Internet Crime - An Overview

If you are facing charges related to child pornography, working closely with an attorney who will explain your rights and options can help you make decisions that are in your best interests. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation and case evaluation with an experienced Internet crime attorney.

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Internet Crime - An Overview

Internet Crime - An Overview

The advent of the Internet has led the world to a new era of technological advancement. Through online communication, it is possible for people across the country —and around the world— to connect like they never have before. With all the positive effects, though, there are several negatives, including computer-related crimes like child pornography, intellectual property infringement, fraud and identity theft. These crimes all come with serious penalties, including fines and possible jail time. If you are facing charges of Internet crimes, including possession of child pornography and soliciting sex from a minor, contact Hertz Schram PC in Bloomfield Hills, MI, to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense attorney.

Child Pornography

The anonymity afforded by the Internet has allowed some people who commit offenses against children to operate in relative safety. Child pornography is bought, sold and distributed online much easier and faster than in person or through the mail. In addition, adults who prey on children often befriend children they meet online, request photographs and arrange meetings with them for nefarious purposes. Children eager to meet their online "friend" typically don't think about the possibility that the person on the other end could be an adult pretending to be a child.

State and federal law enforcement officials have made the investigation of Internet crimes against children a top priority. Local police and federal agencies like the FBI are applying new techniques to uncover crimes against children. A popular investigative method in cases of suspected child pornography is the so-called "sting" operation. In these instances, law enforcement officers pose as people interested in buying, selling or swapping child pornography. Information gathered during the sting operation and the lead-up to it is then used to locate and prosecute sellers, buyers and possessors of pornographic materials featuring children.

Criminal penalties for child pornography can be severe. Sometimes jail and prison sentences are mandatory, along with long-time registration as a sexual offender (with all the stigma and social consequences that come along with that designation). Defenses are available to individuals who download or share images deemed to be child pornography. With such serious consequences possible, if you have been charged or are being investigated for child pornography or related crimes, call a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The earlier an attorney is involved, the more he or she can do to protect your rights and mount a vigorous defense.

Solicitation of Minors

In different sting operations, law enforcement officers pretend to be underage individuals in Internet chat rooms — even adults-only, sexually oriented websites. Investigators who perform these kinds of operations have special skills identifying people who are lonely, unaware and unsuspecting. Once that person is "hooked," the officer will solicit or entice a meeting for the purposes of sexual activity. If the person being investigated shows up to that meeting, he or she could be facing felony solicitation charges, a lengthy criminal sentence and mandatory sex offender registration.

These cases are often brought against people who had no intention or desire to engage in sexual activity with an underage person when they joined the chat room. They could have honestly thought they were just having fun fantasizing anonymously on the Internet and not realized the consequences associated with their actions. If you, a friend or family member is facing solicitation charges, you need a criminal defense lawyer who is computer literate, tough, dedicated and sophisticated.

Internet Fraud

The Internet is also used to commit fraud. New types of fraudulent schemes are increasingly common, including:

  • Nigerian 419 scams — asking for bank account information and cash payments to move a large amount of money out of the country
  • Phishing — impersonating a legitimate business or governmental agency in order to obtain bank account or credit card information
  • Identity theft — using or selling a person's Social Security number, bank account numbers and credit card numbers
  • Ransomware — gaining access to a person's or business's website or computer network (often through fraudulent means, such as claiming to be from an internet provider or computer manufacturer who has identified an issue with a site or machine), then refusing to surrender control or remove viruses unless a ransom is paid

With the inherent anonymity of the Internet, tracking down and prosecuting the party who allegedly perpetrated an online fraud can be difficult. Even if the alleged perpetrator is located, sometimes prosecution is complicated by the reluctance of victims to come forward and report the crime because they are embarrassed about being "duped".

Speak to a Criminal Defense Lawyer

As the Internet becomes more ingrained into our daily lives — and its users become savvier — never-before-seen issues will arise that must be accounted for and addressed by the criminal justice system. Internet crime is constantly evolving, like the web itself, so new laws and new theories of accountability for purposes of prosecution will always be needed. If you have been charged with an Internet crime, seek legal advice from an attorney who is knowledgeable in this area of the law, like an attorney from Hertz Schram PC in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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