Jay Milano has defended people and companies in every facet of the Mortgage Fraud prosecution frenzy. To better understand the problems facing our clients please take the time to read I’m Not a Criminal, a Cleveland Mortgage Fraud Prosecution Out of Control So How Did I End Up Sitting Here Waiting For Jay Milano?
Not everyone who commits a crime is a criminal – not everyone who needs a criminal defense lawyer is guilty – sometimes innocent people are charged with crimes.
How could an innocent man (or woman) end up as a defendant in a criminal trial? It’s one of the first questions that jurors ask and therefore it’s the first thing that defense attorneys have to answer. It seems surreal that a truly innocent person could be charged with a crime and actually hear the words spoken, “The United States of America versus John Smith.”, The unfortunate truth, however, is that it occurs far more often than it should, and it can happen to people from all walks of life.
One of our clients is currently fighting that type of battle as he tries to protect his reputation, his job, and his liberty in both Federal and State Court. (Yes, he is charged with essentially the same course of conduct in both State and Federal Court at the same time and will go through two trials – and you thought that could not happen).
Just a few years ago our client was the owner of a small but profitable realty company. He worked hard and enjoyed a decent living in the business of buying and selling homes. He decided to expand into the mortgage business. The major brokers had in-house mortgage companies and he needed to compete. He took on a partner who knew the industry. Unfortunately, the partner was a thief before they met, while they worked together, and after they parted ways. The client did not like what he smelled and terminated the partnership in less than six months. Our client got out and quickly became involved with a reputable mortgage company.
The crooked ex-partner came to the attention of the Federal government and did what all good thieves do – he told them it wasn’t his fault and that our client did it.
The client thought he was out of the bad business relationship and everything was going well until 2009, when Federal and State Agents showed up at his door with a search warrant. Those agents, who came from the same government that bailed out bank after bank in 2008, ultimately charged our client with fraud – based on the word of thieves.
Shortly after the economic downfall, the government acknowledged that the big sub-prime lenders were intentionally making bad loans and that they were the cause of the collapse. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced that it was filing a suit against Goldman Sachs for that misbehavior, but that hasn’t stopped the Federal and State Governments from pursuing the case.
How does an innocent person end up as a defendant in a criminal trial? By being the little guy on the bottom of the bank bailouts who got hooked up with a bad partner and became an easy headline.
The truth is that sometimes innocent people are dragged into court. It’s not just people who live in bad neighborhoods or commit street crimes. Sometimes defendants are decent people who somehow end up sucked into the system.
It’s the defense attorney’s job to teach the jury just how those innocent people ended up in a courtroom, the target of prosecutors and policemen and FBI agents. After all they are charged – they must have done something.
Criminal defense lawyers are not sharks in a feeding frenzy to make money off of criminals. We are not your clients partners. Sometimes our clients are innocent. Sometimes they have committed crimes but are not criminals. Our job – our only job – is to make sure that they are heard and that they are treated fairly. It is our duty, ultimately, to put the problem behind them.