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From corporate enterprises and families to small businesses to the New York State government, budgets always seem to get tighter and tighter. By no means an excuse to commit a crime of deceit or fraud, it is far from atypical to hear of investigations and arrests involving Criminal Tax Fraud as set for New York State Tax Law Article 1800. With penalties in terms of dollars and prison looming overhead, what may be a simple mistake has the potential to devolve into a felony with crippling consequences. Whether through a criminal lawyer versed in tax crimes and laws or on your own, to best prevent yourself from running afoul of any of these statutes, and particularly a “tax fraud act” defined in New York State Tax Law 1801, knowledge is key. Serving only as a cursory analysis of the various criminal offenses associated with failing to remit, providing materially false or fraudulent information on a return, evading taxes and other misconduct, this entry will briefly address when Criminal Tax Fraud is also violates the Grand Larceny statute found in Article 155 of the New York Penal Law.

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Generally, the New York Penal Law is clear as it relates to Criminal Possession of Stolen Property and aggregating the value of that property from different complainants. That is, if, for example, you had a stolen iPhone, guitar, and cash from three different people, each item could constitute a separate crime of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property. So, if the iPhone was worth $850, the guitar $650, and the cash totaled $100, are prosecutors “stuck” merely charging a defendant with three misdemeanor offenses? Instead, might a District Attorney add all of this property together for one count of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree, New York Penal Law 165.45? Because possessing stolen property exceeding $1,000.00 is a class “E” felony, it certainly behooves the District Attorney to charge you not with three counts of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree, New York Penal Law 165.40, but one crime that carries more weight. All of this said, whether a prosecutor wants to charge a particular offense does not mean that he or she can. So…can the District Attorney aggregate the value of multiple pieces of allegedly stolen property in your possession belonging to different complainants? The short answer, and one you will likely discuss further with your criminal lawyer, is “yes.”

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There are plenty of questions a person asks him or herself when detained by store security after being accused of shoplifting a Whole Foods, Macys, Century 21, Bloomingdales or even the neighborhood bodega. What is the penalty for shoplifting in New York? Is Petit Larceny a felony? How likely is jail time for a PL 155.25 arrest? Simply, these inquiries can be summed up into one general question. That is, what happens when you are arrested for shoplifting and what is the process? The answer to this question depends on numerous factors often dictated by whether you are a first time offender and whether you are accused of felony shoplifting pursuant to the Grand Larceny statute or Criminal Possession of Stolen Property or your shoplifting arrest is of a misdemeanor variety. The following entry provides some context to New York shoplifting arrests that should provide the framework for further consultation with your shoplifting attorney.

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Do you need an attorney if you have been arrested for shoplifting in New York City? Do I need legal counsel for an arrest at the Palisades Mall or The Westchester charging me with shoplifting in Rockland County or Westchester County respectively? The short answer is an easy one. Yes. The bigger question about why you should retain a criminal defense lawyer deserves more scrutiny. That is, are you charged with misdemeanor Petit Larceny, PL 155.25, or a felony offense relating to either Fourth or Third Degree Grand Larceny, PL 155.30 and PL 155.35 respectively? Arrest aside, what are the consequences to your career? Are you a teacher or other professional employed by the NYC Department of Education, a broker-dealer regulated by FINRA and required to fill to report your arrest on a U4, or a foreign student with issues associated with your visa? Simply, while the arrest itself may, or may not be, manageable, when deciding whether to hire a legal advocate there are many things to consider well beyond what will happen in a courtroom.

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There are three degrees of Robbery in New York State all of which are felony crimes. Third Degree Robbery, New York Penal Law 160.05, Second Degree Robbery, New York Penal Law 160.10 and First Degree Robbery, New York Penal Law 160.15. Each of these crimes, ranging from Third to First Degree, have potential sentences of up to seven, fifteen and twenty five years respectively. Not only is an arrest quite severe, but a punishment and sentence for the latter two offenses, NY PL 160.10 and NY PL 160.15, also have mandatory minimums of 3.5 and 5 years from the lesser crime to the more serious. Without addressing the numerous differences between the crimes, you can discuss how a Second Degree Robbery differs from a First Degree Robbery with your own criminal defense lawyer, there are some important factors that distinguish these felonies. While briefly address the elements of these crimes, this blog entry will address a specific characteristic of any Robbery arrest in New York and one that is addressed in the Jury Instructions for NY Penal Law Article 160.

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In New York, there are several criminal charges unique to the jurisdiction, whether it’s in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, or upstate in Rockland or Westchester County. The first of these not-so-obvious criminal statutes is Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle, PL 165.05, 165.06 and 165.07. A person may be charged with Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle when they take a vehicle without the consent of the owner. This may sound like simple stealing, covered by other crimes such as Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree, PL 155.30(8). However, Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle also covers situation where the person took possession of the vehicle lawfully, such as renting a car, but when that person then operates it outside the bounds of the rental agreement, such as keeping the car past the date it was due to be returned, or operating it outside of the are that the owner permitted it to be used. This could also apply in a situation where a person turns over their car to a mechanic for some repair work, and the mechanic takes the vehicle for joy-ride, or otherwise uses the car without the owner’s consent. Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle in the Third Degree is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, just like Petit Larceny, PL 155.25.

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In New York, general theft-related crimes are referred to as “larcenies.” A crime of larceny essentially boils down to an allegation that a person, the defendant in a criminal case, stole property. There are many different ways in which a person steals property under the Criminal Procedure Law and Penal Law, specifically under Penal Law 155.05, which defines “larceny.” What level of crime may be charged, such as a B Felony, D Felony, or A Misdemeanor, and whether a person may be charged with Grand Larceny or Petit Larceny, depends on many factors including the method by which the person allegedly stole property, the nature of the property that was stolen, and the total value of that property. The difference between being charged with a felony and a misdemeanor is huge, and it is critical that a person charged with a larceny in New York understands the implications of that distinction. A criminal lawyer with expertise in this area can be invaluable.

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Health care, and issues surrounding the same, is discussed almost daily on the radio, television and internet. Simply, health care is a daily part of our lives in both the political and literal sense. While we may know about “Obama Care,” attempts to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid, and different health insurance options, New York criminal lawyers often hear about or deal with health care issues in a completely different context. What is that you ask? Because of the prevalent fraud that is perpetrated to and in the health care system, District Attorneys and the New York State Attorney General actively investigate and prosecute individuals and groups of people from pharmacists and physicians to patients and office staff, for violating a Health Care Fraud pursuant to New York Penal Law Article 177. Depending on the amount of the theft from a health plan over a one year period, exposure to incarceration is not merely a legitimate concern, but a potential reality whether a person is arrested for First Degree Heath Care Fraud, Fifth Degree Health Care Fraud or crime in between.

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Petit Larceny is a misdemeanor not a felony, right? After all, New York wouldn’t call New York Penal Law 155.25 “Petty Larceny” if it was a felony crime. Even if you look at New York’s Larceny statutes in New York Penal Law Article 155.00, Petit Larceny, codified as NY PL 155.25, doesn’t have any degree where other theft offenses often have degrees. For that matter, it seems to make sense if Grand Larceny is a felony, then Petit Larceny is a misdemeanor.

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Thefts and larcenies in New York can take many different forms. New York State Penal Law 155.05 provides the various theories on which a criminal prosecution for larceny can be based. The distinctions between these various kinds of theft can be subtle, but identifying those distinctions can have an enormous impact on a criminal case. Two of these sub-types of larceny are commonly referred to as Larceny by False Pretense and Larceny by False Promise, which seem almost identical by their title, but describe two significantly different circumstances and allegations.

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