Types of Theft

From a young age, most people are told that stealing is wrong and can come with very heavy consequences. We are repeatedly told that we cannot take something that does not belong to us unless we have very clear permission to do so. Thus, people tend to have a good understanding of what is meant by the term “theft,” both in its everyday use and when it is used in courts of law. There are special terms that are used to define theft under specific circumstances, though. While many of these terms are widely used and understood, the details that separate the different classifications can be less clear.

Shoplifting is possibly the most common type of theft charge seen by courts, and also the first type that comes to mind when a person thinks of goods being stolen. It is defined as the stealing of goods from a retail establishment, from a department store in a shopping mall to a small grocery or convenience store. The consequences of being found guilty of shoplifting will depend largely on the value of the good stolen.

Robbery is the term used to describe theft accomplished through the use of violence, threat of violence, or use of other intimidation tactics. Robbery can run the gamut from a quick mugging to a detailed, violent, large-scale bank robbery. The sentence accompanying a guilty verdict in a robbery case will likely be more severe than another theft case dealing with similar values of goods, as threats or assault are often present, as well.

Where robbery is theft through violence, fraud is generally considered theft through deception (though there are types of fraud that do not necessarily involve theft). Common forms of fraud include identity theft, forgery, and bait and switch schemes. When an instance of fraud is defined by a individual or group’s gain through the appropriation of money or other assets they have been trusted to protect, it is known as embezzlement.

Burglary is a blanket term applied to instances where theft is accompanied by trespassing. Home invasion break-ins, stealing goods from closed stores, or taking property out of a parked car are all forms of burglary.

In many states, these sorts of theft charges may be further broken down into the categories of “petty theft” or “grand theft,” depending on the value of goods or assets stolen. The dollar amount where the line is drawn depends on the state.

For more information about theft charges, visit the website of Appleton criminal defense attorneys Kohler, Hart, & Priebe, LLC.

White Collar Crimes 101

The majority of “white collar” crimes are committed by salaried professionals using deception, as opposed to violence or force, to perpetrate theft or fraud. These crimes can be either misdemeanor or felony infractions of the law, and these types of crimes can be prosecuted in state court, federal court, or both.

There are many types of these offenses and most involved theft by deception or fraud. Such crimes include offenses such as:

o Bank Fraud
o Bribery
o Credit Card Fraud
o Forgery
o Embezzlement
o Tax Evasion

Individuals convicted of committing a white collar crime can face punishments such as fines, restitution, forfeiture, or imprisonment. Additionally, individuals accused or convicted of a white collar crime may be subject to additional consequences such as loss of employment and loss of pension. Situations such as these can threaten the financial stability and future of both the accused and their family.

In many cases, individuals under investigation for these crimes are aware that they are under investigation. Suspected individuals may be the focus of internal investigations or private investigations. White collar crimes do not represent an immediate threat to society; therefore, white collar crimes are often investigated by federal authorities for a year or more before charges are filed against an individual suspected of committing these types of crimes. Individuals who believe they are under investigation for a white collar crime should contact an attorney for assistance.

If you are currently under investigation, have been contacted by law enforcement for questioning, or have received a subpoena for records or testimony, you should contact a lawyer immediately. Individuals should never agree to speak with law enforcement officials in regard to white collar crime investigations until they have discussed the matter with their attorney. You want to be sure that information provided to law enforcement officers cannot not be used against you in court. For that reason, it is imperative to consult an attorney as soon as you learn you are under investigation.

Offenses Requiring Sex Offender Registration

Florida took the first step in 1997 to make a list of sex offenders available on the internet as well as making that information also available by telephone hotline for people who do not have the internet. It is a requirement in Florida for those convicted of a sex crime to register and report between two and four times per year, to the Sheriff’s Office. Florida’s requirements include more than just an address to register as sex offenders are required to also report any instant message names and numbers, and email addresses to the Sheriff’s Office. A sex offender’s birth month is what is used to determine which months he/she will be required to report in. If they fail to report, submit to all restrictions or provide all information requested will have penalties that classify as felonies. Sex based crimes in Florida are divided into two categories, Sexual Offender and Sexual Predator.

Sexual Predators

Florida law states that all sex offenders are not always considered to be sexual predators, and that for this to happen, the offender must appear in court before a judge who considers the evidence and makes the designation. Even someone who was convicted of sex based crimes, this does not automatically mean they are a sexual predator. There are five different ways in Florida for someone to be classified a sexual predator. These include first time convictions of: lewd and lascivious behavior in front of someone under the age of 16, kidnapping, buying or selling child pornography, false imprisonment, or sexual battery. You should be aware that this applies even if the conviction occurred in another jurisdiction or state besides Florida.

Another way you can be designated a sexual predator is if you commit one of the above mentioned offenses and especially if you were found guilty of having committed other sexual offenses in the past. Past sexual offenses that can get you a designation of sexual predator include: sexual battery, kidnapping, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, false imprisonment, having a child perform sexually, luring or enticing a child or getting someone under 18 for prostitution. Lastly, anyone can be designated a sexual predator if they are determined to be a sexually violent predator at a civil commitment hearing.

Sexual Offenders

he courts in Florida provide three ways to designate someone a sexual offender. The first way includes if you attempt to commit or commit: luring or enticing a child, kidnapping a minor, sexual battery, false imprisonment of a minor, getting someone under 18 for prostitution unlawful sexual acts with a minor, sexual misconduct, selling or buying minors for sex trafficking, or computer pornography. The second way says if you have a conviction that occurred in another state or jurisdiction, you can be considered a sex offender in Florida. If a person has been designated a sexual offender in a different jurisdiction or state, Florida laws will also designate that person as such and they will be required to register their status. The third way says that under Florida laws, if someone attempts to commit or commits lewd and lascivious molestation, sexual battery or lewd or lascivious battery on someone 14 or older, they can be designated a sexual offender in Florida.

Information on White Collar Crimes

White-collar crimes once referred to illegal acts committed by business people in the course of their employment. However, now any non-violent and sophisticated economic crime would qualify as a white-collar crime. As a rule, white-collar crimes verlap with corporate crime because the opportunity for fraud, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, computer crime, and forgery is more available to white-collar employees.

White-collar crimes are usually associated with business and do not involve violence or bodily injury to another person. Those crimes generally associated with lending institutions which involve bank fraud, such as making false statements to obtain a loan, filing false reports or returns with government agencies, embezzlement, using the mail or wire communications to defraud, and paying or accepting bribes are considered to be white-collar crimes.

Depending upon whether state or federal laws have been violated, white collar crime may be prosecuted in state or federal courts. The penalties for such crimes usually vary, but in some cases they may be as severe as those prescribed for violent crimes. In any case it is wise to talk with an attorney before answering any questions, if you are questioned by a law enforcement officer or another governmental agent about possible criminal conduct.

Visit New York Attorneys at http://www.nylawprofessionals.com for any law assistance.

Updates to Massachusetts Employer Background Check Laws

Although the information used will weigh on the decision of whether or not to hire the potential employee, it may not be used for any other reason. The information is to remain private, so that no further harm to the applicant’s reputation can happen.

Another part of the updated provisions regulate employers’ and third parties’ access to what is contained in the state’s criminal records database. An online system known as iCori will allow employers direct access to CORI records from the state government. Accessible to all Massachusetts employers, it will contain limited criminal record information. Felonies occurring more than ten years ago and misdemeanors over five years ago will not appear in the system. There are exceptions for murder, manslaughter, and some sexual offense convictions, which do not have time limitations on them. Employers accessing criminal records through iCori must first get written permission from applicants, and keep the forms for a period of at least one year from the date the CORI check is requested. Information discovered in the process of conducting a background check using the CORI system must be contained within the hiring organization on a “need to know” basis. Employers are not allowed to keep CORI records for over seven years after an employee leaves the job, and immediately following the decision not to hire a potential employee. Failure to comply with the recordkeeping requirements can result in criminal and civil penalties up to $50,000 for each violation.

Getting back to the options you have as an employer when it comes to hiring someone with a criminal background, you should take a look at the criminal history. Look at when the crime occurred and what the crime consisted of. For example, a charge of public intoxication ten years ago when a potential employee was on spring break in college probably will not affect the work performance of the employee today. However, a charge of embezzlement from last year may be something that you would not be comfortable with, especially if this person would be working with company finances.

Massachusetts employers may use third party background screening firms, but are still held to the requirements of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. Part of this law requires those who use third parties to conduct background checks to obtain permission from applicants and provide them with a copy of records if they so choose. An earlier aspect of the CORI Amendments that went into effect in 2010 includes the “ban the box” provision. This law prohibits employment applications from asking applicants about any previous criminal history. Their hope is that these new restrictions will ensure that applicants are not needlessly dismissed for unrelated crimes and that only serious offenders are prevented from being put in tempting situations. Since Massachusetts employment law contains several new requirements with stiff fines for non-compliance, it is recommended that employers throughout the state employ legal counsel to assure they are keeping up with the latest revisions.