HUMAN TRAFFICKING GETS LOCAL: RECENT ARRESTS & RAIDS FIND 27 VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN LARGO FLORIDA

Recently, FBI agents with local assistance made arrests for charges of Human Trafficking at a Chinese Buffet in Largo, Pinellas County, Florida involving workers at the restaurant on East Bay Drive. The raid netted a large group of 27 illegal aliens who according to authorities were allegedly being used improperly with little or no wages, unfit working and living conditions that including being hauled in vans to and from work. 
The restaurant reportedly offered exceptional values to customers, but I know at least one Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer who won’t be eating there anytime soon.
Often Human Traffickers make false promises to lure illegal aliens then use fear and differences in culture and language to entrap them.
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Gustave Boulanger, The Slave Market, 1882
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A boy slave in the slave trade market of Zanzibar punished by his ‘Arab master’ by being chained to a 32 pound log.

CONVICTION UPHELD FOR SMUGGLING GREAT CUBAN BASEBALL PLAYERS TO FLORIDA

We all know about Drug Smuggling, but Smuggling Baseball players, that’s a new one. 
Here’s a recent Federal Appeal from a conviction for Smuggling Cuban Baseball players to Florida that is hard to believe even for a Clearwater Defense Attorney who thought he’d seen everything. 
Although this case seems benign with complete consent from the Cuban Baseball players, there have been other Human Trafficking cases involving human smuggling for illicit purposes such as child prostitution or slave labor where lives are routinely destroyed. 
Clearwater Area Task Force Against Human Trafficking – Home
Here’s the Cuban Baseball Smuggling Appeal, below find a link to the entire opinion:

United States v. Gustavo Dominguez, No. 07–13405 

( October 31, 2011) Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida  Affirmed in Part, Reversed in Part, and Vacated in Part Gustavo Dominguez, a professional sports agent, was convicted of smuggling five Cuban baseball players into the United States, transporting the players from Miami to Los Angeles, and harboring them there until they applied for asylum. 
The theory of prosecution was that Dominguez, and several codefendants conspired to bring, unsuccessfully attempted to bring, and then successfully brought, five Cuban baseball players to the United States so that the players could pursue professional baseball careers. And the prosecution’s theory was that Dominguez had a role in transporting and harboring the players after their arrival in the United States. Dominguez anticipated that, after the players arrived, he would represent them as their agent, negotiate any potential baseball contract, and collect a percentage of their earnings as a fee. The indictment alleged, and the jury found, that Dominguez smuggled the players for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain. Based on this finding, the district court imposed a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.
The Eleventh Circuit concluded that the evidence did not support Dominguez’s convictions of transporting and harboring aliens, because the government did not prove that he transported the Cubans “in furtherance” of their illegal status as required by the transporting statute, or that he “knowingly concealed, harbored, or shielded from detection” as required by the harboring statute. The Court further noted that Dominguez arranged the immigration process to start shortly after the players arrived to the U.S., and himself arranged to have them taken before and report to immigration authorities. 
The Court concluded, however, that the evidence supported Dominguez’s convictions of conspiracy to smuggle, aiding and abetting an attempted smuggle, and aiding and abetting a smuggle.  The Court held that a specific intent to violate the law is not required, only that a defendant know or recklessly disregard “the fact that an alien has not received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States,” and that the defendant knowingly bring or attempt to bring an alien to the United States. 
Full Text of US v. Gominguez
Criminal Defense Attorney in Clearwater, FL
Florida | Free the Slaves BLOG

Smuggled Cuban Baseball Players recently found wearing Chicago White Sox uniforms.

It was almost unthinkable: players throwing the World Series? Yet, allegedly that’s what happened in the fall of 1919 and America’s Game was never the same. At least the Chicago White Sox didn’t smuggle Cuban players into the game to the best of our knowledge.

AGGRAVATED IDENTITY THEFT – WARNING SIGNS YOUR LIFE HAS BEEN ABDUCTED FOR CONSUMERS IN CLEARWATER

Always be alert for these RED FLAGs of Identity Theft from your Federal Trial Lawyer:

  • You find that there exist accounts in your name which you never opened. 
  • You find purchases from accounts that you do not remember nor can explain.
  • You find purchases made to unknown companies, organizations or people.
  • You find inaccurate, flawed, incorrect or fraudulent information on credit reports on any information including any accounts or any personal information, such as the month, day or year of birth, your mother’s maiden name, the name of your favorite pet (Sancho) your Social Security number, the spelling of your middle name, your present or past employers and the years you worked there.
  • You find that you are no longer receiving bills for credit cards or other debts, because the Identity Thief changes the address to which the bills are sent to cover his tracks.
  • You find that you have been sent a credit card for which you never applied and that my name is on it instead of yours.
  • You find that your credit rating has fallen, that you’ve been denied credit.
  • You find that you get voice messages, repeated debt letters from bill collection agencies, attorneys (damn them!), or from unique businesses concerning services, merchandise or priceless antique art work you could never afford and most likely didn’t buy even if you were under the influence of drugs, alcohol or Antiques Roadshow.

If you may have been a vicim of identity theft in Clearwater, Florida and believe your information has been compromised this web page has information on what to do next.

As to the legal ramifications of identity theft here is a synopsis of yesterday’s important 11th Circuit Federal Identity Theft decision:

United States v. John Doe, No. 09–15869 

( October 26, 2011) Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida John Doe (real name unknown at time of appeal) appealed his convictions for aggravated identity theft, claiming that the government did not produce sufficient evidence that Doe knew the name and social security number he used in applying for a United States passport belonged to an actual person. The Eleventh Circuit rejected this claim, noting that Circuit precedent stands for the proposition that a defendant’s repeated and successful testing of the authenticity of a victim’s identifying information prior to the crime at issue is powerful circumstantial evidence that the defendant knew the identifying information belonged to a real person as opposed to a fictitious one. Drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the government, the Court found that a rational jury could have concluded that Doe knew the victim’s identifying information was subject to a detailed verification process when he applied for a driver’s license. Doe’s successes in obtaining not one, but two different driver’s licenses from two different jurisdictions, in addition to opening a bank account and obtaining a debit card from Bank Atlantic, were meaningful circumstantial indicia that Doe knew the victim’s identifying information belonged to a real person, the Court wrote. 
The full text of the decision can be found here.
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
Internet Crime Trends
Good News & Bad News About Identity Theft

This unfortunate man was recently the victim of Identity Theft. Now he wonders around Europe trying to find out who it was he was meant to be while confronting mighty windmills.
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Honoré Daumier – Don Quixote – 1868 – Where’s Sancho, my golden retriever?