FBI and GBI to cooperate in Georgia computer crime and internet porn investigations

Not really surprising news, but it could be a significant development for criminal defense lawyers in Atlanta and other parts of Georgia.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has joined with the FBI in Georgia to staff a training center for law enforcement officers involved in cybercrime and internet criminal investigations. The center will provide training in all aspects of computer crime, from internet child pornography to identity theft and fraud involving the use of computers.

The Macon Georgia Telegraph has the story.

The FBI says that the training will help law enforcement investigate cybercrime that costs the U.S. approximately $4 billion a year. The GBI’s spin is that the training will help law enforcement protect children. Not sure how the two relate, but it sure makes good press.

Officials expect 70 Georgia police departments and sheriff’s offices to participate in the training. That means a lot more local enforcement of complicated computer crime laws. Not sure that is a good thing, considering some of the misguided sexual exploitation cases we have defended in the past few years. But maybe a little training is exactly what some local departments need.

Our firm has handled dozens of internet porn cases. A lot of our work has focused on the forensics of the computer investigation, an area ripe with law enforcement errors. By using computer forensics experts, we have kept several of our clients from being indicted. In other cases, we have successfully challenged the techniques used to entrap unwary internet browsers and the curious surfer. Computer porn and enticement cases can be difficult for a criminal defense attorney because the stakes are so high. A conviction on a sexual exploitation case will usually result in a significant prison sentence, and possible lifetime registration on Georgia’s sex offender registry.

We have also represented clients in identity theft and other white-collar fraud cases involving the use of computers. Like computer pron and exploitation cases, computer fraud prosecutions are best handled by a criminal defense firm experienced in complex criminal cases with access to the best computer forensics experts in Georgia. While we have always seen these cases prosecuted in federal courts, we are now seeing more and more of them in Georgia state courts. In our experience, recent Georgia fraud cases run the gamut, from simple online scams (sometimes using Ebay and other online services) to complex mortgage fraud that used to be prosecuted almost exclusively in federal courts.

Many of our cases are international investigations. We have successfully represented clients in international computer crime cases in Ireland, Great Britain, Spain and other countries in Europe and around the world.

If this new training does increase the amount of state-level computer crimes being prosecuted in Georgia, it will be interesting to see how prosecutors work this cases into crowded state court dockets already filed to the brim with violent crime and drug cases.


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