Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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Atlanta Federal Criminal Defense Law Blog

Credit card fraud promises big rewards, but risks are greater

We live in a society so dependent on credit and debit cards that people hardly seem to notice when and where their money comes and goes. Gone are the days of balancing checkbooks and counting bills. We often don't know how much money we have until we look at a bank statement once a month.

These somewhat lax tendencies can increase the temptation to skim off the accounts of unsuspecting consumers, especially for those who regularly handle others' credit cards. But credit card fraud isn't limited to one industry or demographic. You may work in retail, mail services or any business that handles financial transactions. Or you may have simply happened across a lost credit card. The intended monetary gain may be fairly insignificant or in the tens of thousands of dollars.

When 'house flipping' turns into real estate fraud

Not so long ago, the practice of buying residential property at a low price, renovating it and selling it for a profit was all the rage. Popular reality TV shows such as "Flip That House" wooed viewers into thinking that the practice was a relatively easy way to make money in the real estate industry.

Not only are these prospects much more difficult to pull off than the shows portrayed, but in some cases the practice of "house flipping" is illegal and punishable by heavy fines and prison time. If you've been implicated in a mortgage fraud scheme involving a flipped property, you undoubtedly have questions about where things went wrong and what your risk is of being prosecuted.

3 things you should know about DUI convictions in Georgia

The holiday season carries so many expectations: quality time with family and close friends, gift exchanges, and yes, invitations to at least a few parties. It's a hectic, fast-paced time of year, which means that most of us also feel some amount of stress and possibly even depression amid the shopping and celebrating.

Whatever your state of mind is at this time of year, you may find yourself with a festive cocktail in hand more often. Therefore, it's important to be mindful of the consequences of driving while intoxicated. Most drivers are aware that driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of more than .08 percent is illegal. But there's much more you need to know.

Healthy competition vs. illegal price-fixing: Where's the line?

It doesn't take an MBA to understand that raising or lowering the price of a product affects a company's competition in the market. Whether it's in response to consumer demand or a competitor's change in its pricing, companies are free to set the prices of their own goods or services. It's one of the main tenets of our free market economy.

But there are limitations to what companies can do when raising or lowering prices. A prime example is price-fixing, in which two or more companies agree to restrict competition by raising, lowering or stabilizing their prices. This business practice is illegal, and those who engage in it can face heavy penalties from the government agencies that enforce antitrust laws.

White collar crime defense requires proactive approach

For many people who are charged with a work-related white collar crime, an arrest doesn't come as a complete surprise. If you've taken a risk by skimming funds from your employer or similar activity, chances are good that you're waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This waiting can be an excruciating experience because you don't know what lies ahead. Will you be arrested, and when? Will you go to jail, and for how long? Most important, how can you prepare for whatever lies ahead? 

5 essential qualities of a white collar criminal defense attorney

Have you ever been lost in a maze? Being accused of a white collar crime can feel very much the same. Being confused and in a state of panic, are often normal reactions to the initial shock of learning you are being investigated or charged. 

Even if you've never been charged with a crime before, you might guess that one of the first things you should do is find an attorney. But how do you choose one among the hundreds of lawyers that surface in a Google search? Here are some key points to keep in mind when selecting a criminal defense attorney for your fraud case:

Changes Affecting Federal Cases - More favorable Sentencing

After what seems like decades of a constant ratcheting up of maximum sentences, and an increased use of mandatory minimum sentences, there have been some favorable changes, both in the books and on the way. Each year, amendments are proposed to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Last year, a 2-point decrease in the sentencing guidelines for drug offenses went into effect. This change was retroactive, and , with a Rule 35 sentencing reduction, for cooperation completed after sentencing, a client was released from custody for time served. Others will be released ahead of schedule. This change impacts thousands of persons in custody for federal drug crimes.   

The Internet can be a blessing and a curse for Atlanta residents

Thanks to advancements in technology, we now have the ability to access just about any piece of information we want within seconds. For those who own smartphones, accessing information is even easier than ever and can happen on the go. But while a majority of people across Georgia and the nation enjoy the ease at which they can surf the Internet, such access should be considered both a blessing and a curse.

That's because police and law enforcement agencies can oftentimes access the same information we can with the same amount of ease. From Twitter feeds to Facebook posts, just about anything we put on the Internet may very well be viewed later by a criminal investigator. In many cases, what may seem like an innocuous posting or check-in on your favorite social media site, could be seen as evidence to be used against you in a criminal investigation.

Is it illegal to sell something that is considered a counterfeit?

Most people know that when it comes to brand-name or licensed items, there is often a higher cost associated with these types of goods. From a few dollars to a couple hundred, the increased cost of these items can be a turn off for some consumers, causing them to turn to retailers who appear to be offering the same item, but at a lower price.

Unfortunately, in some cases, these lower-cost items may be what are called counterfeits, meaning they were not manufactured or produced by the item's owner or with their permission. In many cases, counterfeits look exactly like the original good, leaving consumers none the wiser.

A look at the antitrust case against Apple over e-book pricing

As we have said before on our blog, our nation has a myriad of laws. But as we pointed out back in April in one of our posts, many people aren't familiar with many of our laws. One set of laws you might not know about are federal antitrust laws. That's because these laws generally apply to business owners and companies, although many individuals are currently being prosecuted for rigging bids at foreclosure auctions in various states around the U.S. Many of those being prosecuted had no idea that what they were doing violated the law.

In today's post, we'd like to look at federal antitrust laws, particularly the Sherman Act, and see how it applies in real life. We will do this by looking at the recent ruling against Apple Inc. to see why adhering to these laws is so important.

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