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Fort Worth criminal defense attorney drug trafficking

Drug trafficking is never a one-man operation. In some cases, the drug sales may be moving locally across various hands while in others the drug trafficking operation can span across the globe. A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Texas indicted eight individuals for their illicit involvement in an international drug trafficking conspiracy. Only one of the people involved is actually from Texas despite the case happening in a Texas court. So why is the case taking place in the Lone Star State and what are the charges being made?

Texas As Home Base

Eight individuals, including 40-year-old Carlos Villaurrutia of McAllen, Texas, were charged with conspiracies to manufacture and distribute cocaine, commit money laundering, commit wire fraud, commit export violations, and commit federal registration violations involving an aircraft. According to the indictment, these eight people have been involved in approximately $350 million in alleged criminal offenses over the past five years. 

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Collin County criminal defense attorney fraud

Although Texas is not often highlighted in the news for its snowstorms, the recent deadly snowstorms throughout the state placed the Lone Star State at the top of the news cycle. Many news outlets reported how a shortage of natural gas left Texans without power in the midst of freezing temperatures and non-stop snow. Coined “Winter Storm Uri,” the Texas snowstorm resulted in numerous tragedies, including one mother’s devastating story of losing her own mother and three children in a fire that was being used to keep them warm during the power outages. With conditions like these, one would think that the state would rally together, but unfortunately, the panic-induced conditions have led to reports of alleged white collar crimes.

Warnings from the FTC

You have likely received numerous unknown calls over the years in which the person on the other line pretends to be informing you of overdue charges, identity theft, and more. Typically, you can pick up on the recorded, robotic voice or notice that the information they are asking you for is financially related. But what about those times when you are caught off guard, such as during a statewide, devastating snowstorm? Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a warning about scammers targeting those without power due to the weather conditions. According to the warning, scammers often use these conditions to their advantage, knowing that you may have had your electricity, heat, or water turned off and pose as your utility company. The person on the other line may apologize for your loss of power and offer you a reimbursement for your most recent payment, first asking for your bank account information. You may also receive an email stating that there is an error in their system and that they need your personal information before turning on your gas again. You can also receive false threats that your utilities will be turned off if money is not sent over immediately. All of these scare tactics, especially in the midst of a statewide emergency, can be convincing enough to leave many desperate Texans with empty bank accounts.

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Collin County criminal defense attorney assault

Since the conclusion of voting for the 2020 presidential election in early November, many Americans have questioned the validity of the results. The majority of suspicions come from conservative voters, and as Texas is dubbed a red state, many Texas legislators have voiced their doubts. This past Monday, the Electoral College affirmed former Vice President Joe Biden’s triumph in the 2020 election, but the 38 electors from the state of Texas provided their votes for President Donald Trump and encouraged swing state legislatures to appoint their own electors. Texas lawmakers are not the only ones taking charge in regards to voter fraud allegations, as one ex-cop took matters into his own hands.

Former Houston Police Captain Arrested

This past Tuesday, a former Houston police captain was arrested for allegedly running an air-conditioner repairman off the road and threatening him at gunpoint. In response to an unsubstantiated voter-fraud conspiracy theory, suspect Mark Anthony Aguirre was involved in a project to find evidence of voter fraud in Harris County. Aguirre was paid $266,400 by activist Steven Hotze, leader of the group Liberty Center for God and Country, to help the group investigate voter fraud in the county. According to Aguirre, he threatened a man who he believed was in charge of a slew of forged election ballots. At this time, there is no evidence that the man who Aguirre threatened was involved in a fraud scheme of any kind. 

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Forth Worth criminal defense attorney bank fraud

When the average person thinks about what it means to steal money from a bank, images of masked robbers pocketing bundles of cash may come to mind. However, many schemes involving the unlawful acquisition of bank funds are much more technical in nature. Bank fraud refers to activities that intentionally defraud a financial institution. It is a criminal offense prohibited by federal law and investigated by local law enforcement as well as the U.S. Secret Service. If you or a loved one is facing federal charges related to bank fraud, it is critical to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Understanding Bank Fraud Accusations

Bank fraud is defined by 18 U.S. Code § 1344 as knowingly:

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Dallas fraud defense attorney

Credit card fraud and debit card fraud are forms of identity theft prohibited by both Texas law and federal law. There are many different types of actions that may lead to credit card fraud charges. A person may be charged with credit or debit card fraud for obtaining and using another person’s credit or debit card information, possessing devices or computer equipment used to steal card information, attempting to open an account with someone else’s personal information, and for many other acts. If you or a loved one have been accused of fraudulent use or theft of a credit card or debit card, this is considered a white-collar crime. Speak with a criminal defense attorney right away so that you can start building a strong defense against the charges.

Understanding Credit Card and Debit Card Fraud Laws

Often, credit or debit card fraud charges are the result of an individual allegedly using another person’s credit or debit card without his or her authorization. This may involve physical theft of the card or theft of the information contained on the card. Individuals may gain access to other people’s credit card or debit card information when institutions such as banks and retailers experience a major data breach. People may also use email or phone calls to scam people into giving over their credit card or debit card details. This so-called “phishing” typically involves a person or organization requesting sensitive information while pretending to be a legitimate company such as a bank. Credit card fraud can also be the result of a person finding bank statements or credit card statements in someone’s trash. Recently, devices called “card skimmers” have been used to capture card information when someone swipes his or her card at a gas station or ATM.

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Fort Worth federal conspiracy defense attorney

Most people are aware that acts such as fraud, drug trafficking, and certain weapons violations can be prosecuted by the federal government. However, you may not realize that a person can face federal charges even if he or she never actually committed a federal crime. Simply conspiring or planning to commit certain crimes with one or more other individuals can constitute a criminal act under federal law. Crimes prosecuted under federal law are often punished more severely than crimes prosecuted under state law. If you are being investigated for conspiring to commit federal crimes, it is imperative that you consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately.

Conspiring to Commit a Federal Offense

The United States Code states that it is against federal law for two or more people to conspire to commit a federal crime or to defraud the United States or a U.S. agency. Even if the actual offense or fraud never occurred, the individuals involved in discussions about the planned offense can face federal prosecution. In order for a U.S. prosecuting attorney to obtain a conviction for federal conspiracy, he or she must prove several elements, including the following:

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Dallas white collar crimes defense lawyer

The federal government has jurisdiction over certain types of “white collar crimes,” such as fraud, embezzlement, forgery, and more. Criminal penalties for federal offenses are often much more severe than punishments for state charges. If you are convicted of a federal crime, you could face incarceration in federal prison and substantial fines. If you are being investigated by a federal agency, it is critically important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.

What Constitutes Fraud Under Federal Law?

The United States Code Title 18 defines federal fraud as knowingly committing one of the following actions:

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