Do Laws Apply to the Internet?

Last week, I was giving much thought to a Social Media topic that would do more than just fulfill an obligation to myself to publish a new post each week. Sure, I could share some useful tips for businesses looking to leverage the full power of Social Media Marketing. After all, most business executives are interested in learning how to increase sales revenue through the use of the latest and greatest online strategies and tactics. I also wonder how many business owners are fully aware of the irreparable damage they may be doing to our society by using Social Media, inappropriately and – in some ways – distastefully.

I ask corporate CEOs to carefully consider the following questions. If Twitter controlled the life support function for hospitalized people, should an insurance company manipulate its functions to put some terminal people out of their misery to reduce costs? If Facebook allowed your real estate company to put a family out of their home so that you could buy it cheap, would you ever exercise that option? If Social Media were a gun, would you point it at a stranger and pull the trigger if it benefited you in any way? These are valid questions for those allowing profit and loss statements to obscure matters of common decency.

You may be reviled by the shear mention of such thoughts, but apparently, there are a growing number of employers, who are willing to force strangers to open up their private lives for hiring consideration scrutiny. If you as a business leader are able to reconcile such an action; you probably think it is fine to invade a person’s right to privacy simply to satisfy one company’s curiosity about what he or she does during their own spare time. Are you saying that a business entity is entitled to own one’s personal life along with the work he or she provides during paid work hours? Exactly where does this right come from? It’s not in the Constitution.

Since When Did We Need to Invade Personal Privacy Rights to Consider Someone for a Job?

It used to be that employers carefully screened resumes, thoroughly interviewed candidates, and professionally conducted criminal background checks and drug screens to determine the suitability of job applicants for hire. Most trained human resources professionals also relied on their gut to determine who got hired and who did not. Is all this no longer enough to make an educated employee selection? Whatever happened to an employer’s right to discharge unsatisfactory employees during his or her initial period of employment, “At Will”? Is this not enough of a failsafe mechanism to insure and protect quality performance in the workplace? It has been such for many past decades. What has changed?

Yes, there are many individuals, who place their lives online for public view – without placing any viewing restrictions. This is a free choice that some people exercise. In these cases, employers are welcome to see what the user has deemed public information with no special permissions. However, no one really has the right (except – perhaps – for legal authorities) to see restricted information that is locked away from public scrutiny by password protection. No employer or anyone else has the right to make unlocking their personal information an absolute condition of employment.

Credit Scores Were Intended for Car Buying and Not Job Getting

What is going on in human resources these days? These are some of the same people that have also had the chutzpah to request credit checks on all those applying for jobs including even those not being considered for positions involving collection and disbursement of company funds. Credit checking used to be reserved for bondable employees, period. That made perfect sense to avoid embezzlement and company theft of funds. Checking everybody’s credit does not make any sense. Not when you consider that many unemployed people have fallen behind and must have a job in order to feed their families.

Here is the dilemma. We don’t place people in double jeopardy in the American court system, so why are we punishing people twice by denying them a living by making them unemployed and then keeping them from a new job offer because they are already the economic victims of unemployment? Some companies are placing recruiting ads that say “currently unemployed people need not apply.” This is all cruel and unusual punishment. What has inspired such a total lack of regard for our fellow Americans, just want to collect a fair wage for a fair day’s work? Why all these new hoops to jump through?

America is Fighting Back with a Loud and Strong “It is None of Your Business”

Fortunately, the American people are not sheep and are fighting back. California lawmakers have voted to block employers from using consumer credit reports when they are deciding whether to hire workers for most jobs. They have stopped the use of credit checks in hiring, except for managers, law enforcement, financial jobs and certain other positions that handle valuable items or information.

The bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Tony Mendoza of Artesia, says credit checks often are inaccurate and hurt minority and female job seekers. Opponents say they are a useful tool for employers assessing the integrity of job candidates.

A credit report is not a good indicator of a person’s trustworthiness or work ethic,” says Mendoza.

“Consider the condition of the economy and the negative effect these circumstances can have on a person’s credit – a credit report is an unfair lens through which to view job applicants,” he says. “Preventing someone from becoming gainfully employed due to a poor credit history is shameful,” says Mendoza.

No, You May Not See My Personal Information

Regarding this newest attack on personal privacy, it was Facebook firing the first shots in a battle that promises to end in the US courts. In a blog dated March 23, 2012, Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, responded to recent news reports of employers “seeking to gain inappropriate access” to the social media profiles of job applicants and employees. She also said that Facebook would “take action to protect the privacy and security” of users and consider “initiating legal action” where appropriate.

Those anti-employer sentiments were also summed up by members of Congress, recently.

“Employers have no right to ask job applicants for their house keys or to read their diaries – why should they be able to ask them for their Facebook passwords and gain unwarranted access to a trove of private information about what we like, what messages we send to people, or who we are friends with?” asked New York Senator, Charles Schumer.

“In an age where more and more of our personal information – and our private social interactions – are online, it is vital that all individuals be allowed to determine for themselves what personal information they want to make public and protect personal information from their would-be employers. This is especially important during the job-seeking process, when all the power is on one side of the fence. Before this disturbing practice becomes widespread, we must have an immediate investigation into whether the practice violates federal law – I’m confident the investigation will show it does. Facebook agrees, and I’m sure most Americans agree, that employers have no business asking for your Facebook password,” says Schumer.

Employers: You Won’t Sell to People You Have Taught to Despise You

No. A line must be drawn in the sand now regarding privacy. Employers are looking to take a mile since the Web may have it to give. In doing this, they are not only attacking our civil liberties; they are hurting themselves in the long run. If they limit people’s freedoms in social Media, they are also limiting peoples trust in this medium and discouraging its use. If business people want to get more conversions (sales) from Social Media Marketing, they need to show more respect for the trust and integrity that Social Networking must develop in order to make doing business over the Web viable and profitable.

Law Enforcers and Public Records

Aside from being public servants who are tasked to protect the general public, did you also know that the police departments can likewise be a good source of a lot of useful information? Yes, they could be. If you will visit the local law enforcement offices in your area, you can actually access a lot of public records from them that you could use in many situations.

For example, let’s say that you are someone who has a new business and you are looking forward to dealing with a lot of people for future expansion. You will surely need to encounter a lot of different individuals to do that such as employees, clients, suppliers and even prospective business partners. In order for you to determine the reliability and trustworthiness of people you deal with, you should use public records for your references too.

There are actually a lot of records that you can use. For example, you can check court records, arrest records and criminal records to see if any person in consideration really has an unquestionable character. You could check the mentioned public records so you could be aware of any wrong doings that a person may have done in the past. This isn’t about being suspicious all the time and being paranoid about the people that you will need to deal with but this activity is being done by many people so they could make wise decisions.

You would surely not want to do business dealings with someone who has been arrested in the past for embezzlement charges. That could really be risky for you. Aside from that, you surely wouldn’t want to be being close to someone, much less work with a person who is a registered sex offender. You and those other people would constantly be in danger and you will feel nervous about it all the time. Through those public records, it will be possible to that have criminal records.

These days, you wouldn’t have to go to the actual police department offices when you want to obtain access to those documents. You can actually go to the online websites that offer people with access to the records you need. What you will need to do is to look for public records sites since there are a lot of them out there. You might even choose between free sites and paid providers.

Safeguard Your Nonprofit’s Mission – How to Protect Against Fraud

Fraud is a word that conjures up many images in your mind. Maybe your definition of fraud is someone lying to you, stealing from you or conspiring against you while pretending to help you. All of these are true…and it can happen to your nonprofit if you do not know how to protect it.

Those who seek to harm or defraud you can come from both inside and outside your nonprofit. Either can be devastating to the health of your organization, both financially and psychologically. Let’s take a look at both scenarios and I’ll give you some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.

Outsiders. For anyone who has not been victimized by an outsider, it can seem like a remote concern. “Surely we can spot a scam,” you tell yourself. Ask any victim of Bernie Madoff how easy it is to be taken. Just among our clientele at The Foundation Group, we have a Florida nonprofit that invested its entire endowment in a sure-thing Madoff fund. It’s all gone…every penny. Granted, this one was hard to spot. Madoff made off for many years right under the noses of regulators! But it doesn’t take a Bernie Madoff to cause severe damage to your organization.

I once had an acquaintance (considered a friend at the time) who seemed to have a real heart for charity. He was a former NFL player with the Pittsburgh Steelers and had a great life story. He frequently spoke before civic groups, churches and other community groups. He was an ordained minister. Seemed like he knew everyone. I even remember seeing him on television counseling with families who lost loved ones on 9/11. Turns out, he was a complete fraud. He never wore a Steeler’s jersey for even a day…or any other jersey for that matter. He was a felon, previously convicted of check kiting. Worse, he used his fake persona and clergy credentials to ingratiate himself with organizations with the ultimate aim of stealing money. More than once he pocketed money he got from an organization that trusted him to help them with fundraising events. He even went so far as to con a mentally-challenged couple (who had inherited a small fortune) into letting him “manage” their assets. He cleaned them out! The law finally caught up with this charlatan, but not until a lot of people were hurt.

The point is this: If in doubt, check them out! In fact, check them out even if you do not see any red flags. The man I knew seemed like the real deal. But a simple check into his story would have blown his cover. Nobody bothered.

Insiders. Getting ripped off by an insider really hurts. It is the ultimate betrayal for a nonprofit. And, just like with an outsider, it can happen under the radar and not be seen until huge damage is done.

The most common form of insider fraud is direct embezzlement. We have uncovered it multiple times with clients. Several years ago, we were hired by a Nashville historic site to review their books. The board had concern that mistakes had been made by their recently departed secretary/bookkeeper. Turns out, the only mistake this person made was employing an amateurish method of stealing money. It took us about 30 minutes to discover what she had done. It took weeks to assess the full amount of the damage…nearly $70,000!

One way to prevent insider fraud is fairly simple: do a background check. It takes a little time, but is not difficult nor is it expensive. The other thing you simply MUST do is institute internal checks and balances. The fact is, the lady I mentioned would have checked out clean. She had no criminal record and had a great resume. But, if this organization had a system of overseeing her handling of the money, something as simple as someone else reconciling the books every month, this could have been prevented. Such internal controls protect not only the organization, but also the integrity of those who work honestly for the organization. The last thing you want is a good person falsely blamed for something.

Will you be able to stop all possible fraud? Probably not. But by using your good sense, and instituting reasonable procedures, you can dramatically limit your risk. In this era of tight organizational budgets, you can little afford to let down your guard.

A Career in Criminal Law

A good criminal lawyer can make the difference in a client losing a business or car license, losing assets, or even preventing jail time. A criminal lawyer is expected to be skilled in negotiation and presenting facts on his client in a favorable light. They will often be presented with difficult cases requiring a great deal of skill in presenting facts in a way that benefits the client. If this kind of career interests you and you wish to know more how to pursue this career, then read on.

Job description

A criminal lawyer is expected to defend clients charged with criminal offenses. This can cover a wide range of criminal offenses such as domestic violence, sex offenses, violent crimes, drug crimes, embezzlement, fraud, theft, and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). A criminal lawyer can of course specialize in one area and become drug offence solicitors, traffic lawyers or sex offence lawyers, but in general they must be able to handle a diverse spectrum of criminal offenses. A criminal lawyer will be required to handle bail bond hearings, trial hearings, parole and probation hearings, and present plea bargains. They will need to be skilled at building a defense and creating a case strategy, and be able to argue motions, and negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution to lessen the charges.

Skills required

It is essential for a criminal lawyer to possess strong negotiation skills. They will be required to have excellent oral and writing ability, and strong research and investigative skills. They must be able to stay calm and think logically, and have the ability to think on their feet and change tactics quickly if necessary. They must have an in-depth understanding of criminal law and an ability to navigate the criminal justice system. They must also possess excellent interpersonal skills in order to help build a strong client-attorney relationship.

Qualifications required

To pursue a career in criminal law you will be required to obtain a law degree and pass the bar examination. There are generally two routes you can take to become qualified. The first route is via a four-year degree in criminal law or criminal justice. This will include coursework which covers topics such as criminology, investigative techniques, corrections, rehabilitation, and psychology. The other route a student can take is via an associate degree. An associate degree program in criminal justice or law enforcement will require you to have basic college-level qualifications such as English composition, criminal justice, criminal procedure, psychology and various electives. Work out which route would suit you best then make enquiries about courses available. Note that many universities offer online criminal law programs, so if there are no courses available to you locally or you have other commitments, an online course may be the most suitable option for you. As for course fees, if you cannot afford to pay for this yourself, you can apply for a government grant or government assisted loan. Enquire with the university how to go about applying for a government grant or assisted loan.

Embezzlement Attorney: Why Are They Needed?

Embezzlement is a robbery of property or home and/or funds by an individual or business that is the reason for coping with the sources. Embezzlement in most cases only occurs in corporate surroundings and areas of work and is different from larceny in that the resources are initially acquired legally. Because of this, nevertheless, any person or corporation continues to be wrongly arrested for embezzlement nevertheless, there wasn’t any criminal intentions. As an example, that loan that runs unpaid for a long period of time may trigger embezzlement fees.

The outlawed transport of residence or finances from the business, when it comes to personal use, referred to as embezzlement. This often happens when the culprit has legitimate entry to the property and resources, as he/she may be entrusted having its handling and care. This may be a part of the work. When this occurs, it’s possible that this culprit takes benefit of his/her situation and uses the money for private benefits, in lieu of working with it for the designated intent. Inside a business setting, embezzlement is definitely a common offense.

Embezzlement Defense
When a person or an entity is involved in embezzlement, the duty of proof lies on the prosecution. Prosecutors must establish that the offender took benefit from his location by transforming another party’s investments into his or her own. It must be also shown that:

• The disputed possessions were recovered through the defendant”s work.
• The method by which the accused apparently manipulated the property was fraudulent or creates a misappropriation.
• There was confidence between the offender and the entity that was allegedly embezzled.
• The opposition meant to deprive the owner of the possessions.

Embezzlement assumes great shape and in some cases, the queue between correct usage of assets and theft may not be wholly clear. A criminal defense lawyer with practical knowledge handling such instances might help defend your rights and effectively raise doubt in a court of law, which can lead to an acquittal of the expenses.

Aftermaths of Embezzlement Charges
Embezzlement charges can conduct serious consequences regardless of whether the defendant is responsible. Allegations of embezzlement are quite embarrassing and can in many cases ruin a person or an entity”s status. Moreover, an embezzlement conviction may trigger significant fines and/or a prison sentence up to 2 decades depending of the value of assets taken as well as other factors in case. To make sure that your protection under the law and pursuits are fully protected, you will need to retain a very qualified and experienced criminal law attorney who has knowledge of embezzlement law and can help reduce the fees, or even receive an acquittal.

The best way to organize a defense against embezzlement charges is almost always to retain a qualified attorney immediately. An attorney who has experience of representing persons charged with embezzlement should be able to enable you to view the charges, organize your defense, making critical legal decisions. Early preparation and investigation may cause the embezzlement charges being dropped altogether. In case you or someone you love has been accused of embezzlement, speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.