Articles Posted in Conspiracy

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A former U.S. postal worker was sentenced to 120 days in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

The 45-year-old was also ordered to serve a three-year term of supervised release following his imprisonment, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

According to court documents, the former U.S. Postal carrier provided addresses along his delivery route to co-conspirators who arranged to have packages containing marijuana shipped from Oregon to those addresses.

When the packages arrived and were placed in the man’s control, he would scan the packages as delivered to the addresses, and then turn them over to his co-conspirators for further distribution of the marijuana.

He pleaded guilty to the charge on January 11.

Drug conspiracy and distribution charges are quite serious criminal matters that could lead to jail or prison time in addition to other life-changing consequences. If you or someone you love has been charged or is being investigated for conspiracy or distribution of drugs, it is essential to obtain strong legal representation as soon as possible. Our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton also urge those accused to refrain from speaking to law enforcement officers about the case until you have secured legal counsel.

Generally speaking, a conspiracy charge means that the prosecution is trying to hold you responsible for the criminal actions of someone else. These charges can erupt from allegedly planning or agreeing to sell an illegal substance. Because no actual crime has to occur to be charged, these cases can be built with very weak evidence.

Our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are former prosecutors who are very familiar with the State’s tricks when pursuing drug conspiracy cases. While every situation is different, we can evaluate your case and develop the best defense with the greatest chance of success.

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Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among 50 charged in a nationwide college entrance exam scandal, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Boston.

Several NCAA D-1 college coaches, company CEOs and one college administrator have also been implicated in the scandal utilizing 200 FBI agents, dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.”

Documents show those indicted allegedly paid millions in bribes to get their children into elite colleges. Those colleges include Yale, Stanford and the University of Southern California.

Arrest warrants have been issued. Thirteen of the accused were taken into custody Tuesday morning in the Los Angeles area, including Huffman, according to reports.

As of Tuesday night, Loughlin was still not in custody.

Feds are basing the case on interviews with witnesses, bank records, flight records, emails, cell site data and wiretaps. The charges were authorized by a grand jury.

The scheme, in some instances, involved parents paying the founder of a college prep business in California, to have someone take the SAT or ACT for their children, according to authorities. Prosecutors alleged that the man also paid around $25 million in bribes to coaches and administrators to pretend client’s children were athletic recruits, thereby guaranteeing admission. The man pleaded guilty in Boston federal court around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday to charges including racketeering conspiracy and obstruction of justice, according to reports.

Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 to USC, through the man’s operation, in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the college’s crew team — even though they did not participate in crew — thereby guaranteeing their admission in the college, according to documents. The couple faces charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Huffman and her spouse, William H. Macy, are accused of disguising a $15,000 charitable payment in the bribery scheme. The charging papers refer to Macy as “spouse.” He hasn’t been indicted. She also faces the charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

According to charging documents, a “confidential witness” met with Huffman at her home and explained that he “controlled” a SAT testing center and could arrange for someone to proctor the taking of the test and then correct her daughter’s answers afterward. Huffman is said to have later exchanged emails with this individual in an effort to get 100 percent extra time for her daughter and to facilitate the taking of the SATs away from her school.

Huffman’s daughter is said to have taken the test in December 2017 and received a 1420 on the test, a 400 point improvement from a previous test. Last October, Huffman discussed repeating this for her youngest daughter in a taped conversation that evidently the FBI has obtained. However, Huffman did not go through with the cheating for her youngest daughter, according to court papers.

Also included in the documents on Tuesday, and charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, is TPG’s Bill McGlashan, Hollywood investor and co-founder of STX.

The founder of a college prep business in California has agreed to plead guilty to racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice (after alerting several subjects of the investigation of the government probe), according to court papers, and has been cooperating since September 2018 in a bid for leniency.

In all, 50 people around the country were charged in the alleged cheating and recruitment scam.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this case unfolds. Cheating scandals are not something necessarily new, but has definitely grown in popularity within the last decade.

Mail fraud embodies a wide variety of crimes and can extend into other types of fraud as well. Any act of fraud that involves the mail is mail fraud. Many mail fraud charges are accompanied by conspiracy charges.

If you have been accused of mail fraud, you must enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney that has experience handling these complex cases. Our Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have the experience and knowledge needed to intervene early and overcome these charges quickly. Even if you have not been charged and are simply under investigation, our early involvement could result in charges not being filed at all. If charges are filed, we will fight aggressively to overcome them. If you have already been charged, we will conduct a thorough investigation, attack all evidence against you, and establish a strong defense to protect your innocence.

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An affordable housing contractor accused of stealing millions of dollars in kickbacks to four Miami-based developers pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing federal government subsidies intended to help the poor.

The 57-year-old owner of a South Florida based construction company, faces between two and three years in prison at his sentencing this fall after reaching a plea deal on a theft conspiracy charge with the U.S. attorney’s office.

The man was charged with paying about $6.2 million in kickbacks to various founders and CEOs of different housing groups.

297924038_e957335351_zAccording to records filed in Miami federal court, they all allegedly cut a “side agreement” to inflate the construction costs of low-income apartment projects in Miami-Dade County to qualify for bigger government subsidies and then pocketed the “excess” profits.

The man accused allegedly made $1.3 million off the illicit scheme, according to prosecutors.

This man is the second builder to plead guilty in the alleged fraud conspiracy.

Last month, a 63-year-old founder of another construction company pleaded guilty to the same theft conspiracy charge, stemming from paying more than $1 million in kickbacks to other groups, according to records.

Federal conspiracy charges are nothing to joke about. When the federal government has invested the time, money and resources into indicting you on a federal charge, it is guaranteed that they will pursue your case in court quite aggressively. A charge like conspiracy carries significant sentencing and long-term consequences, so it is important that you seek the best legal representation so that your case can be handled accordingly.

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Two fired Broward Sheriff’s deputies surrendered at the federal courthouse Monday where they faced charges alleging they abused their power as law enforcement agents in order to assist Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein and his allies.

Prosecutors filed federal conspiracy charges against a former 48-year-old  lieutenant from Boca Raton and a former 47-year-old detective from Weston on Friday. They were fired from their positions shortly after their arrests.

Prosecutors claim the former lieutenant accepted $185,000 worth of cash, gifts and other perks from Rothstein. They claim the man sent the former detective “to do his dirty work on the street.”

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On Friday, a federal judge sentenced a south Florida doctor to more than six years in prison for her involvement in writing prescriptions for thousands of painkillers to addicts and drug dealers.

She was convicted of money laundering.

In July of 2013 a jury acquitted the 43-year-old woman and a 74-year-old man on charges that their roles in a chain of South Florida pain clinics led to the deaths of nine patients. They both faced up to life in prison and $2 million in fines.

pillsThe doctors and their defense team fought to prove that they were unaware of the conspiracy and were practicing medicine in line with state standards, which allow licensed physicians to dispense opioid pain pills without fear of punishment.

However, the jury convicted the pair of money laundering for their role in the “pill mill” scheme.

A U.S. District Judge sentenced the female doctor to 78 months in prison, while the man received 18 months. Both must also pay $10,000 in fines.

The woman’s lawyer says they plan to appeal the conviction.

The two doctors’ trial ended a four-year operation that targeted a slew of South Florida pain clinics that resulted in racketeering charges against 32 people in 2010.

The clinics owner is currently serving more than 17 years in prison and his brother and co-owner is serving more than 15. Both brothers testified on the government’s behalf.

At one point in time Florida had 90 of the top 100 oxycodone-purchasing physicians in the nation and 53 of the top 100 oxycodone-purchasing pharmacies.

The majority of these pills were pushed up the East Coast and sold at high markups in rural communities reaching from northern Alabama to western Pennsylvania. Interstate 95 was actually nicknamed Oxy Alley by dealers who frequently drove hundreds of miles to South Florida to buy cheap pain pills.

Florida law enforcement has been trying hard to crack down on the epidemic of prescription drug abuse within recent years. However, the restriction on painkillers has led to more heroin abuse.

Deaths from heroin rose 89 percent in Florida, from 62 in 2011 to 117 in 2012, according to a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. According to reports, the heroin problem in south Florida has reached epidemic proportions.

Money laundering is a very serious federal crime that entails taking unlawfully obtained money and working to incorporate it so it appears to come from a lawful source. In general, money laundering involves a string of various financial transactions and multiple bank accounts. Today’s technology only makes these cases that much more complex, oftentimes complicating paper trails and making many Internet transactions harder to trace.

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A 70-year-old Middleburg woman has been arrested for allegedly attempting to hire an undercover detective to kill her daughter-in-law.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, she told the detective that he could take the expensive jewelry from her body when the job was done.

The sheriff’s office claims the woman offered the detective $5,000 to kill her daughter-in-law when she met with him at a Home Depot in Jacksonville on Wednesday.
She is accused of giving the detective $500 as the first payment as well as a photo of the woman, her address, and car description. She allegedly gave him another $1,000 when they met again on Thursday.

jewelry betch.jpgAccording to the sheriff’s office, the woman told the detective that her daughter-in-law wore expensive jewelry and could take the jewelry from her body once the job was complete. Police claim the woman told the detective that the diamonds could be removed and sold without a trace and that he could use that money towards the final payment.

The woman allegedly told the detective that she would take care of things if he could not.

The woman was placed under arrest and immediately requested an attorney after she was read her Miranda rights, the sheriff’s office said. It is unknown at this time whether or not she has secured representation.

The woman is currently being held in the Duval County Jail without bond on charges of criminal solicitation and criminal conspiracy, both first-degree felonies. She is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 31.

Criminal charges of solicitation and conspiracy can involve a variety of different crimes and it should be noted that these offenses carry very significant penalties. If you or someone close to you has been arrested for a criminal offense in Middleburg, Orange Park, Green Cove Springs, Keystone Heights or the surrounding area, you should speak with a Clay County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible to learn about how you can protect your rights and the possible defenses that may be available to you.

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Add another attorney to the collateral damage of Scott Rothstein’s $1.4 billion Ponzi scheme.

The Sun Sentinel is reporting that a Palm Beach County lawyer and former counsel to Kim Rothstein received a three-year prison sentence for plotting to help her conceal more than $1 million in jewelry she hid from federal authorities, as they seized her husband’s assets.
Charged conspiring to commit money laundering, obstruct justice and witness tampering, Rothstein’s attorney faced a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

~ Diamonds For You ~

After pleading guilty to these charges in January, the Boca Raton attorney was disbarred. His 36-month imprisonment will be followed by two years of supervised release. As part of his plea deal, the attorney agreed to forfeit $515,000 to federal authorities — including compensation he received for legal fees from Kim Rothstein, as well as four expensive pens and jeweled cuff links.

According to reports, the attorney’s lapse in judgment was a result of viewing Rothstein as a friend and not as a client. When pleading to the judge for a minimal sentence for her client, his attorney stated that “he saw this woman drowning and he tried to help her…she was losing everything in the world through no fault of her own. … He handled this horribly, and what he did was absolutely wrong.”

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A 46-year-old Tallahassee doctor was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday for his involvement in a prescription pill trafficking operation.

The man was also ordered to pay a $500,000 fine and investigative and prosecutorial costs.

According to the Florida Office of the Attorney General, the illegal operation was to blame for disbursing large quantities of prescription drugs throughout western Florida.

The physician apparently pled guilty to conspiring to traffic in 28 grams or more of oxycodone in October 2011. He was prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

The Osceola County Investigative Bureau, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, the Sarasota Police Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement claim they began investigating the doctor in 2010. Their alleged investigation revealed the doctor was selling prescriptions for large amounts of oxycodone to a group of associates who would fill the prescriptions and then disburse the pills on the streets of Sarasota.

One of the doctor’s co-defendants was sentenced to 25 years in state prison for his role in the operation and another co-defendant is awaiting sentencing.

Drug trafficking in the State of Florida describes the sale, delivery, possession or manufacturing of illegal drugs and controlled substances over a certain weight or amount. The consequences associated with a drug trafficking charge can vary from a minimum of three years to a maximum of a life sentence in prison, depending on the type of drug and the quantity. Sentences are established by the weight value of the total pills in question. At minimum, a trafficking charge of oxycodone is a three year mandatory prison sentence with a fine of $50,000 and a maximum of 25 years in prison plus a fine of $500,000.

In many drug trafficking cases in Florida, the State will seek conspiracy charges to be filed in addition to trafficking charges in order to obtain convictions not only for trafficking pills, but an agreement to traffic drugs. The conspiracy to traffic drugs can be difficult to understand because most drug charges require for the prosecution to prove that the accused was in possession of the drugs in question at some point. However, a conspiracy to traffic drugs charge can be proven solely by establishing that an agreement existed to carry out a drug-related criminal act. In fact, the act does not have to even be completed to be convicted of conspiracy.

The Florida Prescription Drug Trafficking Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can thoroughly review the facts of your case and explore all possible defenses to combat the charges against you. We will review any evidence and police reports to consider the following:

• Did law enforcement play a role in initiating your participation in the conspiracy?

• Did the conspiracy solely entail verbal agreements, or were there acts in furtherance of the conspiracy?

• Was the agreement terminated or dismissed before an arrest was made?

• Were wiretaps involved, and if so were they legal?

• Was the warrant obtained legal?

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A former Florida resident was sentenced to the maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison on Thursday for mail fraud in connection with a $30 million Ponzi scheme.

His original charges also included wire fraud and conspiracy, crimes that often get charged in conjunction with mail fraud cases.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, the Florida Attorney General’s Office and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The 48-year-old man was ordered to surrender $29.9 million, numerous computers and computer equipment purchased using earnings from the scheme.

According to authorities, the man received $30 million from more than 500 investors in Florida and throughout the United States by assuring them that they could earn 10 percent interest per month by trading in foreign currency through his company located in Pasco County.

The man supposedly only invested a small portion of the assets obtained, paid investors about $15 million of other investors’ money and spent millions of dollars on personal items for himself, friends and family. He allegedly leased high-end real estate in New York City, private jets, and bought luxury cars, clothing and jewelry.

The Florida Attorney General’s Office shut down the man’s former company in April 2010 and froze its assets after investigating a grievance against the company. During that time the man had a Gainesville address and supposedly went to school in the area.

He was arrested in New York City on Nov. 4, 2010 and indicted Dec. 1.

Mail fraud and wire fraud are broad terms used in any case involving theft by mail, by Internet, by electronic transfer, by phone or any other comparable scenario. The State must prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction for this white collar offense. A mail fraud or mail theft case revolves around several points:

• Did the accused actually plan to commit fraud?

• Did the accused willfully and intentionally create a plot to cheat another person or persons
out of money or property?

• Did the accused use the postal system in their scheme to defraud?

Prosecutors and investigators for fraud cases are aggressive in pursuing charges, which means your case can drag on for a lengthy time period. If convicted of mail fraud, the penalties include stiff fines or imprisonment for up to 20 years, possibly both. If the violation concerns a financial institution such as a bank, the fine can be elevated as high as $1,000,000 and imprisonment up to 30 years.

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