Articles Posted in Grand Larceny by Tax Fraud

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There are few things more frightening then when you are taken into custody by special agents of the United States government and charged with Federal crimes in a District Court. Whether it is the FBI, Secret Service, IRS or any other agency and whether it’s the Eastern District of New York or the Southern District of New York, the fear and anxiety is equal. Will there be bail? If so, how can you post it and who will sign for you? Will there be conditions of your release? What are the sentencing guidelines that you will face? Is there a mandatory minimum and what is the maximum term of imprisonment you can be held in a Federal prison? Will you seek to cooperate and secure a 5K1 letter from the United States Attorney’s Office? There are countless questions you will likely have that relate to many factors ranging from whether you were initial a subject or target, the length of the investigation and what, if any, steps you and your Federal criminal defense lawyers took to address these countless issues and concerns with the AUSA prior to your surrender.

The fears and concerns identified above were only a few of those faced by a Crotty Saland PC client who was accused of being a key player in scheme whereby stolen and fraudulent tax returns in excess of $2 million were deposited into various banks accounts unknown to any party and immediately withdrawn to the benefit of those engaged in the scam against the United States Treasury and IRS. Accused of, among other crimes, Conspiracy to Exchange and Convert United States Treasury Checks, 18 USC 371, our client faced up to five years incarceration and a $250,000 fine. Concerning to our client, the United States Probation Officer calculated and asserted that our client should receive 30 to 37 months imprisonment. Complicating our client’s predicament further, our client was not a United States citizen and only a few months earlier became a father.

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Most New York tax crime lawyers who are also experienced criminal defense attorneys represent clients charged with committing “tax fraud acts” as defined and identified in New York State Tax Law sections 1802, 1803, 1804, 1805 and 1806. These New York tax crimes, however, are certainly not the only potentially felony offenses you may be exposed to should you be arrested or indicted for an illegal withholding or stealing of tax monies. In fact, one of the more common tax crimes investigated in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and even Westchester and Long Island, tax crimes relating to cigarettes has spiked in recent years. Codified throughout various subsections of New York Tax Law 1814, failure to pay taxes on certain tobacco products or the possession and transportation of untaxed cigarettes is can potentially lead to a significant period of incarceration. The ease by which prosecutors in New York can charge a person with violating one of the many crimes relating to improperly or untaxed cigarettes is highlighted by the subject of this blog entry, People v. Ran Yang, 2009 NY Slip Op 50793(U) [23 Misc 3d 1117(A)].

In pertinent part, New York City Administrative Code 11-4012 (a)(1) states that if you willfully attempt in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed [in this section] or the payment of that tax you are guilty of a misdemeanor. Further, New York City Administrative Code 11-4012 (b) makes it a misdemeanor crime if you possess or transport for the purpose of sale any unstamped or unlawfully stamped packages of cigarettes subject to tax. Alternatively, if you sell or offer for sale unstamped or unlawfully stamped packages of cigarettes it is also a misdemeanor crime. These two criminal violations of the New York City Administrative Code generally mimic, but are distinct crimes, from New York State Tax Law 1814(a)(1) and New York State Tax Law 1814(d). The latter of these crimes involve the illegal transportation and sale of unstamped or unlawfully stamped cigarettes while the former is a more generic tax crime.

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New York City prosecutors and District Attorneys are eager to find financial frauds. Not only does it give law enforcement credibility in their equal pursuit of all criminal activity from the “streets to the suites,” but they also receive a portion of the restitution that they may recover.

While it is in no way fair to assert a restitution motive is the driving force behind the prosecution of these New York Grand Larceny and New York Tax crimes, it certainly gives prosecutors an added incentive to ferret out offenders whether their theft crimes occur in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens or even Westchester County. Whatever the reasoning may be, it is critical to understand that an allegation, arrest or indictment in New York for Grand Larceny, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property or Tax crime is in no way proof that you are in fact guilty. While your immediate future will undoubtedly by frightening, your criminal lawyer may be able to establish that prosecutors are just off the mark.

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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.

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