On February 25, 55-year-old John Miri and 38-year-old Wisam Daman pleaded guilty to charges of failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program, according to a press release issued by U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. Miri operated and managed Junction Party Store, and Daman operated and managed Big Apple Fruit Market, both located in Southwest Detroit. Jarod Koopman, IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge, joined McQuade in the announcement. writing-check-678948-m

Both stores were registered as MSB’s, or Money Services Businesses with the state. Essentially, Junction Party Store and Big Apple Fruit Market would cash checks in amounts of more than $1,000 for their customers, for a fee. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, businesses who provide this service for their customers are qualified as financial institutions. Because the two stores are considered financial institutions, they are required to file CTR’s or Currency Transaction Reports with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. When a customer cashes a check for an amount greater than $10,000, a CTR must be filed. In their positions as managers/operators of the stores which were considered financial institutions, Miri and Daman were obligated to develop, enforce, and maintain effective anti-money laundering programs.

Between late 2011 and early 2012, the two store owners cashed a total of nearly $15 million in refund checks issued by the IRS for Juan Carlos Pena-Lora, checks which were issued to alleged taxpayers in New Jersey, New York, and other eastern states. In all, there were approximately 2,000 checks cashed by both stores combined. Daman and Miri charged a fee for cashing the checks, a fee which is based on a percentage of the total amount of each check. The IRS refund checks were issued after false income tax returns had been filed using names/social security numbers that had been stolen from Puerto Rican nationals. On the dates Daman and Miri cashed checks for Pena-Lora, those payments were greater than $10,000, however the two business owners did not file CTR’s for some of the cash payments as required. Because of this, the two men were charged with failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program, an offense punishable by fines of $250,000 and/or up to five years in prison.

Daman and Miri have not yet been sentenced.

Convictions for white collar crimes can result in serious consequences. As you can see, even when an individual pleads guilty, the penalties are still extremely harsh. Not only may these men face substantial fines and prison time, their reputations and businesses are likely ruined. If you have been arrested or are under investigation for any white collar crime including money laundering or embezzlement, consult with a Michigan criminal defense attorney at once.

On Sunday morning March 1st, a car chase followed by a foot pursuit resulted in the arrest of a man in Wildomar, CA for suspicion of reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, and driving under the influence of drugs, according to news sources. Jonathan Iniguez, a 23-year-old resident of Riverside, was booked into the Southwest Detention Center following the incident.  beer-on-ice-174675-m

The Press Enterprise news article said the incident took place just before 4:30 in the morning when deputies who were on patrol noticed a 2005 Toyota Corolla weaving from lane to lane. The deputies followed the Corolla in an attempt to get the driver to pull over, however he continued driving erratically, swerving into oncoming lanes and failing to stop at traffic signals.

Eventually, Iniguez lost control of his vehicle and struck a fire hydrant in front of a grocery/liquor store, according to a written statement from sheriff’s officials. He then fled on foot, however deputies apprehended him on Shay Lane. Upon being caught, Iniguez was taken to a hospital after complaining of pain.

Reckless driving and DUI are both serious offenses; driving with a suspended license only adds to the negative consequences an individual will face after allegedly committing a crime.

Michigan DUI attorneys know that when most people think of driving under the influence, they assume the person was driving under the influence of alcohol. DUI is an offense that applies to both alcohol and drugs, or any substance that can impair and individual’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. In Michigan, individuals may be charged with OWPD, or Operating with Any Presence of a Drug. This offense carries serious penalties for those found guilty including possible jail time, fines, license suspension, community service, and more. Any subsequent offense will result in penalties that are even more serious.

If you have been arrested or charged with any offense involving the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, contact a highly skilled and capable Michigan DUI lawyer for legal guidance and support immediately.

Last week, a Detroit Police Officer allegedly visited a Detroit bar located on Eight Mile Road on three different occasions. Now, she is facing a misdemeanor count of possessing a firearm while intoxicated, according to news reports at Mlive.com. bar-1217438-m

38-year-old Deloma Stone may spend up to 93 days in jail if found guilty. The department had initially suspended Stone with pay, however Adam Madera, a fellow Detroit Police Officer who works in the Media Relations Department, said that could change to leave without pay now that charges had been filed against Stone.

Police officers may posses their department issued handguns while off duty in a bar, however they cannot be in possession of their guns when intoxicated according to department policy.

The department received a call reporting that Stone was intoxicated and armed after she reportedly caused a scene. According to bar owner Batoul Lossia, Stone caused a scene on each of the three occasions that she visited the bar last week, accusing employees of stealing a winning Keno ticket and her cell phone. She also allegedly punched the bartender in the back of the head after following her into a bathroom.

A bartender who served stone at the Golden Greek Bar said that Stone could not handle her liquor, but that she was really nice when sober. Stone did go back to the bar after the three incidents and apologize for her actions, however employees claim she again got drunk before accusing an employee of stealing her credit card.

Even police officers find themselves in situations that can harm their careers and reputations, and even result in loss of their freedom. In this case, Stone may spend three months in jail for causing a ruckus after carrying her handgun into the bar and becoming intoxicated.

Regardless of the situation an individual may find him- or herself in, it is always advised that you speak with a seasoned Michigan criminal defense lawyer to protect your legal rights, and learn about possible legal options to prevent loss of your freedom.

Recently, 30-year-old Drew Buechlein’s appeal of his burglary plea conviction was denied by a New Jersey appeals court. Buechlein, who is said to be homeless, pleaded guilty to committing burglary in Westville in 2009. He was sentenced to 364 days in jail, and probation according to a news article at NJ.com. At issue was whether Buechlein’s attorney represented him effectively in the case. A Student’s Guide to the Law of the Land and The Supreme Court Pic

Buechlein claimed that his lawyer did not clearly explain the potential consequences of pleading guilty, which he argues his lawyer pressured him into doing. He also says that his lawyer did not make any effort to suppress his identification as a suspect in a photo array. Buechlein also attempted to present a defense to appeals judges, saying that he could not have committed the burglary in Westville, because he had been charged in a Brooklawn burglary. Brooklawn borders Westville, according to the article.

The suspect was released from jail in March of 2014 after having been incarcerated since December of 2011 on prior burglary and drug charges.

In the current burglary case, the Gloucester County Superior Court ruled that Buechlein’s attorney did not represent him ineffectively; the New Jersey appeals court appellate judges agreed.

Michigan criminal appeals attorneys understand that appealing a conviction or even claiming ineffective counsel in a situation where the defendant believes his/her legal counsel misguided him or her into pleading guilty is tough. However, there are factors which may convince the appeals court that you deserve a second chance. For instance, in addition to ineffective counsel, grounds for an appeal may include violation of the defendant’s rights during the trial or sentencing process, juror bias or misconduct, or even something the judge in the case did that was inappropriate, or failed to do.

In order to be successful in an appeal, it is vital to have a capable and experienced attorney who has a proven track record in having clients’ convictions or sentences overturned. While winning an appeal is not easy and does not happen often, it can and does happen with the right lawyer who is diligent and thorough in presenting the case to the appeals court. When choosing a Michigan criminal appeals lawyer, choose wisely.

On Sunday February 22, five people sustained injuries and had to be hospitalized following a head-on collision in Whittier, CA. One of the five was the driver of a truck, who collided with a Toyota Prius near La Forge Street and Santa Gertrudes Avenue. crash-car-748825-m

Following the collision, the man attempted to flee the scene; he was apprehended shortly thereafter, and police suspected he was driving under the influence. The man, who was not named in news reports, was arrested on suspicion of DUI after being treated for a gash to his forehead at the hospital. He was placed in custody on the charges at the time of news reports.

Driving under the influence is a serious criminal offense on its own, and leaves the accused facing possible jail time, fines, community service, driver’s license suspension, and more if found guilty. However, in the state of Michigan a person may be charged with OUIL (Operating Under the Influence of Liquor) causing serious bodily injury when others are injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver.

When innocent people are victims of inebriated drivers, the consequences become much more serious for the accused. For example, a conviction may result in fines of up to $5,000 along with a maximum of five years in prison; defendant’s may be ordered by the court to forfeit their vehicle as well, in addition to driver’s license sanctions.

No one ever expects to cause or be involved in an accident after consuming alcohol, however it happens every day across the nation. Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to drive safely, although most who get behind the wheel believe they are “just fine” and will have no problem driving. When the unexpected happens and you find yourself facing criminal charges of DUI causing serious bodily injury or even death, it is extremely frightening and stressful.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, regardless of whether an accident occurred or anyone was injured, waste no time before consulting with a skilled and aggressive Michigan DUI defense attorney. Your freedom and legal rights must be protected by a lawyer who will fight on your behalf and work to secure good results.

On Monday, February 23, a sixth-grade teacher at Memminger Elementary School in Charleston, SC turned herself in to the County Sheriff’s Office after an investigation on Friday revealed the presence of marijuana at her home. Faith Jones-Paulus turned herself in this morning; her husband, Christopher Andrew Paulus, was arrested on Friday. dutch-weed-2-jpg-1206038-m

The incident began when investigators with the Charleston County Metro Major Case Unit were watching the home where the Paulus’s live on Friday. According to an ABC News article, deputies witnessed a white male going toward the back of the house; as they attempted to talk to him, he allegedly threw a 9mm firearm to the ground. The man was identified as Paulus, who then asked investigators if he could go into the house to get water and secure his dogs. Deputies went with Paulus, and noticed an odor of marijuana in the house. Paulus allegedly admitted that marijuana was in the home.

While investigating the house, deputies discovered an electric bill that had the name of Faith Jones-Paulus on it. They also discovered 451 grams of marijuana in one bedroom, and 6.2 pounds in another. While news reports do not say, it appears that Faith Jones-Paulus was not at home at the time investigators went through the house. Christopher Paulus was charged with several marijuana offenses, including second offense trafficking and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He was also charged with possession of marijuana in the proximity of a school.

Upon turning herself in Monday morning, Faith Jones-Paulus was charged with possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, and possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute within the proximity of a school.

Possession of marijuana within close proximity of a school is extremely serious, however possession with intent to distribute/deliver charges are even more serious. In the state of Michigan, those who are convicted of possession of marijuana with intent will face serious criminal penalties, depending on the amount of pot involved, criminal history, and other factors. Possession of less than 5 kilograms of cannabis can result in fines of up to $20,000, along with up to four years in prison. In amounts of more than 45 kilograms, defendants may face up to 15 years in prison along with fines of as much as $10 million.

Anyone who has been arrested or charged with marijuana possession or possession with intent to distribute/deliver should consult with a highly skilled Michigan drug crimes attorney immediately. Your legal rights must be protected; your lawyer will work to determine the best legal approach, working vigorously to keep you out of jail/prison and to have charges dismissed or secure an acquittal when possible.

Recently, a 55-year-old Dearborn Heights woman was sentenced to one year and a day, along with more than $225,000 in restitution for willfully filing false tax returns with the IRS, according to a press release issued recently by United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. Joining in the announcement was IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office, Jarod J. Koopman. commerce-acts-books-477966-m

According to the press release, Janey Golani was employed as an office manager of several companies owned by Latif “Randy” and Hind Oram. Golani embezzled from the Orams in an amount reaching almost $700,000 over a time period beginning in 2005 and ending in 2009. She admitted she intentionally did not report the money she embezzled from her employer as income, although she knew the money was taxable income and was to be reported on her income tax returns. She pleaded guilty to the charges against her in August of 2014.

Golani’s failure to report the income she obtained for her own personal use through embezzlement lowered her tax liability by more than $77,000 for the year 2008, according to the release. In all, the government experienced a tax loss in excess of $225,000 because of Golani’s failure to report the embezzled money on federal income tax returns for the years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

Special Agent in Charge Koopman said of the case, “The Internal Revenue Tax Code is clear; income that is derived from illegal sources is subject to income tax. Ms. Golani stole from her employer and filed false tax returns, both serious crimes for which she is being held accountable.”

Filing false tax returns and embezzling are both extremely serious charges. Referred to as white collar crimes, these offenses may leave those accused facing a substantial number of years in prison, along with fines, restitution, and a permanent criminal record. In addition, career professionals may lose their professional license for a conviction. Investigating these types of crimes is often complex, as there are mountains of paperwork and a long paper trail to unravel in order to come to the truth.

Anyone who is under investigation for embezzling or any financial crime should consult with a skilled Michigan white collar crimes defense attorney. Without a capable lawyer on your side, your freedom, legal rights, and reputation may be at risk.

On Saturday February 14, 39-year-old Terrence Lavaron Thomas was standing with a group of individuals at a suburban bus stop when he allegedly asked some whether they were Muslims, according to a recent news article at Mlive.com. Southfield Police Chief Eric Hawkins said that two of the individuals answered that they were not Muslims, at which point the two were stabbed by Thomas. On Tuesday it was reported that the case was being investigated as a potential hate crime by federal authorities. minneapolis-bus-stop-sign-576081-m

Hawkins said that Thomas was not happy with the answer given by the two victims, who are both in their early 50s. He allegedly attacked one of the victims with a 3-inch folding knife he pulled out, then stabbed the other in the hand as he attempted to bring a halt to the attack. Neither of the victims sustained serious injuries.

The defendant, who is charged with one count of carrying a dangerous weapon, one count of possession of a controlled substance, and two counts of assault with intent to murder, fled the scene after stabbing the victims, however he was arrested by police within minutes, according to Hawkins, who also said Thomas was carrying two knives along with some marijuana.

Thomas alleges that he is a Muslim, however the exact motive of the attacks has not been revealed. At the time of news reports, prosecutors were still contemplating whether a charge of ethnic intimidation should be added to the other charges Thomas faces. He could potentially face federal charges as well, if the FBI determines the attack was a hate crime.

Assault with intent to murder is a very serious charge; in fact, if convicted, the defendant could face any number of years to life in prison. Regardless of the facts of the case, every individual is innocent of allegations made against him or her until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors must prove specific elements of a crime in order for a defendant to be found guilty; a skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney will work to challenge the evidence, find weaknesses in the state’s case, and do whatever it takes to protect your freedom, reputation, and future.

If you have been arrested for any serious or violent crime, do not hesitate before contacting an experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer.

On February 4, Chad Bedlington, the new public works director for the city of Ferndale, was arrested after allegedly being caught holding an open can of beer while trying to start his vehicle by police. This incident occurred at approximately 1 a.m., after Bedlington had left a pub in Bellingham. On October 12, the new public works director was terminated by Mayor Gary Jensen. beer-bank-909045-m

Bedlington was formerly employed by the city of Bellingham as superintendent of maintenance and operations. He was hired by Ferndale in September of last year, with his six month probationary period ending the first of February this year, just before he was arrested on suspicion of DUI. In late January, a $95,000 per year contract was approved at a City Council meeting. According to the terms of that contract, he will receive four months’ severance pay following his termination.

In the state of Michigan, open containers of alcohol are not permitted by either a driver or passenger when the vehicle is being driven. Any containers that have been opened must be stored in an area where anyone inside the vehicle will not have easy access, such as a trunk. Anyone found with an open container in a vehicle may face misdemeanor charges, which could result in a maximum of 93 days in jail and a $500 fine if convicted. In addition, those found to have open containers containing beer, wine, or other intoxicants may face DUI charges in some cases.

Driving while under the influence is a serious criminal offense that may result in an individual not only losing his/her freedom and facing substantial fines, but driver’s license suspension, community service, a criminal record, and more. As evidenced above, offenses involving alcohol can bring an abrupt end to someone’s career. Ultimately, your reputation and even future job opportunities may be in jeopardy.

If you have been arrested or charged with open container intoxicants in a motor vehicle or any DUI offense, you do have legal rights that must be protected. An arrest does not equal a conviction! Consult with a skilled and aggressive Michigan DUI defense attorney immediately so that work can begin to protect your freedom, reputation, and career.

Friday the 13th did prove to be a very unlucky day for 43 people who were arrested for allegedly distributing methamphetamine and other drugs in Clayton, Oklahoma. According to a news article at Fox 25, the 43 arrests account for about 5% of the entire population of Clayton. pills-1023897-m

At the time of news reports, 23 of the suspects were in custody, and three more suspects had been arrested for outstanding warrants. Most of those arrested reside in rural areas in LeFlore, Latimer, and Pushmataha Counties. Pushmataha County is where the investigation into the drug distribution ring began back in December of 2013. Involved in the investigation were local authorities, and the OBN (Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics). According to Mark Woodward, spokesman for the OBN, the suspects would sell substantial amounts of prescription drugs and ‘ICE’ or crystal methamphetamine in Clayton and nearby vicinities.

Authorities began dismantling the drug ring early Friday morning as they began serving arrest warrants at about 7 a.m. Just over three hours later, they had taken 23 of the 43 suspects into custody. All were taken to the Pushmataha County Jail, and will face charges including the distribution of controlled substances.

Drug distribution is a serious issue across the U.S. As the problem grows worse, lawmakers increase the penalties those convicted of distributing or trafficking drugs will face if convicted. In the state of Michigan, those found guilty of distributing methamphetamine will face serious penalties that vary depending on the type of drug, amount involved, and other factors. Methamphetamine is a Schedule II drug, which means it is highly addictive and abused.

The criminal penalties for distribution or sale of methamphetamine in Michigan include fines of up to $25,000 along with a maximum of 20 years in prison. In addition, individuals who are convicted of methamphetamine distribution may be forced to forfeit cars, boats, or other property that was purchased using the profits gained from drug dealing. Driver’s license suspension and a permanent criminal record are other consequences of a conviction.

If you have been arrested for distributing meth or any illegal narcotic drug, or are under investigation, it is critical that you consult with a skilled and aggressive Michigan drug crimes attorney immediately. You have legal rights, and there are various options that may limit the damage to your life and prevent a conviction.