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Houston Legal Blog

Insurance fraud in the vast workers’ compensation realm

This one was flagrant. A sign installer in Houston who claimed a work-linked injury prevented him from doing his job was subsequently found to be elsewhere … installing signs.

That is classic – though concededly not creative – workers’ compensation fraud. The failed ruse unsurprisingly landed the claimant in hot legal water. A Texas court recently ordered him to pay back $26,000-plus in ill-gotten gains to his defrauded insurer. And, notably, it charged him with a felony offense.

States struggle to pinpoint charges in college admissions scandal

Outrage rippled across the country this month when news broke that wealthy, and in some cases, famous, parents were allegedly bribing school officials to admit their children into prestigious universities. Many of these parents are now facing criminal charges, but prosecutors in several states are struggling to pin down a strategy that will lead to convictions of conspiracy to commit mail or wire fraud.

As pointed out in a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, fraud charges depend on proving that someone was deprived of a specific property through deception or misrepresentation. When the "property" in question is as amorphous as a spot in a top-tier college, there is an opportunity for creative defense.

Texas medical fraud case yields harsh outcome for defendant

News outlets spotlighting health care fraud routinely underscore the harsh – arguably, even draconian – sentencing outcomes that often accompany it.

We are no exception at the Houston criminal defense law firm of Hilder & Associates. Indeed, we command an inside position as commentators concerning the subject matter. Our deep legal team has extensive experience providing the strong legal defense that white collar defendants urgently need.

Money laundering considerations, consequences in Texas

Laws addressing the crime of money laundering are both diverse and complex. We duly note on our website at the long-tenured Houston criminal defense law firm of Hilder & Associates that “money laundering charges are complicated to prove and vary by court and judge.”

There is an instructive takeaway in that declaration, namely this: Any individual who is arrested and criminally charged with a money laundering offense in Texas might reasonably want to timely contact a legal team with proven acumen regarding the subject matter.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules that Qui Tam Relators in Non-Intervened Civil False Claims Act Cases Have Up to 10 Years from Date of Alleged Violation to File Suit

The U.S. Supreme Court in a unanimous decision ruled in Cochise Consultancy, Inc. et. al. v. United States ex rel. Hunt that qui tam relators in which the federal government has declined to intervene in civil False Claims Act (FCA) cases may rely on the statute of limitations set forth in 31 U.S.C. § 3731(b)(2) to bring a suit up to 10 years after the alleged violation.

U.S. v. Connolly: Significant Implications for Companies Seeking to Cooperate in Government Investigations

A U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruling in United States v. Connolly (16-CR-370) recently held that the government improperly "outsourced" its investigation of LIBOR manipulation to Deutsche Bank and its outside law firm and the law firm's actions were consequently "fairly attributable" to the government. The judge found a Fifth Amendment violation because the government had outsourced, relied on, and directed the bank's internal investigation, which involved compelling the defendant, a Deutsche Bank trader, to submit to an interview and cooperate with the Bank's investigation or alternatively be fired.

DOJ: cooperation in medical fraud probes will spark feds’ leniency

It’s all about reciprocity, imply officials from the U.S. Department of Justice. Play ball with us. Give our investigators timely and candid information they can use, and you will likely see some benefits coming back your way. Otherwise, well, … .

That tit-for-tat is currently being delivered by DOJ principals to executives and managers in the health care industry. Its bottom line is eminently clear.

Juror's improper communication leads to mistrial for former mayor

The impartiality of jurors and court officials aren't likely to weigh heavy on your mind--until you find yourself accused of a crime. Once their decisions can shape your future, you want to know they'll base those decisions on the facts of your case, not whispered discussions and personal assumptions.

Anyone who is standing trial will want to make sure that the jurors don't fall sway to undue influence, and there are rules to protect you. During the corruption trial of Richardson, Texas's former mayor, one juror's private conversations about her reservations and duties may have compromised the trial. Now the accused politician will now get a second chance to present her case and receive a fair trial.

Is proposed bar for white collar criminal culpability too low?

Debate surrounding white collar crime – focused on probes, policies, sentencing and just about everything else – is front-of-the-menu stuff these days. In fact, we recently addressed the topic in a Hilder & Associates blog post. We noted in our May 9 entry the oft-pushed view “that favors more white collar prosecutions and convictions, especially for corporate principals.”

A special spotlight falls these days on newly proposed federal legislation termed the Corporate Executive Accountability Act (CEAA). That would-be law is endorsed most notably by U.S. Sen and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), who frequently rails against executive malfeasance in the corporate realm.

White collar crime focus: Will tough proposed legislation fly?

There has always been debate – some of it strident – surrounding the singular realm of white collar crime in America. In a discussion marked by polar-opposite opinions, competing viewpoints will passionately disagree over whether collar probes and outcomes are draconian or too lax in addressing defendants’ conduct. White collar crime exchanges seldom spotlight consensus or middle ground.

Sharp back-and-forth dialogue has only escalated in recent years, especially in the wake of the now decade-only financial crisis that roiled the United States and many of its major companies.

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Contact Houston White Collar Lawyers for Experienced Representation

If you or your company is under investigation, charged or indicted for federal or state crimes, or you want to ensure future compliance, contact Hilder & Associates, P.C., for more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced Houston white collar criminal defense lawyer.

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