Call us today: 646-820-0224

 

NYC Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

Our firm is changing the rules of criminal defense and regulatory litigation in New York and across the country. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, real-time client communication, custom defense team building and innovative strategy, we are rewriting the book on criminal defense.

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Federal Criminal Defense

We represent individuals who have been charged with or are being investigated for a full range of federal crimes nationwide.

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White Collar Defense and Regulatory Enforcement

We defend public officials, executives, board members, securities brokers, traders, law enforcement personnel, and employees facing criminal charges, internal investigations and regulatory enforcement actions.

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Criminal Appeals

Our attorneys have successfully appealed to The United States Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts throughout the country.

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Asset Forfeiture Litigation

We help people who face asset forfeiture including government seizure of money, property or other items.

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Our Commitment

The Henry Law Firm PLLC is committed to excellence and providing aggressive, impactful legal representation to people in New York City, New York State and around the country.  Our NYC federal criminal defense lawyers have a depth of experience in federal criminal and white collar criminal defense cases that is unmatched by other boutique criminal defense litigation firms.  Our attorneys draw from over a decade of experience handling every type of federal criminal case in trial and appellate courts from North Carolina to Hawaii.  Our lawyer’s ability to leverage those years of experience, advanced litigation technology and innovative defense strategies allows us to deliver outstanding representation and results.  That is why we implemented a four-point philosophy that helps us achieve great results for our clients.  Our commitment to defending individuals and institutions is unwavering.

 

Always Available

If you have been contacted by a federal law enforcement agent, received a target letter notifying you of an investigation or have already been arrested, we are available to assist you at any time.  Our firm prides itself on client engagement through multiple avenues of communication.  In the most critical time of your life, contacting experienced legal counsel is the most important thing you can do.  At The Henry Law PLLC we know that time is of the essence.

Results-Driven Trial Lawyers

Not every case goes to trial, but at the heart of every great defense is the ability of an attorney to put the pressure on the government at trial.  Our attorneys have tried federal criminal cases to verdict in multiple districts around the country.  While we recognize that trial is not always the right move, our finely tuned ability to prepare and execute a winning trial strategy gives us the upper hand when negotiating outcomes.  That is why we attack every case using an aggressive, trial-ready strategy designed to achieve results.  And, when the cards are on the table we will bring our significant trial experience to bear.

Appellate and Administrative Enforcement Representation

Inevitably, many federal and white collar cases have associated administrative enforcement, appellate or forfeiture components.  We have significant experience defending against investigations and enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other administrative bodies.  Our attorneys have successfully argued appeals in the United States Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts around the country.  We have also successfully recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for clients in civil forfeiture actions by state and local law enforcement agencies.

High Quality

We strive to make every client feel that they are receiving a personal commitment and attention from our entire team.  We accept new engagements in a way that ensures that our institutional and individual clients are provided the responsiveness, service and results consistent with the highest standards of excellence.  in this way, we are able to focus our attention and resources on our select clientele to deliver serious legal firepower.

Laser-Focused Representation

Our firm focuses on federal crimes and white collar violations specifically.  We spend every hour of our day researching, writing, reading and talking about federal and white collar crime.  We have thousands of hours of training in the intricacies of federal crimes and financial crimes.  We do not pretend to be a full-service criminal defense firm.  Ours is a firm solely dedicated to the most aggressive, well-informed defense for individuals and corporations facing criminal or civil penalties in federal courts. Our laser-focused approach to these narrow subsets of criminal defense provide our clients with the assurance that their case is being handled by a seasoned attorney who has devoted years of their career to defending these kinds of cases.  The difference is our knowledge of the rules, regulations and procedures that make this area of the law so complex.  Our clients can rest assured that we are up to date on the most recent updates and changes in the law.  The results speak for themselves.

The Go-To Firm for White Collar and Federal Criminal Defense

Our attorneys have been recognized for excellence in white collar criminal defense and federal criminal defense by multiple legal publications, organizations and their peers.  Our attorneys have been named SuperLawyers by Thomson Reuters, have been rated 5 out of 5 and named AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell and have consistently been rated 5 out of 5 stars by former clients.  That reputation has been earned over the course of hundreds of cases in federal trial and appellate courts around the nation.

Our Resources

No matter how serious the case, we are equipped to handle whatever comes your way.  We regularly engage forensic experts, accountants, investigators, former federal agents and other specialists to assist us in our defense.  Through a carefully cultivated network of trusted experts, we are able to provide you with the most informed, strategic defense possible.  Having the right team of people on your side is often the difference between a good result and a great result. We have also harnessed the power of technology to provide serious litigation firepower and a unique ability for our clients to stay engaged in their representation.  Using programs that increase our capability to review and dissect discovery, organize and produce substantive legal documents and present forceful, memorable courtroom presentations, we are able to set ourselves apart from other firms and the government.  We have also implemented innovative client communication tools that provide clients access to their case documents, encrypted attorney direct messaging, video conferencing and interactive scheduling and calendar tools.  The ability to see your case move forward in real time allows you to stay engaged and provides the attorneys with insightful feedback.

Innovative Fee Solutions

Our open-minded approach to valuing our professional services gives our clients an ability to achieve a workable fee structure while ensuring they receive quality legal representation.  Our firm offers multiple payment options, and has experience obtaining 3rd-party funding if available.  When everything is on the line, we offer peace of mind

Can I Plead the Fifth in a Company Internal Investigation?

You probably already understand that only a state, local, or federal prosecutor can bring criminal charges against you, and that your employer’s attorneys or outside law firm may have the power to discipline you in the form of suspension or termination, but they cannot put you in jail. But what your employer’s lawyers can do is to report information about you – including statements you have made and your work emails and other records – to the government, which can then use that information in any way it pleases, including in preparing civil actions and/or criminal charges against you. Which raises the question of whether it is appropriate for an employee, manager, director, officer, or other individual to raise the protections of the Fifth Amendment in an internal investigation conducted by a business entity.

Why Companies Report Misconduct to the Government

It may seem counterintuitive that your employer would self-report incriminating information relating to its employees’ work on their behalf – as companies are often but not always liable for the acts of employees within the scope of employment – but such is the nature of white collar civil and criminal investigations in recent decades.

More and more, state and federal investigators incentivize companies to self-report wrongdoing by employees. Common ways in which this occurs is that prosecutors and companies will reach a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) or non-prosecution agreement (NPA), by which the company will avoid prosecution itself by agreeing to undertake other actions, such as paying fines, instituting new procedures, and/or taking actions against individuals in the company perceived to be problematic. This is generally only done when the company makes efforts to self-report, e.g. handing over the findings of an internal investigation.

This of course can be a relatively good outcome for the company, but not for the individuals who are on the receiving end of the company’s internal actions. Furthermore, the government may bring civil and/or criminal proceedings against the individuals based on information provided by the company.

You Are Not Obligated to Incriminate Yourself

The Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination applies only to the government and its agents, meaning that it would only make sense for an individual to invoke his or her Fifth Amendment rights when being questioned by an agent of a state, local, or federal government.

That said, you are never obligated to respond to questions from private parties, including your supervisor, HR department, in-house counsel, or an outside law firm conducting an internal investigation. Of course, your employer is, in many cases, not obligated to continue employing if you refuse to participate in an internal investigation related to your conduct at work.

Thus, rather than invoking your Fifth Amendment right in an internal investigation where you have reason to believe negative consequences might flow from what you say, a more appropriate action is to work with an experienced white collar defense attorney who can assess your situation and help you strategize what your best options are in light of your circumstances. Those options might range from simply providing your employer with all information requested to being represented by an attorney during all questioning, and so on, but only a white collar attorney that represents you can provide you with that guidance.

Contact a New York Defense Attorney Today

The Henry Law Firm PLLC provides criminal defense to individuals and businesses throughout New York in all state and federal investigations and prosecutions. If you believe you may be under investigation for any state or federal crime, do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your matter.

What Does it Mean to Have “Constructive Possession” of a Firearm in New York?

Although we often hear about a lack of gun control in the U.S., federal agents arrest around 7,000 individuals for firearms violations every year, and many more arrests are made at the state level. While the Second Amendment and current federal regulations do allow for legal ownership of a wide variety of firearms, you can face stiff criminal penalties if arrested for possession of an illegal weapon. Furthermore, felony convicts and others who have had their gun ownership rights revoked also face arrest, which are among the most common type of federal firearms. States and localities such as New York do go further than federal law in regulating firearms, requiring permits for pistol ownership and outlawing assault rifles. But what does it mean to have possession of a firearm in New York? Under the concept of “constructive possession,” defendants in firearms crime cases face legal challenges in asserting their criminal defense in New York.

Possession and Constructive Possession Defined

First off, it should be understood that possession is not the same as ownership. If you are holding a firearm, you are possessing it, regardless of whether someone loaned it to you even for a brief moment, you are transferring it to someone else, or you simply found it.

Constructive possession takes the concept of possession a step further. It says that a person can be considered to have possessed a firearm – and thus run afoul of any relevant firearm laws – even if the firearm was not literally in their possession. Specifically, New York courts have held that: a defendant has property in his or her constructive possession when that defendant:

  • exercises a level of control over the area in which the property is found, OR
  • exercises control over the person from whom the property is seized, AND
  • this control was sufficient to give the defendant the ability to use or dispose of the property

New York legal authorities have also said that two people can both have constructive possession over contraband when: “they each exercise dominion or control over the property by a sufficient level of control over the area in which the property is found.”

Defending Against Constructive Possession Charges

Taking the above definition, this means that prosecutors can bring charges for illegal possession of a firearm when the defendant is not literally possessing the firearm on his body or in his personal belongings, but where a gun is simply found on a person over whom he has control (e.g. a spouse, a child, a subordinate, etc.) or in property he possesses, such as a shared home, vehicle, or business.

That said, it is important to remember that prosecutors must prove every element of a firearms charge beyond a reasonable doubt, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can cast doubt and present contrary arguments against the prosecutor’s allegations.

Such defenses can take any number of specific forms, but might include questioning whether a defendant did in fact have control over the person or the property on which the firearm was found or whether the defendant was even aware of the presence of the firearm. Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney about the best defense in your particular circumstance.

Contact a New York Defense Attorney Today

The Henry Law Firm PLLC provides criminal defense to individuals and businesses throughout New York in all state and federal investigations and prosecutions. If you believe you may be under investigation for any state or federal crime, do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your matter.

Are There Legal Defenses to Extortion/Blackmail?

Extortion and blackmail crimes both involve threats made against another person to do violence to that person or their property – which can include publicizing facts about that person to damage his or her reputation – for the purpose of extracting money or other property from the person. Under both state and federal law, an extortion conviction is a felony that can mean many years in prison, fines, as well as a ruined personal and professional reputation. But sometimes people are investigated and/or charged with extortion based on exaggerations or statements taken out of context. If you are under investigation for extortion, it is important to obtain experienced legal counsel to present your best defenses to the potential charges.

Lack of Evidence to Support an Extortion Charge

Extortion statutes may vary across states and at the federal level, but in general they require that the defendant have knowingly made a threat to damage the person, property, or reputation of a victim with the purpose of obtaining money or other property from the victim.

When a disagreement between parties gets out of control, an extortion or blackmail allegation may arise based on what has actually just heated negotiations and discussions which should not be taken literally or which were not based on an actual intent to threaten another person. Your defense attorney can assess all of the available evidence for relevance and strength and cast doubt on the prosecutor’s allegations in this regard, as the prosecutor is required to prove your intent beyond a reasonable doubt.

Lack of Admissible Evidence

Even where evidence may support elements of an extortion or blackmail charge, that evidence can only be used against you where it is admissible based on being legally obtained by police and other government agents.

If evidence was obtained through illegal means – including custodial interrogations that did not include Miranda warnings, detainments not supported by reasonable suspicion, questionings that did not honor your right to counsel, searches not conducted via a warrant or a warrant exception – your attorney can successfully argue that such evidence should not presented to a jury and that charges should be dismissed.

Attempted Extortion or Conspiracy to Commit Extortion

When no money or property was actually obtained in response to an alleged extortion threat, prosecutors may still try to bring charges based on an attempt to extort or even a conspiracy (agreement) to commit conspiracy. In such cases, your attorney can argue that you did not have the requisite intent for either an attempt or conspiracy and/or that no significant steps were actually taken in furtherance of committing extortion.

Other Defenses to Extortion

Other defenses that your attorney may raise to an extortion charge could include:

  • You performed illegal acts under duress
  • You were voluntarily or involuntarily intoxicated at the time, negating the mental intent
  • You otherwise lacked the mental capacity to commit extortion

Speak to an experienced defense attorney at the first sign of an extortion investigation to begin mounting your best defense to all potential charges.

Contact a New York Extortion Defense Attorney Today

The Henry Law Firm PLLC provides criminal defense to individuals and businesses throughout New York in all state and federal investigations and prosecutions. If you believe you may be under investigation for any state or federal crime, do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your matter.  

Can Criminal Liability Exist Even if You Were “Ignorant” to Criminal Activity?

One of the first responses many people have when confronted by law enforcement over their allegedly illegal activity (or by internal investigators on the job) is to say “I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.” This is highly problematic for several reasons. First, for reasons that will be explained more in-depth below, whether you thought you were committing an illegal act is often completely irrelevant to whether you might have criminal liability for that act. Second, a statement that you did commit an act that you did not think was illegal (but which in fact was) is essentially the same as admitting to authorities, “I committed an illegal act.”

Whether or not you did in fact commit an illegal act can be the basis of analysis and arguments between your defense attorney and prosecutors, but you should never attempt to do this on your own in front of investigators without speaking first to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can assess the facts and the applicable law and formulate the best strategies and defenses on your behalf.

Is Ignorance of the Law Really “No Defense?”

The phrase “ignorance of the law is no defense” is based in truth, but there are ways in which it can be misapplied to a situation. The phrase is truthful in the sense that a person’s failure to know that a certain criminal law exists does not make them innocent for violating the law. For example, if you possess a certain synthetic drug that was recently made illegal by state or federal law, you can be criminally charged for possession nonetheless.

That said, some criminal laws include knowledge or mens rea requirements, and your knowledge of what you were doing when you committed the allegedly illegal act (as opposed to your knowledge of the law itself) can come into play as a defense.

Specific intent crimes require prosecutors to prove your intent to commit a specific act. For example, larceny crimes often require an intent to deprive another person of property, and accidentally taking property you thought was yours could be a valid defense.

General intent crimes, on the other hand, do not require a specific intent to bring about a result, but rather a lower standard of knowledge of what one was doing. Examples include certain arson and rape crimes.

For strict liability crimes, such as statutory rape, a person can be criminally charged even if they thought they were committing a legal act (e.g. believed a sexual partner to be of the age of consent).

Aiding and Abetting / Accomplice Liability

Another common issue that arises with individuals being charged with crimes for which they lacked full knowledge is in the area of accomplice liability, otherwise known as aiding and abetting. With accomplice liability, a person can be charged with a crime that he did not actually take the action to commit if he provided assistance or encouragement in the commission of that criminal act, even without full knowledge of the criminal nature of the actions.

Common scenarios that criminal accomplice liability can attach include:

  • Providing assistance in engaging in a criminal transaction (e.g. money laundering)
  • Providing otherwise legal tools to aid another in committing a crime
  • Providing support, encouragement, assistance, or shelter in preparation of a crime or to help evade arrest
  • Assistance in planning a crime or in evading arrest

In such situations, prosecutors can sometimes use the concept of “willful blindness” to charge an individual who lacked full knowledge of criminal activity if it is determined that the individual had reason to suspect criminal activity was afoot but willfully avoided learning about the criminal nature of the matter.

In all cases, individuals under criminal investigation or who suspect they may soon be under investigation should contact a criminal defense lawyer to assess their potential liability and strategize their defense.

Contact a New York Defense Attorney Today

The Henry Law Firm PLLC provides criminal defense to individuals and businesses throughout New York in all state and federal investigations and prosecutions. If you believe you may be under investigation for any state or federal crime, do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your matter.  

Johnny Depp Allegations Lead to Money Laundering Investigations

For as long as there have been individuals attempting to hide funds from government authorities, there have been money laundering investigations. But money laundering, while a long-standing criminal violation, has been in the news quite a bit recently. Robert Mueller, the former FBI Director and current Special Counsel investigating ties between the Trump Campaign and Russia has reportedly been investigating potential money laundering by former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The latest hit show on Netflix, Ozark, centers on a main character who works as a financial analyst conducting money laundering operations for a drug cartel, and who is being investigated by the FBI. And, most recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that Johnny Depp’s former managers are being investigated by three federal agencies for money laundering after Depp accused them of mishandling his money.

Depp Allegations Example of How Money Laundering Investigations Are Started

The Wall Street Journal reports that officials from the IRS, the Department of Justice, and the SEC are all looking into “possible fraud and money laundering by the Management Group, founded by brothers Joel and Rob Mandel.” According to the report, the criminal division of the IRS is leading the investigation, and the SEC has already issued a subpoena in the matter.

Details of the investigations are scant, and are based on unnamed sources with knowledge of the investigations, but the investigation appears to focus on the manager’s dealings with Mr. Depp, and Mr. Depp’s attorneys have already met with federal investigators.

The investigation may have been launched as a result of a $25 million lawsuit filed by Mr. Depp against Management Group in January for mismanagement of his funds and gross negligence. The managers responded in a countersuit, arguing that Mr. Depp’s financial losses are a result of his own “selfish, reckless, and irresponsible lifestyle.” According to the Wall Street Journal, a person familiar with the joint IRS/DOJ/SEC investigation said, “Federal investigators typically look at the possibility of money laundering as they trace the path of funds that allegedly have been misappropriated.”

Of course, there is no evidence publicly available that the managers participated in any type of criminal behavior, but the dispute between Mr. Depp and his managers is a stark reminder of how federal money laundering investigations can proceed based on privately-made allegations.

Contact a New York Money Laundering Attorney Today

The Henry Law Firm PLLC provides criminal defense to individuals and businesses throughout New York in all state and federal investigations and prosecutions. To take immediate action to protect your interests in a money laundering fraud investigation or proceeding, do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your matter.  

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New York, NY 10017

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