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Federal judge dismisses fraud charges against visiting professor

The term "fraud" covers a wide range of acts, and so federal fraud charges can come up in a very wide range of cases, including cases involving accusations of identity theft, securities fraud, tax evasion and more.

In a recent case, a federal judge dismissed fraud charges against an Iranian scientist who was accused of industrial espionage.

Federal vs. state crimes: what are the differences?

In the U.S., most cases are heard at the state or local level. If you break the law, you could face a state or federal crime charge. To ensure you have the best chance in court it is imperative that you know the differences between a federal and state crime, so you can make the correct decisions about your representation.

Law enforcement visits registered sex offenders on Halloween

Wisconsin requires people who have been convicted of certain sex crimes to register as sex offenders. This registry is intended to warn the public about the possibility of repeat offenders in their neighborhoods, and to help the authorities keep track of offenders. However, being placed on the registry comes with many other restrictions and limitations, official and nonofficial.

One of the official restrictions was in the news recently during Halloween celebrations. Registered sex offenders are prohibited from participating in trick-or-treating activities. They can't have candy inside or outside their homes, they can't wear costumes, they can't put up Halloween decorations, and they must turn off their porch lights, so as to discourage children from visiting. To ensure that registered offenders are complying with the law, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections sends teams out to visit the homes of certain registrants. The agency claims it made 2,200 such visits in 2018, and arrested 43 people for violating the requirements of their supervision.

Man charged in alleged embezzlement scheme

A Wisconsin man faces charges of theft and other financial crimes after, prosecutors say, he stole more than $150,000 from his former employer.

The man is charged with forgery, using fraudulent cash and credit advances, and stealing money from daily sales and gift certificates.

What is the legal alcohol limit for drivers under age 21?

When discussing drunk driving charges, people often talk about the so-called legal limit. This term is misleading in several ways, and totally out of place when discussing drivers under age 21. Under Wisconsin law, people younger than 21 may not legally drive with any amount of alcohol in their system.

For drivers 21 and older, the so-called legal limit refers to a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of 0.08%. When police pull over a driver on suspicion of drunk driving, they typically ask the person to perform a road sobriety test in which they must walk a straight line, stand on one leg and perform other simple acts of coordination or balance. After this, they often ask drivers to submit to a BAC test, usually through a chemical breath analysis device.

How federal and state marijuana charges can differ

Despite the continuous conversation around legalization, marijuana remains illegal under both U.S. law and Wisconsin law. The thresholds and penalties outlined in federal and state law, however, are different.

That means an individual charged with a marijuana-related crime by Wisconsin authorities will likely be facing a completely different type of case than if the charges had come from the federal government. How significant might the differences be? Here is a brief overview.

Brothers charged in alleged massive THC vaping operation

The news this summer has been filled with alarming reports about people contracting lung disease after using vaping devices to smoke tobacco or marijuana products. At least seven people around the country are reported to have died, and public health officials still are not sure what is causing the problem. No deaths have yet been reported in Wisconsin.

Several state governments have moved to restrict the sales of flavored e-cigarettes and other vaping devices, and the White House has indicated it may support banning some of the products altogether.

State law still tough for "Romeo and Juliet"

The authorities in every state agree that minors cannot legally consent to sexual activity, and therefore any sexual activity between an adult and a minor is statutory rape. Beyond that baseline however, the states vary widely in how their laws deal with the issues involved, and sometimes these laws change over time.

One area where Wisconsin law has changed recently is in the way it treats relationships between a minor and a young adult when they are close in age. Last year, the state enacted a law designed to somewhat roll back what critics said was an overly harsh treatment of these "Romeo and Juliet" relationships.

First alleged space crime under investigation

What may be the first crime committed in space is under investigation. Federal authorities are investigating whether US Army astronaut Lt. Col. Anne McClain committed federal fraud charges for accessing her estranged wife's bank account during McClain's six-month tour on the International Space Station.

Her estranged wife, former Air Force intelligence officer Summer Worden, questioned how McClain could mention specific purchases during arguments. At her request, Worden's bank confirmed that her account was accessed with credentials inputted on a computer network that was registered to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She then filed a complaint against McClain with the Federal Trade Commission. Worden alleged that McClain committed identity theft while she was in space, even though McClain did not tamper with any of the bank funds. Worden said that the FTC did not respond to her identify theft complaint, but investigators were gaining access to her family's complaint to NASA.

High school students face sexting enforcement

Police officers were called to Pewaukee High School in southeast Wisconsin at least once a week over the last few years because of alleged "sexting" among students. However, the state does not have laws addressing these types of sex offenses and, as a result, the Village of Pewaukee adopted an ordinance to combat this behavior.

Sexting usually occurs between two consensual people. However, relationships end and one of students in that relationship may share that sexually explicit photograph with other people. The high school in Waukesha County has 800 students. Police were routinely called to deal with teenagers transmitting explicit images of students. According to local police, the volume of calls put a strain on their resources.

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Kirk Obear, Attorney at Law
603 South 8th St
Sheboygan, WI 53081

Phone: 920-395-3004
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