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New York Criminal Defense Blog

Authorities allege psychologist bilked $80K from Medicaid

The common conceptual image that many in New York may have of fraud schemes is likely of a high-profile executive who steals millions from a large company and corporation. In reality, however, fraud can occur amongst anyone from any walk of life. Any action meant to financially injure a person or organization perpetuated through deceit and misrepresentations may qualify as fraud. Many such cases may even arise from people supposedly looking to take advantage of procedural holes in systems with which they are familiar. 

This is what is being alleged in the case of a Connecticut psychologist. She first came to the attention of authorities after a former employee told them that the doctor continued to receive payments from Medicaid despite frequently canceling appointments with patients. A subsequent investigation into the matter supposedly revealed that the doctor had bilked the state's Medicaid program of close to $80,000 by billing for hundreds of claims for services with reportedly were never rendered. The doctor was recently arrested by authorities and now faces several felony charges that could leave her facing several years in prison. 

Always watch what you say when accused of white collar crime

Facing charges for alleged white collar crimes is not something to take lightly, no matter who you are or the nature of the allegations. As recent headlines make clear, even very wealthy and experienced individuals may face the music just like anybody else.

In every area of criminal defense, it is always wise for a defendant to avoid speaking about allegations before they are settled. Just as you should not volunteer information to a police officer who pulls you over, it is unwise to give any party information about the charges, unless they represent you as your attorney. Not only may anything you say come back to haunt you in court, the more details that prosecutors have to work with, the more convincingly they can make their case.

Proving the legitimacy of your business expenses

Most in New York hear the word "embezzlement" and picture someone relaxing on the deck of a lavish home in some tropic paradise that was completely paid for by the company's dime. At least that is the assumption that many had prior to coming to us here at Sapone & Petrillo, LLP after having been accused of embezzlement themselves. In theory, any misappropriation of company funds that is linked to you could qualify as embezzlement. How, then, are you to protect yourself from such a charge? 

The easiest and most effective way is to show that any of your company's money that you spent was used strictly for business purposes. This is where meticulous record keeping comes in handy. Provided that you can provide a legitimate paper trail to all of your business transactions, it is difficult to prove that you acted inappropriately. 

What is securities fraud?

People often invest in securities in New York with the naive expectation of generating significant returns on their investments in a short amount of time. In reality, short-term financial gains made from securities are much more modest, with some people even losing money on such investments. When the latter occurs (and you happen the be the one who brokered said deals), accusations of fraud are often quick to accompany such losses. How, then, are you to show that work was legitimate, and that a client is simply trying to punish you for his or her unrealistic expectations? 

Securities fraud falls under the larger category of financial fraud in general. Proving fraud requires establishing that you had malicious intent when arranging a financial transaction (in this case, the purchase of a security). Intent can be a subjective matter, which can be both good and bad depending on the interpretations of whomever is hearing the case against you. 

How serious is a tax fraud charge?

Most New Yorkers could agree that filing taxes is hardly an exciting activity. Each year, as that season comes and goes, countless residents walk away having evaded tax returns in some way. Many of those who commit tax fraud are unaware that the act was committed in the first place. Regardless of intention, this type of white collar crime can come with heavy penalties, giving the process potential to linger on much longer than the tax season itself. 

Forbes shares in an article on tax fraud and the role of the IRS that even the most innocent activites can seem suspicious. For this reason, it can be helpful to note the IRS statute of limitations. Unfortunately, Forbes goes on to state that the laws surrounding tax evasion are only becoming more strict: as of 2016, the IRS has six years to audit taxes in some cases. Depending on the details of the case, the statute of limitations could go beyond the normal three-year timeframe. For instance, if one omits a portion of income or skips over certain forms, they could face penalties down the road.

What is border corruption?

No matter which corner of the political arena you sit in, almost everyone in New York can empathize or sympathize with immigrants who illegally enter the U.S. in search of a better life. Fleeing from mass corruption, crime, violence, crippling poverty and war, many are desperate to leave those things behind, and we can certainly understand that. With these sentiments, it is perhaps also understandable when border corruption occurs, a type of white-collar crime that includes both drug and alien smuggling.

For its purposes, the FBI considers borders as not only the dividing lines between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico. All ports of entry into the U.S. are part of the “border,” including all international airports and seaports as well.

First of two trials in deliberation now

Most people in New York have likely heard some semblance of news coverage regarding the trial of the man who had been the President's campaign chairman during the last election. As reported by CBS News, this trial has concluded two days of jury deliberation with no verdict yet being returned. The jury will resume its deliberations after the weekend.

However, what many people may not be aware of is that even if the defendant is found innocent on all charges, his legal challenges are far from over. The man will actually be put on trial yet again just next month. While the first trial was conducted in Virginia based in part on the fact that the defendant was a resident there with a home owned in his name, the second trial will be held in the District of Columbia.

Understand embezzlement if you are facing accusations

People who are put in positions of trust over a company's assets are expected to behave in an ethical manner. This includes everyone from cashiers at a grocery store to executives who handle multi-million-dollar accounts for clients. It is imperative that these individuals handle the money in a suitable manner.

There are times when mistakes are made. These may be misconstrued as a criminal act, which can lead to criminal charges. If you are facing accusations of embezzlement, there are a few things you need to know.

Campaign finance and the appearance of fraud

People in New York who may either run for public office themselves or who may choose to contribute to the political campaigns of others know that there are many laws governing the financing of political campaigns. As explained by the National Conference of State Legislatures, these laws cover three distinct areas, one of which is the public financing of campaigns. Other laws pertain specifically to the required disclosures associated with contributions that are made. The third type of law governs the caps on contributions.

In addition to attempting to prevent any type of fraud or corruption with a political campaign, campaign finance laws also aim to avoid a transaction or relationship appearing as some attempt at corruption or fraud. This is an important part of the laws because what may look like corruption may not actually be but the line between the two can at times be very thin.

Embezzlement allegations against former CFO dropped

When people in New York hear or read stories about financial professionals being accused of illegally or unethically obtaining or using company funds, they may automatically assume the person is guilty or has little to no option to defend themselves. That is certainly untrue as the justice and legal system is set up to allow all defendants the right to prove their innocence. Sometimes, charges can come to be dropped in what may seem to some by unusual circumstances.

A recent case involving a former hedge fund chief financial officer provides a good example of this. According to the Institutional Investor, the woman was hired in 2016 and reported directly to the chief executive officer. The company eventually initiated a claim against her alleging that she stole nearly $15,000 from the company via checks written to herself.

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