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Federal Crimes

by Douglas Sughrue, Esq. Douglas Sughrue, Esq. No Comments

Child porn investigation in Pennsylvania leads to three arrests

Investigators with the child predator section of the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office recently charged three men with various child pornography offenses. The charges came following an undercover investigation by authorities from the office.

Those charged include a 44-year-old man from Lower Paxton Township, a 34-year-old man from Philadelphia and a 25-year-old man from Allentown. The 44-year-old man is facing 14 charges, including four for distribution, nine for possession and one for criminal communication. The 34-year-old was charged with 20 separate counts of possession of child pornography, one of distribution and one of criminal communication. The 25-year-old man was charged with five counts of distribution, 20 counts of possession and one of criminal communication. Read more

by Douglas Sughrue, Esq. Douglas Sughrue, Esq. No Comments

Sex offender registration as a collateral consequence

Pennsylvanians who are charged with state or federal sex offenses face the possibility of many different types of serious consequences. Even if they are convicted and complets any prison sentence they are given, the collateral damage associated with a sex offense conviction may continue long afterward.

One consequence a person may face is the requirement to register as a sex offender on the state’s sex offender registry. Currently, more than 19,000 people in Pennsylvania are on the list. The length of the required registration depends upon the level of the offense of conviction. Tier 1 offenders are those who have the most minor of the convictions requiring registration. They must go to the state police closest to them annually to have their photographs taken and provide updated registration information for 15 years.

Tier 2 offenders must go twice each year for 25 years after they are convicted. People in this category include those who have been convicted of such offenses as prostitution or unlawful sexual contact of minors or indecent assaults. Tier 3 offenders are people who have been convicted of offenses that are considered to be the most serious, including such as rapes, aggravated indecent assaults and other similar convictions. Tier 3 registrants must register for the remainder of their lives, reporting in every 90 days.

Both state and federal charges for sex offenses may expose a person to sex offender registration if a conviction is obtained, in addition to more immediate consequences such as incarceration and fines. As a result, those who are facing these types of charges may find it advisable to retain defense counsel as quickly as possible so that a strategy can be developed to combat the accusations.

Source: The Sentinel, “A closer look at Pennsylvania’s sex offender registry,” Joshua Vaughn, March 25, 2016

by Douglas Sughrue, Esq. Douglas Sughrue, Esq. No Comments

Defense against federal charges of tax evasion

Trying to pay as little in the way of federal income taxes is usually not a crime. Federal charges could result when someone goes beyond legitimate methods to minimize taxes and attempts to hide income. The long-term consequences of a conviction in federal court can affect a Pennsylvania resident’s personal life and financial well-being if tax avoidance turns into tax evasion.

When the government files federal charges following an investigation of someone based upon allegations of tax evasion, the person’s intent is a key element of the crime for both the investigators and defense counsel. Tax returns and the tax laws are complicated, so people can, and frequently do, make mistakes. An honest mistake that reduces a person’s tax liability is usually not enough to warrant charging someone with committing a federal crime. Tax fraud occurs when an individual or business intentionally understated income or deliberately and knowingly took some unlawful action to underpay taxes.

Examples of fraudulent tax practices might include failing to file a tax return, concealing income or claiming unauthorized credits and deductions. A business owner who fails to report cash transactions as income might be targeted for investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. Taxpayers who make unintentional mistakes would probably have to pay interest and penalties in addition to the unpaid taxes, but a person who deliberately engages in fraudulent conduct could end up in prison.

An investigation by the IRS might lead to a taxpayer’s arrest, but federal charges are allegations that must be proven by prosecutors. Individuals or businesses confronted by allegations of wrongdoing in federal court have the right and opportunity to be assisted by counsel in mounting a defense in order to avoid the penalties and long-term consequences associated with a criminal conviction.

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