As we started discussing last week, while many people are now very familiar with the term Ponzi scheme thanks to recent media coverage of certain high-profile federal cases, they may nevertheless have only a limited understanding of what a Ponzi scheme actually entails.
Thanks to recent high profile federal cases, including the prosecutions of Bernie Madoff and Scott Rothstein, more people than ever now know the term Ponzi scheme. However, this knowledge often doesn't extend beyond a baseline understanding that a Ponzi scheme is essentially some manner of white collar crime.
After years of deliberation, negotiation and stagnation, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has crafted a bill that favors rehabilitation over incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders. Always conscious of costs, the authors, including Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, are proposing no new spending. On the contrary, they say: In the long run, the bill will save money by reducing the number of offenders in prisons and lowering the rate and risk of recidivism.
Many people are under the impression that testimony regarding forensic evidence is infallible. They believe that if a so-called expert testifies that bite marks, hair samples and other types of forensic evidence are clear proof tying someone to a crime, then it must be true.
When law enforcement agents go undercover, there is a very real potential that they will participate in illegal activity. Those investigating a drug ring may buy or sell drugs; an investigation into fraud can lead to participation in money laundering or theft. These behaviors can be unavoidable in maintaining undercover status and protecting an officer's identity and intent.
After spending a great deal of time and effort defending yourself against one or several criminal charges, it can be absolutely devastating to learn that you have been convicted. It can be easy to assume that all hope is lost and you are out of options.
For several years, the Justice Department and U.S. taxing authorities have been working aggressively to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA. For the individual taxpayer who owns or has signatory authority over certain foreign assets or bank accounts, FATCA requires disclosure of those assets and accounts to the IRS. The idea is to stop U.S. taxpayers from hiding their assets in offshore "tax havens" in countries that don't share such information with the IRS directly.
Chicago readers old enough to remember the 1970s television series "Baretta" will also likely remember the phrase from the theme song, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."