Service & Results.

nyc criminal lawyers over 30 years of experienceWe Know How To Win Cases

Spodek Law Group handles tough cases
nationwide, that demand excellence.

Get Free Consultation

Faced 5+ Years in Prison

People Vs Joseph Amico

Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.

Faced 10+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Anna Sorokin

Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.

Faced 3+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Genevieve Sabourin

Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.

Faced Potential Charges

Ghislaine Maxwell Juror

Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.

Why Choose Us

Clients can use our portal to track the status of their case, stay in touch with us, upload documents, and more.

Regardless of the type of situation you're facing, our attorneys are here to help you get quality representation.

We can setup consultations in person, over Zoom, or over the phone to help you. Bottom line, we're here to help you win your case.

Law in the Media

View All

Meet Todd Spodek


The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

Why Clients Choose Spodek Law Group

The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

If you have a legal issue, call us for a consultation.
We are available 24/7, to help you with any – and all, challenges you face.

Federal Crimes and Investigations

By Spodek Law Group | October 18, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 19, 2023)

Last Updated on: 19th October 2023, 02:01 pm

Federal Crimes and Investigations

The federal criminal justice system can seem complicated and intimidating to those unfamiliar with it. This article aims to explain the key aspects of federal crimes and investigations in an easy-to-understand way.

What is a Federal Crime?

For a crime to fall under federal jurisdiction, it must violate federal law. Murder, for example, is a state crime unless committed under certain federal circumstances like the murder of a federal official. Robbery becomes a federal crime if it involves a federally insured bank. Federal agencies like the FBI investigate federal crimes based on their specific jurisdictions.

Some examples of federal crimes include:

  • White collar crimes like wire fraud, identity theft, securities fraud
  • Federal drug crimes like trafficking
  • Crimes on federal land, federal buildings or involving federal employees
  • Crimes crossing state borders like kidnapping or human trafficking
  • Cybercrimes like computer hacking
  • Civil rights violations
  • Federal firearms violations
  • Counterfeiting
  • Bank robbery
  • Child exploitation crimes

If a crime only violates state law, it will be investigated by state or local law enforcement, not federal agencies.

How Do Federal Investigations Begin?

There are a few common ways a federal investigation starts:

  • A victim or witness reports a potential federal crime. For example, if a bank is robbed, the bank will contact federal authorities like the FBI.
  • Federal agents receive tips from informants hoping for leniency in their own cases.
  • Data gathered by federal intelligence agencies points to potential crimes.
  • A state or local investigation uncovers evidence of a federal violation and gets referred upwards.

Once a lead comes in, federal agents open an investigation to gather evidence and identify suspects. They work closely with federal prosecutors who provide legal guidance.

Federal Investigation Techniques

Federal agents have many investigative tools at their disposal:

  • Surveillance – Physical monitoring of suspects, vehicles, locations, online activity etc. This can go on for months.
  • Informants & Cooperators – Getting people close to the suspects to provide information, record conversations, wear wires etc.
  • Records Collection – Obtaining financial records, phone records, travel records, medical records, tax returns through subpoenas or warrants.
  • Interviews – Questioning suspects, witnesses, experts, associates etc.
  • Undercover Operations – Using undercover agents or informants to infiltrate criminal operations.
  • Search Warrants – Allow agents to enter and search property for evidence.
  • Electronic Surveillance – Wiretaps, accessing stored communications, tracking internet activity.
  • Forensic Analysis – Testing DNA, fingerprints, ballistics, digital data etc.

Federal agents can make arrests without warrants and conduct searches with warrants approved by judges. They have far more resources than local law enforcement to conduct long, complex investigations.

Federal Grand Juries

Federal grand juries are groups of citizens who review evidence presented by prosecutors to determine if charges should be filed. They have the power to subpoena documents and witnesses. Grand jury proceedings are kept secret.

If the grand jury finds enough evidence, they will return an indictment recommending criminal charges against the suspects. Suspects can then be arrested and charged.

Plea Bargaining

Over 90% of federal criminal cases end in plea bargains rather than trials. Defendants plead guilty in exchange for prosecutors recommending reduced charges or lighter sentences.

Plea deals allow prosecutors to resolve cases efficiently and get cooperation from defendants in ongoing investigations. Critics argue they give prosecutors too much leverage and lead to overly harsh sentences for those who refuse to plead guilty.


If a case does go to trial and leads to a conviction, a presentence investigation report is prepared by a probation officer before sentencing. This report provides information on the defendant’s background, criminal history and the impact of the crime on victims.

Federal judges use sentencing guidelines to determine sentences based on the crime committed and the defendant’s criminal history. Guidelines provide a sentencing range the judge usually stays within. Mandatory minimum sentences set by Congress also impact sentences for certain crimes.

In 2018, the average federal drug trafficking sentence was 6 years and average fraud sentence was 2 years.[1] Violent crimes like murder or kidnapping can bring decades or life in prison. White collar crimes generally bring shorter sentences than drug or violent crimes.

Stages of Federal Cases

The typical stages of a federal criminal case are:

  1. Investigation – Federal agents investigate crime and gather evidence.
  2. Arrest – Suspects are arrested, often before charges are filed.
  3. Initial Appearance – Suspects appear before a judge who informs them of the charges and their rights. Bail is set.
  4. Grand Jury – Prosecutors present evidence to a grand jury to get an indictment.
  5. Arraignment – Defendant enters a plea to the charges in the indictment.
  6. Motions & Discovery – Both sides file motions and exchange evidence in discovery.
  7. Plea Bargaining – Negotiations lead to most defendants pleading guilty rather than facing trial.
  8. Trial – For the few cases that don’t plead out, a trial is held before a judge or jury.
  9. Sentencing – If found guilty, the defendant is sentenced based on guidelines and statutes.
  10. Appeals – Convicted defendants can appeal to higher courts on issues like evidentiary rulings, jury instructions, sentencing etc.

This entire process from investigation through appeals can take many months or years to conclude.

Tips if Facing a Federal Investigation

Being caught up in a federal investigation can be scary. Here are some tips if you find yourself under scrutiny by federal agents:

  • Hire an experienced federal defense attorney immediately. Do not try to navigate it alone.
  • Do not speak to investigators without your lawyer present. Even casual questioning can be dangerous.
  • Follow your lawyer’s advice about whether to testify to a grand jury. They can weigh the risks and benefits.
  • Be wary of offers to become an informant. Cooperating often leads to more trouble down the road.
  • Avoid discussing the case with anyone besides your lawyer and close family. Do not try to coordinate stories.
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of the government’s case. Your lawyer can explain where you stand.
  • Consider the pros and cons of pleading guilty if offered a deal versus taking it trial. Your lawyer can give their assessment.
  • Be prepared for a lengthy, complex process that can take years before resolution. Patience is key.

The most important takeaway is – do not try to handle a federal investigation on your own. Hiring experienced counsel early on is critical.

Examples of Federal Crimes

Here are some examples of common federal crimes:

Bank Robbery

Bank robbery is a federal crime under 18 USC §2113. The FBI investigates bank robberies since they involve federally insured banks. Penalties can include up to 20 years in prison.

Famous bank robbers from history include Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, and Willie Sutton. Modern bank robberies are rarer due to increased security measures. [2]

Wire Fraud

Wire fraud under 18 USC §1343 means using communications like telephone, television or internet to intentionally defraud someone out of money or property.

Common wire fraud schemes include phishing emails, romance scams on dating sites, online auction fraud, and business email compromise. Penalties include up to 20 years in prison.

Drug Trafficking

The DEA enforces federal laws like the Controlled Substances Act that make drug trafficking a federal crime. Penalties vary based on the amount and type of drug.

For example, trafficking over 500 grams of cocaine carries 5 to 40 years in prison under 21 USC 841. Trafficking large quantities of fentanyl can lead to decades in prison.

Tax Evasion

The IRS investigates tax crimes like tax evasion and filing false returns under 26 USC 7201. Offenders face up to 5 years in prison.

Al Capone was famously convicted of tax evasion in 1931 for not paying taxes on income from his criminal enterprises.

Identity Theft

Stealing personal information like social security numbers to obtain credit cards or loans is identity theft under 18 USC 1028. It carries up to 15 years in prison.

The Internet has made identity theft much easier to perpetrate on a mass scale. The FBI investigates large identity theft rings.

Hate Crimes

Under 18 USC 249, violent crimes motivated by bias over race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc. can be charged as federal hate crimes.

Hate crimes carry enhanced penalties – for example, 10 years added to an underlying offense’s sentence.

Child Exploitation

Sexual exploitation and trafficking of children are prosecuted under 18 USC 2251 and 2422. Possessing, producing or distributing child pornography can result in decades in prison.

The Internet has enabled more widespread trafficking and sharing of child pornography. The FBI has a Crimes Against Children program to combat this.[3]

This overview provides a sampling of some of the most common federal crimes. There are hundreds of federal statutes covering a wide array of criminal offenses that the FBI, DEA, ATF and other agencies investigate and help prosecute.

The Federal Criminal Justice Process

Here is a quick rundown of the key steps in the federal criminal justice process after a crime occurs:

  • Crime is reported to federal agency like FBI or DEA
  • Investigation is opened and federal agents gather evidence
  • Evidence is presented to a federal grand jury
  • Grand jury returns an indictment charging the suspect
  • Suspect is arrested and makes initial appearance in court
  • Suspect is arraigned and enters a plea of guilty or not guilty
  • Pretrial motions and discovery takes place
  • Plea negotiations usually result in a guilty plea
  • For cases that don’t plead out, a trial is held
  • If convicted, sentencing occurs under federal guidelines
  • Convicted defendant can appeal to a higher federal court

While this presents the basic workflow, the process is often not as linear in practice. Investigations can weave in and out of grand jury proceedings. New indictments can be brought. Sentencing may be delayed for defendant cooperation.

Free Consultation


I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

5 Stars
It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me, and my company Qumana skincare feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything...

~A G

5 Stars
After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

Spodek Law Group

White Glove Service

We Provide Superior Service, Excellent Results, At A Level Superior To Other Criminal Defense Law Firms. Regardless Of Where Your Case Is, Nationwide, We Can Help You.
View More

Request Free Consultation

Please fill out the form below to receive a free consultation, we will respond to
your inquiry within 24-hours guaranteed.


85 Broad St 30th Floor, New York, NY 10004


get directions

Los Angeles

611 S Catalina St Suite 222, Los Angeles, CA 90005


get directions


35-37 36th St, 2nd Floor Astoria, NY 11106


get directions


195 Montague St., 14th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201


get directions
Call Now!