The US Department of Justice is stepping up its efforts to prosecute white collar crimes such as health insurance and Medicare fraud, corporate fraud, and corruption, and is renewing its focus on holding individuals criminally liable for these crimes. For business owners and responsible officers, this could mean facing investigations and potential indictment for their activities made in the ordinary course of business.
Fraud as a White Collar Crime
Fraud is defined as the intentional perversion of the truth, intended to induce another to part with money or something of value, such as a legal right, typically for the perpetrator’s gain. It is a white collar crime when the deceit, concealment, or violation of trust does not involve any use of or threat of physical force or violence.
Fraud covers a wide range of illegal activities, the most common types being:
- Forgery or counterfeiting
- Credit card or ATM fraud
- Welfare fraud
- Health care fraud
- Mortgage fraud
- Computer crimes
Embezzlement refers to the misappropriation of money, property, or other thing of value entrusted to the care, control, or custody of the alleged offender. Credit card fraud which is increasingly prevalent nowadays involves the unlawful use of a credit card for fraudulent purposes.
Other types of fraud include welfare fraud which involves the use of deceitful statements, devices, or schemes to obtain welfare benefit illegally. Wire fraud is also a type of fraud perpetrated through the use of an electronic communications device or system in order to transmit a false or deceptive message in conducting a fraudulent activity.
Another common type of fraud involves identity theft, which involves illegally obtaining another person’s personal data and using such information in any way that involves fraud or deceit, ordinarily for economic gain.
With the variety and complexity of laws defining white collar crimes, businesses and organizations need to engage experienced counsel to ensure their compliance with evolving government rules and regulations or to address potential loopholes in internal policies in order to reduce risk of prosecution.
DOJ Drive against Health Care Fraud
The Department of Justice, as well, announced its renewed focus on bringing to account companies or individuals behind health care fraud.
It recently published new indictments and convictions for fraud offenses involving health care providers who:
- issued fraudulent prescriptions for which Medicare paid;
- filing bogus insurance claims for ambulance services that were not actually availed;
- fraudulently billing Medicare for home health services for patients who were not homebound;
- accepted of bribes in exchange for test referrals
Importance of Fraud Offense Attorney
The government’s increased attention on insurance and Medicare claims may lead to investigations for alleged fraud and filing of criminal charges, not only against corporations or entities but also against executives and individuals connected to the alleged prohibited activities.
Conviction for fraud offenses often carries burdensome penalties such as long periods of incarceration, stiff fines, and asset forfeiture.
If your business is investigated for alleged white collar crimes, it’s important to engage an experienced fraud offense attorney at the earliest stage of the case. At the investigation or pre-charge stage, your criminal defense attorney can prepare substantive defenses in your favor by showing investigators that your behavior does not constitute the fraud offense charged.
Early legal intervention may prevent charges from being filed.
If charges have already been filed, your fraud offense attorney can also ensure that government can only obtain evidence through appropriate legal procedures, promptly opposing moves that are not sanctioned by rules of procedure, or objecting to the use of seized evidence before it is introduced as government’s evidence in litigation proceedings.
If you are indicted for any white collar crime, a skilled and experienced fraud offense attorney should be able to build a strong defense strategy, aggressively defend your case before a jury, and if it is to your best interests, discuss favorable terms for a plea agreement.
White collar crimes often involve an examination of extensive paper trail, voluminous records, and large amounts of data. In hiring a fraud offense attorney, it’s important to choose an attorney who is prepared to conduct long hours of investigation, gathering computer data, paper records, and surveillance footage that are pertinent to the case.
Representing Clients in Washington DC and Maryland
In the Washington metropolitan area and Maryland, the law firm of Lotze Mosley, LLP have tried over 100 criminal cases, many of which involve fraud crimes, obtaining favorable outcomes for clients. Our firm is dedicated to the criminal defense of individuals charged with crimes in Washington, D.C. and in Maryland, and we are prepared to fight for your rights before a jury.
We invite you to call us today at (202) 393-0535 to speak to an attorney about your fraud charges.