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The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested a Dade City man for allegedly possessing hundreds of files of child pornography and possibly accessing thousands more.

A Pasco County Sheriff’s Office arrest report states investigators found 274 suspected child porn files on the man’s laptop. They allegedly reviewed 22 of those files and found graphic videos, some involving children younger than five years old, engaged in sex acts.

An IP address linked to the man’s home also may have allegedly accessed child pornography files at least 2,529 times in October and 18,779 times in March.

According to the report, the man admitted to downloading such files since he was 17 years old.

The man is charged with 21 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of transmission of child pornography.

He’s currently in jail on $1.1 million bond.

A conviction of child pornography can be devastating to your personal life and career. The number of images, type of pictures and the ages of the alleged children are factored into the charges and sentencing guidelines. You could be looking at years, decades or even life behind bars for each image in question and a permanent stamp on the sex offender registry.

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An Arizona medical company that serves thousands of cancer patients is battling a federal lawsuit alleging that it ripped off Medicare and other government programs with millions of dollars in fraudulent charges.

The whistleblower complaint moving through U.S. District Court says principals at Arizona Center for Cancer Care improperly collected nearly $8 million from U.S. health care agencies since 2011.

The lawsuit alleges AZCCC engaged in double billing, charged for unnecessary medical services and overcharged for testing and treatments.

The Peoria-based company, known legally as Arizona Center for Hematology and Oncology PLC, has 35 offices in Maricopa County, with 65 physicians specializing in oncology, urology, hematology and gynecological oncology. The company advertises treating more than 30,000 patients.

The civil action was filed in 2016 under the federal False Claims Act by the company’s billing manager, who asserts that he repeatedly warned AZCCC its charging methods were improper and excessive.

Civil charges of Medicare fraud can lead to criminal charges as well. Health care providers found to have committed Medicare fraud face pretty severe penalties and major consequences. In most cases, offenders will be required to repay the overpayments, along with hefty fines. Criminal prosecution by the federal government is also highly likely. The usual prison term is up to five years for each offense, which can add up to a lot very quick.

Our Florida Medicare Fraud Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton defend patients, doctors, medical clinics, nursing homes, assisted living facility personnel, and all other healthcare personnel accused of filing fraudulent Medicare claims for supposed non-qualifying health care services. We know Medicare fraud is one of the most serious charges a health care provider may ever face.

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A 63-year-old New Orleans woman has been sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for her part in a $3.2 million Medicare fraud and kickback scheme.

She was also ordered to pay $277,000 in restitution, according to federal prosecutors.

She was convicted in November and sentenced Wednesday in a five-year scheme to supply power wheelchairs and other durable medical equipment to people who didn’t need it.

Evidence showed that the woman got more than $47,000 in kickbacks from an equipment supply company owner, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The equipment supply company owner was convicted in 2016 and sentenced to six years and eight months in prison. Evidence showed she caused Medicare to pay more than $3.2 million for unnecessary equipment from 2004 to 2009, based on illegal referrals.

The New Orleans woman apparently provided information about Medicare beneficiaries and got doctors to sign order forms for the unnecessary equipment, according to the statement. She was convicted on two counts of conspiracy, two counts of health care fraud and five counts of receiving health care kickbacks.

When the government investigates you for Medicare fraud, you need to know that they have a huge amount of resources at their disposal. The FBI, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and federal and state prosecutors are simply a few of the entities that will be involved in mounting a case against you.

An investigation is a serious matter that you must take seriously. You must retain the legal help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the complex health care laws and regulations. Our Florida Medicare Fraud Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are highly experienced trial attorneys that will fight to protect your rights.

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Federal authorities have charged the pastor of a Texas megachurch and a Louisiana financial planner with defrauding elderly investors out of more than $1 million.

The two men were charged Friday with six counts of wire fraud and five counts of money laundering, as well as one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has also filed civil charges against the men for the alleged fraud, which occurred from 2013 to 2014.

One man, 64, is the senior pastor of a church Houston, which is described by the SEC as “one of the largest Protestant churches in the U.S.” The Louisian man, 55, is the manager of a financial group in Shreveport.

They’re accused of bilking 29 mostly elderly investors by selling them Chinese bonds issued before the revolution of 1949, saying that their historical value made them “worth tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars” according to a court document from the SEC.

The bonds have no investment value.

The SEC says the bonds have been in default since 1939, and the “current Chinese government refuses to recognize the debt.”

The funds collected were used to pay for personal expenses, including mortgage payments and luxury automobiles.

The DOJ says they allegedly defrauded the investors out of more than $1 million. The SEC places that figure higher, at $3.4 million.

The maximum sentence, if they’re convicted, is 20 years with a $1 million fine, as well as restitution and forfeiture, according to the DOJ.

The crime of money laundering uses financial transactions to conceal the origin of money obtained through illegal activity, to make it appear that the money came from a legitimate source. This is a very serious offense that can carry severe penalties, including steep fines and jail time if you are found guilty.

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A 70-year-old Miami man was convicted of illegally steering state-court defendants to a corrupt clinic, which in turned fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $63 million.

He was sentenced to five years in prison, plus three years of supervised release. And he must pay back a staggering $9.9 million in restitution.

He was found guilty of getting illegal payments from a corrupt clinic called in Miami, which fraudulently billed the Medicare system for more than $63 million.

The man got a flat monthly rate based on the number of patients he referred to the clinic.

In all, the clinic apparently paid him$432,829 over six years, aside from his regular salary as a mental health care worker.

The clients referred to the clinic cost taxpayers between $9.5 million and $25 million in bogus claims between 2006 and 2012.

The man was arrested in June 2017. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and receive healthcare kickbacks.

The federal government has numerous laws in their back pocket in which they can pursue legal actions against those they believe are committing Medicare or healthcare fraud, including the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Physician Self-Referral Law, the Exclusion Statute, and the Civil Monetary Penalties Law.

Common claims brought under Medicare fraud include:

  • Overbilling for services provided
  • Unbundling services for higher payouts
  • Upcoding for a higher level of service than that which was actually performed
  • Billing for patients who do not exist
  • Submitting bills for services that were not actually performed

The consequences of a government prosecution against you for Medicare fraud could include the following:

  • Hefty fines
  • Exclusion from all government health care payment programs
  • Further disciplinary actions by other administrative agencies
  • Loss of your professional license
  • Criminal charges and jail time

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A Fort Lauderdale eye doctor received a 17-year sentence in February for apparently stealing $73 million from Medicare by persuading elderly patients to undergo excruciating tests and treatments they didn’t need for diseases they didn’t have.

The man was convicted of 67 crimes including health care fraud, submitting false claims, and falsifying records in patients’ files.

Prosecutors showed that between 2008 and 2013, he became the nation’s highest-paid Medicare doctor, building his practice by giving elderly patients unnecessary eye injections and laser blasts on their retinas that some compared to torture.

The 63-year-old was ordered to pay $42.6 million in restitution to Medicare.

Prosecutors argued he stole $136 million but his attorneys insisted the proven total was $64,000. US District Judge Kenneth A. Marra said the evidence shows the theft was at least $73 million.

The man could have been given a life sentence. Prosecutors had been seeking 30 years. Defense attorneys sought less than 10.

The man has been in custody since his April 28 conviction.

Our Florida Medicare Fraud Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton are here to help defense those accused of these charges. Recently, the government has started seriously cracking down on medicare fraud, so our Medicare Fraud Defense Lawyers are even more necessary now than in the past. Congress has introduced multiple bills to increase fines and jail time for medicare fraud, and the government now has several entities armed with the task of uncovering alleged medicare fraud. Facing a medicare fraud accusation is scary and the consequences are very real.

Financial penalties for the medicare fraud are severe and fines can be $10,000 or more per claim. Moreover, any healthcare providers convicted of fraud can be excluded from participating in the medicare program in the future. Those convicted can also face lengthy jail sentences as well as the loss of their practices. The government will usually try to claim multiple law violations for a single fraudulent claim, which will only result in more punishments if a conviction is achieved.

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A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested Tuesday after officials claim she got into a physical altercation with her wife.

The alleged incident happened on March 3 at their home.

The alleged 29-year-old victim told officials that her 29-year-old wife forcibly restrained her, causing minor injuries, several times that day after they got into two arguments.

According to the report, the couple first got into a verbal argument which turned physical. The deputy is accused of forcibly restraining the woman by pinning her down against her will in the upstairs bedroom..

The argument subsided and the woman left their home.

Later that evening, the couple got into another argument where the deputy allegedly forcibly restrained her wife several times. According to the report, the deputy  first pushed her wife up against their living room wall, then again in their bedroom, and later pressed the victim’s forearm against her neck causing a restriction in air flow.

According to the report, the wife tried to fight back and received minor bruising to her jaw line, wrist and arms.

The wife contacted the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on March 6 to report the incidents.

Officials said the deputy admitted to the alleged actions and was arrested and charged with battery by strangulation, domestic violence battery, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

She was also relieved of duty without pay pending an internal review.

A domestic violence or domestic battery conviction can leave you facing serious consequences. You could end up losing your job, your family and spending time behind bars. When the police come to your house and accuse or arrest you for domestic battery, you know that you’re in for an uphill battle.

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A Windermere man was found guilty Tuesday of raping a woman he was accused of drugging and taking pictures of.

The man was found guilty after just a two-day trial. Jurors deliberated for several hours Tuesday before finding him guilty of attempted sexual battery and sexual battery.

The investigation into the man began in 2014, but two years before that, Windermere Police began investigating a case that involved more than 100 videos of drugged women, some taken as far back as 2006.

In January 2016, a woman reported to police that she thought she may have been the victim of a rape. While meeting with investigators, she saw two videos that showed her unconscious body being sexually assaulted. She told them she used to work for the man and would socialize with him and his friends.

The man did not take the stand in his own defense but told the judge that he was not happy with his attorneys and that he was not prepared for the trial.

The man’s sentencing is set for May 4. He faces up to 45 years in prison.

Once you have been convicted of a sex crime or any criminal offense for that matter, you do have the option to appeal your conviction. This can be a difficult process, but our Florida Criminal Appeals Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you through the appeals process.

The first phase of the criminal case is completed at sentencing.This means you have gone to trial and been convicted and sentenced or you have pled guilty and been sentenced. On both the state and federal court levels, there are different options for filing an appeal right after a criminal conviction or sentence.

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A 27-year-old Florida man was arrested Thursday on a pimping charge during an undercover Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office investigation.

The man is charged with living off the earnings of a prostitute, cocaine possession and transporting a person for prostitution.

Jacksonville police were apparently digging into online ads for escorts when they came across the man, according to reports.

An undercover officer posed as a customer and met with the man and an alleged prostitute, who apparently agreed to have sex with the detective for $160, according to police.

The man and woman were both arrested.

If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, the most important thing you can do before anything else is hire a criminal defense attorney. You need legal help to reduce the potential damages to your life and future. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you with whatever criminal charges you are dealing with – big or small.

In your free consultation, we will give you an honest assessment of your case, including the potential defenses and outcomes, so that you are educated on the issues at hand. Our goal is to provide you with effective legal counsel that will ultimately avoid a criminal conviction whenever possible. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or felony charge, in either state or federal court, our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can take immediate action for your defense.

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A 33-year-old youth softball coach from Auburndale is facing charges of having sex with a minor.

The 33-year-old was taken into custody Friday after authorities talked to the 17-year-old girl. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Lakeland girl told authorities she had consensual sex with the man in early February.  

According to authorities, the man and the girl knew each other for several years, and the man lived with her family for a period of time in the past. The girl is to turn 18 years old in a couple of weeks.

The man works part-time as an assistant softball coach at a Polk County high school.

The man also was a coach for the teen’s travel softball team.

Authorities claim the two attended the Monster Jam event in Tampa on Feb. 3 with two other friends. After the event, the group drove back to Bartow, dropped off the friends and drove back to Lakeland.

On the way, the man allegedly pulled over his vehicle near State Road 60 and Highway 37 in Mulberry, where the two had consensual sex.

The man has been charged with unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

The man has been placed on administrative leave. A recommendation to terminate him will go before the School Board later this month.

If you have been arrested for alleged unlawful sexual activity with a minor, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. A conviction for this crime could result in a significant fine, up to 15 years in prison and mandatory registration as  a sex offender.

Following an arrest for a sex crime, you should exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and avoid answering any questions that could be used against you in court. Regardless of your innocence, you should not say anything to authorities until you have contacted our Polk County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton. We can make sure your rights are protected and comb through all the evidence against you to establish the best defense strategy for you.

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