Articles Posted in Fraud

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The mayor of the City of Tavares was suspended from his office by the governor of Florida on Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Robert William Wolfe was charged a day earlier with insurance fraud, a third-degree felony. He bonded out of jail Wednesday evening.

According to Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s executive order, Wolfe “is prohibited from performing any official act, duty or function of public office.”

The city’s vice mayor, Lori Pfister, has been moved to the position of mayor.

The State Attorney’s Office claims that in February, Wolfe filed a $9,000 claim with his insurance company, saying his home was damaged and he needed to rent a home. However, an investigation by the Department of Financial Services found that he never left his property.

It has been estimated that insurance fraud costs the industry more than $80 billion each year. The tricky thing about insurance fraud is that it can be difficult to prove someone guilty because of the way these types of crimes are usually committed. If you have been accused of insurance fraud, you may be an innocent party who had little to nothing to do with a crime. Our Lake County White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will investigate your case until we get to the bottom of any alleged criminal activity, so that we can protect your interests and fight for your rights.

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A New Port Richey couple has been arrested on charges of organized fraud, grand theft and mortgage fraud tied to the sale of investment offerings in Clearwater.

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation announced on Friday the couple is accused of defrauding at least 13 Floridians out of about $500,000.

According to the OFR, potential investors were allegedly recruited through “free” real estate investment seminars held at various hotels throughout the Tampa Bay area. At the seminars, attendees were offered investments in an assisted living facility. The facility never came into operation, authorities claim, and instead the pair allegedly used investor funds for personal expenses, including the purchase of a home in New Port Richey.

When arrested separately on June 24 and July 13 the man and wife were believed to be recruiting investors for a new venture involving multi-level marketing and real estate projects.

The crime of fraud is defined as deceiving another person for financial gain. Organized fraud is any type of fraud committed by an organized group in order to steal from unsuspecting individuals. These charges are quite serious and carry severe penalties. Fraud charges are often investigated by federal agencies such as the FBI, IRS and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A few types of organized fraud include:

  • Get Rich Quick Schemes
  • Phishing: obtaining sensitive personal information, like online usernames and passwords.
  • Bank Fraud
  • Investment Fraud
  • Money Laundering
  • Mail Fraud
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Counterfeiting
  • Credit Card Fraud

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The Justice Department announced Wednesday it’s charging hundreds of individuals across the country with committing Medicare fraud worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

This is the largest takedown in history, in regards to the number of people charged and the loss amount, according to the Justice Department.

The majority of the cases being prosecuted involve separate fraudulent billings to Medicare, Medicaid or both for treatments that were never provided.

In one case, a Detroit clinic that was actually found to be a front for a narcotics diversion scheme billed Medicare for more than $36 million, the Justice Department said.

The actual numbers:

  • $900 million in false billing
  • $38 million sent from Medicare and Medicaid to one clinic to carry out medically unnecessary treatments
  • $36 million billed to Medicare by a Detroit clinic that was actually a front for a narcotics diversion scheme
  • 1,000 law enforcement personnel involved
  • 301 defendants charged across the United States
  • 61 of those charged are medical professionals
  • 36 federal judicial districts involved
  • 28 of those charged are doctors

A doctor in Texas has been charged with participating in schemes to bill Medicare for “medically unnecessary home health services that were often not provided.”

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Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen invested more than $20 million with a financial adviser he says had come highly recommended by the team who has just been sentenced to three years behind bars for fraud.

The 66-year-old former money advisor was convicted of a variety of fraud schemes that included forging Pippen’s signature on a $1.4 million loan that he used to pay off personal debts.

In his ruling, the judge found that the advisor had lied at trial about forging Pippen’s signature as well as by claiming he’d gotten the go-ahead to apply for a second loan in the name of another victim.

In addition to the prison time, the judge ordered the man to forfeit $2.7 million and pay an additional $1.5 million in restitution, including $400,000 directly to Pippen.

The man was convicted by a jury in 2014 of five counts of bank fraud. Prosecutors claim he illegally obtained a total of about $3 million in loans from Oak Brook-based Leaders Bank, which included the $1.4 million loan that he claimed Pippen needed to invest in a private jet. The man apparently instead spent most of the money for his own benefit, making mortgage payments and paying other investment clients, prosecutors said.

Bank fraud is a criminal offense defined as deliberately and knowingly carrying out a scheme to defraud a financial institution. Basically, bank fraud is the use of fraudulent means to obtain money, assets, or other property that is owned or in the control of a bank or other financial institution. Bank fraud can be committed in a variety of ways including the following:

  • Mail fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Making false statements on loan applications
  • Falsifying documents
  • Forging checks
  • Loan fraud
  • Counterfeiting bank documents

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A 38-year-old Spring Hill man pleaded guilty to making a false statement in an application to obtain a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) loan earlier this month.

He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

According to the plea agreement, the man purchased his home in Spring Hill for $110,000 on September 28, 2010. He and his wife apparently received a loan of $49,650 from HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), as a second mortgage on the home. The NSP was established by HUD to provide emergency assistance to stabilize communities with high rates of abandoned and foreclosed homes. The NSP was designed to assist households whose annual incomes are up to 120 percent of the area median. According to this loan program, the man would not have been required to repay the loan if he lived in the home for 15 years.

In his application to participate in the program, the man apparently provided false and incomplete information related to his debts, assets, employment, income, and tax returns. According to reports,  he failed to disclose a debt from another loan that he had received from another government program to obtain a different home. Reports also indicate that he did not disclose income he earned from his DJ business, or that he owned certain assets, including two cars and a boat.

This case was investigated by the HUD Office of Inspector General and the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Adam M. Saltzman.

One of the most common kinds of financial institution fraud involves loan or mortgage application fraud. In the past decade or so, many bank and mortgage company officials have encouraged individuals to misstate their income and other items on mortgage or loan applications. When these borrowers fail to make their payments, the bank then reviews the applications, looking for misrepresentations of income or other falsified information. If the banks happen to find something, they will then hand the case over to the federal government for prosecution.

The bottom line is that the banks and mortgage lenders attempt to use the government as a collection agency, to collect on bad loans they encouraged people to take in the first place.

It is important to understand that you can be charged in federal court for mortgage or bank fraud under the following circumstances:

  • The bank or mortgage company knew you were making a false statement
  • Bank or mortgage company employees encouraged you to misrepresent the facts
  • Regardless of how much of the information on your application was inaccurate.
  • If your loan application was denied and the information provided was false

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A candidate for Largo Commission is facing felony extortion charges after police claim he attempted to force an opponent to drop out of the race.

The 31-year-old who is running for Seat 3 on the commission, sent an anonymous email to one of his opponents through the candidate’s website on Aug. 29, according to the Largo Police Department.

The email allegedly stated that the sender had negative information about the politician and the information would be released if he did not drop out of the race, police said.

Investigators got the IP address of the email’s sender and learned that it allegedly belonged to the accused.

The man was arrested on Monday and was being held at the Pinellas County Jail on $10,000 bond.

Extortion is a crime where someone obtains something, usually goods or services, by using threats. There are many different types of threats that can be classified as extortion, including threatening to reveal secrets that could damage a person’s public reputation or to the reputation of their business.

Extortion is also federal crime. Those who are convicted of extortion could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison. In addition to jail, there is also the very real possibility of large fines and civil action.

Extortion is not a criminal offense that should be taken lightly. If you are facing allegations of extortion, it is in your best interest to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are being protected.

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A federal jury found a 40-year-old Windermere man guilty of 11 counts of wire fraud and 4 counts of filing a false tax-related document.

He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each wire fraud count and up to 3 years’ imprisonment for each false document charge.

The man’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for November 19, 2015. He was indicted on April 9, 2015.

According to the evidence presented at trial, from 2006 through 2012, the accused was employed as the personal assistant to an NBA basketball player, who has since retired from professional basketball. During calendar years 2008 through 2011, the man apparently stole approximately $2,188,170 from the ball player by making unauthorized online banking money transfers from one of his bank accounts into three different bank accounts that the man controlled. The man spent these funds on his own personal expenses, including mortgage payments for his home in Windermere, and the purchase of a Ferrari and a Range Rover.

The man also filed false joint income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service for each of these years. In these tax returns, he and his wife never reported more than $60,000 in gross income, when in fact their joint income was significantly greater due to the money the man stole from the former basketball player.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the United States Secret Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew C. Searle.

Wire fraud can range in criminal acts, including fraudulent schemes for phishing emails, sending electronic checks or money to banks, or communications over the Internet or telephone.

The essential elements of wire fraud include the following:

  • The defendant intentionally devised or participated in a scheme to defraud another out of money
  • The defendant did so with the intent to defraud
  • It was foreseeable that interstate wire communication would be used
  • That interstate wire communication was used

The term “interstate wire communications” is broad, and refers to any type of transmission by wire, radio, or television communication, including, but not limited to, writings, signs, pictures, faxes, or sounds used in interstate or foreign commerce.

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A 46-year-old Texas man plead guilty to manufacturing counterfeit Federal Reserve notes, false representation of a Social Security number and aggravated identity theft.

The man faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in federal prison for the counterfeit note and false representation charges, to be followed by a consecutive mandatory minimum of 2 years in federal prison for the aggravated identity theft charge.

According to the plea agreement, on Feb. 2, 2015, the Green Cove Springs Police Department received information that two individuals, one of them later identified as the accused and another man, were manufacturing counterfeit Federal Reserve notes in their hotel room at the Astoria Hotel in Clay County.

The two men apparently had active arrest warrants for parole violations in Texas and were subsequently arrested at the hotel by deputies from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

2397205917_37bd3a5fe6_zDeputies claim they found a counterfeit $100 note on one of the men after his arrest.

During an interview with law enforcement, the men allegedly disclosed that they were involved in a drug deal in Texas in December 2014 and had been on the run ever since. Police claim they estimated printing and passing at least $10,000 in counterfeit currency. Police also believe they printed counterfeit checks using the identities of others.

Agents claim they located a box of personal identification information and financial documents belonging to other individuals, a printer/scanner/copier with counterfeit checks lying on top of it, counterfeit currency, and various computer media which had been used to manufacture the counterfeit currency during a search of the men’s hotel room.

A third man was also charged in the case for passing counterfeit currency.

This case was investigated by the Green Cove Springs Police Department, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Secret Service Jacksonville Field Office.

Under federal law, it is illegal to defraud, produce, forge, or alter any “obligation or other security” of the United States, which includes money. Penalties for manufacturing counterfeit currency include fines up to $250,000 and up to 20 years in prison. Similar offenses relating to counterfeiting currency  include distributing, selling, or possessing counterfeit money and possessing counterfeiting tools.

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An Illinois man is accused of trying to use a fake debit card at a SunTrust bank, according to Boca Raton police.

An email was apparently sent to bank employees warning them of the 23-year-old man after he allegedly attempted to use the card at other branches, according to a Boca Raton police arrest report.

Reports indicate that a card scanner was placed at the back of the bank, so when the man tried to add more than $1,000 on one of his fake debit cards, an employee could easily call police.

The alleged attempted transaction happened at 11:46 a.m. on Thursday when a teller at a SunTrust Bank reported that the man was in the lobby of the bank trying to use one of the fake debit cards.

The teller had already received several emails from other SunTrust banks, warning her that a man was trying to use fake debit cards at other banks.

The teller told the man there was insufficient funds and they couldn’t give him the money, according to reports. When an officer arrived, she claims the man was walking through the bank’s parking lot and she stopped him for questioning.

The teller told the officer that the man came to her window and handed her a NetSpend Visa debit card and asked for a cash advance on the card of more than $1,000.

A detective apparently called a NetSpend representative who said the numbers didn’t match any of their cards.

The officer who questioned the man said he told her he got the card in Chicago.

5856795621_16ed8e78ce_zPolice allege that the NetSpend card had information stolen from a woman in Utah. Police also claim they also uncovered a Visa NASCAR debit card in the man’s car with information belonging to a person in Texas, according to the report.

The man faces charges of fraud, grand theft, possession of counterfeit credit cards, and forgery of credit cards. He is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail on $30,000 bail.

A Counterfeit is a copy or replica of an item, usually legal tender or currency, but can also be associated with clothing, software or other tangible goods. Additionally, counterfeiting may be used in the commission of credit card fraud. This occurs when credit cards are recreated or copied in order to make fraudulent or unauthorized charges. Counterfeiting is considered a white collar crime in which an individual or organization will create counterfeit items, usually with the intention of selling these or passing them off as originals. When it comes to money, a conviction for counterfeiting can result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years, along with hefty fines. Counterfeiting charges are aggressively prosecuted by federal prosecutors.

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A Wesley Chapel doctor and his office manager are accused of defrauding the Florida Medicaid program out of more than $100,000.

The male doctor and his office manager, who is also his ex-wife, were arrested Wednesday. Investigators allege the pair billed the Florida Medicaid program for services that were never performed.

The man is an ear, nose and throat specialist. The officer manager’s arrest report lists her as a registered nurse at Moffitt Cancer Center.

Both are facing one count each of Medicaid provider fraud, one count of first-degree scheming to defraud and one count of second-degree criminal use of personal identification information.

6127243966_e9189f1099_mIf they are convicted, they face up to 30 years in prison. They could also be ordered to pay more than $100,000 in restitution.

The case will be prosecuted by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

Medicaid is a federal and state cost-sharing program that provides healthcare to people who are unable to pay for such care. Medicaid Fraud usually targets the providers of services who accept Medicaid and can be prosecuted on the State or Federal jurisdictions.

Common examples of Medicaid fraud can include:

  • Phantom Billing: Billing for medical services not actually performed
  • Upcoding: Billing for a more costly service than was actually rendered or Billing for sessions that are longer than what was actually performed
  • Unbundling: Billing for multiple services that should be combined into one billing
  • Billing twice for the same medical service
  • Dispensing generic drugs and billing for brand-name drugs
  • Kickback: Accepting something in return for medical services
  • Bribery
  • Providing unnecessary services
  • False cost reports
  • Embezzlement of recipient funds

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