Perhaps the most common type of crime committed by young people in New York and beyond is theft. Whether it’s a privileged teenager stealing a magazine for a thrill, or a child who has fallen into gang activity robbing a person on the street, theft-related offenses are all too common among adolescents. Until recently, criminal attorneys representing juveniles and children in New York State’s adult criminal justice system, even as 16 year olds, where these youths faced severe penalties including prison. Due to the recent Raise the Age legislation in New York, these “Adolescent Offenders” can now be diverted into Family Court, rather than the more severe and frightening adult system, where there are more services, programs and support available to hopefully intercept these teenagers before they go too far down the criminal rabbit-hole.
While many instances of theft seem simple enough, there is actually much more going on in any given theft from a legal point of view whether you are charged with any degree of Grand Larceny or Petit Larceny. Under New York law, and as your criminal defense attorney can further explain, these offenses largely come down to a person’s intent. As a given case or scenario gets more and more complicated, a person’s intent becomes more and more difficult to discern from their actions. This is especially apparent in so-called New York White Collar crimes or allegations of criminal offenses in the context of banking or financial transactions.
New York City, more than anywhere in the nation, is the venue for criminal prosecutions of financial professionals such as investment bankers, Wall Street traders, and compliance professionals. These kinds of cases might as well be considered a completely separate area of law from the more typical criminal practice involving the defense of charges such as Assault, Burglary, Criminal Possession of a Weapon, and the like. For one, understanding the financial markets and how they are regulated is often critical, as well as understanding the kinds of collateral consequences that such a person faces, as with FINRA, that may not be present in the context of the “average” arrest and criminal defendant. Whether you hold a series 3, series 6, series 7 or another certification, you, and more importantly your criminal attorney, must be aware of the legal and professional consequences before, not after, your case comes to a close.
Sometimes the threat of an arrest or prosecution is enough to send an innocent person into a deep depression or panic. After all, if an Assistant District Attorney or detective with the NYPD is asking you questions (never forget your right to counsel and similar right to refuse to answer questions), the hint of wrongdoing is as embarrassing as it is crippling. In the context of a White Collar crime such as a larceny, theft, tax fraud or embezzlement related offense, whether it is your neighbor, employer, accountant or friends, when these people are subpoenaed or merely questioned by law enforcement, the brand of the Scarlet Letter is coming in hot. With or without an arrest, the old adage of “where there’s smoke there’s fire” holds true even if you are free from any wrongdoing. Simply, it is never too early for you and your criminal lawyer to get in front of these types of allegations.
As New York criminal defense attorneys familiar and experienced in every stage of a criminal case from the investigatory inception through trial before a judge or jury, one thing that Saland Law PC does with regularity is consult with clients to best get them out in front of any allegation of wrongdoing. A recent White Collar case handled by one of our criminal lawyers demonstrates how this strategy can, in the right circumstance, provide closure to a subject or target while freeing them from even the appearance of impropriety.
Before ultimately declining to prosecute our client, prosecutors in the New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney’s Office investigated an alleged fraud that had the appearance of a Grand Larceny Embezzlement and Second Degree Grand Larceny. Because the nature of the accused theft by our client exceeded $50,000, but was less than $1,000,000, our client not only had exposure to a felony, but a sentence of as much as five to fifteen years in prison. In fact, like any type or form of Grand Larceny in New York, the value dictates the charge. In the event there was an arrest, indictment and conviction, New York Penal Law 155.40 would have left our client vulnerable to not only incarceration, but jeopardized our client’s professional licenses and certifications. Generally speaking, even without going to prison, an accountant, lawyer, physician or any similarly situated professional monitored by FINRA or FDIC regulations, answerable to a legal Bar Association, or any other accrediting body would compromise their livelihood with such an arrest.
The difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is drastic. Whether the crime or crimes you are arrested for in New York involve those of the white collar or street variety, any criminal conviction is permanent. With a felony conviction, however, there is greater exposure to collateral consequences. When an offense involves a theft or fraud crime, such as Grand Larceny, Petit Larceny and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, those secondary issues may actually be first and foremost on your list of concerns after incarceration. For example, are you licensed through FINRA? Do you work at an FDIC insured bank? Are you a legal resident, applying for a visa or interested in becoming a United States citizen? If so, will the felony trigger a review of immigration because it is deemed a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude or and Aggravated Felony?
Staying with larceny and theft crimes that occur in New York City or elsewhere in the State of New York, one of many things you should discuss with your own criminal defense attorney or defense lawyer is whether or not the charge you face can be knocked down or decreased to a less serious crime. Even better, can it be lessened to a non-criminal offense or be dismissed all together? Where you are arrested for and charged with a crime involving theft or larceny in New York, one means to investigate or defensive channel to pursue to limit your criminal exposure and collateral consequences is to attack the manner or method by which the District Attorney establishes value of the stolen property. If the prosecution lacks the proper evidence or your criminal defense lawyer can poke holes in the valuation to decrease it below certain thresholds, then your case can potentially be reduced from a greater felony to a lesser one and possibly out of a felony all together. Certainly, this defense is worthy of exploration in applicable cases and the following blog addresses an example right on point.
Extortion is an ugly word. Merely hearing it conjures up thoughts of violence, threats and blackmail. While we all have our own perception or idea as to what constitutes the crime or offense of Extortion, each state has its own criminal definition or statutes establishing the crime. For New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman and his alleged extorter, Louise Neathway, the New York Penal Law defines the relevant law and what prosecutors will pursue over the next few days and months.
As an experienced New York criminal defense attorney serving Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and the surrounding counties such as Westchester, I am routinely confronted with legal question surrounding New York Grand Larceny crimes and other New York larceny laws and theft laws. In today’s blog post I want to address one of the more ‘weird’ legal situations that arises when a joint property owners “steals” commonly owned property from the other party he or she shares ownership.
To avoid confusion at the outset, let’s pause a moment and allow me to share a little Legal Property 101. Under the common law, there are different types of ownership rights one can have in property. Obviously the most basic is full ownership by a single person. However, more than one person may own one piece of property. When referring to land (real property) we usually call this a concurrent estate or co-tenancy. Now, there are different subsets of concurrent estates that vary in different jurisdictions, but their definition and consequences on ownership rights go beyond what we need to know here. For purposes of our discussion, when I refer to “joint” or “common” ownership of property I mean property over which each individual owner has an equal and undivided right of possession in that property. Each owner is entitled to have and use the property. It does not matter if that property is a car, bank account or computer.