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Healthcare Fraud

State and federal law enforcement is taking a harder line in investigating and prosecuting alleged healthcare fraud than at any other time in our nation’s history. The Department of Justice (DOJ), the New York Attorney General’s office (NYAG), and other law enforcement agencies are under enormous political pressure to pursue any individuals or entities connected with Medicare and Medicaid fraud as well as other forms of fraud, and they have devoted more resources than ever before in targeting, prosecuting, and convicting those parties, regardless of whether they were the primary perpetrators of fraud. Which makes retaining aggressive, experienced criminal defense who can zealously represent your interests critical. The sophisticated defense team at The Henry Law Firm PLLC in New York provides the comprehensive legal defense individuals and organizations need on their side when under investigation or being charged with healthcare fraud.

Common Targets of Healthcare Fraud Investigations

All too often, the targets of healthcare fraud criminal investigations are individuals and entities that have conducted themselves in line with common industry practices, or who have unknowingly assisted others engaged in illegitimate practices, but nevertheless can face criminal charges that can result in steep fines, ruined careers and professional reputations, and even lengthy state and federal prison sentences.

These individuals and entities facing aggressive criminal investigations by state and federal law enforcement and prosecutors can include:

  • Doctors
  • Other healthcare professionals
  • Healthcare executives and employees
  • Insurance executives and employees
  • Suppliers of medical supplies and drugs
  • Consumers of healthcare
  • Financial institutions, executives, and employees

Law Enforcement Is Under Pressure to Make Examples in Prosecutions

Healthcare fraud is at the top of the list of priorities for state and federal prosecutors, as nearly $100 billion in taxpayer dollars is lost to fraud in Medicare and Medicaid billing alone every year. What this means is that prosecutors will spend months and even years investigating healthcare fraud, and will be under intense pressure to obtain convictions of anyone connected to the fraud, no matter how remote the connection.

When you work with the attorneys of The Henry Law Firm, PLLC, we will aggressively stand up for your rights to defend your interests and reach your best possible outcome in all investigations and prosecutions relating to, among others:

  • Medicare fraud
  • Medicaid fraud
  • Overbilling and upcoding
  • FCPA violations
  • False Claims Act (FCA)
  • Kickbacks

Do Not Assume Your Employer’s Attorney Is Your Attorney

Healthcare fraud investigations generally focus on individuals working in large institutions – such as hospitals, nursing homes, insurance companies, medical supply and drug companies, financial institutions, etc. – and a common mistake employees and executives in those institutions make is assuming that attorneys representing the institution or conducting internal investigations on behalf of the board of the directors are there to defend their interests personally.

While the institution and/or its board of directors does have an interest in protecting itself, and those interests can be aligned with yours, they or their attorneys are not there to defend your interests in a criminal investigation. Furthermore, they may decide they need to act in ways in contrary to your interest, including providing the government with evidence that implicates you.

Thus, it is important for any individual potentially implicated in a healthcare fraud prosecution to obtain his or her own attorney to aggressively defend his or her personal interests.

Contact a New York Healthcare Fraud Attorney Today

The Henry Law Firm PLLC provides criminal defense to individuals and businesses throughout New York in all state and federal investigations and prosecutions. To take immediate action to protect your interests in a healthcare fraud investigation or proceeding, do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your matter.  

Can Criminal Liability Exist Even if You Were “Ignorant” to Criminal Activity?

One of the first responses many people have when confronted by law enforcement over their allegedly illegal activity (or by internal investigators on the job) is to say “I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.” This is highly problematic for several reasons. First, for reasons that will be explained more in-depth below, whether you thought you were committing an illegal act is often completely irrelevant to whether you might have criminal liability for that act. Second, a statement that you did commit an act that you did not think was illegal (but which in fact was) is essentially the same as admitting to authorities, “I committed an illegal act.”

Whether or not you did in fact commit an illegal act can be the basis of analysis and arguments between your defense attorney and prosecutors, but you should never attempt to do this on your own in front of investigators without speaking first to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can assess the facts and the applicable law and formulate the best strategies and defenses on your behalf.

Is Ignorance of the Law Really “No Defense?”

The phrase “ignorance of the law is no defense” is based in truth, but there are ways in which it can be misapplied to a situation. The phrase is truthful in the sense that a person’s failure to know that a certain criminal law exists does not make them innocent for violating the law. For example, if you possess a certain synthetic drug that was recently made illegal by state or federal law, you can be criminally charged for possession nonetheless.

That said, some criminal laws include knowledge or mens rea requirements, and your knowledge of what you were doing when you committed the allegedly illegal act (as opposed to your knowledge of the law itself) can come into play as a defense.

Specific intent crimes require prosecutors to prove your intent to commit a specific act. For example, larceny crimes often require an intent to deprive another person of property, and accidentally taking property you thought was yours could be a valid defense.

General intent crimes, on the other hand, do not require a specific intent to bring about a result, but rather a lower standard of knowledge of what one was doing. Examples include certain arson and rape crimes.

For strict liability crimes, such as statutory rape, a person can be criminally charged even if they thought they were committing a legal act (e.g. believed a sexual partner to be of the age of consent).

Aiding and Abetting / Accomplice Liability

Another common issue that arises with individuals being charged with crimes for which they lacked full knowledge is in the area of accomplice liability, otherwise known as aiding and abetting. With accomplice liability, a person can be charged with a crime that he did not actually take the action to commit if he provided assistance or encouragement in the commission of that criminal act, even without full knowledge of the criminal nature of the actions.

Common scenarios that criminal accomplice liability can attach include:

  • Providing assistance in engaging in a criminal transaction (e.g. money laundering)
  • Providing otherwise legal tools to aid another in committing a crime
  • Providing support, encouragement, assistance, or shelter in preparation of a crime or to help evade arrest
  • Assistance in planning a crime or in evading arrest

In such situations, prosecutors can sometimes use the concept of “willful blindness” to charge an individual who lacked full knowledge of criminal activity if it is determined that the individual had reason to suspect criminal activity was afoot but willfully avoided learning about the criminal nature of the matter.

In all cases, individuals under criminal investigation or who suspect they may soon be under investigation should contact a criminal defense lawyer to assess their potential liability and strategize their defense.

Contact a New York Defense Attorney Today

The Henry Law Firm PLLC provides criminal defense to individuals and businesses throughout New York in all state and federal investigations and prosecutions. If you believe you may be under investigation for any state or federal crime, do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your matter.  

Johnny Depp Allegations Lead to Money Laundering Investigations

For as long as there have been individuals attempting to hide funds from government authorities, there have been money laundering investigations. But money laundering, while a long-standing criminal violation, has been in the news quite a bit recently. Robert Mueller, the former FBI Director and current Special Counsel investigating ties between the Trump Campaign and Russia has reportedly been investigating potential money laundering by former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. The latest hit show on Netflix, Ozark, centers on a main character who works as a financial analyst conducting money laundering operations for a drug cartel, and who is being investigated by the FBI. And, most recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that Johnny Depp’s former managers are being investigated by three federal agencies for money laundering after Depp accused them of mishandling his money.

Depp Allegations Example of How Money Laundering Investigations Are Started

The Wall Street Journal reports that officials from the IRS, the Department of Justice, and the SEC are all looking into “possible fraud and money laundering by the Management Group, founded by brothers Joel and Rob Mandel.” According to the report, the criminal division of the IRS is leading the investigation, and the SEC has already issued a subpoena in the matter.

Details of the investigations are scant, and are based on unnamed sources with knowledge of the investigations, but the investigation appears to focus on the manager’s dealings with Mr. Depp, and Mr. Depp’s attorneys have already met with federal investigators.

The investigation may have been launched as a result of a $25 million lawsuit filed by Mr. Depp against Management Group in January for mismanagement of his funds and gross negligence. The managers responded in a countersuit, arguing that Mr. Depp’s financial losses are a result of his own “selfish, reckless, and irresponsible lifestyle.” According to the Wall Street Journal, a person familiar with the joint IRS/DOJ/SEC investigation said, “Federal investigators typically look at the possibility of money laundering as they trace the path of funds that allegedly have been misappropriated.”

Of course, there is no evidence publicly available that the managers participated in any type of criminal behavior, but the dispute between Mr. Depp and his managers is a stark reminder of how federal money laundering investigations can proceed based on privately-made allegations.

Contact a New York Money Laundering Attorney Today

The Henry Law Firm PLLC provides criminal defense to individuals and businesses throughout New York in all state and federal investigations and prosecutions. To take immediate action to protect your interests in a money laundering fraud investigation or proceeding, do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your matter.  

Can I Go to Jail For Using Bitcoin?

Bitcoin and similar “crytpocurrencies” have been around for years, but Bitcoin is getting a lot more attention than usual in 2017, primarily based on the fact that such currencies have risen in value six times over since the start of the year, and $6.6 billion in digital currencies are now traded daily. This growth in digital currencies is having some effect on mitigating the cloud of controversy that has hung over Bitcoin and similar currencies, which is partly due to the mysterious origins of Bitcoin (for years its inventor remained anonymous) and the frequent use of Bitcoin in criminal transactions. But, as digital currency grows in popularity, more individuals and businesses are justifiably interested in learning more while understandably cautious about the legality.

Digital Currency Usage Is Not Inherently Illegal

Individuals and businesses are permitted to use Bitcoin and other similar currencies, although some states such as New York do impose licensing requirements on certain parties. Under New York State’s recently promulgated BitLicense rules, parties engaged in the following activities are required to obtain a BitLicense from the state if they are conducting business in New York or with people who reside in New York:

  • Virtual currency transmission
  • Storing, holding, or maintaining custody or control of virtual currency on behalf of others
  • Buying and selling virtual currency as a customer business
  • Performing exchange services as a customer business
  • Controlling, administering, or issuing a virtual currency

Customers and merchants who merely conduct transactions involving digital currency are not required to obtain a license in New York.

Criminal Liability With Bitcoin

The most common situations in the news involving criminal liability for use of Bitcoin and similar currencies is when the currency is used for illegal purposes. Several high-profile individuals have been convicted of crimes in connection with an online marketplace called Silk Road where illegal transactions involving criminal acts for hire, illegal pornography, and drug trafficking were facilitated by use of Bitcoin.

In one case, an entrepreneur who ran a service facilitating Bitcoin transactions pled guilty and served time in federal prison for facilitating the purchase of illegal drugs on Silk Road using Bitcoin. In another case, the founder of Silk Road was sentenced to life in prison for his role in facilitating illegal transactions using Bitcoin, and his trial included evidence of five potential murder-for-hires that he sought out “to protect his burgeoning creation from informants.”

Bitcoin and similar currencies have also been factors in criminal investigations and prosecutions involving fraudulent securities dealings as well as money laundering. Ultimately, many of the same finance-related crimes that can be committed with traditional currency can also be committed with digital currency, although, perhaps ironically given the attraction many of had to the supposed privacy of digital currency, crimes involving digital currency have become easier for law enforcement to investigate in some cases.

When faced with any questions over potential criminal liability for a proposed transaction or one that has already occurred, parties are highly encouraged to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney regarding their situation.

Contact a New York White Collar Defense Attorney Today

The Henry Law Firm PLLC provides criminal defense to individuals and businesses throughout New York in all state and federal investigations and prosecutions, and aggressively pursues appeals on their behalf. To take immediate action to defend your rights in a white collar investigation or prosecution, do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your matter.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.