drunk driver has been identified.  The SFST battery is composed of three tests: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk-and-Turn (WAT), and the One-Leg Stand (OLS).  Since 1995, the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council has made the three NHSTA-approved field tests the exclusive field tests taught to Georgia officers.

The “Safety Valve” exception is a statutory exception to mandatory minimum sentencing laws. A safety valve allows a judge to sentence a person below the mandatory minimum term if certain conditions are met.  The “Safety Valve” provision is a provision of law codified in 18 United States Code §3553(f).  It specifically allows a judge to sentence below the minimum mandatory required by law.  However, you must be eligible.  There is also a two level reduction in the sentencing guidelines under United States Sentencing Guidelines §2D1.1(b)(17).

The requirements set out in 18 U.S.C. §3553(f) are:
  • You do not have more than 1 criminal history point. 
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