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Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz, P.A.
Sophisticated defense from
a former federal prosecutor

Criminal Defense Blog

Registered sex offenders face serious obstacles during holidays

If you have been convicted of a sex crime like possession of child pornography, rape or sexual misconduct online and are required to register as a sex offender as a result, you should already know the toll this requirement takes on your life. Even if you have completed all the other conditions of a criminal sentence, you may find it impossible to move forward if you are a registered sex offender.

This can be especially true as we enter the holiday season. This time of year is often considered to be one of joy and compassion; but for anyone on the registry, it can be a time of isolation, stress and legal complications.

Understanding more about employment tax crimes

As a business owner, you have likely invested countless hours and considerable resources into watching your operation grow and even thrive beyond your expectations. Given this substantial investment of time, money and energy, it can be incredibly alarming to learn from the Internal Revenue Service that you are currently under investigation for -- or are being criminally charged with -- willfully failing to collect or pay over to the IRS the federal withholding from employees.

In today's post, the first in a series, we'll start taking a closer look at the employment tax requirements to which all employers are subject.

Don't underestimate the online reach of the federal government

To the average computer user, the Internet may seem like something of an untamed landscape at least as far as the law is concerned. In other words, they may see the World Wide Web as exhilarating and useful, yet largely uncharted territory where the potential risk to the unsuspecting person is great and the reach of law enforcement is limited.

While some of this is perhaps true to a certain degree, it would prove to be a mistake to believe that law enforcement doesn't maintain a strong online presence.

How much do you really know about embezzlement? - II

Last month, our blog began discussing how even though both state and federal authorities have gone to great lengths to crack down on mortgage fraud, tax fraud and general corporate misconduct over the last decade, they have by no means abandoned their efforts to tackle other white collar crimes, including embezzlement.

More significantly, we started examining how embezzlement is defined under Florida law, what a prosecutor must prove in an embezzlement case and whether it's always classified as a felony. 

Lawmakers call for progressive approach to state's heroin problem

In our last post, we spent some time discussing how a recent report from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission revealed that the state continues to have major problems with heroin. Indeed, the report authors found that the number of heroin-related fatalities in the state reached an astounding 447 in 2014, a nearly ninefold increase from just four years ago when authorities saw roughly 50 heroin-related fatalities.

We also discussed how many experts attributed this public health crisis to the recent crackdown on the state's "pill mills," and the unwavering commitment of law enforcement officials to putting arrests and convictions ahead of treatment and rehabilitation.

Report: Heroin and fentanyl continuing to ravage Florida

The Florida Medical Examiners Commission recently released a report outlining the number of heroin- and fentanyl-related fatalities in the state last year, and the numbers are nothing less than shocking.

Indeed, the report found that Florida saw 447 heroin-related fatalities and 538 fentanyl-related fatalities in 2014. While these numbers are certainly discouraging enough on their own, consider that there were roughly 50 heroin-related fatalities and 200 fentanyl-related fatalities in 2010, meaning that each category has increased by nearly ninefold and twofold, respectively, over the last four years.

Civil forfeiture: A favorite tool of the IRS

When it comes to the notion of civil forfeiture, meaning scenarios in which the federal and state governments confiscates property, most people envision law enforcement officials seizing the million dollar homes or fleets of luxury vehicles owned by those convicted of serious white collar crimes or drug-related offenses.

While this is by no means an inaccurate depiction, it's important to understand that the civil forfeiture rules are written in such a way that government agencies can lawfully seize property or cash it merely suspects has been used in some sort of criminal activity. In other words, no conviction or no criminal charges are even required.

How much do you really know about embezzlement?

Over the last decade, the term white collar crime has perhaps become synonymous with major criminal activity like mortgage fraud, tax fraud and general misconduct by corporate executives. Indeed, the Justice Department announced just last month that it would be pursuing a new white collar crime strategy in the coming years, specifically targeting individual executives and employees for prosecution.

As interesting as this trend has been, it's important to understand that both federal and state authorities have in no way lost their zeal for prosecuting other white collar crimes, including securities fraud, money laundering and, of course, embezzlement.

More states abolishing benefits bans for ex-drug offenders

According to data from both the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, an astounding 1.5 million people -- or roughly one in 35 people -- were behind bars here in the U.S. as recently as 2013.

In light of the high costs associated with maintaining such large prison populations, officials in many states have recently been exploring ways in which to reduce recidivism and, by extension, the collateral consequences that can accompany convictions.

Tale of decryption

Federal investigators pursued a Florida man they suspected of sex crimes for three years. Officials said he used sophisticated encryption software and other programs to shield files from law enforcement.

However, efforts to crack open the encrypted files finally paid off, officials said. In a courtroom south of Orlando, the suspect recently pleaded not guilty to three charges: distributing, receiving and possessing child pornography. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison on each count.

Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz, P.A.
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Orlando, FL 32801

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