Law Office of Jonathan M. Harvey Columbia, SC Criminal Defense Attorney | Federal Crimes Lawyer 2023-06-22T11:32:21Z WordPress On Behalf of Law Office of Jonathan M. Harvey <![CDATA[Have you been charged with intent to distribute drugs?]]> 2020-07-21T17:03:34Z 2018-08-08T05:00:00Z The state of South Carolina is cracking down on offenses related to the possession and distribution of prescription drugs. There is now a prescription monitoring program designed to stop the illegal diversion of drugs from both community and hospital outpatient pharmacies. Did the SCRIPTS program lead authorities to you?

The SCRIPTS program

The South Carolina Prescription Monitoring Program became law in 2014. The purpose of SCRIPTS, as it is called, is to identify efforts to distribute prescription drugs illegally. The program is not meant to impede the relationship of a patient with his or her doctor or pharmacist, but rather to curtail the illegal sale of pills like Vicodin®, Percocet® and Xanax®.


The Bureau of Drug Control, as part of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, requires any person or entity who is engaged in an activity involving controlled substances to obtain annual registration from DHEC.

Performing inspections

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control receives anywhere from 750 to 1,000 complaints annually about the illegal distribution of prescription drugs from legal outlets such as pharmacies. The department oversees random inspections that are designed to ensure that the pharmacy is keeping records properly and storing controlled substances in a secure manner. If there are violations, both sanctions and monetary fines could follow. About half of the people who are targets of complaints end up in state or federal court. DHEC data indicates that about 25 percent of those who are prosecuted for such crimes are employed in the healthcare industry.

The best outcome

The goal of the prosecution is to prove that you intended to provide prescription drugs to someone illegally. The job of a criminal defense attorney is to prove that such a charge is false; launching a full investigation into the matter is the way to start. As a pharmacist with years of experience in your profession, you must have a clean record, and that means fighting for your rights and working toward the best possible outcome for your case.

On Behalf of Law Office of Jonathan M. Harvey <![CDATA[3 common types of federal offenses]]> 2020-07-01T16:53:20Z 2018-06-13T05:00:00Z Some criminal acts are so serious that they require federal prosecution. Federal crimes are generally worse and come with harsher punishments than state crimes. But what exactly are federal offenses?

There are many types of unlawful acts that are subject to federal prosecution. Here are some of the more common types of federal crimes:

1. Drug offenses

While state prosecutors may sometimes handle drug crimes, federal officials handle the more severe ones. Drug offenses are the most prevalent type of federal crime. According to the United States Sentencing Commission, drug cases account for over thirty-one percent of all federal cases. The vast majority of these crimes involved manufacturing, transporting or selling drugs. However, there are even federal cases for simple possession. 

Methamphetamine crimes are the most common type of drug case. The next most common drugs that result in federal sentences include cocaine, marijuana, heroin and prescription drugs.

2. Weapon crimes

Weapon-related offenses account for over 10 percent of the entire federal caseload. Most of these federal convictions involve firearms. Common examples of federal weapon offenses include:

  • Possessing or using a firearm during a violent crime
  • Possessing or using a firearm in connection to a drug offense
  • A felon illegally possessing a firearm

Weapons are an aspect in over 17 percent of drug offenses. Other offenses involve different types of weapons, mostly knives. 

3. Fraud

Fraudulent acts account for over nine percent of all federal convictions. Some examples of fraud include:

  • Identity theft
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Telemarketing
  • Reverse mortgage scams
  • Tax fraud

Individuals and organizations may be guilty of violating federal statutes. Sometimes, the punishment for fraud only includes a fine. 

It may be confusing to understand the difference between federal and state crimes, but as a general rule, federal crimes tend to be more intense. Sometimes, federal agents take criminals into custody, or they become involved once local law enforcement needs them.

On Behalf of Law Office of Jonathan M. Harvey <![CDATA[Are you unknowingly committing tax fraud?]]> 2020-07-01T17:06:22Z 2018-04-17T05:00:00Z Have you ever filed your own taxes and guessed when it came to an answer or two? If so, you are in good company. Taxes are inherently complicated, and even if you have the best intentions and believe you are being as thorough and forthright as possible when filing, you may still make errors out of a lack of knowledge, rather than malice.

Regrettably, however, Uncle Sam does not care whether your tax error came from ignorance or ill intent, and if you make certain mistakes when filing your taxes and reporting your income, it may trigger an audit or otherwise come back to haunt you. Just what types of errors are likely to trigger an audit or raise a red flag with the Internal Revenue Service? Many people who inadvertently commit tax fraud do so in similar ways, so to avoid calling unwanted attention to yourself, make sure to:

Only claim the earned income tax credit if you qualify

A great way to stand out when filing your taxes is to incorrectly claim the earned income tax credit if you are not, in fact, eligible to do so. To claim it, your income must fall below a certain threshold, and eligibility requirements vary from one year to the next. In other words, claiming the earned income credit one year does not automatically mean you will qualify for it the following year.

Be accurate about deductions

It is certainly reasonable that you would want to claim certain deductions relating to your business, whether they include gas, meals out, travel or what have you. However, overinflating deductions, or trying to claim deductions that do not directly relate to your business, is a good way to make the IRS take a second look at your tax return.

When it comes to filing your taxes, it pays to be honest. While you may lose a little money on your return or end up paying a little more in taxes than you planned, committing tax fraud, even if unintentional, can result in serious emotional and financial hardship.

On Behalf of Law Office of Jonathan M. Harvey <![CDATA[What is embezzlement?]]> 2020-07-01T16:53:33Z 2018-02-23T06:00:00Z When an employee misappropriates or steals money from his or her employer, it is embezzlement. This type of employee theft is different than pure stealing. This is because the employee has permission to handle the assets in a particular way, but not to use it for his or her enrichment. 

Embezzling money may be a crime and a civil violation. Here is a guide to this white color crime. 

Examples of embezzlement

These are some tactics employees may use to embezzle money:

  • Taking cash from a register
  • Charging more for a product and taking the difference
  • Taking work supplies or inventory for personal use
  • Taking bribes
  • Transferring money from a customer account to a personal one
  • Hiding stolen amounts or losses in accounting books
  • Taking customer refunds for personal use
  • Making payroll checks out to fake employees

Embezzlement may mean taking physical assets or doing so electronically. A lot of embezzlement and other white collar crimes are carried out via the computer using sophisticated methods. 

Criminal and civil penalties

When someone embezzles funds, he or she may face criminal charges. The punishments may include giving back the money (restitution), paying a fine or doing time in prison. However, due to the fact that embezzlement is also a civil wrong, there may be further consequences for an embezzler. 

For example, the employer may file a lawsuit against the embezzler in civil court. If there is a civil judgment, the embezzler may face wage garnishment, withdrawing funds from a bank account, a property lien or a seizure of property. 

Embezzlement takes many forms. Due to a wide range of activities that may count as embezzlement, it may be confusing to understand exactly what it is. While this information may help people make sense of this white collar crime, someone who faces allegations of embezzlement should not hesitate to speak to a criminal defense lawyer about the specifics of his or her case.

On Behalf of Law Office of Jonathan M. Harvey <![CDATA[Are cryptocurrencies contributing to tax fraud?]]> 2020-07-01T16:53:44Z 2017-12-27T06:00:00Z The IRS is worried. The meteoric rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin has led to something of a techno-money "boom" in recent years. Consequently, the IRS wonders whether or not it's getting its fair share of the profits.

As with other monetary transactions, Bitcoin exchanges are subject to capital gains taxes or income taxes if the currency was held for less than 12 months (short-term gains). This is because under IRS regulations established in 2014, Bitcoin and other so-called "virtual currencies" should be treated as capital assets or property for tax purposes, not as actual currency.

However, even with these regulations, the IRS remains concerned taxpayers aren't dealing fairly with the federal government.

The scare tactic

In late 2016, the IRS asked a federal court in northern California to subpoena the records of Coinbase, one of the major cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States. This "John Doe Summons" requested that the company turn over all account information for any Bitcoin transactions the company facilitated so that the IRS could verify those transactions against consumers' tax returns.

Subsequent litigation limited the IRS's infograb to only transactions valued at more than $20,000 and only those exchanges (either for U.S. dollars or Bitcoin-to-Bitcoin exchanges) that occurred between 2013 and 2015. Even still, this kind of governmental scare tactic has some consumers concerned that the assumption of fraud by the IRS may have long-term consequences on the viability of cryptocurrency.

Accusations don't equal tax fraud

The truth is that regulations on Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are still unclear to many, consumers and institutions alike. These misunderstandings could lead at best to an IRS audit, and at worst, allegations of tax fraud.

Most Bitcoin users aren't out to break the law or defraud the government. Instead, they simply want to take advantage of the possibilities afforded by this exciting new financial market. Therefore, if you find yourself facing a court summons due to your Bitcoin activities, it's important to have an attorney skilled in fighting white collar crime charges on your side. The arguments involved will be complex and highly nuanced, especially because the law is still evolving on this issue.

On Behalf of Law Office of Jonathan M. Harvey <![CDATA[Federal and state criminal charges in South Carolina]]> 2020-07-01T17:07:55Z 2017-11-14T06:00:00Z Those who face criminal charges must deal with a tangle of often confusing procedures and rules. At this time, you need a reliable attorney at your side who can keep you informed while working vigorously to defend your case.

One important issue relates to whether the charges in question will proceed in state court, federal court or both. Federal and state criminal statutes often overlap, containing very similar elements. Factors such as the location, type and complexity of the crime determine whether jurisdiction will be state, federal or concurrent.

Federal crimes

Federal charges may ensue if the crime is committed on federal land or against a federal officer. You may also face charges in federal court if the alleged crime crosses state or national lines, or violates a specific federal statute. Some common examples include interstate drug or weapons trafficking or violations of federal statutes concerning matters such as insider trading.

You can face two trials based on the same event

Sometimes, both state and federal laws become implicated and trigger concurrent jurisdiction. This can mean two criminal trials: one in federal court and one in state. Each can have a different outcome.

Why federal charges can be more difficult

Federal charges often tend to be more complex and involve harsher penalties. You are more likely to face federal charges if you are being accused of crossing state lines or of participating in a far-reaching criminal organization or conspiracy. Allegations of health care fraud, violation of banking regulations or investment fraud also often involve federal charges.

Grand jury

In the case of serious charges, you may face grand jury proceedings in the federal court. This is a closed proceeding wherein a jury of 16-23 people hears evidence to determine whether you should be indicted. The normal rules of evidence may not apply; evidence and testimony are confidential. While a jury's refusal to indict makes it less likely the prosecutor will file charges, he or she may be able to proceed with charges even without an indictment.

Knowledge of federal defense is essential

Federal criminal court procedures and rules often differ substantially from those prevalent in state court, especially with regard to matters such as deadlines and prescribed forms for filings and motion practice. For this reason, it is important that your defense attorney be thoroughly familiar with handling federal cases. Even a seemingly small error can significantly damage your defense.

On Behalf of Law Office of Jonathan M. Harvey <![CDATA[Could I be convicted of wire fraud?]]> 2020-07-01T17:06:29Z 2017-11-01T05:00:00Z Wire fraud is a white-collar crime. This means it involves money and finances. It is non-violent, but that does not mean its effects are not serious. This type of fraud can cost individuals and financial institutions a lot of money. In simple terms, wire fraud is when one person gets another person to transfer money to their financial account through devious means. Understanding more clearly what it is requires knowing what must be proven in court to get a conviction.

According to the United States Department of Justice, there are three main points the government must prove to convict someone of wire fraud. It must show that the interaction involved interstate wire communications. It also must show the person accused of the fraudulent activity did so of his or her own free will and understood that he or she would be tricking the other person out of his or her money.

Wire fraud may occur in many ways. Someone could send an email asking for money for a cause or to get help, making the person receiving the email believe it is a legitimate need. It can also happen over the phone. An example is someone saying a debt is owed when it is not and convincing a person to wire money to pay for the fake debt. It can even happen when the person who is being scammed does not even take any action, such as in the case where banking information is stolen and funds are transferred out of the account into another account.

Many times information about a targeted person is gained through hacking into email accounts or other online accounts. This allows for the gathering of personal information to make the plea for funds sound more realistic. Those who may be convicted of such crimes often have a lot of personal information about the victim that aided in initiating the wire fraud. 

On Behalf of Law Office of Jonathan M. Harvey <![CDATA[Why are some drug charges a federal offense?]]> 2020-07-01T17:07:47Z 2017-07-17T05:00:00Z Drug charges are a serious problem that can disrupt your life significantly. This is true if you are facing charges at the state level, but it is especially true if you have been accused of a federal-level crime. You might be wondering what differentiates the two and why a drug charge might be tried at the federal level. There are several criteria that determine whether a crime is a federal offense or not.

The following are a few of the criteria. Whether your charges are at the state or federal level, it is important to understand the implications of the accusation and familiarize yourself with the legal options you have available.

Arrest by a federal agent

If a federal agent happens to arrest you — one in the employ of the DEA, for example — your charges will automatically be at the federal level. This might be the case if you are in a sting operation or if your arrest takes place outside of a specific state jurisdiction. The level of the arresting agent will be integral in determining what kind of charges you face.

Somebody else informed on you

Often times, charges might also be leveled as a federal offense if they are the result of information provided by another suspect. If law enforcement arrests a person for a drug crime, it is not uncommon that they offer that person a plea bargain to lessen the charges in return for information on co-conspirators.

Drug charges cover interstate crimes

According to the DEA, interstate drug cases are typically tried as trafficking offenses, and the penalties are steep. Even if you had no intention of selling or distributing a substance, traveling with it across state lines could easily get charges upgraded from the state to the federal level. This could even be true if you are handling a substance — marijuana, for example — that is legal in one state but not another.

On Behalf of Law Office of Jonathan M. Harvey <![CDATA[What is wire fraud?]]> 2020-07-01T16:54:37Z 2017-05-19T05:00:00Z Federal prosecutors may charge you with wire fraud when they allege you used a communications device to transmit information across state lines as part of a scheme to defraud someone of property. Sometimes, prosecutors use wire fraud charges as a fallback when they encounter difficulties proving the elements of more specific fraud crimes.

If convicted, a judge may sentence you up to 20 years in prison for each count; in certain cases, this term can go up to 30 years. The penalties may also include substantial fines. For this reason, if you learn federal authorities are investigating you, you should immediately contact a knowledgeable attorney. Do not talk to investigators before you speak with your lawyer; any information you volunteer can later come back to haunt you.

Intent to defraud of property

The first thing prosecutors will have to prove is that you intended to commit fraud in order to deprive a person or entity of property. In other words, they will need to show that you purposely misrepresented facts in order to induce someone to give up money or other assets. They do not have to prove that you actually received the money; just that you tried to. Potential defenses could include showing you acted in good faith and really believed the truth of your statements, or that you had no intent of receiving financial gain.

Use of interstate communications

The other part of the prosecution's case will involve proving that you used an interstate communications device to make the fraudulent statements. Devices may include cell phones, computers, landlines and fax machines. Statements may be written or verbal, so both phone conversations and emails may qualify.

If you have concerns about a potential or pending investigation, you should consult an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. Even if you believe it is all a misunderstanding that will go away if you give investigators information, matters are rarely that simple. Your lawyer can evaluate your risk and advise you as to the optimal course of action.


On Behalf of Law Office of Jonathan M. Harvey <![CDATA[Drug addicts need treatment, not jail time]]> 2020-07-08T07:26:49Z 2017-04-17T05:00:00Z They save considerable money When compared with the expenses of housing in a traditional jail setting, allowing you to participate in a drug court costs less. So much so, in fact, that statistics show taxpayers save up to $3.36 for every $1.00 invested into drug court. Drug courts also tend to reduce the chances of you coming through the court system again because of other drug-related crimes, saving taxpayer money once again. They minimize crime A number of studies examine the impact drug courts have on crime, and the effects they have on it are undeniable. About three-quarters of all who complete drug court programs remain free from arrest two years later, and these programs are also shown to reduce crime by up to 45 percent in comparison with jail time and other potential penalties for drug crimes. They improve compliance If you have ever tried to kick a drug addiction "cold turkey" or without professional assistance, you probably understand just how difficult a task this can be. It can be so difficult, in fact, that about 70 percent of drug addicts leave treatment if the court system does not require it. Drug courts are strict and highly supervised in nature, and this can make it considerably easier for you to successfully kick your habit. Drug courts help you and your surrounding community in other ways, too. If you have children, you and your children are less likely to spend time apart because of your participation in the program. Drug courts also have verified positive impacts on meth addiction, which can be tremendously tough to beat. If you are facing a drug charge and want to know if drug court may be an option for you, consider speaking with an attorney.]]>