Sacramento Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
- The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
- The Department of Justice (DOJ)
Our experienced federal crime attorneys at the Abrate & Olsen Law Group are here to help you understand the various reasons that a federal agency may be contacting or investigating you. When you are first contacted, the federal agency may not be clear if you are being contacted as a witness or are the focus of the investigation. In many situations, federal investigations can be conducted for months before formal charges are filed. To best protect your rights, it is important to consult with an attorney that is experienced with the federal agencies and their process.
Federal agencies have virtually unlimited resources at their disposal when investigating federal crimes. Once an indictment is actually filed, your attorney could be forced to catch up on months of investigations on your case. Hiring the best federal crimes lawyer to represent you from the first contact with an investigator is the best way to ensure that your case is built on a level playing field.
Federal Crime Charges We Specialize In
Federal criminal defense attorneys Daniel Olsen and Michael Abrate have a proven track record of success in defending their clients who dealing with federal crimes. We represent clients in Federal District Courts for the Eastern District of California. Our law firm specializes is federal charges that include:
- Federal Drug Offences
- Federal Sex Crimes
- Investment Fraud
- Mortgage Fraud
- Racketeering & Gang Charges
- White Collar Crimes
Federal Drug Offenses
Many criminal cases that involve illegal drugs are tried in a California Criminal Court. However, cases that include more serious narcotics charges can result in federal drug charges. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) generally heads the investigation these situations.
While state drug laws can vary from state to state, federal narcotics distribution and trafficking laws supersede these laws. The Controlled Substance Act classifies all substances that are regulated under existing federal laws into five distinct categories or schedules. The laws are in place to penalize the selling, transportation, and illegal import of “unlawful controlled substances” in the United States. The five drug schedules of controlled substances include:
- Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse including: Heroin, LSD, Marijuana, MDMA (ecstasy), Psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and others.
- Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous, including: Amphetamine, Cocaine, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Methamphetamine, Oxycodone and others.
- Schedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence, including: Products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosterone
- Schedule IV drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence, including: Xanax, Soma, Darvocet, Valium, Ambien, Tramadol
- Schedule V drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes.
Punishment for violation of federal narcotics distribution and trafficking laws will vary based on the drug type, amount, and charge. In general, federal penalties are stiffer than those imposed by California law. Federal drug charges often result from a DEA investigation of a large group or criminal ring of people involved with illegal drug activity.
We understand that you may have been in a situation where you were associated with a group of people under investigation but were not directly involved. Our Sacramento federal criminal defense attorneys are here to protect your rights and freedom. We have a proven record of successfully defending clients in federal court by seeking to have the charges dismissed and/or greatly reduced.
To learn more about how the Abrate & Olsen Law Group can help you with your federal drug charges, please contact our law office to schedule a legal consultation today.
Federal Sex Crimes
Our federal sex crime lawyers provide you with extensive experience and success in navigating the complex and often oppressive laws and prosecution associated with sex crimes. We understand that an accusation doesn’t mean you’re guilty and strongly believe in your right to be treated innocent until proven guilty.
In the United States, federal sex crimes are some of the most serious offenses you can be charged with. The severe penalties that are associated will typically involve significant federal prison terms, large fines, and require sex offender registration which continues to have a negative impact on life after serving a prison sentence.
Federal law can apply to numerous sex offences, as defined under Title 18 of the United States Code, and can include:
- Aggravated Sexual Abuse or Rape
- Sex Crimes Involving Children and Minors
- Human Trafficking or Sexual Slavery
- Federal Crime Pornography Violations
- Sex Abuse Involving Death
- Abusive Sexual Contact Crimes
- Repeat Sex Offender Crimes
- Federal Sex Registry Failure to Notify Crime
Our investment fraud attorneys will work with you to understand the unique circumstances that have resulted in a federal investigation and/or an arrest or indictment from investment fraud charges. As with other federal white-collar charges, investment fraud cases are often complicated and are the result of government agencies spending years and countless resources in their investigation. To ensure the best outcome possible, it is vital to attain legal counsel from an experienced federal criminal defense attorney from the very beginning.
Investment fraud is investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI defines investment fraud as, “… the illegal sale or purported sale of financial instruments.” Examples of federal investment fraud include advance fee fraud, Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, and market manipulation fraud.
Additional areas that are investigated by the FBI for investment fraud include Securities Fraud and Insider Trading. Investment advisors, investment companies, and corporations can be charged with a violation of investor’s rights relating to:
- Stock Option Back Dating Market Timing Trades
- Investment Schemes
- Brokerage Fraud
- Telemarketing Fraud
From our law office located in Sacramento, California, our federal criminal defense lawyers have successfully represented clients charged with mortgage fraud. Following the 2008 mortgage meltdown that resulted in a financial crisis, many banks and mortgage lenders essentially began using the federal government as a way to collect on bad loans. Our attorneys have a proven process to protect your rights and aggressively defend you against mortgage fraud charges.
When borrowers are unable to make their monthly mortgage payments, the banks review the original applications. They try to locate situations where mortgage officials orally encouraged applicants to misrepresent their income or other deciding factors on their applications. If the banks assume that there is an instance of misstatement of income or misrepresentation of facts, they will often turn the case over to the federal government for further investigation.
It is important to understand that you can be charged in federal court for mortgage or bank fraud in situations where:
- The bank or mortgage company knew you were making a false statement
- The bank or mortgage company encouraged you to misrepresent the facts
- 98% of the information on the application was correct
- The loan application was denied
While a loan may have been negligently granted, it may not be considered a fraudulent loan. The government has been aggressively prosecuting bank and mortgage lending officers involved with the mortgage meltdown of 2008. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has targeted and charged numerous mortgage brokers, mid-level bank officers, and community bankers rather than the companies, banks, and firms they represented.
Your best chance to fight federal mortgage charges is by hiring an attorney who is experienced in federal court. Contact the mortgage fraud defense lawyers at the Abrate & Olsen Law Group today to schedule a legal consultation to review the facts of your case.
Racketeering & Gang Charges
Racketeering activity is defined by the Cornell Law School as, “Any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical.” Racketeering charges were originally used to target mafia bosses in 1970s under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
The RICO Act is now primarily used in federal criminal cases involving alleged gang members, corrupt government officials, and businesses that engage some form of fraud for an extended period of time. Our Sacramento racketeering defense lawyers at the Abrate & Olsen Law Group have the experience and knowledge necessary to handle the complexity of these cases and guide you through the process.
For the Federal Government to develop a RICO case, they must successfully establish a pattern of racketeering activity and often include other serious crimes including but not limited to,
- Drug Dealing
- Mail and/or Wire Fraud
- Prostitution and Sex Trafficking
- Money Laundering
- Obstruction of Justice
- Conduct: The defendant knowingly participated in the criminal enterprise and carried out the direction of the enterprise.
- Enterprise: For RICO cases, enterprise is defined to include any individual, partnership, corporation, group or other entity. There must be an “ascertainable structure distinct from the conduct of a pattern of racketeering.” Meaning that the organization would still exist without the illegal activity.
- Pattern: There must be a minimum of two acts of racketeering activity, however, proving multiple acts is not enough. Per the 1989 S. Supreme Court Case 87-1252, some degree of continuity to the action must be presented, either closed (over an extended period of time) or open-ended (a future threat of repetition).
- Racketeering Activity: The federal statute includes 35 crimes, including both federal and state level, that may establish racketeering activity.
Despite the government’s requirement to establish these major elements to obtain a conviction, your best defense against racketeering and gang charges, is hiring a law firm experienced in federal court. Contact the Sacramento racketeering defense lawyers at the Abrate & Olsen Law Group today for a personal consultation today.
White Collar Crimes
Federal white-collar crimes pertain to business or commercial dealings that are usually alleged to have been conducted for an individual’s financial gain. Federal criminal charges involving white collar crimes including fraud, embezzlement, and tax evasion are generally prosecuted in federal court. This is always the case when the crimes allegedly victimize the United States government like in cases of Medicare fraud or tax fraud. Our attorneys at the Abrate & Olsen Law Group can aggressively represent clients facing federal white collar criminal charges including:
- Banking and Financial Fraud
- Environmental Fraud
- Financial Crimes
- Health Care Fraud
- Internet and Computer Crimes
- Real Estate Fraud
The goal of our criminal defense attorneys is to aggressively defend your reputation and devastating professional consequences that can come as a result of white collar crime accusations and prosecution. Our initial defense strategy builds a solid legal argument to convince the federal prosecution team that the case will not result in the outcome they desire. To build this preemptive defense, we utilize our years of experience and knowledge practicing as both prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys.
Should your federal white-collar case result in an indictment, you can rest assured that our legal team will thoroughly prepare for your case. We will meticulously review all of the facts and circumstances involved with your case to design the best defense strategy possible. During the process we investigate all potential defenses, consult with additional experts, and explore unique and creative options available to you.
Your best option to protect your reputation, assets, and freedom is to hire a law firm that is experienced in federal white-collar crimes like the Abrate & Olsen Law Group. Contact our law office today to schedule a legal consultation to review your case today.
Federal Crimes Process
While the types of federal crimes can vary, the process that the federal government and its agencies follow when investigating and prosecuting cases remains similar in most situations. There are two main stages included in the process, a federal investigation of the charges and, if needed, an indictment will be filled followed by a federal criminal trial.
Federal Investigation of Criminal Charges
We understand that learning that you’re under investigation by the federal government can be a life changing experience, both personally and professionally. Our criminal defense attorneys, Daniel Olsen and Michael Abrate are here to answer your questions, guide you through the federal investigation process, and provide you with the best defense strategy along the way.
There are five potential ways you may learn that you are under federal investigation.
- A federal agent contacts you. A representative from a number of federal law enforcement agencies may approach you at home or at work to speak with you. If you are not present, they may leave a card with their contact information for you to call. If you are a federal employee, you may be asked to visit your agency’s Office of Inspector General while at work for an interview.
- Receive a letter from an Assistant United States Attorney. In this situation, you will receive what is referred to as a “target letter” informing you that you are the target of a federal investigation.
- Receive a subpoena for documents to the grand jury. This is very common is cases involving white-collar crimes. Understanding how to respond to a subpoena is vital to protecting your rights. Our attorneys are ready to aid you in the best practices to comply with a federal subpoena.
- Federal agents execute a search warrant. This is potentially the worst scenario to learn that you are under federal investigation. Generally, the agents will execute the search warrant at you home or offices early in the morning.
- Learn from friends, colleagues, or a former business relationship. In this situation, how you react can work to strengthen the governments case. You may desire to learn as much as you can from others about the investigation. However, your actions may get back to the investigating agency providing them with information revealing your current thoughts. This can result in powerful government evidence that can be presented to a jury during prosecution.
Ultimately, no matter how you learn that you are under federal investigation, your first action should be to contact a federal criminal defense lawyer to represent you. Hiring an attorney does not suggest that you are in any way guilty of the charges you are being investigated for. Rather a good defense attorney will guide you in the best practices for complying with the federal investigation while ensuring that your civil rights and freedoms are being protected.
Hiring a criminal defense attorney as soon as you learn or believe that you are under federal investigation allows your attorney to work proactively on your behalf. Our attorneys have successfully presented preemptive defenses that resulted in the government to end their investigations.
Contact our law offices today to schedule a personal consultation to review your current legal situation.
Indictment and Federal Criminal Trial
A federal criminal case will generally consist of three separate steps if the government has decided to file an indictment against you. The three steps are:
- Determination of Custody Status (Detention)
- Preliminary Hearing
- Trial or Plea
During this part of the process, you will be formally charged in federal criminal court of the crimes the government alleges you have committed. You will appear before a magistrate judge for an initial hearing on the case. You are allowed to have your attorney present with you to learn more about your rights and the charges being filed against you. Once you understand your rights and the charges against you, you will be asked to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges.
2. Determination of Custody Status (Detention)
If you enter a plea of not guilty, the judge will make a determination of your custody status. The judge will hold a hearing to learn the specifics of the case and learn more about you. The judge will consider factors such as:
- Are you considered a danger to the community
- How long you have lived in the area and what/if family are nearby
- Prior criminal record
- Any potential threats made to witnesses in the case
- Are you a flight risk
Your attorney will craft an argument for your release from jail leading up to and during the trial. This argument may include witness testimonials and evidence to your good character. The judge will rule on this motion and set the conditions for your release if granted.
If bail is not awarded, or if you are unable to financially post the set bail, the judge will order you remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals pending trial.
3. Preliminary Hearing
The preliminary hearing is like a mini-trial where the prosecution will call witnesses and introduce evidence. We are able to represent you during this hearing and will have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, but are unable to object to using certain evidence at this stage. Preliminary hearings are not always required and you have the option to waive the hearing.
The Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting your trial will have to provide evidence about the case and the basis for why the trial should proceed. During this time, we will be filing pretrial motions where appropriate, to have the case dismissed as well as make arguments against evidence that should be thrown out.
This hearing must happen within 14 days of the initial hearing if you remain in custody. If you have been released on bail, the hearing must happen within 21 days of the initial hearing.
4. Trial or Plea
As part of our defense strategy, we will research and present all the legal options available to you. There are generally three options available to you, enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or accept a plea bargain negotiated between your legal team and the prosecution.
If you choose to enter a guilty plea, your case will skip the trial phase and go to sentencing. If you and your attorney have negotiated a plea bargain, you will generally enter a guilty plea on modified charges for a better sentencing outcome. Entering a not guilty plea will send the case to a jury trial.
During the trial the government will present its case and evidence against you. We will work to prove the errors in their case and present witnesses and evidence of our own to prove your innocence. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury will find you guilty or not guilty. A not guilty verdict will set you free and exonerate you of any wrong doing. If the jury finds you guilty, the case will proceed to the sentencing stage.
Federal sentencing for criminal cases can be very complicated, but we will walk you through the entire process and fight to get you the best situation possible. The first thing to understand is the judge will consider the federal sentencing guidelines. This is a manual that is published by an independent sentencing commission that sets a range of imprisonment for each federal crime and for each person that commits the crimes.
While the judge will consider the sentencing commission manual, they are not required to follow the guidelines. The judge is required to consider many factors, including looking at:
- You as a person and your character
- What happened and WHY it happened
- How people were harmed by the crime
Having an attorney that takes the necessary time to really know you as a person and the situation that you were in will give the best explanation of the factors that are considered and present them in a way to best convince the judge to give the lowest possible sentence.
Your Best Federal Crimes Defense – Hire an Experienced Attorney Right Away
Choosing to hire an experienced federal criminal defense team, like Sacramento attorneys Daniel Olsen and Michael Abrate, is the best way to ensure that your legal rights will be defended. We are dedicated to guiding you through the process, answering your questions, and developing the strongest defense possible to secure the best outcome for your case. We work to minimize your fears and concerns by building the trust you require in your legal defense.
If you believe you are currently under federal investigation or have been charged with a federal crime, give yourself the peace of mind that you have the best Sacramento criminal defense attorneys aggressively fighting for your rights and freedom. Contact our law office today to schedule a confidential legal consultation today.