The label “criminal defense attorney” implies that such a person is an attorney who defends criminals. Very often it is the case that criminal defense attorneys such as those at Leifert & Leifert are representing innocent individuals who have, through no fault of their own, been dragged into the messy world of criminal justice.
Did you know that Florida resident Carlos Gomez opened up a Wells Fargo bank account through which money was laundered? No? Well, neither did he. And that’s because he didn’t open the account. Back in 2011, Carlos Gomez was yanked out of his house at 5 A.M. and tossed in jail for two weeks, because a major U.S. bank had told investigators that a bank account used for laundering money was opened by Gomez when, in fact, it was not.
Accusations are made all the time, many of which lead to arrests, which are carried-out far too often. According to the FBI, 12,408,899 individuals were arrested in 2011 alone (the last year for which there is data). To put that in perspective, that’s about 4% of the entire U.S. population. Does this mean that 4% of the entire U.S. population should be in jail for committing crimes? No, because many of the people arrested are, in fact, innocent, just like Mr. Gomez. This case should demonstrate that just because someone is accused does not mean they are guilty. Often times, arrests made by law enforcement inflict far more harm than they prevent.
Mr. Gomez ceased being a customer of Wells Fargo in 2002. Then, according to this NBC Miami article, an account was opened in 2005 under his name. It was this fraudulently opened account that was involved in money laundering. Although his name was attached to it, Mr. Gomez had no idea of his “involvement” in the illegal acts taking place. When investigators opened the case of the money laundering, Wells Fargo, having required almost no valid documentation from the criminal who did open the bank account, acted negligently and told investigators that the account was Mr. Gomez’s, when it was not.
There he was, before the sunrise, with guns in his face and officers yelling at him. Mr. Gomez had no idea what was going on. Just like that, before he was given any answers, he was whisked away and put behind bars. And then he was put under house arrest for 8 months. It was purely by a stroke of luck that Mr. Gomez was able to prove his innocence.
Mr. Gomez found, tucked away in a shoebox, a bank statement from the bank of which he was a customer prior to being a customer at Wells Fargo. The contents of the bank statement proved his innocence and prosecutors dropped all the charges, eventually arresting a Wells Fargo employee for stealing roughly $1.2 million. It was an inside job after all, and an innocent man had nearly a year of his life, and an immeasurable sense of security, taken away from him. Had Mr. Gomez not come across the shoebox, justice would have never prevailed. All of this is because (false) accusations were taken as fact.
Now, Mr. Gomez has filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo for the trauma and damage they caused him because of their negligent handling of the incident. Hopefully Mr. Gomez will receive the compensation he deserves for the tragedy he experienced.
Never judge a book by its cover, and never judge a man’s innocence or guilt before investigating all of the relevant facts.
If you are charged with a crime in Palm Beach or Broward counties, contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Partnership of Former Prosecutors, for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1.888.5.DEFEND.