On Oct. 22, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would make it a federal crime to commit acts of animal cruelty. The bipartisan legislation, which received unanimous approval, was introduced by Florida Reps. Ted Deutch, a Democrat, and Vern Buchanan, a Republican.
Florida residents may be interested to learn that the SEC filed a lawsuit on Feb. 13 against a corporate attorney who formerly worked for Apple. According to the SEC's public filing, the lawyer used his corporate position to engage in blatant insider trading. He allegedly gained or saved over $380,000 through illicit means. Because federal white-collar crimes cause people to lose faith in investment and financial systems in general, society recognizes that these offenses are quite serious. The lawyer could face up to 20 years in prison as well as a $5 million fine.
Identity theft can impact any person at any time. For instance, an individual in Florida could pretend to be someone in another state or country using information gathered online or through other sources. Examples include physically grabbing someone's wallet or sending a phony email. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of identity theft complaints doubled, and it is believed that there are more victims who are not included in official numbers.
The owner and two managers operating Billing USA, a medical billing company located in Little Havana, have been convicted of health care fraud. A federal prosecutor documented their fraudulent claims totaling $5,692,102 to the insurers Blue Cross and Cigna.
A former Florida day trader pleaded guilty on Dec. 11 to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud after admitting to playing a role in a ring to steal confidential details from investment banks. According to authorities, the stolen confidential information was used for the purpose of helping clients make trades.
A 43-year-old man and 44-year-old woman have pleaded guilty to harboring illegal immigrants in their Jacksonville home, according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida. The immigrants stayed at the home so they could work at the married couple's Japanese restaurant.
Investigations by the Operation Northern Lights Task Force have resulted in the convictions of three men, ages 23, 24 and 33, for multiple drug and firearms charges. According to federal officials, they belonged to the street gang "Boss Life" that has been associated with violent crime in the Miami-Dade area. The men engaged in over 30 weapons or drug purchases with undercover agents from April 2015 to November 2016.
The majority of court systems across the nation currently rely on what is known as wealth-based pre-trial detention. In other words, a system whereby those defendants able to post bail are released from jail while those unable to do so must remain behind bars until their day in court -- something that might not happen for months or years.
As we've discussed at length on our blog, Jeff Sessions has not only been busy establishing the priorities of the Department of Justice going forward, but also undoing some of the policies put in place by his predecessors since taking on the mantle of U.S. Attorney General.
In a series of ongoing posts, we've been exploring more about the federal criminal justice system in an attempt to help people better understand and appreciate the complexity of these cases. To that end, we've explored how federal investigations are carried out and, most recently, how federal grand juries work.