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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27109
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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A LITTLE OLD MAN CLAIMED THAT HE HAD NO ID TO RECEIVE MONEY

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A LITTLE OLD MAN CLAIMED THAT HE HAD NO ID TO RECEIVE MONEY FROM WESTERN UNION SO THAT HE COULD PAY HIS ROOM AND BOARD SO MY HUSBAND WOULD DRIVE DOWN TO THE LOCAL WESTERN UNION AND PICK UP THE MONEY IN HIS NAME FOR THE LITTLE OLD MAN, NO THE FBI IS ASKING IF WE KNOW THE WHEREABOUTS OF THIS LITTLE OLD MAN, APPARENTLY HE HAS BEEN SCAMMING PEOPLE FROM HI CAN MY HUSBAND BE CHARGE AS AN ACCESSORY/
Hello Jacustomer,

Yes, it's possible that your husband can get charged as an accessory. The more times he helped out the little old man, the more he looks like part of whatever operation the man had going. That said, there's a big difference between what the authorities need to make an arrest and what they need to secure a conviction.

In the first instance, the police only have to believe that a criminal activity may have been going on and that your husband had something to do with it. That's really not a lot of evidence and if you are thinking that almost anything can get someone arrested, you're basically right. However, to get a conviction, the Feds would have to prove each and every element of the charges against your husband beyond a reasonable doubt. That's the heaviest burden in all of law.

Your husband should be consulting with a local Federal lawyer and should not be talking to the FBI unless he has counsel with him. The Feds are not looking to help your husband but to make convictions, and anything he says about this can be used against him. Given that the Federal government presently has a 99% conviction rate (they don't bring a case unless they are sure they can win) your husband doesn't do himself any favors cooperating without counsel. He has a Constitutional right not to incriminate himself by remaining silent, and he should be exercising that right.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

my husband is under the impression that if the FBI wanted to charge him they would have already done so when they interviewed him on Friday. Are we allowed to tell the agent at the door that we wish to seek counsel if he comes to our home again? What kind of Attorney should we contact locally.


When should we be concerned.


 

Hi Tiffany,

Your husband is incorrect. The Federal government is noted for its lengthy and meticulous criminal investigations, and they spin a wide web. I cannot tell you how probable it is that he will be charged, but I can tell you that the fact that they have left him alone for now is without meaning.

The Federal government is fond of cases with lots of co-conspirators and they don't make their move until they have all of their ducks lined up in a row. In general the statute of limitations on most Federal offenses is 5 years, and they could take every day of that and will if necessary to secure a conviction.

I don't intend to scare you, but your husband had some involvement here, even if it was innocent. That makes him a potential suspect. He should secure a lawyer if the Feds contact him again with any more questions. He's within his right to say that he wants to speak to an attorney before discussing anything further. The government knows all about Miranda rights and they can't hold that against him.

Meanwhile, although he might be tempted to tell this story to others who know about the little old man, your husband should not discuss what he did to help him with anyone other than the Federal Criminal lawyer he ultimately hires if necessary.

Right now, no attorney is needed He has not been charged, and they are not looking to interrogate him further. If that picture changes, he needs a lawyer. If he doesn't know where to find a local Federal criminal lawyer, he can contact his state bar association's Lawyer Referral Service. They charge somewhere around $50 for the referral which includes a half hour free consultation with a lawyer.

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