Federal criminal law and procedure differ from the state court systems. First, the U.S. Attorney (not the County District Attorney) prosecutes federal crimes. Second, there must be a federal interest or nexus for the alleged violation to be a federal crime. Third, these crimes are generally investigated by any of the federal law enforcement agencies such as the:
• Federal Bureau of Investigation — FBI
• Drug Enforcement Administration — DEA
• Secret Service
• IRS Criminal Investigation Division — IRS-CID
• Homeland Security
• Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms — ATF
• Immigration Customs Enforcement — ICE
• U.S. Postal Inspector
• U.S. Marshal Service
• Transportation Security Administration — TSA
• Office of Inspector General — IG or OIG (for any number of federal agencies)
• Bureau of Prisons, and
other federal law enforcement agencies. If convicted, a defendant will be sentenced to custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, not the state Department of Corrections.
Lawyer of the Year. Best Lawyers in America honored Bob Wyatt in both 2013 and 2015 as Oklahoma City’s Criminal Defense: NON-WHITE COLLAR Lawyer of the Year and in 2014 as Criminal Defense: WHITE COLLAR lawyer of the year.
Among other crimes, federal crimes may include white collar crimes, drug crimes, computer and Internet crimes, child pornography, cyber sex crimes, banking crimes, securities crimes, all types of frauds and swindles involving the mails or telephones or the Internet, gambling and gaming crimes, weapons crimes, immigration crimes, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit these or other federal crimes.
Federal Criminal Procedure
WHEN WEAPONS PRESENT
If weapons are used in the commission of a federal crime, the defendant will face significantly stiffer penalties, as there are specific crimes and punishments providing for occurrences such as “use of a weapon during commission of a drug crime.” Even if not charged with an enhanced crime, the use of a firearm during the commission of a crime generally causes an increase of 2 levels in the recommended sentencing guidelines range of punishment.
Those with prior convictions will also suffer greater penalties under federal law if convicted. Like “after formers” in state court, if a defendant has prior criminal history, that history will impact the sentencing guideline range. There are six criminal history categories (I-VI). The higher the criminal history (because of more prior convictions), the higher the recommended punishment range under the Sentencing Table for the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
CAREER & ARMED CAREER CRIMINALS
If a defendant has a specified number of convictions, he will be punished as a career criminal under the federal sentencing guidelines — automatically resulting in a Criminal History Category of VI. The higher the criminal history category, the greater the punishment range. Likewise, if firearms are present during the crime charged and the client has either two prior drug convictions or two prior convictions for crimes of violence or a combination thereof, the client will likely be classified as an Armed Career Criminal, making the range of punishment a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and up to life in prison. See Armed Career Criminal Act or ACCA, 18 U.S.C. § 924(e).
SENTENCING GUIDELINE CALCULATON
If convicted in federal court or if the client pleads guilty, he will be sentenced under the federal statute. Note, however, that the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines must be considered by the sentencing judge, as well as consideration of all relevant information, both favorable and unfavorable. The judge may order a sentence above or below the advisory sentencing guideline range. Your lawyer must understand the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines in order to represent you appropriately in federal court. Bob Wyatt practices routinely in federal court and even teaches the Guidelines to other lawyers.
Although the links below may generally identify “state” penalties, you may follow any of the links for more information about the type of crime charged. While there are many other federal crimes not listed, we have attempted to provide you additional information concerning federal crimes commonly filed in Oklahoma federal courts.
• General Criminal Law
• Aircraft and Airline Crimes (TSA investigations)
• Antitrust Crimes (federal & state)
• Asset Seizure & Forfeiture
• Appeals & Other Extraordinary Criminal Actions
• Bomb Threats & Terrorism
• Computer Crimes
• Cyber Sex Crimes
• Drugs & Narcotics (possession, manufacture,
• Fraud Crimes
• Gambling & Gaming Crimes
• Grand Jury Investigations (federal & state)
• Healthcare Fraud (Medicaid Fraud, Medicare Fraud, etc)
• Homicide & Violent Crimes (murder, manslaughter, robbery, kidnapping, stalking, assault & battery, shaken baby, etc.)
• Internet Crimes
• Mortgage Fraud & Predatory Lending
• Post Conviction Relief & Habeas Corpus
• Public Corruption & Bribery Crimes (Bid-rigging, Bribery & Government Corruption, Campaign Contribution Violations, Campaign Finance Violations, Extortion, Government Contract Fraud, Kickbacks, Procurement Fraud, Misuse of Public Authority, False Statements to Government Agencies, Federal Program & Contract Fraud, Mail Fraud & Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, Racketeering (“RICO”))
• Sex & Pornography Crimes (rape, child porn, indecent exposure, lewd molestation, traveling, enticement, sexual communications, etc)
• Tax Crimes
• Theft Crimes (embezzlement, fraud, larceny, burglary, robbery, etc.)
• Weapons & Firearms Violations
• White Collar Crime (mail and wire fraud, tax crimes, embezzlement, securities fraud, bribery, counterfeiting, computer crimes, forgery)
Federal Sex Crimes
Many of the same state sex crimes (such as rape, forced sodomy, child molestation, etc.) are also federal crimes if they occurr on federal property or if they involve the use of the Internet, telephone communications or in some way affected interstate commerce (meaning that a photo or image or person crossed state or national borders). Sex crimes frequently charged in federal court typically involve child porn or sexual exploitation:
• Possession of Child Pornography is punishable by zero to 20 years for simple possession. For receipt of child pornography, the range of punishment is not less than 5 years nor more than 20 years. Soliciting or causing a child to participate or manufacturing carries 15 years to life. See 18 U.S.C. § 2252A.
• Sexual Exploitation of a Child involves possession or distribution of any material such as visual depictions in books, magazines, periodicals, films, and videotapes that involves sex acts or sexual exploitation of a child under age 18. Generally speaking, the range of punishment is the same for possession of child porn. See 18 U.S.C. § 2252.
• Solicitation of Child Porn. 18 U.S.C. § 2251 makes it a crime to post “any notice or advertisement seeking or offering to receive, exchange, buy, produce, display, distribute, or reproduce any visual depiction involving the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. This statute also applies when such person knows that such notice or advertisement will be, or has been, transported in interstate or foreign commerce by any means, including by computer.”
• Production for Importation. Creation or production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States is a crime pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2260.
• Solicitation of Children for Sex. 18 U.S.C. § 2425 makes it a crime to use interstate facilities (i.e., the Internet or phones) to transmit information about an individual under the age of 16, with “the intent to entice, encourage, offer, or solicit that minor to engage in any sexual activity that can be charged as a criminal offense.”
• Human Trafficking &Trafficking for Prostitution. Although human trafficking per se is not necessarily a sex crime, but most children are kidnapped and trafficked or sold for sexual purposes, which would result in a sex crime application. It is a crime to take children across state or federal borders for sex. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 2421, 2423 and 2251A(a) and (b).
• Traveling for Sex with Children. It is also a crime for an adult to travel across state or federal borders to engage in sex with a minor or for the purpose of engaging in sex. See 18 U.S.C. § 2423(b).
• Sex Tourism involves a perpetrator who travels abroad in order to engage in a sex act or acts which are illegal in the U.S. but may be lawful in another country. Covered under the federal Protection Act, an offense of this nature may involve a person traveling to another country with a minor or to meet a minor and engage in sexual activity. A mandatory 10 year term of imprisonment may be imposed for a federal sex crime of this nature.
• Sexual Abuse or Aggravated Sexual Abuse. Effectively, this is rape, rape by instrumentation, forcible sodomy or other common law sex crimes committed on federal land or territories. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 2241-2246.
• Sexually Dangerous Persons. In addition to punishment for any of these federal crimes, if it is later determined (during or after incarceration) that a person is a “sexually dangerous person,” that person can be removed from society in a quasi-criminal, quasi-civil proceeding. In other words, a criminally, sexually dangerous person can be removed or imprisoned just for being sexually dangerous.
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION under the Adam Walsh Act is required if convicted in federal court of any of these crimes and others not specified here.
WE ARE LICENSED IN:
U.S. District Court for Western Oklahoma (Oklahoma City)
U.S. District Court for Eastern Oklahoma (Muskogee)
U.S. District Court for Northern Oklahoma (Tulsa)
U.S. District Court for Eastern Texas (Beaumont, Lufkin, Marshall, Plano, Sherman, Texarkana, and Tyler areas)
U.S. District Court for Northern Texas (Abilene, Amarillo, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Lubbock, San Angelo, and Wichita Falls areas)
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
Supreme Court of the United States
Call the Wyatt Law Office at 405.234.5500 for your Oklahoma Federal Crimes Lawyers & Attorneys. We are licensed in all federal courts in Oklahoma and in the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas. We are eligible for admission in all federal courts nationwide and travel for representation. Your future is our business.
NOTEWORTHY FEDERAL CASES
Federal Relief Ordered for New Trial. Federal habeas corpus petition filed claiming that former counsel was constitutionally ineffective in a federal plea situation. After appeal filed and dismissed, the federal judge agreed on habeas that the client was entitled to a new trial.*
Split Verdict — Not Guilty of Using Gun During Commission of Drug Offense. We knew that our client would be convicted of possession of meth, but we felt that the evidence didn’t justify a conviction for using a firearm during a drug crime. The jury agreed, and this saved our client a mandatory “stacked” sentence that would have resulted in up to 15 additional years in prison. The drug conviction is on appeal. *
Split Verdict — Not Guilty on 44 Counts in Police Corruption Trial. After a three-and-a-half week jury trial in Tulsa (August 2011), Officer Jeff Henderson was found not guilty of 44 counts of drug possession and distribution, witness tampering, perjury, conspiracy, and civil rights violations. The court merged four of the perjury charges into other counts. One count of bribery was dismissed by the judge during trial, but the jury found Mr. Henderson guilty of two misdemeanor civil rights violations and guilty on 6 counts of perjury. Wyatt intends to appeal. (See Tulsa World for articles).
Federal Drug Case Dismissed. After Wyatt’s defense investigation of federal drug charge involving allegations that the client possessed 11 pounds (5 kilos) of meth with intent to distribute, government dismissed rather than face trial.*
Drug Evidence Suppressed in Federal Court. Wyatt and Scott Graham teamed up arguing and convincing the federal court to suppress evidence obtained after a “routine” traffic stop pursuant to an open air drug dog sniff search. During an illegal search, Troopers found 3,000 Oxycontin pills, multiple fake I.D.s, fake prescriptions, and over $17,000 cash. All evidence suppressed and case dismissed.*
Federal Charges Dismissed. Client charged with conspiracy to defraud investors in an alleged $1.2 million advance fee scheme. At a “James” hearing to determine scope of conspiracy, Wyatt showed that government had no proof against his client. Government counsel agreed to dismiss the charges against Wyatt’s client; all other defendants still facing charges.*
Minimal Punishment for Federal Antitrust Price Fixing Charge. Client accused of orchestrating gasoline price-fixing scheme with volume of commerce in excess of $5 million. Jury returned guilty verdict for Sherman Antitrust Act price-fixing violation, but judge ordered only probation (with no restitution) based on evidence developed at trial and in mitigation.*
Federal Charges Avoided for killing bald eagle and for possession of eagle feathers and claws after counsel involved in federal investigation.*
One of Mr. Wyatt’s federal trials was reviewed in Harvey Silverglate’s new book, Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent (New York, Encounter Books, 2009).
4 years given in Federal Child Porn. The U.S. District Court for the W.D. Oklahoma varied from the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines — giving Wyatt’s client a term of 4 years. U.S. Sentencing Guidelines called for approximately 8 years and plea agreement called for not less than 5 years. This non-Guideline sentence, while rare, was fair based on evidence presented to the Court.
Probation given in Federal Child Porn. The U.S. District Court for the W.D. Oklahoma granted a term of straight probation for possession of child porn. This non-Guideline sentence, while very rare, was fair.
14 month sentence for Federal Child Porn. The U.S. District Court sentenced Wyatt’s client to only 14 months for possession. Client faced up to 10 years. The sentence was a significant departure from the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
Not Guilty Verdict for Possession of Child Porn. Client charged with 5 counts of possession of child pornography. The law enforcement agent testified that my client had confessed to accidentally accessing a child porn web site on two or more occasions and the feds had strong circumstantial evidence guilt because the only time there was child porn (or any porn) on the computer was when the client was recovering from cancer surgeries at his 80 year old mother’s house. The defense presented expert testimony of other “non-porn” searches (which indicated the searches were not my client) on the computer within the times that the Gov’t claims my client was surfing kiddie porn, and we presented evidence of an imperfect alibi (that he was in another city earlier in the day – even though no proof that he was in the second city at the “time” the porn was searched). Client testified.*
Charge Avoided & Investigation Terminated. After thorough criminal investigation by the Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service and recommendations for fraud charges, Wyatt negotiated to avoid charges in an alleged Veteran’s Affairs fraud scheme.*
Charge Avoided & Investigation Terminated. After thorough criminal investigation by the Social Security Administration and recommendations for fraud charges, Wyatt negotiated to avoid charges in an alleged scheme to defraud a vulnerable adult out of Social Security disability benefits.*
Bob Wyatt was interviewed by the National Law Journal for his expertise in the area of sex crimes and cybercrimes. The article was published on February 18, 2008.
Child Porn Charge Dismissed. Wyatt and McCoy teamed up again in October 2006 — this time researching, briefing, arguing, and convincing the federal court to suppress evidence obtained pursuant to a search warrant in the FBI’s nationwide OPERATION CRYING EYES investigation. After the federal judge’s ruling, the U.S. Attorneys’ Office dismissed the 14-count indictment on the eve of trial.*
Acquittal (Not Guilty) on 106 Counts of Fraud & Money Laundering: Bob Wyatt and Gloyd McCoy were engaged to represent a grain elevator operator previously charged with and convicted of 106 counts of uttering forged securities and engaging in illegal monetary transactions (effectively money laundering). On behalf of the client, we sought habeas corpus relief and were granted a new trial. At this re-trial, the jury convicted again but the Judge released the client on bond pending appeal because of the issues raised by Wyatt. Wyatt appealed again, this time with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals directing a Judgment of Acquittal (“not guilty”) — meaning that the client is a free man and the government cannot try him again. United States v. Hunt, 456 F.3d 1255 (10th Cir.2006)*
Fraud Sentence Vacated. Bob Wyatt and Gloyd McCoy were engaged to represent a NW Oklahoma resident who had previously been convicted of 106 counts of uttering forged securities and engaging in illegal monetary transactions (effectively money laundering) in federal court in Oklahoma City. Mr. Hunt sought habeas corpus relief for among other things ineffective assistance of his former trial counsel and conflict of interest. After a two-day hearing in January, the U.S. District Court on March 5, 2004, issued an order granting habeas relief and vacating the client’s conviction and sentence.*
Not Guilty Verdict for Interstate Travel for the Solicitation of Sex with a Minor. The Wyatt Law Office tried an Innocent Images case to a federal jury in Oklahoma City winning a “not guilty” verdict on both counts of using the Internet to entice a minor for sex and for traveling across state lines to engage in sex with a minor.*
CHAMPUS/Insurance Fraud Conviction Reversed, Case Dismissed. Bob Wyatt was co-counsel to two obstetric physicians and surgeons charged with multiple counts of “healthcare fraud” for alleged violation of CHAMPUS regulations as it related to over 100 patients of the surgery center. This four-year federal investigation in parallel civil and criminal proceedings concluded in a guilty verdict on all but one charge; however, Wyatt convinced the federal appeals court to reverse the conviction with orders to dismiss the charges for lack of merit. Bob Wyatt briefed and argued the appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. (See “Published”). United States v. Avery, 34 F.3d 1517 (10th Cir. 1994).*
*Note: Results may vary because each case must be decided on its own unique facts and the law applicable to that given case. You should not infer the likelihood of success on a given case based on past cases handled by this firm.