Fraud & While Collar Defense

Fraud cases, whether they are state fraud charges or federal mail, wire, or bank fraud charges, involve accusations that the defendant tried to cheat someone by using deception.

Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Bank Fraud

Fraud means tricking a person or business to get money or property. Federal laws make it illegal to use the mail or interstate wires to commit fraud.

“Mail” and “interstate wires” are very broad. Using the mail includes sending anything through the US mail as part of the fraud. Many people do not realize that it also includes the use of private interstate carriers like UPS or Fed Ex.

Interstate wires include interstate cell or conventional phone calls and text messages as well as interstate transmission of electronic data, such as electronic mail.

The use of the mail or interstate wires does not have to be an important part of the fraud. There is also no lower limit on the amount of money involved, although most US Attorney’s Offices will not get involved in a fraud case unless it is big enough to justify their involvement, as opposed to the case being handled by state prosecutors.

Bank fraud is an attempt to defraud an FDIC-insured bank or banking institution. Bank fraud often involves the use of false statements in loan documents.

I prosecuted mail, wire, and bank fraud cases as a federal prosecutor, and I have defended many of these cases as a criminal defense lawyer. I have also represented numerous plaintiffs and defendants in civil fraud cases throughout my career. Fraud cases almost always require an attention to detail and documents and the ability to explain complicated evidence to juries persuasively and in a way they can understand. I have developed those skills in fraud cases throughout my career.

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​​FAQ

If you have not been arrested or charged with a crime, but the police have told you that they would like to talk to you, what do you do? Do not say a thing; let them know you want to use your right to get a lawyer. And do it ASAP.​

Whenever you have any dealings with the police, you should be represented by a lawyer. If they are looking for you, if they want to talk to you, if they want to arrest you, or if someone has contacted law enforcement and accused you of a crime, you need a lawyer.

Even if you plan on pleading guilty, it is critical that you hire a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights. Representing yourself is never a good idea. Even if you plead guilty, you can expect that prosecutors will try to take advantage of your inexperience by only agreeing to a plea deal that is less favorable than they would with a lawyer. Plus, an attorney may be able to spot problems with the government’s case that you would not recognize, like evidence that should be suppressed. Problems like that might result in dismissal of the charges altogether, but just being able to spot them can help negotiate a better deal with a prosecutor. An attorney, especially a former prosecutor like me, can help you protect your rights, evaluate your options, and negotiate with the prosecutors for the most favorable outcome.

Depending on your case, based on the advice of your attorney, it may be in your best interest to go to trial. When charges are filed against you, your lawyer will evaluate the case to determine if there is a legal basis to get the case dismissed. If there is not, and if either the government cannot prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt, or if a satisfactory plea bargain cannot be worked out before trial, then your best option will, in all likelihood, be going to trial. If the case cannot be dismissed, it is ultimately your decision whether you want to take a plea bargain or go to trial. Your lawyer cannot make that decision for you or force you to decide one way or the other. Your lawyer will advise you on what is in your best interests, but no one can take away your right to decide.
Any offer or plea bargain should be evaluated carefully with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer to ensure that your rights have been protected and that you understand the consequences of the plea. A good criminal defense lawyer will evaluate and discuss with you your other options, including trying to have the case dismissed, your chances if you go to trial, and whether a better deal can be negotiated. This kind of analysis requires experience and knowledge of the law.
In state court cases in Texas, a magistrate judge sets bail shortly after you are arrested. They do this based on the crime and your criminal history. You can hire a bail bond company to help you post bail. They usually require you to give them 10% of the bond amount (which you get back at the end of the case if you comply with all conditions of bond), plus a fee that they keep. Depending on the amount of the bail and your financial condition, they may also require putting up property to make sure they can get their money back if you do not comply with your bail conditions. If you know you are going to be arrested, I strongly recommend contacting a bail bond company in advance. They can make sure that they are ready to post the bond for you as soon as it is set by a magistrate judge. This helps you get out as soon as possible. There are bail bond companies that I trust, and if you hire me, I will help you through that process. Federal court is very different. After your arrest, you have an initial appearance in front of a federal magistrate judge. The prosecutor will tell the magistrate judge whether the government is asking for you to be held in custody during trial. If the government is asking for that, you have the right to have a hearing in court in which the magistrate judge decides whether or not you will be held in custody before trial. That hearing is usually a few days after your initial appearance. Bail is not common in federal court. You will usually be held in custody or released, but if you are released, there may be conditions of your release like electronic monitoring or house arrest.
Absolutely. If you are a suspect or being investigated for potential criminal activity, it is always in your best interest to have a lawyer present. This is true regardless of where the questioning takes place. If the authorities want to question you while you are in custody, you should ask to have a lawyer present during any questioning and refuse to answer questions until your lawyer is with you.

In criminal cases, we usually charge a flat rate for everything but trial and a trial fee that is only owed if the case goes to trial. A flat fee means that, no matter how much work the lawyer has to do, you know up front what the fee is going to be. We base our fees on our estimate of the amount of time and work that will be required to defend the case. We are not a factory type of operation, so we generally do not have “grocery store” pricing, in which a given crime costs a set amount regardless of the facts. Each case is different, and we try to tailor our fees to your individual case. That means that we want to find out about your case and that we try to set our fees based on how much work we think your case will take and how complicated it will be.

If you are under investigation, but you have not been charged, we may offer to represent you during the investigation based on an hourly rate with a cost deposit that we bill against. This can benefit you because it can be difficult to predict how much work it will take to represent someone during an investigation, and an hourly rate means that you will only pay for the work done.

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