Our Focus on Federal Criminal Defense

Criminal Lawyer Group is an association of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country. We are experts in defending against criminal prosecution. Our top-rated attorneys have successfully defended clients from prosecution on charges in many different areas of criminal law, including drug charges, money laundering, federal fraud charges, identity theft, cyber-crimes, and more. We defend clients throughout the U.S. in state and federal court.

Because we defend clients in complex cases that cross jurisdictional lines, we have a stringent process for selecting our attorneys. We recruit only the best criminal defense attorneys in each city by hand-selecting them according to their education, years of practice, honors and awards received, position within their law firm, jurisdiction, verdict and settlement record, publications, and other qualifications.

We look forward to serving Burlington and the surrounding areas with our association of Vermont's best criminal defense attorneys. You can rest assured that you will receive the best legal counsel from the most qualified attorney when you contact us.

Path to Finding a Burlington Federal Defense Lawyer

The majority of criminal cases in the United States fall under state law. These cases are heard by a state court and defended by lawyers with experience and knowledge of the state court system. Crimes under federal law can, and often do, differ greatly from state charges.

When a person breaks the law in Vermont, their case is tried in the Criminal Division ( a14.2ka Criminal Court). All counties in Vermont have a Criminal Division within their court system. The Criminal Court is assigned cases involving both felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are defined as serious crimes such as murder, theft of products, services, or assets worth over $900, assault, or other serious offenses. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes such as theft of goods or services worth under $900, disorderly conduct, trespassing, and more.

The Criminal Court decides the guilt or innocence of the defendant through several means: a jury trial, entering guilty pleas, or a court trial. The judge in the Criminal Division is also responsible for granting or declining arrest and search warrants. The Criminal Court Division has special courts and dockets for specific cases like cases dealing with mental health, drugs, or D.U.I.'s.

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Federal District Courts in Vermont

Federal district courts have jurisdiction over cases that involve issues concerning the federal government, the United States Constitution, or federal laws. They also preside over cases where both parties are not from the same state or country or where a crime takes place across the borders of multiple states or countries. Federal District Courts hear civil, criminal, and bankruptcy cases. The verdicts handed down in district courts can be appealed.

The Federal District Courts have judges, prosecutors, and public defense attorneys apart from the court system for the state which they serve. The Federal Court of the District of Vermont serves all the counties within Vermont. It has two locations in the state.

United States District Court, District of Vermont

Burlington
Physical Address: 11 Elmwood Avenue, Room 200, Burlington, VT 05401
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 945, Burlington, VT 05402-0945
Phone: (802) 951-6301
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8:30 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.

Rutland
Physical Address: 151 West Street, Room 204, Rutland, VT 05701
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 607, Rutland, VT 05702-0607
Phone: (802) 773-0245
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8:30 A.M. - 5:00 P.M

Federal Investigative Agencies

Many different federal agencies conduct investigations within Burlington and the whole of Vermont. In this section, we will list those agencies and decribe what they do.

• Established in 1908, The Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) was created to protect and defend the United States against national and foreign threats. It upholds and enforces the federal criminal laws of the United States and provides training and law enforcement services to federal, state, local, and even international organizations. The F.B.I. reports to the United States Attorney General.

• The Department of Justice (D.O.J.) was established in 1870 to prosecute federal crimes before the Supreme Court. It is under the leadership of the United States Attorney General. Over the years, the scope of the D.O.J.'s responsibilities has increased. It now contains the largest law enforcement and prosecution agencies in the country. The F.B.I. is a part of the D.O.J. The D.O.J.'s mission is enforcing and protecting the U.S. and its interest, preventing and controlling crime, seeking justice in the case of broken laws, and ensuring that every American receives fair and impartial justice according to the laws of the U.S.

• The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (D.E.A.) was established in 1973 to help the government enforce the U.S. laws concerning controlled and illegal substances. The D.E.A. investigates and arrests people and organizations that grow, create, or distribute illegal substances in or trafficked into the United States.

• The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (A.T.F.) was founded in 1968. However, its roots date back over 200 years to the beginning of the U.S. Congress created the original agency to collect taxes on alcohol to help fund the Revolutionary War. During Prohibition in the 1920s, it began to function as a law enforcement agency while still under the I.R.S's auspice. Over the years, the agency's focus was on enforcing laws regarding alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives and less on collecting taxes on them. In 2013, the law enforcement division of A.T.F. was put under the umbrella of the U.S. Justice Department, and a new division was formed within the I.R.S. to take over the collection of taxes on these products.

• Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) was founded in 2003. The job of I.C.E. is to protect the people of the U.S. from cross-border crime, such as smuggling and illegal immigration into the country. I.C.E. functions under the Department of Homeland Security.

• Congress created the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C) in 1934 as part of the Securities Exchange Act. This law was passed because of the crash of Wall Street in 1929 that led to the Great Depression. The three jobs of the S.E.C. are to maintain fair and orderly markets, protect investors, and assist in creating capital.

• Commodity Future Trading Commission (C.F.T.C.) was created in 1974 to regulate and monitor the derivatives market in the U.S. Simply put, derivatives are contracts between two parties. Derivatives are used in the trading of futures. Futures are contracts between two parties to buy an asset at an agreed-upon and set price and on a set date.

• The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (F.I.N.R.A.) was established in 2007. F.I.N.R.A. is a private corporation that regulates member markets and brokerage firms.

• The Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) was created in 1862. Its job is to collect and process taxes and to enforce tax law for the U.S. Treasury Department. The I.R.S. was formed to carry out the responsibilities of the Secretary of the Treasury.

• The Office of Foreign Assets Control (O.F.A.C.) was created as a division within the I.R.S. in 1950. The primary purpose of O.F.A.C. is to administer and enforce sanctions against other countries and groups, such as terrorists and drug cartels. O.F.A.C. can use many different approaches to achieve international policy and national security objectives. Some of these are freezing assets and imposing trade embargo.

• The Environmental Protective Agency (E.P.A.) was established in 1970 as a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The E.P.A. is responsible for the protection of the environment and the health of people in the U.S. It creates and enforces laws for the protection of the environment. It also participates in cleaning up toxic or unsafe environments.

• The Department of Health and Human Services (aka H.H.S.) was founded in 1953 to protect the health of the U.S. population, provide service, and promote health and services through investment in the sciences that underpin them. These goals are accomplished by advancing legislation in these areas, inter-agency collaboration, managing and directing funds to the appropriate people and programs.

• The Transportation Security Administration (T.S.A.) was established in 2001 to respond to the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. It creates policies to protect the public while traveling. It manages and enforces the security policies for pipelines, railroads, busses, airports, ports, highways, and mass transit.

• U.S. Marshals: The U.S. Marshals Service was established in 1789 as the enforcement branch of the federal court system. It is involved in every aspect of law enforcement in the United States. The Marshals protect federal judges, apprehend federal criminals, house and transport federal convicts, operate the witness protection program and seize criminal assets. The U.S. Marshals coordinate with all other law enforcement agencies.

• U.S. Postal Inspectors are federal law enforcers that investigate and prosecute all criminal behavior pertaining to the safety and integrity of the U.S. Postal services. They investigate criminal, civil, and administrative crimes.

• The International Police Organization (Interpol) was established in 1956. It is the world's largest law enforcement organization, operating in 192 countries. Interpol focuses on three main areas of law enforcement: counterterrorism, cybercrimes, and organized crime. It co-operates and gives training and resources to all 192 participating countries. Interpol does not have executive powers and must obtain permission from the host country before pursuing or arresting criminals within that country's borders.

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Crimes Prosecuted in U.S. Federal Court for the District of Vermont

Mount Holly Man Charged with Possession of a Firearm
Cody Ahonen, 28 years old, of Mount Holly, Vermont, was arrested on September 20, 2021, by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (aka A.T.F.). Mr. Ahonen has been charged with possession of a firearm after a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence (18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9)).

On September 15, 2021, his girlfriend, Brittany Bouthiette, shot and killed herself while sitting in a parked car with Mr. Ahonen. According to the charge, the gun used by Ms. Bouthiette belonged to Mr. Ahonen. After the shooting, Mr. Ahonen attempted to get rid of the weapon by throwing it into the woods. Vermont State Police responded to the site of the shooting and found the Glock pistol discarded by the accused. Troopers also found suspected cocaine base, two more guns, cocaine powder, a digital scale, a large amount of ammunition, and $10,000 in the vehicle.

On September 21, 2021, Mr. Ahonen appeared before U.S. District Judge, Kevin Doyle who ordered that Mr. Ahonen be held until his trial. Assistant District Attorney Wendy Fuller will represent the U.S. Mr. Ahonen will be represented by the Federal Public Defender's Office. The investigation and eventual arrest of Mr. Ahonen was a coordinated effort between the A.T.F. and Vermont State Police.

Mr. Ahonen is presumed innocent until such a time he is proven guilty.

Barre Man Receives Ten Years in Prison for Sexual Exploitation of a Minor Over the Internet
On September 20, 2021, Alexander Chase, 25 years old, of Barre, Vermont, appeared in The United States District Court for the District of Vermont for sentencing. Mr. Chase was sentenced to serve ten years plus one month in prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release, and to pay his victim $3,000 in restitution for sexually exploiting a ten-year-old girl living in Pennsylvania.

In 2019, Mr. Chase pretended to be a teenage boy on a chat site for children. That is where he met his victim. After establishing a relationship with the girl via the chat website, he communicated with the young girl through email. He then sent the child nude pictures and asked her to send nude photos of herself posing and performing sexual acts. He then distributed these pictures to others via the internet.

Mr. Chase also asked the girl to meet him for a sexual encounter in Vermont, though that meeting did not occur. His internet provider discovered Mr. Chase's emails and reported Mr. Chase to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (N.C.M.E.C.). N.C.M.E.C. then reported the crimes to the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children task force, which passed the information on to Homeland Security Investigations (H.S.I.). H.S.I. then procured the appropriate warrants for Mr. Chase's emails and home.

This investigation led to the discovery that Mr. Chase had been receiving and sending other child pornography. At the time of Mr. Chase's crimes against the Pennsylvania girl, he was on probation for a previous conviction of Lewd and Lascivious Conduct connected to the sexual abuse of children.

The successful investigation and prosecution of this case was a coordinated effort of the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the District Attorney of Butler County, Pennsylvania, and The U.S, District Court for the District of Vermont. U.s. District Judge William Sessions presided over the case.

Newport Man Pleads Guilty in the Largest Fraud Case in the History of Vermont

On August 13, 2021, William Stenger, 72 years old, from Newport, Vermont, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vermont. He pled guilty to one felony count of knowingly and willingly submitting false documents to the Vermont Regional Center (V.R.C.).

From 2012 through 2016, Mr. Stenger and his cohorts bilked their victims, mainly foreign investors, of over $84 million in the most significant fraud case in Vermont's history. Mr. Stenger promised his E-B-5 immigrant investors that a $500,00 investment into his commercial project, Jay Peak Biomedical Park, would grant them permanent resident status. He knowingly used false documents that fall within the purview of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.).

According to court documents, Mr. Stenger provided investors with false and misleading information concerning their investments' timeline and payout potential. To qualify for permanent citizenship, each investor had to prove to the U.S.C.I.S. that their investment would directly lead to the creation of at least ten jobs immediately or in the near future. Stegner and his co-cospirators also falsified this information.

United States District Court Chief Judge Gregory Crawford has not yet sentenced Mr. Stenger in accordance with the plea agreement reached with the U.S. District Attorney's Office. The judge will determine sentencing once the government has given evidence of the depth of Stenger's involvement in all aspects of this complicated fraud case. He could face up to five years in prison. The United States District Attorney's Office has said that instead of seeking fines, they will ask for reimbursement for the victims along with his other sentencing requirements.

Two Foreign Men Sentenced in Spear Phishing Scam

Two Nigerian men, Eneye Dania, 31 years old, and Osariemen Isibir, 32 years old, were convicted and sentenced in a spear phishing email scam.
Spear Phishing is a cybercrime that gathers personal financial information from its victims by sending emails from seemingly trusted and familiar sources.

Mr. Dania and Mr. Isibor were part of a conspiracy that sent employees of local governments, universities, and colleges emails designed to look like they came from the victims' employers' human resources departments. When the victims entered their employee info, the scammers captured the information and logged into genuine websites. From there, they would get their victims' payroll information and tax I.D. numbers and attempt to file fake tax returns, hoping to receive any refunds issued. The I.R.S. identified the scam before many refunds were issued.

Mr. Dania and Mr. Isibor committed these crimes while in Nigeria. Unaware that their fraud was discovered, they traveled to the U.S. and were then arrested.

Mr. Dania was sentenced to 17 months in prison. Mr. Isibor was sentenced to 14 months in jail, all of which were served while awaiting trial. Both men are to be deported back to Nigeria after completing their prison sentences.

Practice Fusion Will Pay the Largest Fine in Vermont History to Settle Criminal and Civil Litigations

Practice Fusion, Inc, a health information technology company based in San Francisco, was ordered to pay $145 million to settle the criminal and civil investigations regarding kickbacks it received from a significant opioid company.

The software company admitted to soliciting and accepting kickbacks from the opioid company to access Practice Fusion's electronic health records (E.H.R.) software. The drug company would use the information it received to influence doctor's decisions concerning the prescribing of their product and the amount prescribed.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont, Christina Nolan, offered this scathing indictment on the company's crimes, "Practice Fusion's conduct is abhorrent. During the height of the opioid crisis, the company took a million-dollar kickback to allow an opioid company to inject itself into the sacred doctor-patient relationship so that it could peddle even more of its highly addictive and dangerous opioids.

The companies illegally conspired to allow the drug company to have its thumb on the scale at precisely the moment a doctor was making incredibly intimate, personal, and important decisions about a patient's medical care, including the need for pain medication and prescription amounts. This recovery is commensurate to the nature of Practice Fusion's misconduct, represents the largest criminal fine in the history of this District, and requires Practice Fusion to admit to its wrongs.

It is another example of pioneering healthcare fraud enforcement by the talented Assistant U.S. Attorneys and staff of this U.S. Attorney's Office, working with their partners in law enforcement. We cannot—and will not—tolerate technology companies influencing patient treatment merely because a pharmaceutical company provided a kickback."

Precison Fusion, Inc. will pay $26 million in criminal fines and $118 million to the federal government and states. These amounts will settle all criminal and civil investigations into the company and its kickback scheme.

Hire a Firm with Extensive Capabilities

At Criminal Lawyer Group, we see our size as a strategic and important asset to your federal criminal defense. Due to a nationwide presence, we can do more than just offer a single strategy or viewpoint on your case. Rather, we can tap into a plethora of shared knowledge and information that is inaccessible to other law firms.

Whether your case is complex or a new question before the federal court, our team will have someone experienced in that area of law. Through a team approach to federal criminal defense, Criminal Lawyer Group taps into this experience, no matter where you or your case are located. Essentially, you receive access to several of the United States’ top federal defense lawyers, without losing your point of contact and connection with a specific defense attorney.

Want to learn more about our nationwide network of federal defense lawyers? Contact us today.

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Hire a Firm with Local Knowledge and National Reach

Criminal Lawyer Group continues to expand and add new, highly capable lawyers to our team, but our focus on federal defense always accounts for individual clients. It’s a local approach to criminal defense that is ignored or forgotten by other national law firms.

We remain steadfastly committed to regular communication and careful explanation of any accusations against you. Our team is trained to be effective and efficient in every action, but never sacrifice the quality of your defense for any reason. We are familiar with the federal district courts and available to meet in-person, when needed.

These qualities continue to highlight our commitment to a local law firm mentality, even as we handle complex and high profile federal cases. This client-oriented approach to federal criminal defense leads to improved outcomes for our clients and better legal services along the way. As you face the challenges of a federal criminal case, we know our local mentality will make a difference in your defense.

List of Vermont State Criminal Courts
Addison Criminal Division Court
Address: 7 Mahady Court, Middlebury, VT 05753
Phone Number: 802-388-7741
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Bennington Criminal Division Court
Address: 200 Veterans Memorial Drive, Bennington, VT 05201
Phone: 802-447-2727
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Caledonia Criminal Division Court
Address: 1126 Main St, Suite 1, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
Phone: 802-748-6600
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Chittenden Criminal Division Court
Address: 32 Cherry St., Suite 300, Burlington, VT 05401
Phone: 802-651-1950
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Essex Criminal Division Court
Address: 75 Courthouse Drive, Guildhall, VT 05905
Phone: 802-676-3910
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Franklin Criminal Division Court
Address: 36 Lake Street, St. Albans, VT 05478
Phone: 802-524-7997
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Grand Isle Criminal Division Court
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7, North Hero, VT 05474
Physical Address: 3677 US-2, North Hero, VT 05474
Phone: 802-372-8350
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Lamoille Criminal Division Court
Address: 154 Main Street, Hyde Park, VT 05655
Phone: 802-888-3887
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Orange Criminal Division Court
Address: 5 Court Street, Chelsea, VT 05038
Phone: 802-685-4610
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Orleans Criminal Division Court
Address: 217 Main Street, Newport, VT 05855
Phone: 802-334-3325
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Rutland Criminal Division Court
Address: 9 Merchants Row, Rutland, VT 05701
Phone: 802-786-5880
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Washington Criminal Division Court
Address: 255 North Main St, Suite 1, Barre, VT 05641
Phone: 802-479-4205
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Windham Criminal Division Court
Address: 30 Putney Road, 2nd Floor, Brattleboro, VT 05301
Phone: 802-257-2800
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Windsor Criminal Division Court
Address: 82 Railroad Row, White River Junction, VT 05001
Phone: 802-295-8865
Hours of Service: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.