Federal Criminal Defense
The prospect of criminal charges can be intimidating under any circumstance. It is often all the more overwhelming when you are the target of the federal government and its unlimited resources. Federal prosecutors typically focus on larger and more complex suspected criminal activity than their state counterparts, building substantial cases before bringing charges (returning an indictment). The attention paid to these higher profile prosecutions can generate unwanted and embarrassing publicity, and the penalties associated with federal criminal convictions are based on severe sentencing guidelines for which there is no parole.
Defense of a federal criminal case requires discretion, thorough preparation and knowledge of the law. The best time to hire an attorney is when you first learn you are the subject of a federal investigation, even if the investigators claim to be looking at someone else. The publishers of Connecticut Magazine have recognized both Bob Frost and Todd Bussert as “Rising Stars” in the field of criminal defense. With offices next to the federal courthouse in New Haven, Connecticut, Frost | Bussert attorneys appear regularly in each of Connecticut’s federal courthouses (New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford). Our first goal is prevent clients from being charged criminally. If that happens, however, we mount a vigorous defense on our client’s behalf. We have experience in the following areas:
- White Collar Crimes
Due to increasingly aggressive government enforcement, businesses and individuals who once faced civil and regulatory processes are now subject to criminal investigation and prosecution. White-collar cases are complex, multi-dimensional affairs that require diligent counsel capable of taking a coordinated approach to protecting companies, officers and employees.
- Mail and Wire Fraud
These cases commonly involve claims, which can be inaccurate or exaggerated, that an individual intended to deceive others (for example, banks, customers or third parties) when conducting business using the mails or through transferring funds electronically. Given the financial nature of these matters, the government may look to seize or freeze assets or to seek restitution. The penalties can be severe and are based, in part, on the total amount of the actual or intended loss, a figure that the government may claim is higher in order to increase the possible penalties.
- Mortgage and Real Estate Fraud
Mortgage fraud investigations, which concern schemes to defraud federally insured lending institutions (banks), have been on the upswing over the last several years. Individuals involved with real estate transactions (for example, brokers, agents, investors and attorneys) have been under added scrutiny, with innocent people finding themselves suspected of knowingly engaging in fraudulent sales or purchases based on prosecutors’ interpretation of loan applications, underwriting principles, appraisals and the like. Individuals prosecuted for mortgage fraud may be held accountable not only for the actual loss of the scheme but also for the intended loss, a figure that the government may look to inflate to increase the possible penalties.
- Access Device (Credit Card) Fraud
Access device fraud is a far-reaching term used to describe activities that can include stealing another’s credit card, using a credit card or credit card number without authorization, intentionally misrepresenting information on a credit card application, fraudulently obtaining a credit card through the mail, and counterfeiting credit cards. The penalties associated with prosecutions for these offenses are serious and restitution for the full amount of the loss incurred may be required.
- Tax Evasion and Fraud
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigates individuals and business for tax evasion (intentionally filing false returns), fraud (intentionally avoiding or minimizing the payment of taxes) and failure to file or withhold. In addition, an investigation into related crimes, such as other types of fraud, theft and embezzlement, can result in tax-related criminal charges. Penalties for criminal tax cases are very serious. Because it is possible in some cases to work with the IRS to avoid or reduce a potential criminal conviction and penalties, Frost | Bussert attorneys negotiate on your behalf with a full understanding of your rights.
- Regulatory Offenses
Individuals and businesses increasingly find themselves under investigation for suspected violations of federal regulations. The consequences of such an investigation can be severe, including debarment from federal programs, cease and desist orders, civil penalties, and restitution. Drawing upon our experience representing clients in various regulated industries, including legal services, health care, insurance, banking, and environmental protection and compliance, Frost | Bussert attorneys can provide detailed guidance to individuals and businesses seeking to successfully navigate the regulatory process.
- Internet Sex Crimes
Sex crimes involving the use computers and/or the Internet draw considerable attention from federal authorities. Frost | Bussert attorneys have represented individuals accused of possessing, receiving, distributing and/or manufacturing child pornography, as well as individuals alleged to have travelled across state lines for purposes of engaging in sexual activity with minors. These cases often involve undercover agents posing on-line as minors and involve voluminous computer evidence that requires technical knowledge and experience. The offenses can carry harsh penalties under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and, in certain circumstances, lengthy statutory mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment.
- Drug Possession and Narcotics Trafficking
Federal drug cases differ from state cases both in the nature and scope of the activity at issue. Federal cases tend to involve extensive investigations into alleged conspiracies of large groups of individuals suspected of purchasing and distributing significant quantities or narcotics, marijuana and other controlled substances. Government evidence typically includes wiretaps, surveillance, controlled purchases, and testimony from case agents, confidential informants and cooperating witnesses. The penalties in federal drug cases are among the most draconian under the law, with many offenses carrying long mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
- Racketeering (RICO) and Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering (VCAR)
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and related laws, including violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity (VCAR), were intended to fight organized crime, that is, criminal organizations (enterprises) engaged in patterns of illegal or corrupt activity. Today, federal prosecutions brought under these laws can ensnare individuals with no criminal history or history of violence, and whose alleged crimes would traditionally be charged in state court. Penalties for these offenses are severe.
- Grand Jury Witness Representation
A grand jury appearance is usually the result of receiving a subpoena, requiring you to testify and/or produce documents or other tangible items. There can be serious ramifications associated with such subpoenas, both in terms of failure to comply and waiver of your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Frost | Bussert attorneys assist clients in determining the proper scope of a subpoena and in gathering and producing relevant documents. We also carefully evaluate whether testimony or other information provided might tend to incriminate a client or result in criminal charges.
Contact experienced federal criminal defense attorneys at the offices of FROST | BUSSERT LLC today to schedule an initial free consultation to discuss your case.