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Cyber Crimes Attorneys in Boston

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Cyber crimes, or internet crimes, can include a wide number of activities and criminal actions. This can include any actions that interfere with the normal operations of computer systems, such as hacking, obtaining unauthorized access, or releasing viruses. Additionally, many crimes that would have been perpetrated in years past either in person or by telephone or mail, have been adapted to commission through the internet.

These types of offenses include:

  • Identity Theft
  • Money Laundering
  • Solicitation for Prostitution
  • Child Pornography
  • Harassment and Stalking
  • Hate Crimes
  • Illegal Hacking
  • Illegal Purchases
  • Piracy/File Sharing
  • Cyber-Bullying

Federal Internet Crime Charges

Many computer crimes can violate both state and federal laws. In fact, using a computer to perpetrate a crime can almost always be a federal offense because the internet is considered a tool of interstate commerce. Since the internet has a national and worldwide reach, simply proving that a computer used in a crime was connected to the internet may be enough for it to be considered a federal computer crime, even where there is only a "minimal nexus" to interstate commerce. However, cases invoking federal jurisdiction are generally limited to cases with a compelling federal interest.

There are a number of federal laws which involve computer or internet crimes. These include the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), Wiretap Act, Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act, and others. The CFAA protects federal computers, bank computers, and any other computers connected to the internet from trespassing, threats, damage, espionage, and corrupt fraudulent use.

Federal crimes are prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. Proceedings take place in a federal court before a federal judge, and any jail time is served in a federal penitentiary. Penalties for federal computer crime violations vary greatly, depending on the type of activity. For example, hacking into government computers could result in 1 year in prison for a first offense, and a fine up to $100,000, while computer copyright infringement can carry a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Computer Crimes in Massachusetts

The underlying criminal actions involved in computer crimes can also be punished under state law. Money laundering crimes committed through a computer can be charged and prosecuted under the state's money laundering laws; cyberstalking can be charged and prosecuted under the state's stalking laws; online child exploitation crimes can be charged under state child abuse laws.

There are also a number of specific computer crime violations at the state level. Under Massachusetts law, whoever, with the intent to defraud, obtains any commercial computer service by false representation, unauthorized access, or tampering with or installing any equipment or other means, can be imprisoned by up to 2 ½ years and fined up to $3,000. Anyone who helps another person commit this crime can be similarly punished.

Whoever, without authorization, intentionally accesses a computer by any means not authorized, shall be punished by imprisonment for up to 30 days, with up to a $1,000 fine.

Investigating & Prosecuting Cyber Crime Charges

The agencies that investigate cyber crimes may depend on the type of alleged criminal activities. In many cases, the FBI handles cases involving computer financial crime investigations, child pornography, and online fraud. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may investigate copyright piracy. The U.S. Secret Service may investigate counterfeiting crimes, SPAM, and hacking. Even the Postal Inspection Service may get involved in computer crime investigations. In some cases, international law enforcement, such as the Interpol, may investigate computer crimes.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts even has its own Cyber Crime Division under the Office of the Attorney General. They specifically investigate and prosecute complex cases involving digital evidence, forensics, and criminal matters involving technology. The Cyber Crime Division works in conjunction with state and local law enforcement.

Defenses to Computer Crime Charges

Computer crimes can be very complicated, both legally and technologically. The scope of computer crimes can range from state to federal investigations and prosecution. An experienced Boston cyber crimes lawyer from Dhar Law, LLP will be able to clarify the issues you face, undertake an in-depth investigation, and develop a strong legal defense strategy. Call our law firm today at (617) 829-9747 for a free consultation with our criminal defense attorneys in Boston.

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