Computer and Internet Crimes

Practice Areas


Cyber-crimes occur when the perpetrator uses the internet to commit an illegal act. It may involve computers, tablets, or phones. Usually, computer crimes include using a computer or graphics software to commit forgery or counterfeiting. Charges could also be filed if proprietary information stored on a computer is stolen and manipulated for economic advantage or sexual gratification. It is also illegal to use the internet to solicit sex or commit larceny or fraud. Other forms of computer crime may include unauthorized use of a computer, including stealing or manipulating usernames and passwords, or accessing someone’s computer and its private email or bank records without authorization remotely via the internet.

With the new technoligical developments in today’s modern world, computer crimes are on the rise. The criminal laws that penalize such crimes are developing every day. Most of these crimes result from violation of federal statutes. Obainting confidential national security information, or illicit activities involving pornography or gaining access to personal credit card or financial information are all examples of computer crimes.

Cyber crime is sometimes called a net crime referring to any crime where a network is used in the commission of the crime. Net crime refers to unlawful and criminal exploitation of the Internet. Issues surrounding this type of crime have grown in recent years, particularly those surrounding hacking, copyright infringement, child pornography, and child grooming. There are also problems of privacy when confidential information is intentionally or unlawfully lost, intercepted or interfered with.

It is also a crime to hack or unlawfully take advantage of programming flaws in a software for pecuniary gain. Hackers may attack a large corporation’s computer system by spreading viruses in an attempt to steal data and use the information for pecuniary or financial gain. Criminal rings are usually involved in misappropriating new and advanced cyber technologies in order to benefit themselves in an unlawful manner.

Federal or State charges that may be filed include identity theft, money laundering, software theft, child pornography, fraud and various other crimes. Other forms of computer crime include using the internet for stalking, harassment, soliciting sex, engaging in a chat or communication with a minor, publicizing or sharing nude pictures of children, or engaging in conspiracy or communications intended to facilitate a crime. Newer forms of computer crimes include intentionally creating and making public a malicious and defective computer program or software that includes a virus, worm or Trojan horse, and aims at taking advantage of the defect.

Internet crimes usually are filed as federal crimes and defendants in these cases face serious charges and lengthy prison sentences under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Sometimes, the case starts out as a state crime, but it is eventually turned over to the feds for criminal prosecution under United States laws.

Federal Cyber-crimes

On the global level, both governments and non-state actors continue to grow in importance, with the ability to engage in such activities as espionage, financial theft, and other cross-border crimes sometimes referred to as cyber warfare. The international legal system is attempting to hold actors accountable for their actions, with the International Criminal Court and attorneys among the few addressing this threat. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of United States law, 18 USC section 1030 and its sub-sections, are the most commonly used US codes in prosecuting cyber-crimes pursuant to federal laws. These codes not only cover mail fraud and wire fraud, they cover other illegal activities like using people’s passwords or conspiring to obtain people’s personal data from a computer system. Introducing a contaminant into a computer network or accessing another’s computer without permission may also be a federal crime. Other forms of computer crimes are destroying or deleting information from a computer system, or illegally accessing data on another’s computer network.

United States Wiretap and Invasion of Privacy Act

United States code 119  section 2510 makes it illegal to intercept oral or written communications of individuals using their phones or internet.  If the information is used to commit identity theft, it will be prosecuted per 18 USC section 1028(a).

California Cyber Crime Laws

California is very tough on cyber-crimes. For instance, California makes it illegal to solicit a minor online to engage in sexual activity. Violation of these laws could result in substantial time in prison. Other cybercrimes include tampering with telecommunication data, online impersonation of a government official, and illegal installation of a tracking device on someone’s computer. Cyber-crimes may also lead to the filing of other felony charge under California laws against the perpetrator. These crimes may include theft, fraud, and embezzlement. These crimes may be charged as felonies by California State prosecutors.


A Criminal Defense Lawyer who intends to defend a computer crime must be computer savvy and familiar with the fast developing internet world and the complex issues surrounding it, so that he may properly apply his extensive knowledge to an effect defense in court. To fight against a cyber-crime, your attorney must be knowledgeable about advanced technologies and their relationship with state and federal crimes.  Successfully defending computer and internet crimes also requires an attorney’s familiarity with law enforcement investigation methods and strategies and how a case is structured against the defendant.

Your criminal defense attorney would look at various pieces of evidence to assess their value in defending your case. These may include analysis of any government surveillance tape footages, all items seized from the defendant’s car or home and all data found on your computer. If there are any law enforcement invasion of privacy issues, your lawyer will consider constitutional violations in your defense. These violations by law enforcement may involve a search warrant that was illegally obtained based on false or incomplete affidavits, or warrants that were improperly executed.

If federal charges are filed, your defense attorney will look into all aspects of the FBI Investigation.  This is when you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to communicate with federal agents and the assistant US attorneys. Your attorney may set up meetings with them to discuss various issues.  Federal charges filed based on cyber security or fraud are unique and complicated and without proper knowledge of what may occur down the line, you will be in an absolute disadvantage.

An aggressive federal defense lawyer in Los Angeles may be able to assert all defenses on your behalf and win a dismissal of the charges. This usually occurs when there is insufficient evidence to support the allegations. For example, if someone is charged with soliciting a minor online to engage in sexual activity, there must be some evidence that the accused knew the victim was not of legal age. Without proof of that knowledge, the case must be dismissed.

Cyber-crimes, whether prosecuted under federal or state laws could be devastating in terms of your criminal record and your prospects for future employment. That’s aside from serious prison time you may have to serve. If you are being investigated, don’t take the matter into your own hands. We can present your defense in a professional manner and achieve solid results.
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Criminal prosecution can affect your health, freedom, employment, and social life. You need help and you need the best criminal defense you can get. At the Law Offices of Tony M. Seyfi, with the state of the art computerized legal research tools and forensic techniques, we will focus on identifying the defenses you may have and will develop numerous challenges to any crime possible.

Our goal is victory for our clients and to keep them from going to jail, and we are confident of our defense strategies. If you would like to discuss your case, call us today for a FREE CONSULTATION and case analysis.

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