Allegations of fraud can have significant consequences for health care providers. Not only are there potential civil penalties that can result from fraud allegations, but there possible criminal penalties as well. On the civil side, depending on the facts of the case and the law being applied, a provider could face tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties.
Democratic state representative Reggie Fullwood was recently charged with multiple fraud-related charges that could land him in prison for up to 20 years. Among the allegations are that Fulwood created a fake campaign account to solicit donations and then embezzled those funds to pay for personal expenses and turned in false expense reports to the state to hide the embezzlement. Fullwood is also accused of intentionally failing to file income tax returns between for several years.
We’ve been looking in recent posts at the importance of exploring Fourth Amendment issues when building a strong criminal defense. Again, the Fourth Amendment requires that all searches and seizures are reasonable, and there are well-established rules which law enforcement is required to follow. Among these rules is that a motor vehicle stop must be supported by at least reasonable suspicion.
White collar criminal defense is not easy or glamorous work. Very often, individuals accused of white collar offenses are perceived in a negative light, particularly when the alleged criminal activity involves fraud on public tax dollars. Because the loss of public money to fraud every year is so great, the public generally has little patience for defendants in such cases, and law enforcement agencies and prosecutors are keen to track down offenders and bring them to justice.
Last time, we mentioned a bill that aims to impose stricter penalties on those convicted of unemployment benefit fraud. As we noted last time, unemployment benefits fraud is characterized by knowingly making false statements or failing to disclose material facts to authorities in order to obtain or prevent payment of benefits in violation of Reemployment Assistance law. Both employers and employees can be targeted for this crime.
Last time, we began speaking about proof of intent in criminal cases, noting that intent can be categorized different ways, that different criminal statutes present different requirements in terms of specific intent, and that often prosecutors need to turn to circumstantial evidence to establish criminal intent in order to obtain a conviction.
Public corruption, considered a white collar crime, is in some senses every bit as concerning for the public as are crimes involving violence and drugs. When public officials betray the public trust, they face an onslaught of criticism and condemnation from the public, not to mention the scrutiny of the court system. For prosecutors, the pressure to convict accused public officials may be significant, though it depends on the political dynamics at play and the specific nature of the allegations.
The chief executive of a financial firm will be fighting federal fraud charges that claim he sold $179 million dollars worth of sham loans to an out-of-state investment company. The chairman and CEO of the Orlando-based firm allegedly forged signatures as well as produced false documents in order to give the illusion that around 26 loans backed by the government had been issued to Florida, as well as Georgia-based, borrowers. When individuals are accused of fraud and facing federal charges, they typically choose to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with defending against these types of charges.
Earlier this month, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals came down with a decision that further underscores the need for clarification of a federal fraud law. The court ended up overturning a conviction against a former New York police officer under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act based on the officer’s online chat room discussions with an undercover cop.
Fraud, like other crimes, is ubiquitous in the United States, and is an ongoing concern for law enforcement agencies in every state. As a recent analysis by WalletHub show, though, some states are certainly more vulnerable to fraud than others, and Florida is among the worst in this area.