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Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Law Blog

White collar crimes: What are the elements of embezzlement?

Arrests for embezzlement are frequently reported in the media nationwide, including in Michigan. What defines embezzlement? Classified as one of a number of white collar crimes, it mostly occurs in corporate settings. It usually involves a person who is responsible for handling assets and in a position of trust. Those who face embezzlement charges are typically accused of converting business property with which they were entrusted to their own use for personal gain.

The methods that embezzlers use vary from those who help themselves to a significant amount of funds in a one-time transaction, to others who devise schemes to embezzle small amounts over time. It could even involve the misappropriation of property such as laptops or vehicles that belong to the company. Some add fictitious employees to the payroll, or issue fraudulent billing for services not provided.

White collar crimes: Farmer accused of insurance fraud

Indictments in federal courts in Michigan and elsewhere do not constitute guilt. Instead, they are only accusations. Defendants are constitutionally guaranteed the presumption of innocence unless and until prosecutors actually prove otherwise in court and beyond a reasonable doubt. This applies to all criminal cases, involving those concerning allegations of white collar crimes.

In one such a case in another state, a federal grand jury indicted a 45-year-old agricultural producer on multiple charges involving insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States. Court documents indicate the producer allegedly concealed some crops and claimed crop damage to trigger indemnity payments regarding which the federal government does the funding. These payments are typically made through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.

White collar crimes: Doctor accused of Medicare Fraud

People in Michigan might be interested in a case that was recently filed by federal prosecutors in another state. It is one of many cases in which medical professionals are accused of committing white collar crimes. A doctor faces Medicare fraud charges under the False Claims Act. Prosecutors allege the defendant risked the lives of patients while he also submitted false claims.

According to court documents, the doctor performed chelation as an anti-aging therapy and to treat high blood pressure as well as to stimulate the growth of bone and prevent of cancer. Although the suit claims he made false diagnoses of lead poisoning in order to perform chelation therapy, the defendant denies the allegation. He claims the treatment improves vision and energy and reduces headaches while it rids the body of excess heavy metals and brings about overall well-being.

White-collar crimes charges need a strong defense

Destroyed careers, massive fines, restitution payments and incarceration can follow a conviction for fraud or embezzlement in Michigan. That applies to all types of white-collar crimes. The term refers to cheating and dishonesty, and anyone -- from accounting clerks in small businesses, business professionals, politicians and top executives -- could find themselves accused of white-collar crimes.

Investigations into criminal activities could involve money laundering, public corruption, election law violations, corporate fraud or mortgage fraud. Others could be suspected of securities and commodities fraud, fraud against the government, bank fraud, embezzlement, health care fraud, financial institution fraud, or mass marketing fraud. The FBI often investigates multi-layered, sophisticated fraud cases.

Selling prescription medication in Michigan is a felony

Our country is in the midst of an opioid crisis. In recent years, the number of deaths related to prescription narcotic painkillers has increased substantially. At the same time, demand for and deaths from heroin have been on the rise. Both law enforcement and lawmakers have been taking steps to reduce the impact that opioids, opiates and heroin have on communities.

That can mean seeking serious criminal charges against people who were perhaps doing something foolish but innocent. If you have run afoul of the law for selling or even giving away prescription medication, you should inform yourself about the possible consequences.

Felonies: DNA helps to identify Michigan runaway teen from 1979

With the significant advances in technology, more and more cold cases are solved based on DNA evidence. In some cases, it might only serve to determine the identification of remains that were recorded as unknown decades ago. However, it could also lead to arrests and convictions of felonies if DNA evidence of perpetrators is discovered and linked to a cold case crime.

In mid-February 1979, a 15-year-old Michigan high school student disappeared without a trace. With no leads to his whereabouts, the investigation became a cold case until a retired deputy suspected that the remains found in an unnamed grave were that of the boy who disappeared 39 years ago. He obtained DNA from maternal relatives of the boy and compared it with DNA of the exhumed body.

White collar crimes: Woman faces federal mail fraud charge

Embezzlement is a type of fraud that occurs when a person wrongfully takes property from someone with whom he or she has a fiduciary relationship, and converts it to his or her own account. Convictions on white collar crimes charges such as embezzlement can be detrimental to the personal and professional life of anyone in Michigan or elsewhere. A 55-year-old woman in another state is facing a federal charge of mail fraud that involves embezzlement.

According to an indictment, the woman helped her father's law offices in her capacity as a real estate agent to list and sell properties that were part of estates in probate. Reportedly, she started doing additional jobs for the firm for which she received hourly remuneration. The court documents allege she began diverting funds that belonged to the estate beneficiaries to her personal account.

Post-conviction matters: Whose DNA will be on the red bandana?

Anyone in Michigan or elsewhere who believes he or she was wrongly convicted can file an appeal. However, if the conviction is affirmed on appeal, what other options remain? Post-conviction matters are complicated to navigate without the support and guidance of experienced legal counsel. A man on death row in another state is currently trying different avenues to prove his innocence.

The man was sentenced to death in 2004 for the killing of a 45-year-old insurance executive in 1999 when he was only 19 years old. A federal public defender now says this man was wrongfully convicted and that sufficient facts exist to constitute reasonable doubt. Another man who testified against the condemned man was sentenced to 30 years, but he was released after only 15 years. Reportedly, this man admitted to two other death-row inmates that he had set his friend up for the murder.

White collar crimes: Seniors lost investments of over $13 million

A bill was recently proposed to establish a Senior Investor Taskforce that will endeavor to protect investors in Michigan and other states who are older than 65. An FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge says the vulnerability of the senior members of the society makes them targets of fraudulent schemes and white collar crimes. The comment followed the arrest of a 58-year-old man who allegedly orchestrated several fraud schemes causing substantial losses to at least 17 elderly clients.

The man now faces nine felony counts counts, including conspiracies to commit mail and wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering through a Ponzi-like scheme. According to the indictment, the man allegedly duped longtime clients into investing over $13 million collectively in real estate by guaranteeing interest rates fixed as high as 8 percent per year. According to the complaint, the accused man transferred the invested funds to his personal account, using about $1.8 million for interest payments to investors every month.

How the law defines acts of Medicare fraud

Medicare is a type of funding for American citizens who are in need of benefits to help them with their medical costs. Most of the beneficiaries of Medicare are over the age of 65 or are suffering from chronic health problems.

The way that Medicare works is through the process of reimbursement. When a person pays for medical services, he or she uses a personal Medicare number in order to have money paid back into his or her account.

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