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Incriminating laptop leads to dozens of criminal charges

A woman who was contracted to do work for a South Carolina organization gave the FBI a laptop that happened to be filled with incriminating information against the group. Data on the computer included counterfeit documents and other tools to illegally make money. As a result, federal authorities built a case against the insular organization, known as the Irish Travelers, leading to federal charges for dozens of its members. The group lives in an Aiken-North Augusta community called Murphy Village.

Members of the Irish Travelers have been linked to illegal acts for several years, but this federal investigation is the closest glance yet at the group's schemes. Of the 50 members of the group that have been indicted since 2015, more than a dozen have been sentenced and all have entered guilty pleas. The woman who originally gave the incriminating laptop to investigators was given three years probation.

A variety of phony records were found on the incriminating laptop, including tax returns and pay stubs that were used to illegally purchase insurance. The woman who created these documents on the laptop was paid only $25 per job, far less than the Irish Travelers were earning for their crimes. While the criminal group using these documents was already under investigation, the information on the laptop helped complete the circle on many of the group's illegal activities.

Individuals accused of white-collar crimes can face very serious fines and prison time. When speaking with law enforcement officials, these individuals have the right to counsel from an attorney. In many cases, an attorney will advise a client not to speak with officers until they get the proper support and guidance. When evidence is obtained, the lawyer will check to see if everything was obtained legally.

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