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Miami Florida Federal Criminal Defense Law Blog

IRS finds tax fraud evidence in initial Caterpillar investigation

Everyone seems to be watching every move of the President Trump administration. One of the most watched and anticipated aspects of the administration involves white collar crimes, specifically tax evasion by businesses.

In a recent blog post we discussed the impact that reduction of federal funds for tax fraud investigation and prosecution would result in more small businesses committing tax fraud. This time we look more closely at the investigation of the Caterpillar company to see what approach this administration will take against big businesses suspected of tax fraud and other white-collar crimes.

Will dwindling IRS funds reduce tax-fraud prosecutions?

No one enjoys paying taxes, and very few people pay taxes because of a sense of goodwill or basic morality. Generally, people pay taxes because they're afraid of the consequences of being caught for not paying taxes.

For the vast majority of Americans, this is the primary reason for paying taxes: we would be in serious trouble if we didn't pay taxes. But what if this premise was questionable? What if the IRS is losing its manpower and its capacity to investigate and prosecute instances of tax fraud or tax evasion? If the government focused only on the big fish -- tax fraud against major corporations -- would individuals and small business take more risks in their tax returns?

Trump administration will be tough on white collar crime.

A few months into Donald Trump's presidency, Americans are still trying to gauge exactly how our new president will handle various policy issues. One of the chief areas of speculation is in the area of white collar crime.

Outwardly, President Trump and his team have been vocal about their commitment to cracking down on violent crime in particular, the question remains whether they will be equally tough on white collar crimes.

An Increase in Federal Scrutiny of Medicaid Fraud in Home Care Could Lead to an Increase in False Arrests

In a recent report released by the Department of Health and Human Services, home health care services have become a vehicle for fraudulent Medicaid claims. The report focused on the Personal Care Services Program, which provides care givers for the disabled and the elderly. These services can be billed to Medicaid and caregivers can range from trained professionals to family members.

Ambulance companies caught in the crosshairs of the Medicare fraud crackdown

ambulance-T.JPGA common target, as federal investigators ramp up their aggressive Medicare fraud efforts, is the ambulance company.

For years, Medicare and ambulance transport services worked as a team in getting patients in trouble to hospitals. As concern over fraud has mounted, and the political need for convictions has grown, the government has trained its guns on companies whose mission is to save lives.

Questions of reimbursement

Ambulance services are covered under Medicare Plan B. To be reimbursed, the ambulance can be used only for situations where other transportation - taxi, family car, city bus - pose a risk to the patient's health. The law allows ambulances to transport patients to the nearest care facility.

Transport is also reimbursable in emergency situations. When appropriate, transport by air is also paid for.

The case for more lenient white collar crime sentencing

prisonfences-t.JPGShould penalties for white collar criminals be lightened?

This idea will be unpopular with some people, who believe that white collar criminals are treated more gently than other criminals. Many people picture privileged minimum security penal campuses, where prisoners play lots of tennis.

A false sterotype

First of all, that is not a true picture. I have been to federal penitentiaries and I can tell you that no one is having a good time there. Prison is prison, the opposite of freedom, and no one wants to be there.

Second, consider how the current system is failing. The War on Drugs, the campaign against Medicare fraud, and other criminal matters in the headlines have led to harsh sentencing guidelines.

A first offense for manufacturing, distributing, or possessing a significant amount of illegal drugs, with intent to distribute, and that causes the death or serious injury to a person, results in a minimum sentence of 20 years.

While the crime is a serious one, that minimum 20 years in prison has a perverse, unintended effect. Defendants with resources can afford to fight the charges in court. Defendants with fewer resources are up the creek - they plead guilty, even if they did not commit the crime, or if an experienced lawyer could have won the case or seriously reduced the charges.

The problem with plea bargains

This is why 97 percent of federal cases end in guilty pleas. It is the cheap way to reduce time in prison.

As a consequence, we have prisons packed to the gills with drug offenders who could not afford to seek competent defense. And these people, many of them young, spend years there, "rehabilitating."

Florida ex-official sentenced in white collar crime

The former manager of Opa-locka has been sentenced as the result of a years-long federal corruption case. This past September, the 51-year-old defendant pleaded guilty to a federal conspiracy charge, considered to be a white collar crime. He was accused of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes from people in exchange for things like city licenses and code enforcement.

Court records show that a federal judge imposed the sentence just recently. This sentencing comes after the defendant has already spent more than the last three years in prison. The FBI has reportedly been investigating corruption in this South Florida city for months.

Man accused of federal drug trafficking extradited to Florida

After being captured in Argentina, an individual accused of being an international drug lord was handed over to federal authorities and flown to South Florida on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. He was originally arrested in 2012, but could not be extradited until recently. A day after his arrival, he appeared before a federal judge to face charges of federal drug trafficking for smuggling cocaine.

The accused is currently incarcerated in Florida. He had applied for political asylum in Argentina, but his request was denied. He claims he was set up by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Colombian police. Authorities allege the man is the leader of the "Urabenos" gang. Considered to be one of the most wanted drug traffickers in the world, he is accused of smuggling tons of cocaine into the country.

Florida man faces white collar crime charges of bribery

A 46-year-old Florida man is facing two charges of bribery and one charge of official misconduct. The former Florida A&M University admissions officer has been accused of altering records and offering school admission for cash. Each of these charges is considered a white collar crime, and together they will make up the basis for the case that was initiated in March by the Florida Attorney General's Office of Statewide Prosecution.

Court records indicate the man allegedly told the mothers of two students that, if they paid him money, he would ensure the students were admitted to the university despite the fact that they had previously been disqualified. One of the mothers agreed and paid the bribe. The second student's mother, however, contacted police and reported the bribery attempt. In conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the woman reportedly paid him in cash provided by officials.

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