identity theft, DuPage County criminal defense attorneyAll forms of identity theft may be considered federal crimes and are often prosecuted on the federal level. Federal crimes tend to be much more severe, with graver consequences for the offender when tried in federal court compared to those handled at the state level.

Identity theft encompasses a rather wide range of activities, as well as mediums through which offenders obtain the information that enables them to commit such crimes. There are, however, specific types of personally identifying information that are commonly utilized for these kinds of theft.

Damaging Personal Information

Personal information that is typically helpful for an individual in acquiring benefits and financial services can be extremely damaging when used by an identity thief to fraudulently acquire money, credit, goods, or services. Such commonly-used identifying information includes:

  • Online passwords: Many banks, brokerage firms, and other financial institutions offer online services their customers, and customers must set up usernames and passwords. Too often, victims will use the same, easy-to-remember passwords for a variety of online accounts, meaning that if one is compromised, others could be as well. If an identity thief gains access to a login information, the victim may not even discover that there is a problem until significant damage has been done;
  • Debit, credit, and other bank account numbers: In many cases, identity theft crimes target a victim’s regular bank accounts. Whether an account is a credit line or a debit or savings account, the actual account number and attached personal details may be used to make purchases and transfer funds. These activities are usually discovered when the victim sees transactions that he or she never authorized on his or her monthly statements; and
  • Social security numbers: A person’s Social Security number is one of the most valuable pieces of identifying information that can be used illicitly by identity thieves. Access to a Social Security number enables an offender to open new credit card accounts, and just as commonly, commit tax fraud. For example, a thief may use a Social Security number to file a tax return in the victim’s name and steal the refund. This sensitive number can also be used to illegally acquire health insurance and other medical services under the victims’ name.

Seek Legal Help Today

If you are currently under investigation for possible involvement in any kind of identity theft, it is important to take the proper steps to protect yourself. Whatever the circumstances, reach out to a knowledgeable, experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney the moment you are accused. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation at our firm today.

 

Sources:

https://www.identitytheft.gov/Warning-Signs-of-Identity-Theft

https://www.identitytheft.gov/Info-Lost-or-Stolen

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sexting, Wheaton sex crimes attorney“Sexting” is a relatively recent addition to our everyday vocabulary. Perhaps you have heard the word in passing conversation or the news. Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit photographs to another individual by way of an electronic device. The behavior is made accessible with the assistance of inexpensive mobile device options capable of sending and receiving photos and videos. Although teens and young adults comprise the age group most likely to acknowledge that they “sext”—an amalgamation of the words “text” and “sex”—people of all ages are participating as well. Adults looking to spice up their relationship may enjoy some benefits from sexting, but no matter the age, there is a concern over the legality of the behavior. It is possible for you to be arrested for a sex crime because of a simple sext?

Adults Are Not Exempt

While what happens in the bedroom should generally remain the behind closed doors, occasionally some bit of evidence or some story is eventually revealed to an unanticipated audience, leading to the potential embarrassment of the consenting adult. When sexting is involved, however, there could be legal ramifications for the behavior. Although in most instances, sexting between consenting adults is perfectly legal, great care is necessary to keep it legal. It is absolutely critical to:

  • Avoid sending explicit messages to anyone under the age of 18;
  • Avoid receiving explicit messages from anyone under the age of 18;
  • Prevent child enticement; and
  • Refrain from obscene or harassing behavior.

Teens Should Not Participate

The rules and regulations set in place by legislature years ago did not ever imagine the existence of sexting between teens. While laws may change down the road, as of now, many of them remain the same as they were before the proliferation of mobile technology. Many do not realize that is it illegal under the Illinois Child Pornography Act to take or receive a nude picture of an individual under the age of 18, even if that the subject of the photo is the one sending it.  The act of taking the picture or video recording of a lewd, suggestive, or nude act exhibiting part of the genitals (including female breasts), buttocks, or pubic area could be considered child pornography if the subject is under the age of 18. Asking for such a picture may be solicitation or enticement. Forwarding it or otherwise transmitting it to other individuals may be considered reproducing or disseminating child pornography. Participating in any of the above acts could subject an individual to federal intervention.

Possible Consequences

The mere rumor of a sex crime, especially involving a child, is enough to damage any reputation. In addition to the embarrassment, a conviction also carries potential jail time, fines, and a possible requirement to register with the state’s sex offender registry. Registered sex offenders are prohibited from living in certain locations and may be limited regarding the daily activities enjoyed by adults with their growing children.

If you have been charged with a sex crime as the result of sexting or any other activity, contact an experienced Wheaton criminal defense attorney. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation with Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates today.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/072000050K11-20.1.htm

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domestic violence. DuPage County criminal defense attorneyMany people feel that when they are charged with domestic violence, the deck is stacked against them and they will be convicted. This is far from the truth. Not all domestic violence accusations are true; many are not even based on any facts whatsoever. These accusations can be used as a powerful weapon in other proceedings (such as in family law cases) and are often as an unscrupulous strategy. If you have been accused of domestic violence, an attorney can help defend against meritless claims depending on the facts of your case.

What Illinois Law Considers Domestic Violence

Acts constituting domestic violence include:

  • Hitting;
  • Choking;
  • Kicking;
  • Threatening;
  • Harassing; or
  • Interfering with the personal liberty of another.

In order for such acts to be considered domestic violence, the act must be perpetrated on an accused’s family or household members, who are defined as:

  • Family members related by blood;
  • A spouse or former spouse;
  • People who live or used to live together in a home, apartment or other common dwelling;
  • People who have or allegedly have child together or a blood relationship through a child;
  • People who are dating or used to date, including same-sex couples; and
  • People with disabilities and their assistants.

Possible Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges

Violence between two people is not often one-sided, so self-defense is a common defense in a domestic violence case. If you can show that your actions were intended to protect yourself from serious injury, you may be able to have the charges reduced or dismissed.

Another common defense is that you were defending another person at the time you committed the violent act. These defenses should only be argued if you are certain that it will be successful since the defenses require the accused to admit to perpetrating violence.

Finally, with any criminal matter, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. Sometimes a case may be dismissed due to lack of evidence, which is often the situation in a domestic violence proceeding.

Contact a Wheaton Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

A domestic violence conviction can affect your ability to be around family members and could weigh negatively on any pending child custody matters. Your employment may also be jeopardized. Therefore, it is critical to fight domestic violence charges aggressively. Contact an experienced DuPage County domestic violence attorney to get the help you need. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation today.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ChapterID=59&ActID=2100

http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/women/idva.html

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traffic violations, DuPage County criminal defense attorneyIn Illinois, driving is a privilege, not a right. This means that the state can take away your ability to drive for a number of reasons, including being convicted of traffic violations. With some offenses, you may lose your driving privileges on the first infraction, and with others, you can receive several tickets before you lose your license. Losing your ability to drive often means that your ability to work and attend to personal responsibilities may be compromised. If you determine that you may be at risk for driver’s license suspension, you should contact a skilled attorney so that your rights can be protected.

Appointed Lawyers and the True Cost of Traffic Violations

When the crime you are accused of is punishable by imprisonment, the state will provide you with a public defender. However, many traffic violations are not punishable by imprisonment, so if you want legal counsel, you must retain a lawyer yourself. Also, many people prefer hiring a private defense attorney, as public defenders are often overworked, underpaid, and unable to dedicate the necessary attention to each case they are assigned.

Keep in mind that there are hidden costs beyond the traffic ticket fine. According to some sources, a traffic ticket could increase your insurance premiums for five years. Taking that into consideration, the total cost of an Illinois speeding ticket is about 6.2 times the ticket fine. On average, drivers will pay $744 for a speeding ticket with a fine of $120.

When You Can Lose Your Driver’s License

When you are issued a traffic ticket, you have three options. You could:

  • Pay the fine, plead guilty, and incur a conviction;
  • Pay the fine and request court supervision, which typically means attending traffic school and avoiding additional traffic violations for a certain period of time; or
  • Contest the ticket and attend a hearing, which is essentially a bench trial in front of a local judge.

While it may be tempting to simply plead guilty, pay the ticket, and put the matter behind you, supervision often means that the conviction will not appear on your record so long as the terms of supervision are met.

If you have three convictions on your driving record within a 12-month period, the Illinois Secretary of State can suspend your driver’s license for up to six months. If you are under 21 years old, your license can be suspended if you have two convictions within a 24-month period.

Contact a Wheaton Traffic Violations Attorney

Many people do not understand the consequences associated with traffic violations until they are in court and it is too late to mount a proper defense. Our goal is to keep you on the road with a clean driving history. If you are facing traffic violations, contact an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation with Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates today.

 

Source:

https://www.isba.org/sites/default/files/publications/pamphlets/Traffic%20Courts.pdf

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/true-cost-speeding-ticket-illinois-il-insurance/

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/teen_driver_safety/gdl.html

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identity theft, DuPage County criminal defense attorneyThe world of identity theft is diverse and vast, encompassing a range of activities that all have the power to lead offenders to a number of unpleasant consequences. A conviction on charges of identity theft crimes can result in community service, prison time, hefty fines, and overall damage to one’s reputation. A majority of these crimes start with the invasion of privacy via the internet and through tampering with personal mobile devices, posing great risks for anyone who is involved with such activity merely by association.

Sources of Temptation for Identity Theft

Sometimes, all it takes to place yourself at risk for potential identity theft charges is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or in the case of online security, tampering with the wrong device or with someone’s personal information via the internet. Accessing sensitive personal information by meddling with of any of the following modes of online data is considered a federal crime and can mean serious repercussions:

  • Discarded devices: When some individuals dispose of personal devices, such as old laptops or mobile phones, they do not always properly wipe the hard drive, leaving any personal information still stored on the drive easily accessible for tampering. Whether you accidentally stumble upon access to someone’s information through acquiring a previously owned device or you simply meddle out of curiosity, it is important to be aware that handling anyone else’s personal information online without their knowledge may be treated as a criminal offense;
  • P2P networks: Peer-to-peer, or P2P, file-sharing networks are extremely popular for sharing games, music, and movies, but they are also commonly targeted by identity thieves for obtaining personal financial information. Users sometimes believe that by closing the file-sharing program window, they have closed their connection to the network which is not the case. Do not make the mistake of exploring someone’s files or distributing pirated or copyrighted material via a P2P network, or you could be looking at criminal charges;
  • Email accounts: If you use email as a method to deceptively acquire someone’s personal information under any circumstances, you are engaging in federal criminal activity. Among the many ways email scams are used to commit identity theft, “phishing” messages are especially prevalent. Phishing involves impersonating a legitimate medium for requesting sensitive personal information. Other examples of email-related identity theft activity include hacking accounts, as well as dating and tech support scams.

As our technology capabilities continue to evolve and improve over time, new identity theft tactics will emerge, increasing the number of hazards for internet users worldwide. If you or someone you know has been accused of being involved in an identity theft act of any kind, it is imperative to speak with a skilled Wheaton criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights and reputation. Call 630-933-8400 today for a free, confidential consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/online-security

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/identity-theft

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DUI, Wheaton DUI defense attorneyMany people are confused about what they should do in the event they are pulled over by police on suspicion of DUI. This is understandable as the laws in this area are not explained during a DUI stop, and being pulled over by police is a stressful experience no matter the circumstances.

The Typical DUI Stop

An officer’s goal is to try to find enough evidence to arrest you for DUI. To arrest you, an officer will need probable cause. Probable cause must be based on specific facts.

First, a police officer needs some reason to pull you over. It could be that your tags are out of date. It could be that you ran a stop sign or were driving erratically. If your driving is what caught the attention of an officer, he or she can use your driving as a specific fact in finding probable cause for your DUI arrest.

An officer cannot arrest you for DUI simply because you broke a traffic law late at night; he or she will need additional facts. As an officer makes his initial contact with you in the car, he will be looking for evidence of drug or alcohol consumption in the car such as beer cans, medicine bottles, or the smell of drugs or alcohol.

Next, the officer will try to determine if you have been drinking based on your appearance and mannerisms. An officer will look for things like slurring, red eyes, and the smell of alcohol on your breath.

After all these checks, an officer will likely attempt to test your level of sobriety through various tests. This is all in an attempt to gather enough facts to support your arrest.

Types of DUI Sobriety Tests

The first group of tests an officer may ask you to complete are field sobriety tests. These include walking a straight line, standing on one leg, and following a moving pen or finger with your eyes. You can refuse to participate in these tests without consequence.

The second test you may be asked to participate in is a PBT or Portable Breath Test. The officer will ask you to breathe into a device that measures your blood alcohol content. You can refuse to participate in this test without consequence at this point as well.

The Test For Which You Can Be Penalized

There is one test that you can be penalized for if you do not agree to participate. This is a second round of blood alcohol testing, either by a breathalyzer or blood test, and it is only given after you are arrested for DUI and are at the police station. There are different penalties if you take the test and fail or refuse altogether. The penalties also depend on whether you have refused to submit to a test before:

  • If it is your first refusal, you driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months;
  • If this is your second refusal, your license will be suspended for three years; or
  • If you took the test and your BAC was .08 or more, your license could be suspended for six months for a first offense, one year for a second.

While there is no hard and fast rule for you to follow regarding a BAC test after your arrest, test results are likely to be used as evidence against you during prosecution. Therefore, many defense attorneys believe that accused persons should never give any evidence to the police as it will only make your trial more difficult.

Contact a Wheaton, IL DUI Attorney

Being charged with a DUI is a serious situation. There is a lot on the line, and a skilled criminal law attorney will be able to protect your interests and guide your case. Depending on the facts of your case, there may be ways to keep your license from being suspended. Contact an experienced DuPage County DUI defense attorney to discuss your case today. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501.1

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=062500050K11-501

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plates, Wheaton criminal defense attorneyMany people face criminal charges after they are pulled over by a police officer who initiates the stop after running a car’s license plate number through government databases. If the officer determines there is reasonable suspicion that a crime is taking place, they can pull your car over.

For example, an officer might run your plates and see that the driver to whom the car is registered has a suspended driver’s license. With that information, police have reasonable suspicion that a crime is taking place. The crime suspected here would be driving on a suspended license. Once pulled over, police may see evidence of another crime such as weapons or drug possession.

Because this type of stop is common, criminal defense attorneys are repeatedly asked if the police are permitted to run your plates without a reason prior to initiating a traffic stop. The short answer to this question is yes. It is legal for an officer to run your plates before he or she has reason to suspect a crime is taking place.

Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

Courts have decided that police can randomly check license plates because drivers do not have an expectation of privacy concerning their license plates. This is because a car’s license plate can be viewed by anyone in public. Thus, police officers can make use of this information simply based on a hunch or some sort of routine investigation.

When Can an Officer Search Your Vehicle?

If after the officer pulls you over he or she does not discover any traffic violations or other crimes, that officer is not allowed to search your vehicle. In order to search your vehicle, an officer needs probable cause that a crime has been committed or there is evidence of a crime in your car. Probable cause must be based on specific facts and cannot be based solely on an officer’s “gut feeling” that something illegal has happened.

What If the Stop Is Based on Incorrect Information?

Another issue comes up is if the police officer accidentally puts in the wrong license plate information. In this situation, an officer will still be found to have acted within the law. According to Supreme Court case United States v. Leon, a good faith mistake on the part of a police officer will not result in excluding evidence of a crime based on an investigation that began with bad information.

If you have been charged with a crime, there is too much on the line not to try to handle it yourself. Contact an experienced Wheaton criminal defense attorney who can give you the time and attention your case deserves. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation at our law firm today.

 

Source:

https://www.oyez.org/cases/1983/82-1771

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mail fraud, Wheaton criminal defense attorneyThe federal government first addressed mail fraud in the 19th century after evidence of such schemes surfaced. Because mail (and later, wire) communications often cross over state lines using the U.S. Postal Service or other interstate transmitters, it makes sense for a fraudulent scheme initiated via mail or wire to be a federal issue. Thus, since 1872, it has been a federal crime to use the mail—and more recently, the internet—to intentionally deprive someone of property or services.

That is the basic definition of mail and wire fraud: intentionally depriving someone of property or services via mail or wire communications. It is important to note, though, that a misleading or deceptive mailing is generally not fraudulent if it is advertising a legitimate service or product. Intent is key. The accused must have intended to defraud another person. In other words, the accused must have intended to get something for nothing.

State and Federal Charges

In some states, including Illinois, mail and wire fraud are also state crimes. However, if a person is charged with violating both the federal and state statutes, he or she will likely be prosecuted in federal court, and the elements of these statutes are similar. Under Illinois law, a person commits mail fraud if he or she devises or intends to devise a scheme to defraud someone of money or property by using mail communications. The intent to defraud is present if the person takes any of the following actions:

  • Places a fraudulent mailing in an Illinois post office or authorized mail depository that is then mailed by the U.S. Postal Service;
  • Deposits or causes to be deposited in Illinois a fraudulent mailing that is to be sent by mail or by a private or commercial carrier;
  • Takes or receives a fraudulent mailing from the mail or from a private or commercial carrier “at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed”; or
  • Knowingly causes a fraudulent mailing to be delivered by mail or by private or commercial carrier.

The Elements of Wire Fraud

With the advent of the Internet and other wire communications, fraudsters gained additional means to carry out their schemes. Under Illinois law, a person commits wire fraud if he or she devises or intends to devise a scheme to defraud someone of money or property by using wire, radio or television communications. The accused must have transmitted the communication, or caused it to be transmitted:

  • From within Illinois;
  • So that the transmission was received by a person within Illinois; or
  • So that the transmission could be accessed by a person within Illinois.

While not every piece of so-called “spam” is evidence of intent to defraud, mail and wire fraud are often easy to prove and also fairly common. Both crimes are Class 3 felonies, punishable by two to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

If you have been charged with mail fraud or wire fraud, the consequences can be severe. Contact an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney for help with your case. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation with Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates today.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K17-24

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dui, DuPage County criminal defense attorneyDriving under the influence has serious consequences that can be long-lasting and affect both your criminal record and your driving record for years. This is true whether it is your first DUI offense or a subsequent one, whether you are of legal drinking age or not.

Underage DUI and Zero Tolerance

Illinois is a zero-tolerance state, meaning that if you are not legally allowed to drink and are found guilty of a DUI, you will automatically have your driving privileges revoked for a minimum of three months. For an underage driver to be charged with a DUI, he or she does not have to have the minimum blood alcohol content of .08 percent that usually applies in DUI cases involving adults who are legally allowed to drink. Any percentage of alcohol found in an underage driver’s bloodstream makes him or her eligible for a DUI charge.

Repeat Offenders

The penalties for DUI increase, of course, depending on how many previous convictions a person has. In some states, advocates are lobbying for a repeat DUI charge to be considered a felony, though statistics, at least in the state of Illinois, do not reflect that the majority of DUIs are repeat offenders. In fact, less than 15 percent of all DUIs recorded annually in Illinois were perpetrated by drivers who had a previous record of a DUI. If a person has been found guilty of multiple DUIs, he or she will, however, be eligible for punishments that may include longer prison sentences and the permanent revocation of his or her driver’s license.

Recent Updates

In 2016, a new law went into effect in Illinois that made a fourth DUI conviction eligible for the permanent revocation of a person’s driver’s license. This person may subsequently apply for a Restricted Driving Permit, but only after five years of the suspension, and only if it can be proved that he or she abstained from alcohol and drugs for at least three years. Similarly, a person found guilty of a second or third DUI charge is now required to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device on any vehicle that he or she owns. He or she is not then legally allowed to drive any vehicle (including rental cars or vehicles for work) that do not have the device installed. This is required for a full five years.

Seek Legal Help

If you have been charged with a DUI, no matter if it is your first or your fourth, you need legal guidance. Contact an experienced Wheaton criminal defense attorney to discuss your options. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation at the offices of Salvatore C. Miglore & Associats today.

 

Sources:

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a118.pdf

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/traffic_safety/DUI/uselose.html

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arrested, DuPage County criminal defense attorneyBeing arrested is a terrifying event for almost everyone and especially so if you did not commit the alleged offense. Unfortunately, many individuals are arrested under suspicious circumstances but are nevertheless innocent. Either way, it is important to understand how an arrest may play out, what your rights are if you are arrested, and to keep in mind what type of behavior will help get you through that situation without complicating it any further.

Be Patient and Understand Your Rights

It is first important to know that if placed under arrest, you must be patient with the process, as scary as it may be. When you are arrested, prosecutors do not necessarily have to bring charges immediately. If you are detained for an unreasonable period of time or indefinitely, it is generally considered a violation of your constitutional rights. However, the concept of definite and indefinite detention is fluid, and depends on the circumstances of the arrest.

Most such cases are handled under the Fourth Amendment, and case law provides for a “totality of circumstances” test that judges will use to determine if there is probable cause for an arrest and if the arrest is lawful. Judges will consider the length of time elapsed while in detention, the conditions of detention, and if and how many times the police read the arrested suspect his or her Miranda rights. For example, a detention of several days in a jail without formal charges after having been read your Miranda rights once during the initial arrest will more than likely be unlawful.

As many have seen in television and the movies, Miranda rights are a notice to the suspect that he or she has the right to remain silent because any statements made are admissible in a prosecution. Keep in mind that when placed under arrest, you are not excused from providing your name, address and age when asked by police officers. Other than this, you are not required to speak, and you should not. It is also important to understand that law enforcement does not necessarily need to have a warrant to conduct an arrest. This is particularly so in public places, where there is not the expectation of privacy that exists in one’s home.

Do Not Make It Worse

It is crucial to understand these aspects of arrest and detention so that you do not make a bad situation worse. Enduring the stress and uncertainty of an extended detention, without charges filed or even sometimes with repeated Miranda warnings or no Miranda warnings at all, can cause confusion. Disobeying law enforcement, resisting arrest, or simply becoming irritable and antagonistic can complicate you case and may even result in new charges.

Remain calm and do not speak except to demand the ability to exercise your right to speak to a lawyer. Improper conduct by law enforcement may even aid your defense, so it is important to make mental notes of the events that occur, and be sure to inform your lawyer as soon as possible.

If you are ever arrested, it is important to seek help from an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney right away. We will work hard to ensure your rights are fully protected at every stage of the process. Call 630-933-8400 for a free consultation at our office today.

 

Sources:

https://ncrj.org/if-you-are-falsely-accused/

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment

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