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I became friends with a man and his girlfriend that I met overseas.

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We have been good friends...
I became friends with a man and his girlfriend that I met overseas. We have been good friends for about 7 years. Last October he was arrested in Thailand and extradited back to the US to face charges of bilking some 30 people in a Ponzi scheme in 2006 in LA, CA. I was astonished. Additionally, we have mutual friends here in Thailand that he also ran his scheme on. I didn't know he was doing this and he kept it a secret from me. I'm planning my annual trip to the US and am concerned that I may be "guilty by association" and therefore detained in LA, when I go through customs. I don't mind answering questions and cooperating if they detain me. My concern is that with the new laws in affect that gives them the legal right to hold ANYONE , without charging them for an indefinate length of time scares me. I'm innocent, but I know that our prisons are filled with innocent people. Perhaps I'm being paranoid. I found out that he has a hearing on March 12th. Is there a way to find out if I will in deed be detained and for how long?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Criminal Law
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3/1/2012
Criminal Lawyer: J.Hazelbaker, Lawyer replied 6 years ago
J.Hazelbaker
J.Hazelbaker, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,385
Experience: Extensive training and experience in criminal law matters, both prosecuting and defending.
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J.Hazelbaker :

Hello. Thank you for using JustAnswer.

J.Hazelbaker :

While there is no way to know for sure whether you are under investigation, I would highly doubt it unless you did play a part in the scheme (whether unwittingly or not).

J.Hazelbaker :

The new law of which you are concerned deals with terrorism suspects, not simple criminal matters.

J.Hazelbaker :

And, given that the hearing is on March 12th, if you were wanted/needed for questioning, you would have been contacted about it by this point.

J.Hazelbaker :

There is nothing in your description of events that would lead me to believe you have to worry about passing through customs at this time.

J.Hazelbaker :

Please let me know what follow-up questions you have. If my above responses have been helpful, please click Accept so that I get credit for the time/effort. You may always restart the thread and ask follow-up questions at any time by clicking the “Reply” button at the bottom of the question/answer thread. You can access this thread later in your profile under the “My Questions” tab.

J.Hazelbaker
J.Hazelbaker, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4,385
Experience: Extensive training and experience in criminal law matters, both prosecuting and defending.
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
May I ask a follow up question and not be charged again? I have some new information.
John
Criminal Lawyer: J.Hazelbaker, Lawyer replied 6 years ago

Certainly. Please go ahead.

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Customer reply replied 6 years ago
As I stated before, I became friends with this couple. Addionally, he introduced me to a Chinese man named, Frank, whom he said was his father. The reason we met was because my son, who lives in Arizona has a business with his wife called Atrevete. It's a mobile amusement park ride. My son and I had the idea of starting this as a business in China, so John Lee introduced me to his dad and told me that he could be very helpful, since Frank lives in China. Nothing ever became of this as my son and I were not comfortable with it or dealing with this man Frank. I tell you this as background. I have an American friend, (Mark), and his Thai wife, (Min), who live here in Pattaya, Thailand, who invested with John Lee awhile back and of course loss 3 million Baht, (around $100k). About 2 months ago or so, Mark mentioned to me that Frank had called him, apologized and promised to get his money back to him. I didn't ask any questions to Mark and only acknowledged that I hope it works out for him and his wife. Another friend of mine who knew John Lee has been following John Lee's progress on-line. John Lee was supposed to have a hearing on March 12th, but it was changed to April 23rd. My trip to Arizona is booked for March 23 through April 23rd. In conversation with Mark and his wife I told them my dates of travel before John Lee's hearing date was changed. Mark also told me that he was going to Cailifornia in mid April as well. These two "coinsidences" along with other conversations have convinced me that both Mark and his wife believe I was/am somehow involved with John Lee's scheme. I'm VERY concerned that "Frank" and perhaps John Lee have set it up to make me the "fall guy". I know there is no evidence, unless they fabricated some, but frankly I'm scared because I don't know what to expect. Over the years I have known John Lee and Stephanie, I always left them the key to my condo, which gave them access to my computer and everything else in the room. I truly believe the authorities will hold me for questioning in California. I don't know what to do as I've never been in a situation like this before. I have even considered canceling my trip to Arizona with the idea that if they have some sort of "evidence" against me, then let them come and get me. I have nothing to hide and I check in with Thai Immigration every 3 months, so the Thai authorities know where I live. What's your advice and opinion?
Criminal Lawyer: J.Hazelbaker, Lawyer replied 6 years ago

You additional information does not change my opinion. I still don't see any significant issues as an disinterested outsider looking in.

Moreover, under U.S. law, you cannot simply be held for questioning in a matter such as this. However, you seem to be certain that others are conspiring against you and I'm not sure I can fully alleviate those fears. Thus, I suggest you locate a local criminal defense attorney in the area you will be visiting so that you will have legal counsel in case your worse fears are realized. And, if you still feel vulnerable, you should postpone your trip.

If the hearing is on 4/23, you could wait the outcome of the hearing to determine your next move.

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