On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. on Monday, December 10, 2012
A man from the St. Louis area was recently sentenced to a term of seven years and 10 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud and identity theft. The 51-year-old worked for a temporary medical staffing company and allegedly collected wages for nonexistent employees.
Like many white collar crimes, mail fraud and identity theft charges are issues of federal criminal law because they involve federal institutions, such as the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Social Security Administration. A person accused of a federal crime should take the charges seriously because any crime considered a federal offense tends to carry with it heavy penalties.
All individuals facing federal criminal charges have the constitutional right to the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. Even if a person cannot afford a lawyer, a court will appoint one. A defense attorney’s job is to assess their client’s case and help them form a solid defense strategy.
For some individuals, the best defense route is to take their case to trial. If a criminal suspect has a strong defense, such as an alibi or other evidence proving their innocence, the likelihood that prosecutors will be able to prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is relatively low.
Similarly, if a defense lawyer can identify procedural errors in the way in which the case was handled, the evidence of law enforcement may not be admissible in court. This may be enough to destroy the prosecution’s case.
But even if an individual does not have strong evidence on their side or proof of procedural error by law enforcement, they still have options for improving their situation. Under some circumstances, a defense attorney may enter into plea negotiations with the prosecution so that the defendant may plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a lesser sentence.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “St. Louis County man gets 7 years for fraud,” Nov. 27, 2012