The HBO series "The Wire" was critically acclaimed for its accuracy and unflinching honesty in portraying police and a host of characters caught up in inner city Baltimore life. One of the actors from the show, Felicia "Snoop" Pearson has probably seen as much of the criminal justice system as she cares to. She was arrested with more than 60 other people this time last year as part of a federal drug crime investigation known as "Operation Usual Suspects." The massive investigation took place over the course of years and involved wiretaps, confidential informants, surveillance and undercover work. It involved multiple parties in multiple states up and down the East Coast. To date, more than 20 people have pleaded guilty and at least 7 have been sentenced to years in prison for their roles in the heroin trade.
On Tuesday, the former chief financial officer of Taylor Bean entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court. He was charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and making false statements for his role in the roughly $3 billion dollar mortgage fraud scheme. Last year, the founder and chairman of Taylor Bean, Lee Farkas, was given a 30 year sentence in federal prison. Six other people have also been convicted, with the CFO becoming the 8th person convicted from Taylor Bean. The crimes he pleaded guilty to carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
A doctor who was charged in connection with the Miami-Dade home health care agencies ABC Home Health Care and Florida Home Health Providers has been found not guilty. If convicted of Medicare fraud, the man could have been sentenced to 15 years in prison. More than 50 people have been convicted in connection with the home health care agencies, including patient recruiters, doctors, nurses and other medical field professionals, as well as the co-owners of the agencies, themselves.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's attempt to stop two Florida CVS pharmacies from selling painkillers suffered a setback on Wednesday. The DEA had issued suspension orders to the Orlando pharmacies as part of their efforts to combat federal drug crimes involving oxycodone and other prescription painkillers. Florida's reputation as a hub for so-called "pill mills" has led federal law enforcement authorities to take aggressive steps against anyone involved in the distribution of pain killers.
Halfway houses, nursing homes and assisted living facilities often house large numbers of Medicare and Medicaid eligible people. The U.S. Department of Justice has targeted practices involving those facilities in their broad sweep of potential Medicare fraud perpetrators. Two companies, American Therapeutic Corp and American Sleep Institute recruited these facilities to send them patients, in some cases paying kickbacks to facility personnel or owners and in some cases paying residents directly. The owner of a Broward halfway house became the latest person to be sentenced in the federal court in Miami for his involvement with ATC and ASI.
Six people are facing charges related to allegations that they bought homes and, through misrepresentation, secured overly large loans. The alleged mortgage fraud scheme is said to have defrauded real estate investors and banks out of nearly $6 million. The arrests are the latest result of an investigation that began in 2007 in which several straw buyers and an account were arrested in connection with the group's activities.
The Fort Lauderdale brothers who were charged under a large investment fraud investigation in 2008 are now facing additional charges. The latest white collar crime allegations involve using dummy corporations to defraud insurance companies of millions of dollars. The latest fraud is alleged to have continued even after the investment fraud indictment was handed down. Both brothers are currently being held at the Federal Detention Center in Miami.