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Are You the Cable Guy or the FBI?

There is an interesting case before a U.S. Federal District Court in the Las Vegas area. The issue for the judge to decide is whether FBI agents can disconnect a utility service to an abode and then, disguise themselves as repairmen in order to gain entry and covertly search the premises in hopes of finding evidence that might justify the issuance of a search warrant.
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The defendants in this case are a group of Chinese high rollers who are accused of running an illegal gambling operation from their Las Vegas villa at Caesar’s Palace Hotel and Casino. The government became suspicious of this group’s activities when they learned that some individuals in the group had been booted from Macau for illegal gambling activities. However, under the law, suspicion alone is not sufficient grounds for a search warrant.

The attorneys for the defendants in this case filed a motion to suppress asserting that the evidence in this case was obtained illegally when FBI agents disconnected the internet service to the villa, dressed up as internet service technicians, and entered the room claiming to be fixing the Internet connection. When inside the room, the agents snooped around and took photographs of items they believed to be incriminating. With this new found information, the agents believed that they had enough to get a search warrant. To make matters worse, when seeking the search warrant, the agents failed to disclose their sneaky tactics to the magistrate judge.

Can FBI agents legally do this sort “repairmen” ploy and get away with it?

The Fourth Amendment typically protects us under U.S. jurisdiction (even foreign nationals as in this case) from warrantless searches and seizures. However, when law enforcement is given consent to enter and search, a warrant is not required.

Here’s the problem: If law enforcement agents secretly cut off service to your house and pose as repairmen in order to get inside under false pretenses, are you really still consenting to a search? I’m of the opinion that you are only consenting to is a search for a cable connection. The attorneys for the accused gamblers say no, and they caution that saying yes would open a Pandora’s box for warrantless searches.

The next time your Internet or phone service goes out, it could actually be an elaborate plot by federal agents trying to gain access to your home. What do you think of this?

Of course, I will be following this case. No matter what the district judge decides, I am certain this issue will be appealed to a higher court.

louisiana criminal defense attorney is a New Orleans attorney who focuses a significant portion of her practice on criminal defense in federal and state court.

Residential Contractor Fraud – Louisiana Law

During the 2014 legislative session, the Louisiana law makers repealed the statute for Home Improvement Fraud and replaced it with Residential Contractor Fraud.

Louisiana Residential Contractor Fraud Statute– La. R.S. 14:202.1
Residential contractor fraud is the misappropriation or intentional taking of anything of value which belongs to another, either without the consent of the other to the misappropriation or taking, or by means of fraudulent conduct, practices, or representations by a person who has contracted to perform any home improvement or residential construction, or who has subcontracted for the performance of any home improvement or residential construction. A misappropriation or intentional taking may be inferred when a person does any of the following:
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Residential-Contractor-Fraud-Louisiana(1) Fails to perform any work during a forty-five-day period of time or longer after receiving payment, unless a longer period is specified in the contract.

(2) Uses, or causes an agent or employee to use, any deception, false pretense, or false promise to cause any person to enter into a contract for home improvements or residential construction.

(3) Damages the property of any person with the intent to induce that person to enter into a contract for home improvements or residential construction.

(4) Knowingly makes a material misrepresentation of fact in any application for a permit required by state, municipal, or parochial law.

(5) Knowingly makes a material misrepresentation of fact in any lien placed upon the property at issue.

(6) Fails to possess the required license for home improvements or residential construction required by the applicable state, municipal, or parochial statute.

(7) Knowingly employs a subcontractor who does not possess the required license by the applicable state, municipal, or parochial statute.

“Home improvement or residential construction” means any alteration, repair, modification, construction, or other improvement to any immovable or movable property primarily designed or used as a residence or to any structure within the residence or upon the land adjacent to the residence. This law can apply to mobile homes on certain trailers.

Penalties
When the misappropriation or intentional taking amounts to a value of less than $1,000.00 dollars, the offender shall be imprisoned for not more than 6 months, fined not more than one thousand dollars, or both. If the offender in such cases has been convicted of theft two or more times previously, then upon conviction the offender shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than two years, or fined not more than two thousand dollars.

When the misappropriation or intentional taking amounts to a value of $1,000.00 dollars or more, but less than $5,000.00 dollars, the offender shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for 0 to 5 years, or may be fined not more than $3,000.00 dollars, or both.

When the misappropriation or intentional taking amounts to a value of $5,000.00 dollars or more but less than $25,000.00 dollars, the offender shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or may be fined not more than $10,000.00 dollars, or both.

When the misappropriation or intentional taking amounts to a value of $25,000.00 dollars or more, the offender shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than 20 years, or may be fined not more than $50,000.00 dollars, or both.

* In determining the amount of the misappropriation or intentional taking, the court shall include the cost of repairing work fraudulently performed by the contractor and the cost of completing work for which the contractor was paid but did not complete.

* In addition to the penalties provided by the provisions of this Section, a person convicted of residential contractor fraud shall be ordered to make full restitution to the victim and any other person who has suffered a financial loss as a result of the offense. For the purposes of this Subsection, restitution to the victim shall include the cost of repairing work fraudulently performed by the contractor and the cost of completing work for which the contractor was paid but did not complete.

Legal Representation: New Orleans Contractor Fraud Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of contractor fraud, contact attorney louisiana criminal defense attorney for a consultation. She has experience defending many contractors accused of fraud in the New Orleans area.

Solicitation of Transportation in Exchange for Sexual Intercourse

This is a new law that was created during the 2014 legislative session, essentially this law states that it is unlawful to ask someone for a ride or transportation in exchange for sexual intercourse. This is considered a prostitution related offense.
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A. It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit funds or transportation with the intention to solicit the person to engage in indiscriminate sexual intercourse for compensation.

B. For purposes of this Section, “sexual intercourse” means anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse.

C. Whoever violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars, imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.

If you have been arrested for a prostitution related offense, contact our louisiana criminal defense attorney

Re-Homing of a Child – Louisiana Law

Re-Homing of a Child — La. R.S. 14:46.4
This law was enacted during the 2014 legislative session. The statute may be found here.

Re-homing of a child is any one of the following:

(1) A transaction, or any action taken to facilitate such transaction, through electronic means or otherwise by a parent or any individual or entity with custody of a child who intends to avoid or divest himself of permanent parental responsibility by placing the child in the physical custody of a non-relative, without court approval, unless Subsection B of this Section applies. Actions include but are not limited to transferring, recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, soliciting, or obtaining a child for such transaction.

(2) The selling, transferring, or arranging for the sale or transfer of a minor child to another person or entity for money or anything of value or to receive such minor child for such payments or thing of value.

(3) Assisting, aiding, abetting, or conspiring in the commission of any act described in Paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Subsection by any person or entity, regardless of whether money or anything of value has been promised to or received by the person.

B. Re-homing does not include:

(1) Placement of a child with a relative, stepparent, licensed adoption agency, licensed attorney, or the Department of Children and Family Services.

(2) Placement of a child by a licensed attorney, licensed adoption agency, or the Department of Children and Family Services.

(3) Temporary placement of a child by parents or custodians for designated short-term periods with a specified intent and time period for return of the child, due to a vacation or a school-sponsored function or activity, or the incarceration, military service, medical treatment, or incapacity of a parent.

(4) Placement of a child in another state in accordance with the requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

(5) Relinquishment of a child pursuant to the safe haven provisions of law.
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Penalty
Whoever commits the crime of re-homing of a child shall be fined not more than $5,000.00 dollars and shall be imprisoned at hard labor for not more than 5 years. This is a felony.

Legal Representation: New Orleans Criminal Attorney
If you have been charged with the crime of Rehoming of a Child or any other criminal offense, contact louisiana criminal defense attorney for a consultation. We are here to help you.

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