There are all kinds of reasons to delete your browser history, but in some rare cases, doing so could result in criminal charges. The recent case of Khairullozhon Matanov is a perfect example of why you should always contact a Vista criminal defense attorney if you believe you may be under investigation for a crime.
Matanov was friends with the Tsarnaev brothers, who were responsible for the Boston bombing of 3013. In fact, he even went to dinner with them after the bombing before he knew they were responsible for the attack. After he discovered that the brothers had committed the horrible crime, Matanov deleted his browser history as well as videos tying him to the Tsarnaev’s. He did this while in a panic, despite the fact that he had no connection to the bombing and did not know about it beforehand. If he did not delete these files, the FBI would have looked at them and concluded that Matanov had no involvement in or knowledge about the attack.
While technically all Matanov did was become friends with the wrong people and try to erase evidence of that friendship, the FBI claimed that he was guilty for obstructing evidence under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The law, which was enacted in 2002 after Enron destroyed countless records to hide their guilt during their notorious scandal, requires people to preserve any evidence they believe could be used in future investigations even if no investigation has started.
It’s important to notice that the law doesn’t require the evidence to be useful, just that the person involved believes it could be used in an investigation. The FBI charged him with obstructing evidence under the law based on the fact that Matanov knowingly deleted it in conjunction with a crime, even though that evidence couldn’t tie him to the crime or otherwise be useful in their investigation. The FBI followed Matanov for over a year and did not find him culpable for any other crimes during this time, which is why they eventually went forward with charges under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Many federal criminal lawyers in San Diego would agree with Matanov’s attorneys that the best course of action in this case was for him to plead guilty to four charges. But while that may have given him the shortest possible sentence, penalties for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are incredibly serious and now he faces up to 20 years in prison.
The story is a perfect example of why you should speak to a criminal lawyer in San Diego the second you believe that you may be under investigation for any crime. All too often people do things that may harm their case later on, such as destroying evidence or talking with the police in what they believe is a casual conversation. If you believe you are under investigation for any crime, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to speak with San Diego federal defense attorney Peter M. Liss.
Creative Commons Image by Victor Manuel