On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in federal crimes on Thursday, January 2, 2020.

Many of us have come to hear about the crime of insider trading through news stories about individuals like the home design guru Martha Stewart. While many individuals may have a general idea as to what insider trading is from hearing stories about people like her, most people only understand one aspect of what this crime is. The list of actions that may be considered insider trading is far more expansive than you may expect it to be.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) refers to insider trading as buying or selling a security. If someone breaches their fiduciary duty to another after coming to know nonpublic information about it, then they may have committed a crime. This offense essentially amounts to one person with insider knowledge about security tipping another individual off about needing to trade it.

SEC officials have filed many different insider trading cases in recent years for a variety of reasons.

In one instance, a group of affiliated individuals including friends, family members and business associates all traded their securities after being tipped off by insiders that it was conducive for them to do so. In another instance, employees and board of directors who owned corporate securities were motivated to trade their holdings after learning of a confidential change in the company’s status.

There have been cases that the SEC has investigated that have involved political intelligence officials or government employees learning classified or proprietary information during their employment. The individuals who have gotten their hands on this information have used it to their advantage when deciding whether to trade securities. This type of activity may also be considered insider trading.

The SEC argues that individuals who engage in insider trading undermine the integrity and fairness of the securities industry. The federal agency argues that by doing away with insider trading, it restores investors’ confidence in the market.

Federal officials often spend significant time and financial resources investigating individuals before charging them with a crime. Prosecutors do this because they want to make sure that they have every opportunity of securing a conviction in any case that they file against a defendant. This is why you must consult with an attorney if you’ve been charged with insider trading. Your New York lawyer can help you devise a defense strategy in your case.

By : First Page Attorney | January 2, 2020 | Federal Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in federal crimes on Friday, November 8, 2019.

A Nanuet, New York, man is facing federal charges for his alleged role in a pair of financial schemes.

The indictment, obtained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, charges him with securities fraud, wire fraud and structuring charges.

In the first half of the case against him, the man is alleged to have taken money from investors with the promise that he would earn for them a 20% return every 60 days by putting their funds into stocks. The investors were told their principal and interest were guaranteed.

Instead, the government said, the man told the investors that their return was coming, but instead, used their money to buy a fast-food franchise and luxury cars. He also spent some of the money gained from new investors to pay initial investors to try to keep his alleged crimes from being detected in a Ponzi-like scheme, according to the indictment.

He is alleged to have bilked more than $2 million from 100-plus investors from November 2016 through February 2019.

In the second half of the case, the man is alleged to have embezzled more than $400,000 from two hotels that employed him. Prosecutors said he took money from the hotels’ bank accounts and deposited the money into his own accounts through structured transactions.

At the time, he was employed as the director of finance for the hotels and had check-writing privileges. The indictment alleges he wrote checks payable to cash or petty cash totaling more than $400,000.

The 50-year-old man faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted of these charges. White collar crimes such as these are among the most serious charges a person can face. This man will need strong legal assistance.

By : First Page Attorney | November 8, 2019 | Federal Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in federal crimes on Monday, August 19, 2019.

You may have committed and were accused of a crime. With some accusations, it’s hard to know whether you’ll be charged with a state or federal crime. What constitutes a federal crime?

A crime will be considered federal if it violates United States federal legal codes or if the one accused carried or performed their criminal activity across multiple states. Commercial fraud, wire fraud and drug trafficking are a few examples of federal crimes.

Other circumstances that will affect a crime’s federal status are as follows.

· Aggravated factors: Crimes such as different forms of fraud, assault, battery, theft and sexual abuse can become a federal issue if aggravated factors are applied. Some aggravated factors include, re-committing the same crime, committing the crime in front of a child, a lack of remorse or the level of harm done to the victim. Aggravated factors differ by jurisdiction. In addition to federal prison time, these factors could also lead to the loss of driving privileges, gun ownership and your rights to be around children.

· Crimes against the government: This sounds self-explanatory, and it is. If you commit a crime against your government, you will face prosecution in a federal court. Examples of said crimes are decrees to overthrow the government, hacking a federally owner computer system or server or identity theft of a state or federal official.

· Terroristic behavior or intentional harm: Most crimes associated with these types of behavior lead to injury or death. Many crimes that lead to the harm of many individuals are terroristic behavior. Crimes which it was clear and evident that harm against the victim was intentional will carry a federal conviction.

· Federal property: If you commit a lower-level state crime on federal property, you will be charged with a federal crime. Examples of federal property include Native American reservations, government housing and any other commercial property or building owned by the federal government.

The accused deserve high-quality representation to fight for their rights and innocence. An attorney known to fight for the people is your best hope if you end up being accused of a federal or state crime.

By : First Page Attorney | August 19, 2019 | blue collar


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in federal crimes on Friday, August 2, 2019.

As a New York resident, you can exercise your ability to say what you want, protest what you don’t agree with, and make your opinions known. But when does protesting become rioting? Just how much trouble can you get into if you become involved in a riot?

First of all, rioting is considered a federal crime, as it is a crime against the government. FindLaw takes a look at the punishment those convicted of rioting may face. They can be imprisoned for up to 5 years and will also likely be fined.

Rioting itself is defined as a situation in which protests become violent, or protests in which violence is incited. Rioting usually involves the destruction of property and can sometimes entail the harming of civilians or law enforcement figures. Key examples include the smashing of windows or throwing objects at police.

Inciting riots is also illegal. This includes people who are not directly at the protest but instead pass on instructions or incite riots through correspondence such as phone calls, texts, emails, or social media messages.

In cases where violence is not involved but you are still demonstrating without proper permits or outside of the permitted jurisdiction, the charge will likely be that of an unlawful assembly rather than a riot.

It should be noted, however, that the law against rioting is specifically not for preventing use of facilities if you are participating in a protest that is being organized lawfully by laborers. If you believe you are being wrongfully accused of rioting, consider contacting an attorney who can help defend you.

By : First Page Attorney | August 2, 2019 | Federal Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in federal crimes on Friday, April 12, 2019.

For those who have been accused of committing a crime in New York, it is important to understand if the charge is a state or a federal one. The differences can affect the jurisdiction, the outcome and the length of a sentence. It may also make a difference on the record of the accused.

According to FindLaw, local and state courts are established by the state they are in. In states, there may also be courts established by counties, cities and other municipalities. The United States Constitution established federal courts and they are used to settle disputes between laws passed by Congress and the Constitution.

The type of case a court is authorized to hear defines the jurisdiction. Jurisdiction for state courts is broader and involves cases like traffic violations, robberies, family disputes and broken contracts that many individual citizens deal with. State courts are not allowed to hear cases involving certain federal laws such as bankruptcy, copyright, patent, antitrust, criminal and some maritime cases along with any suits brought against the United States.

There are times where both state and federal courts have jurisdiction over an issue. In this situation, the parties involved can choose whether they want to go to federal court or state court. Most criminal cases are handled in state court because they are tied to state law. If the crime violated a federal law, then the case would be handled in federal court.

Other crimes handled in federal court include crossing state or country lines with illegal drugs, crimes that are committed on federal property and using the mail to swindle consumers. Federal property can include military reservations or national parks. Statistics show that one million federal court cases are filed each year and 30 million state court cases are filed each year.

By : First Page Attorney | April 12, 2019 | Federal Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in federal crimes on Monday, November 12, 2018.

If you live in New York and face charges of mail fraud, you likely wonder exactly what federal law enforcement officials allege you did. FindLaw explains that the reason why mail fraud is a federal crime is that it involves more than one state, i.e., the use of the U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx or some other commercial interstate carrier for the purpose of obtaining money or other assets through false pretenses. Alternatively, it could involve the use of an interstate carrier to sell, distribute, supply or exchange counterfeit goods.

If federal law enforcement officers accuse you of the latter, the prosecutor need not prove that you used the mails to transport the goods themselves. Rather, (s)he need prove only that you sent something through the interstate mails associated with the goods, such as the following:

A letter
A contract
A receipt
Any other type of document
Ponzi example

Perhaps the most well-known example of a mail fraud case is that of Charles Ponzi, an Italian immigrant who started a mail-order pyramid scheme in 1919 that used fraudulent return mail coupons. Even though the Feds convicted him of mail fraud within a few months, he nevertheless made more than $1 million a day while his scheme was in operation. He ultimately served five years in federal prison.

Madoff example

Nearly forty years later, a well-known stockbroker by the name of Bernie Madoff started a far more successful mail fraud Ponzi scheme. Before the Feds finally caught him in 2008, his scheme had taken in nearly 5,000 victims, many of them celebrities, for upwards of $65 billion. Choosing to enter into a plea agreement, Madoff ultimately pleaded guilty to 11 felony accounts, including mail fraud and securities fraud. He remains in federal prison today, serving a 150-year sentence.

Obviously mail fraud represents an extremely serious charge. If you get convicted, you undoubtedly will face a lengthy prison term in addition to exceptionally high fines and other financial penalties. This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice. It can, however, help you understand the basics of a mail fraud charge and what you can expect if convicted thereof.

By : First Page Attorney | November 12, 2018 | Federal Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in federal crimes on Monday, October 22, 2018.

Racketeering charges cover many different crimes perpetrated by a group or company led by certain individuals. These crimes are taken very seriously by the federal government, with some of those convicted receiving life sentences in prison. Additionally, even organizations that operate legally can be accused of racketeering.

On the federal level, racketeering is punished using the Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations (RICO) Act. According to The United States Department of Justice, RICO violations entail the following components. First, there must be a group in operation. While at the onset of the RICO act it was used to target organized crime families, charges can be levied at even legitimate businesses. Next, the person being charged must be established to be a member of this group or business. The person must have also participated in a pattern of racketeering activity, which is defined as two separate offenses within a ten-year period.

ThoughtCo. provides deeper insight into the type of crimes committed. One example is a legitimate business enterprise that participates in criminal activity. For instance, this can entail laundering money earned via illegal means, trafficking drugs, participating in credit card fraud, bribery, providing loans with unlawful terms, selling stolen goods, and embezzlement (also known as a misappropriation of funds).

Being charged under the RICO act can have serious consequences. Any property or assets obtained as a result of the enterprise may be seized by the government before the trial. Fines are also common; fines can be up to $250,000 or double the proceeds that were gained from criminal activity. Civil suits can also be brought against the defendant, resulting in even more cost. In terms of jail time, the accused may receive up to twenty years per charge, while life sentences are possible when other charges (like murder) are also a factor.

By : First Page Attorney | October 22, 2018 | Federal Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in federal crimes on Sunday, September 16, 2018.

As a New York taxpayer, you likely have a healthy respect for the Internal Revenue Service, if not an actual fear of this all-powerful governmental entity. You likely also do everything possible to make sure you file your taxes every year by April 15 and pay whatever taxes you owe.

Whether you compute your own taxes or hire a company to prepare them for you, however, you probably occasionally worry about what will happen if you or your tax preparer makes a mistake. Will the IRS charge you with tax evasion? As FindLaw explains, the answer is “no.” Tax evasion applies only to deliberate attempts you make to understate your income or overstate your deductions – and rests on the government’s ability to prove it.

Tax evasion examples

While numerous tax evasion examples exist, a mere calculation error is not one of them. Rather, the most common examples of tax evasion include the following:

Deliberately destroying your financial records
Concealing your income sources and amounts
Overstating your deductions
Filing a false tax return
Refusing to file your income tax return(s)
Holding assets in someone else’s name
Criminal conviction penalties

Should the IRS file criminal tax evasion charges against you, this is a serious matter indeed. Keep in mind, however, that the IRS carries the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you did indeed deliberately seek to evade paying the taxes you owed. Nevertheless, should it be successful in proving its allegations, a tax evasion conviction carries substantial penalties, including the following:

As many as 12 months in federal prison and no more than a $100,000 fine for each year you did not file a tax return
As many as three years in federal prison and a maximum $100,000 fine for filing a fraudulent return
As many as five years in federal prison and a maximum $100,000 fine for concealing or misrepresenting your financial information
As many as three years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine for failing to pay your taxes
It goes without saying that engaging in tax evasion schemes is, at best, highly risky. In addition, the IRS is under no statute of limitations should it wish to sue you civilly for tax evasion. While you cannot go to jail for losing a civil tax evasion suit, the IRS can virtually bankrupt you by demanding back tax amounts, penalties and fees should it prevail. This is educational information only and not intended to provide legal advice.

By : First Page Attorney | September 16, 2018 | Federal Crimes


On behalf of Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC posted in federal crimes on Sunday, September 2, 2018.

If you face federal charges in New York for securities fraud, this represents a highly serious matter. If convicted, you could receive a life sentence in federal prison plus a fine of many hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Money.com explains that financial fraud charges can cover a wide variety of specific crimes. One of the most notorious, however, is the Ponzi scheme, named for Charles Ponzi, a 1920s’ Italian immigrant who perpetrated a scheme involving international reply coupons.

The original Ponzi scheme

Prior to the advent of technology that allows people around the world to communicate with each other via email and cellphones, the only way someone had to keep in touch with his or her international friends or family members was via snail mail. In the 1920s, many letter senders enclosed an international reply coupon, a voucher for return postage.

These coupons formed the basis of Ponzi’s scheme. He bought large quantities of them in foreign countries where they cost less than in the United States. He then resold these coupons to his victims, promising them a 50 percent return on their “investment” within three months.

One of the hallmarks of any Ponzi scheme is that the initial investors do, in fact, make money. The farther down the investment chain any particular investor finds himself or herself, however, the less likelihood that (s)he will make a profit and the more likelihood that (s)he will lose his or her entire investment.

In Ponzi’s case, the problem quickly became the cost of running his business and supplying sufficient quantities of coupons to an ever-growing number of investors. Almost immediately, he began paying his original investors with the money he obtained from his second tier of investors rather than from coupon profits. Then he paid the second-tier investors with third-tier money, supposedly ad infinitum.

However, his false infinity quickly collapsed and the Feds busted him within a year. One of the clues in their investigation was the fact that only about 27,000 international reply coupons existed worldwide, but Ponzi’s supposed coupon sales represented over 160 million such coupons.

Later Ponzi schemers

Unfortunately, the allure of get-rich-quick schemes always attracts a surprisingly large number of people, even those who possess reasonable financial sophistication. Many schemers have followed in Ponzi’s wake. The most notorious schemer in recent years was Bernie Madoff, a highly respected NASDAQ trader with a hugely successful brokerage business. He ran his scheme for over 20 years before the Feds convicted him and sent him to federal prison for 150 years.

While this information is not legal advice, it can help you understand Ponzi schemes and the consequences thereof.

By : First Page Attorney | September 2, 2018 | Federal Crimes



Whether you enjoy online gaming or debating, or you have a teenager who likes to play jokes with friends, you understand that the temptation to play a prank is sometimes too great to resist. Some pranks are not only illegal, but can be deadly as well, which could land you or your child in legal hot water. You and other New Yorkers need to understand the serious ramifications of the prank called swatting.

Swatting is named for the prank’s intent of drawing SWAT teams or armed law enforcement to a person’s house after a prankster makes a false call to authorities. You may remember an incident last December that resulted in the death of a Kansas man. As the Huffington Post recaps, the man was shot by police when they mistakenly thought he was reaching for a weapon. He had been the unintended target of a swatting prank after an online gaming dispute.

The FBI reports that there are roughly 400 swatting pranks a year across the country. Often, law enforcement quickly determines that the call was false, but sometimes the target’s home is searched, with the frightened residents put in handcuffs until the misunderstanding is sorted out. As in the above example, in rare cases the prank can take a tragic turn. The man who made the call, as well as two others involved in the gaming dispute, are facing criminal charges.

Recently, a New York representative introduced a bill to more accurately define the circumstances of swatting, instead of lumping the prank in with false police reports or making false threats. The bill also sought to recover the significant costs of investigating a swatting attack. As you can imagine, facing swatting charges can have lifelong consequences. This information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.

By : First Page Attorney | July 23, 2018 | Federal Crimes

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I am attorney Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., and my firm is located in downtown Brooklyn near the Borough Hall and Jay Street stops. The Law Office Of Scott G. Cerbin, Esq., PLLC, offers free initial consultations to individuals living within all five New York City boroughs. You can reach me at any hour of the day or night, regardless of the complexity of your issue.

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