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Articles Tagged with Federal Criminal Lawyer

The Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) and the Non-Residential Abuse Program (NRDAP) are offered by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) to assist inmates suffering from substance abuse issues.

RDAP consists of 3 intensive phases, totaling over 500-hours of voluntary individual and group treatment, and it is about 9-12 months long. This program offers prisoners to live in a modified prosocial community within the prison, separate from the general population. They split their day in half with vocational, work, or school activities and the other half in treatment/programs. Prisoners must meet specific requirements to be considered for this program, and space is often limited. The prisoner must have at least 24 months remaining in their sentence to complete the program.

Since some inmates may have less than a 24-month sentence, the FBOP also offers a Non-Residential Drug Abuse Program (NRDAP), where prisoners can participate in 12-24 weeks of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment. This treatment consists of skill-building within communication, rational thinking, and institution adjustment. NRDAP is often offered in a group setting and is more accessible to prisoners because of the less strict qualifications. NRDAP differs from RDAP because offenders may join this program if they have short sentences, are not eligible for RDAP, or awaiting availability.

On April 11, 2022, the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta announced the creation of a new pretrial diversion court, the Accountability, Treatment, and Leadership Court “ATL Court“. It is formed with the Northern District of Georgia, the U.S. Probation Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Defender Program, and  will be run by folks from each of these agencies who will be known as the ATL Court Team.  Please note: The ATL Court is in addition to, and not a replacement of, the Northern District of Georgia’s existing Pretrial Diversion Program.

“THE ATL COURT MISSION:  Our mission is to provide the opportunity to avoid some of the consequences of aberrant criminal conduct to certain individuals charged with non-violent crimes in the Northern District of Georgia who would most greatly benefit from intense supervision, education, or treatment.”

HOW ATL COURT WORKS

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.

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What is a Grand Jury?
The purpose of the grand jury is to determine whether or not there is probable cause to believe that any federal felony has been committed. A typical federal grand jury consists of between 16-23 citizens drawn from the community. 
The jurors meet in a closed courtroom, with no judge, no accused, no press, and no lawyer but the prosecutor present. This means your lawyer will NOT be present in the closed court room.  The grand jurors decide whether or not to indict a person or persons by listening to witnesses and evaluating evidence obtained by grand jury subpoenas. At least 12 grand jurors must find that there is sufficient probable cause in order to return a True Bill,  which when signed by the prosecutor becomes the indictment: the formal criminal charge that the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. If the grand jury does not find sufficient probable cause, which almost never occurs, then it returns a No Bill.

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The IRS has just announced that Operation Hidden Treasure will seek to find taxpayers with unreported income from currency transactions.  Did you notice the new question on page 1 of the Tax Form 1040?  It states, “At any time during 2020 did you receive any financial interest in virtual currency?”  Last year this question was only on Schedule 1.

The IRS Criminal Investigation Division (“CID”) will look for typical “flags” in money transactions.  That may include “structuring” (transactions in increments of less than $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements), “the use of nominees, shell corps” (entities used solely for moving money around) or “getting on and off the chain.” (On chain transactions – blockchain is modified to reflect the transaction on a public ledger. Off chain transactions are those that that go off the blockchain.  They work by swapping private keys to an existing wallet instead of transferring funds.)

The IRS identifies and investigates these tax evasion flags.  Operation Hidden Treasure is “all about finding, tracing, and attributing crypto to U.S. Taxpayers.” Do not be fooled into thinking that since it’s cryptocurrency the government does not have the know how to investigate.   Charges for tax evasion, false information on a tax return or even money laundering or structuring can be forthcoming.  Call Conaway & Strickler, PC if you have had a friendly visit from an IRS CID Agent or if you think you might be facing some issues with the IRS.  Carolyn Schenck, national fraud counsel in the IRS Office of Chief Counsel states, “Operation Hidden Treasure is designed to find, trace and attribute such transactions to taxpayers. These transactions are not anonymous.  We see you.”

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As we continue to see in the news, many cases are being charged by the Department of Justice for PPP (Payroll Protection Program) issues.  There continues to be a lot of confusion out there over the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Understandable since information continues to change about how to apply, whether to apply for forgiveness, and the second round of PPP loans being rolled out.  Due to the rules and the program itself changing frequently, it is important to not fall under scrutiny by the DOJ.
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The Department of Justice (DOJ) has already charged and convicted many cases of PPP loan fraud.  But, the purpose of this post is that, recently, the DOJ announced the first (publicized) civil settlement resolving PPP loan fraud allegations against a company and its owner.   The owner and SlideBelts, Inc  was required to pay a $100k civil penalty per FIRREA civil penalty provision 12 USC 1833a and the False Claims Act (FCA) 31 USC 3729 in the Eastern District of California.  The DOJ continues to be aggressive and swift in bringing criminal charges, but, this is the first public civil settlement.  Please see  https://www.justice.gov/usao-edca/press-release/file/1352931/download to read it in its entirety.
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