The Federal Government, and specifically the United States Attorney’s Office, have recently dominated the news with high profile prosecutions. Convictions in the trials of former NYS Majority Leader, Dean Skelos, and former Speaker of the NYS Assembly, Sheldon Silver, as well as the arrest and pending prosecution of former Chief of the Suffolk County Police Department, James Burke, are examples of long-term federal investigations wherein the Federal Government invests immeasurable resources before bringing criminal charges. However, make no mistake, holding a high profile job is not a prerequisite for becoming a target of the Federal government. In recent years the attorneys at Foley Griffin have represented a number of clients in different types of federal prosecutions.
For example, in a recent case we represented a young man who was charged in a large mortgage fraud scheme wherein banks were defrauded out of millions of dollars. In short, “Chris” was a loan officer at a mortgage brokers office and was responsible for processing loan applications for prospective borrowers. Unfortunately, Chris did what he was told and processed several loans with fraudulent information regarding the borrowers. Eventually, the scheme to defraud was investigated and uncovered by the FBI. Approximately two dozen people were arrested for their various roles in the scheme and Chris was one of them. Chris, like the others arrested, was charged as part of a bigger “conspiracy” and therefore could be criminally liable for the entire scheme and faced the same potential exposure as those who stole millions of dollars.
From the outset it was our job to separate Chris and his role in the scheme from those who were the true masterminds and who benefited the most from the crimes committed. Fortunately for Chris, the Nassau County criminal defense attorneys at Foley Griffin were able to dissect Chris’ role in the case and convince the federal government that Chris, while guilty of a minor role in the scheme, should not be held liable on the same level of many of his co-defendants. The punishment Chris received was minimal compared to his potential exposure at the outset of the case. This outcome was the result of the attorneys at Foley Griffin fighting hard to make sure that Chris was treated justly and fairly, not under what the law allowed, but under the facts of this specific case and Chris’ specific role. The potential for Chris to be treated unduly harsh yet still within the parameters of the law was very real at the outset. Thankfully, due to hard work and zealous advocacy, the just outcome was achieved.