The Racketeer Influenced and Corruptions (RICO) Act is a federal organized crime offense that individuals may be charged with here in Florida and elsewhere in the United States. A racketeering scheme generally involves many groups of individuals engaging in illegal businesses. These rackets are designed to extort and embezzle funds associated with prostitution, gambling, counterfeiting, drug trafficking and similar types of criminal schemes.
There's a lot to take in about the effect that the COVID-19 virus is having on the country, but one issue that seems to have caught everyone's attention is the issue of hoarding and price gouging. Those are twin problems that often crop up during any major disaster.
On Feb. 4, 2020, four former employees of a tribal casino located in Miami, Florida, pleaded guilty to charges that they conspired to steal money from Miccosukee Resort & Gaming. They additionally entered guilty pleas to conspiracy charges related to money laundering and computer fraud, and their spouses also pleaded guilty on money laundering conspiracy charges. All of the defendants will be sentenced at some point in the early spring, and the penalties could include having to spend up to 20 years in a federal prison.
A scandal has drawn attention to the desperate measures taken by wealthy, well-connected parents in Florida and around the country to get their kids into high-ranking colleges. One businessman was sentenced to four months in prison and 500 hours of community service after being convicted of playing a role in an admissions fraud scheme. The 53-year-old man was also fined $95,000. He admitted to paying $250,000 to a man providing services to doctor a student's history in order to help his son gain admission to the University of Southern California.
Some people in Florida who enjoy Miller or Coors beers may be aware that one of their top executives was convicted for defrauding the Chicago-based company. On May 16, the 60-year-old man received a sentence of 42 months in prison.
Florida residents might like to know about a former Milton mayor charged with tax evasion and wire fraud. The man was the director of the Santa Rosa County United Way, and he allegedly embezzled $650,000 from his employer. He pleaded guilty to the charges. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida, the events occurred over a period of several years. He reportedly took money for the organization's business expenses and used donations that others were not aware of to pay United Way bills instead.
Florida residents may have heard of the terms "Ponzi scheme" and "pyramid scheme." While the two terms are similar, they're not exactly the same. The big difference between such schemes is that a pyramid scheme does not promise any specific rate of return. Meanwhile, Ponzi schemes do stipulate how much an investor can expect to receive on his or her investment.
Money laundering is the action of making dirty money appear as if it has come from a legitimate source. To engage in money laundering, an individual or organization in Florida will take cash earned from an illegal activity and layer it. This is the process of using accounting tricks to conceal the source of the funds. When layering is complete, it will look as if a criminal entity has obtained money legally.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a Miami business owner will have to repay the federal government $45 million and serve 80 months in jail for her role in a fraudulent Medicare billing scheme. The 59-year-old woman entered a guilty plea and was sentenced in federal court.
A Florida woman has been charged with insurance fraud after an investigation determined she knowingly listed an unqualified individual as a dependent on insurance forms. The Walton County Sheriff's Office and Florida Department of Financial Services Bureau of Insurance Fraud conducted the investigation.