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New York Criminal Defense Blog

What to expect in your first meeting with your attorney

When you're accused of a crime, the stress can feel overwhelming. You may experience further stress when you think about meeting with a defense attorney for the first time.

Talking about your case with a lawyer should not cause you anxiety. If anything, you should start to feel some form of relief. The following information can let you know what to expect when you meet with your attorney for the first time and how things are likely to proceed in your legal matter.

Whistleblowers trigger big medical kickback settlement

The U.S. Justice Department announced a $20.25 million agreement with Sanford, a Midwest-based health care organization. The deal resolved allegations that Sanford knew it was participating in a kickback scheme with one of its top surgeons, according to allegations.

Two whistleblowers alleged the surgeon performed unnecessary surgery, implanting medical devices in which he had a financial interest with Sanford's knowledge. The Justice Department warns that kickback schemes like the one alleged, "warp the medical decision-making process."

Former NYPD cop, four others charged with meth distribution

Federal authorities in New York have charged five people, including a former NYPD police officer, with operating a drug ring in Manhattan and the Westchester County area. Three of the defendants were taken into custody on Feb. 18, and another individual is already in state custody on unrelated charges. The former cop remains at large.

According to court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, all five defendants conspired to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine from around 2017 until February 2020. Four of the defendants are also accused of conspiring to distribute date-rape drug gamma-butyrolactone, known on the street as GBL, over the same period of time.

Former New York mayor receives probation in wire fraud case

The former mayor of Cohoes, New York, was sentenced to probation after a conviction in a wire fraud case, avoiding prison time in the matter. The former mayor was accused of taking campaign contributions for personal use, and he pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in order to resolve the case. A federal judge sentenced him to 200 hours of community service and a $3,000 fine in addition to two years of probation.

The man admitted to using over $12,000 in contributions to his political campaign to pay for a variety of personal expenses, including bills for hotels and restaurants. He received these contributions from at least 10 donors but specified one $500 contribution in his agreement to plead guilty to wire fraud. He said that he used the money to fund his home improvement bills at the time. He could have faced prison time, but his attorney argued for a lighter penalty, citing his client's record of community service before entering public office. He previously served as a member of the fire department for 26 years and represented the area in the state legislature, and he took on charity projects like distributing toys to needy families on Christmas Eve.

What the law says about fraud

New York residents and others who lost something of value because of another person's false or misleading statements could be considered victims of fraud. A fraud victim may bring a civil lawsuit against the person who engaged in deceptive activity, and a government prosecutor may bring criminal charges against a person who acted in a fraudulent manner. In a civil suit, a plaintiff only has to prove that it was more likely than not that an act occurred.

A defendant in a civil suit will incur monetary damages or other civil penalties. However, those who are convicted in a criminal fraud case could spend time in jail or on probation. In a criminal trial, a prosecutor must prove that a person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Examples of fraud could include identity theft, mail fraud or tax evasion.

Prosecutor says insider trading laws should be clarified

Individuals in New York and throughout the country could face jail time and other penalties for engaging in insider trading. However, there is no law that specifically says what insider trading is. A panel led by a former federal prosecutor says that the government needs to clarify what exactly constitutes insider trading. He claims that doing so could benefit traders, judges and those tasked with regulating financial markets.

The panel proposed legislation that would make it illegal for anyone to benefit from information that they wrongfully obtained from another party. It would also eliminate the need for prosecutors to show that an individual derived any sort of personal benefit from the information that he or she received. The House recently passed a bill called The Insider Trading Prohibition Act aimed at reforming insider trading rules. However, the personal benefit element was included in the proposed legislation.

Man to be sentenced in embezzlement scheme

A New York man who owned several nursing home and rehabilitation facilities entered a guilty plea to multiple charges in a Bridgeport federal court. The 71-year-old acknowledged that he stole $4.1 million from the Bridgeport Health Care Center pension plan between 2011 and 2018. He was the trustee of the pension plan, and the money was diverted to a charity that the defendant ran called Em Kol Chai. Money was also diverted directly to the defendant as well as other associates.

Authorities claim that Bridgeport Health Care Center, or BHCC, and another property that the man owned failed to pay employment taxes owed. The government claims that it lost approximately $4.35 million because the company did not pay its share of employment taxes. It also did not send funds withheld from employee's paychecks to cover their share of FICA dues. The owner of BHCC will repay both the pension plan and the IRS as part of his plea agreement.

Heavier federal charges against man accused of Hanukkah attack

A New York man accused of attacking participants at a Hanukkah celebration taking place at a rabbi's home in Rockland County is facing a number of federal criminal charges. In addition to the indictment for the alleged attack itself, the man is also facing elevated charges based on the motivation for the crime. He is accused of five counts of willfully causing bodily injury because of the victims' religion and five counts of obstructing the free exercise of religion through an attempt to kill. The man is accused of bringing an 18-inch machete with him and invading the crowded personal home of an Orthodox Jewish rabbi while congregants celebrated the holiday.

The man allegedly concealed his face with a scarf while stabbing and slashing at the participants in the holiday gathering, injuring at least five people seriously. One of the victims remains in critical condition in a coma. While the charges for the attack were already serious, the additional federal criminal charges highlight allegations that the violence was motivated by religious hatred against Jewish people. After the attack, the man allegedly fled the scene in a car to Manhattan, where he was stopped by New York City police.

The elements of bribery

Those who try to offer government officials something of value in exchange for favorable treatment may be engaging in bribery. In many cases, both the party giving the bribe and the party accepting the bribe can be charged with a crime. To prove that bribery occurred, a New York prosecutor would need to show that a person or entity intended to act in a corrupt manner.

It is important to note that a person doesn't need to receive money to obtain something of value from another party. Several other criteria must be met to prove that bribery occurred. For instance, it must be shown that the person asked to take an action was a public official who had the authority to follow through on such a request. A person could be convicted of offering or accepting a bribe even if the agreement had no negative impact on the public.

Book printer indicted for wire fraud, embezzlement

On Dec. 19, the owner of a book printing business in New York was arraigned on charges of embezzlement and wire fraud. The 63-year-old man was handed 10 wire fraud counts for allegedly submitting falsified invoices. In addition, he was charged with one count of embezzlement for allegedly keeping employee contributions that were supposed to be paid to a company health benefit plan.

The indictment alleges that the owner of Integrated Book Technology, Inc./Hamilton Printing used fake invoices as well as forged shipping records to solicit over $400,000 from a commercial finance company in New Jersey. According to prosecutors, the man falsely claimed that he was expecting payment for books that had not actually been sold or shipped.

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