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Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Law Blog

White collar crimes: Business email compromise costs billions

The FBI recently reported that business email compromise cost U.S. companies $26 billion between 2016 and now. These white collar crimes are simple to carry out and extremely effective, and targets can be companies in Michigan or elsewhere in the country. Authorities say that this type of email wire fraud appears to be one of the most costly cyber crimes committed against corporations.

Reportedly, this deception typically involves the impersonation of a senior executive in an email to a staff member with instructions to do a wire transfer of funds for the fulfillment of a purchase order or to pay a company debt. Once the instruction is carried out, that money is gone because such transactions are not usually covered by insurance. Contrary to most other cyberattacks like real estate wire fraud or sextortion emails, which are typically complicated schemes, business email compromise requires no more than a rudimentary knowledge of computers.

White collar crimes charges filed after alleged identity fraud

The consequences of being charged with identity fraud and wire fraud are serious for anyone in Michigan or elsewhere. A 24-year-old man was recently indicted by a federal grand jury in another state on white collar crimes charges. He is accused of defrauding an elderly victim to the value of $800,000 during a period of less than one year.

According to court documents, the accused man was employed as a call center worker, and he was an employee of a financial institution. The indictment alleges that the man presented himself to the elderly victim as an adviser with financial management and investment skills. He allegedly convinced the victim to allow him to invest and manage the victim's assets. The alleged fraud started around Dec. 2018 and continued through February this year.

Felonies: Are there rules for retaining DNA for databanks?

The advances in DNA technology have benefited many individuals and concluded various cases. It has been successfully used to prove guilt and innocence in felonies nationwide, including Michigan. The use of DNA technology has led to convictions in cases that went cold decades ago, and it has also set free several people who spent many years in prisons for crimes they did not commit.

However, questions are being asked about the rules of obtaining DNA samples. There is also uncertainty about retaining DNA profiles of individuals who are not convicted for the crime for which the samples were collected. One case in another state involves a family who struggled for more than a year to get the DNA profile of their 12-year-old son removed from a genetic database. Reportedly, the child was tricked into accepting a soda while police questioned him. They retained the straw, and although his DNA cleared him as a suspect, the profile was kept in the databank.

3 Felonies filed against man allegedly threatening university

A Michigan man from Reed City, who could face incarceration of 20 years if convicted, is being held in Osceola County on a bond of $1 million. State police arrested him and charged him with three felonies after they received tips about him allegedly posting threatening material on YouTube. Authorities say this is one of several cases across the country in which arrests were made after individuals threatened to commit mass violence.

Police say the man posted three videos in which he threatened a professor at the Ferris State University, local hospitals and a VA agency. Interviews with his family revealed that the man was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after his discharge from the Marines in 2012. They believe the origin of his troubles was an explosion in which he was involved during a tour in Afghanistan in 2009.

Felonies: Can plea bargain records after an arrest be sealed?

Although the public has access to most legal proceedings, plea bargains could prevent such access. They are precisely what the name says, bargains that are negotiated. Negotiating plea bargains is an essential part of the legal proceedings that follow arrests on felonies in Michigan or elsewhere. However, it is a complicated process that might be best left for legal counsel to navigate.

A well-known case of plea bargaining involves the much-publicized case of Jeffrey Epstein upon his previous arrest in 2007. His attorney negotiated a work-release program, along with the ending of the FBI investigation and the sealing of the details of the plea agreement. Details about arrests, criminal charges, names and mugshots are typically released to the press for publication. However, when it comes to juvenile victims or offenders, cases might proceed behind closed doors. Using initials or pseudonyms might be used to hide juvenile identities, and court filings might include requests to seal sensitive information.

Does Michigan allow personal recognizance bails?

Being arrested for a crime in Michigan initiates the criminal justice process. One part of this process is finding out whether you will be released from jail while your case works its way through the courts. Defendants in this state might find it interesting that, with the exception of instances involving violent crimes, the state's constitution requires that people facing charges must be able to afford bail.

This doesn't mean this point is actually followed. In fact, there are some people who are remaining in jail simply because they can't afford to pay to be released. These are people facing nonviolent charges and who don't have any warrant holds.

White collar crimes allegations filed against father and son

Anyone in Michigan or elsewhere in the United States who is investigated by the FBI or the IRS involving illegal business practices or other fraudulent behavior stands the chance of facing federal charges. The FBI recently reported that a father and son who are partners in a a sports car dealership were taken into custody and charged with various white collar crimes. The formal charges include defrauding the U.S. Government and bank fraud.

The 70-year-old father and his 35-year-old son purportedly conspired to conceal from the IRS business profits worth millions of dollars. They are accused of filing partnership tax returns containing significantly understated business inventory and receipts. These understatements then allegedly flowed through to their personal tax returns, resulting in considerable underreported tax amounts due. It is further alleged that the son also concealed his assets in a 2015 filing for bankruptcy by using the fraudulent tax returns.

White collar crimes: Man accused of fraud trifecta

Anyone in Michigan or elsewhere who faces federal wire fraud charges will no doubt recognize the severity of the situation and will likely seek experienced legal counsel. Wire fraud is one of many white collar crimes that go through the nation's courts each year. A 62-year-old man in another state recently pleaded guilty on charges related to his hyperbaric oxygen chamber business.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment that scuba divers use to treat decompression sickness. It is also used to treat severe infections and for hard-to-heal wounds resulting from radiation therapy or diabetes. According to court documents, the businessman received loans totaling over $770,000 after making false claims that he applied for the loans with the authorization of his business partners.

Post-conviction matters: DNA brings exoneration

The advances in DNA technology have given many convicted individuals hope of proving their innocence. A conviction does not close all the doors, and effective navigation of post-conviction matters could bring freedom. Convictions of decades ago have been overturned nationwide, including Michigan, based on DNA evidence.

A recent case in another state involved a 43-year-old man who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a rape and murder that took place in 1996. After serving 20 years of that sentence, the man was recently exonerated. Although he was released in 2017, the charges were never dropped. The relatively new investigative procedures of using the combined information of his genetic family tree along with DNA were used successfully to overturn the man's conviction.

State senator might face white collar crimes charges

Federal prosecutors recently filed a civil lawsuit against State Senator Steve Dickerson and another founder of Comprehensive Pain Specialists, with its head office based in another state. The company, also known as CPS, is accused of defrauding taxpayers and the government, and it is not yet clear whether criminal charges for white collar crimes will follow. Until the company abruptly closed down last summer, it operated 60 clinics across the country, some of which were in Michigan. Along with the two founders, the CPS CEO is also a defendant in the lawsuit. The claim alleges that at least 600 urine tests were done every day, most of which were unnecessary and purely done for profit -- from that came the name of "Liquid Gold."

The complaint states that comprehensive tests, called qualitative tests, are typically done for new patients. Analysis of the urine samples will then show whether they are perhaps already taking other powerful drugs or opioids. Followup tests that are cheaper and do not require laboratory analysis are then done to test for single drugs at a time. However, prosecutors allege that CPS repeated the qualitative tests with every visit, and then filed thousands of fraudulent claims with federal and state-funded medical aid programs.

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