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East Hartford, CT criminal defense attorney white collar crime

White collar crime is a type of typically nonviolent financial crime that usually involves some sort of financial gain. White collar crimes are often perpetrated by offenders who have been entrusted with certain financial information, which is why the penalties for committing a white collar crime can be severe. Successfully prosecuting a white collar crime requires sufficient evidence, which can come from various people and places. However, when it comes to getting evidence from an individual’s spouse, there are certain protections that exist that protect couples from having to reveal communications made in private with one another.

What Is the Marital Communications Privilege?

In the 1850s, the marital communications privilege was created and originally existed in U.S. law as an attempt to preserve the sanctity of marital conversation, therefore encouraging free and open communication and strengthening the marital bond. Both spouses retain the marital communications privilege, meaning either spouse can invoke the privilege at any time, as long as the three required elements exist. If a spouse wishes to keep certain communications confidential, he or she must be able to prove that:

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Hartford computer crimes defense lawyerDuring your daily routine, you come into contact with a wide variety of computers and electronic devices. These may include cell phones, smart appliances, AI digital assistants, vehicles, home security systems, and much more. Computers play a huge role in our daily lives, and they often contain secure and personal information that is meant to be private. To address privacy concerns and ensure that sensitive data remains secure, there are laws in place that protect this information and punish those who commit computer crimes, or “hacking.” In Connecticut, computer crimes are addressed in the state’s criminal statutes, and there are a variety of actions and situations that could result in these types of charges.

What Constitutes Computer Crime?

According to the Connecticut criminal statute, there are five ways you can be charged with computer crime. Computer crime occurs when a person:

  • Accesses or causes to be accessed a computer system for which he or she has no authorization to access;
  • Accesses or otherwise uses a computer system for the purpose of gaining unauthorized computer services;
  • Intentionally or recklessly disrupts or denies computer services to an authorized user of a computer system;
  • Misuses computer system information through actions such as copying confidential data, deleting or damaging computer system data, or receiving or retaining data obtained through unauthorized access; or
  • Intentionally or recklessly destroys, tampers with, takes, alters, damages, or otherwise ruins any equipment used in a computer system.

Degrees of Computer Crime

Computer crimes are grouped into five different degrees based on the value of the property or computer services that were allegedly damaged or stolen. Fifth-degree computer crimes involving damages or theft of less than $500 will be charged as a Class B misdemeanor. The charges for higher-value property or services, with the most serious offense being first-degree computer crimes involving damages of theft of more than $10,000. This is a Class B felony, and a conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

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Hartford federal crime defense attorney for money laundering chargesIn many cases, alleged criminal activity that occurs in the United States involves earning money through illegal means. When businesses need to deal with cash, they may take steps to ensure that they can use, move, and store money. In some cases, this can result in accusations of money laundering, which occurs when profits from alleged illegal activity are made to seem legal. A person who is accused of money laundering may face criminal charges under state laws, but also federal laws in some situations.

What Is Money Laundering?

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), money laundering is the process in which the true origins of profits earned through criminal acts are concealed, and a person makes it look as though money was earned through legitimate means. There are many ways that money can be laundered. One of the most common methods is to funnel cash through a legitimate business. Money laundering can also be done by “smurfing” or “structuring,” which occurs when a person breaks up large amounts of cash and deposits it into multiple accounts in smaller quantities. Whatever the method of money laundering, it is illegal, and it can result in serious consequences.

Consequences Under Connecticut Law

Connecticut law defines four degrees of money laundering:

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federal, Hartford criminal defense attorneyThe law can be very complicated. For this reason, among others, the American legal system consists of several tiers, each designed to catch mistakes and prevent inconsistencies. Still, there is always the possibility that a court’s decision could have serious unintended consequences, as the scope of a such a decision is not always immediately evident. Such was the scenario with a ruling by a federal appeals court last month—a case in which the dissenting opinion expressed concern that millions of people may have just become “unwitting federal criminals.”

United States v. Nosal

The case in question involved a defendant who was charged with conspiracy, trade secret theft, and computer fraud against his former employer. The man, along with co-conspirators—accessed a database maintained by his former company using the login credentials of another person. As a result, the man was convicted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals was presented with the case when the defendant challenged the trial court’s decision.

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Connecticut white collar crimes lawyerWhite collar crime is a broad term that has always been difficult to define. According to the FBI, there are two major ways of defining what white collar crime is. First, it can be defined by the offender. Under this definition, white collar crimes are those committed by people who are wealthy or high up in the social strata, or by people whose jobs place them in positions of trust. Second, it can be defined by the types of offense, probably the more common of the two definitions. Under this view of white collar crime, it is an economic offense, a nonviolent crime, usually some sort of theft or fraud.

Examples of White Collar Crime

Examples of white collar crime run the gamut from tax evasion to securities fraud to embezzlement. Some of these are punished by both state and federal law, while others are almost exclusively prosecuted by federal agencies. A good example of the first type is embezzlement. Connecticut law criminalizes embezzlement as a type of larceny.

Embezzlement is a special type of theft, where someone steals money that he or she is legally allowed to have access to, but not ownership of. For instance, an employee who was tasked with depositing company funds at the bank would be guilty of embezzlement if he or she stole those funds, since he or she was allowed to have access to the money but not ownership of it. Embezzlement is also punished by federal law, especially in certain circumstances such as embezzlement by a bank officer or in relation to health care.

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