Articles Posted in Federal Charges

In April, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) announced that it was reviewing the medical marijuana leafpossibility of reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule II drug.  Since 1970, marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I drug, which means it has no currently accepted medical treatment use.  Schedule I drugs include, in addition to marijuana, heroin, LSD, bath salts, cocaine, and other substances that have high abuse potential.  If marijuana is rescheduled as a Schedule II drugs, it would be in a category of drugs including oxycodone, Adderal, and Ritalin.

While marijuana is currently classified as a substance with no currently accepted medical treatment use, ironically it is permitted for medical use in some form across 24 states in the U.S., including Michigan.  Experts claim that the rescheduling of marijuana could have a far-reaching impact on how it is used in medical settings.
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Recently, the owner of Simmco Data Systems, a company that was one of the first to use RFID for timing of track marathons, pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return. According to a press release issued by U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jarod J. Koopman, 51-year-old David Simms pleaded guilty to charges after admitting that he did not report the full profits generated by his business on his 2011 Individual Tax Return. iStock_000001299669_Large-2-300x199

Simms reportedly runs Simmco Data Systems from his Bloomfield Hills home, and while he did report some of the profits generated by his business for 2011, he failed to report the full $622,000 the company made that year, resulting in reporting of less taxes than the more than $230,000 he actually owed. He did this knowingly, according to the release.

According to Koopman, Simms’ goal was to reduce the amount of tax owed by omitting a portion of his income. Koopman said that individuals who purposely fail to report and pay their fair share of taxes will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Recently it was announced by U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade that two Detroit residents pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting in the use of false identification, and wire fraud. Jarod Koopman, Acting Special Agent in Charge IRS Criminal Investigation joined McQuade in the announcement. iStock_000004337124

According to the press release, McAllen Jackson Knight and Renita Adams worked with others in filing hundreds of fraudulent tax returns for the year 2010, using the social security numbers and names of individuals who were recently deceased. Those involved in the scheme used various credits including education and earned income credits, and Making American Work credits in order to obtain refunds. Adams and Knight worked in conjunction with the others to establish bank accounts for the receipt of the fraudulent refunds, and to distribute the refunds among participants.

According to court documents, Knight, Adams, and two other defendants used the information from decedents who had passed away across the U.S. between September 1 of 2010 and March 13 of 2011.

On Friday September 6, the BestBank located at 3200 Carpenter Road in Pittsfield Township was robbed by a man who as of Sunday had not been apprehended. The suspect, who was said to be wearing a fake beard, handed a note to a teller which stated he was robbing the bank, and wanted money. The incident took place on Friday morning just after 10 a.m. pile-of-money-1185031-m.jpg

Pittsfield Township are asking for the public’s help in locating the man, who robbed the bank, located inside a Kroger store, of an undisclosed amount of cash. News reports indicate that the teller handed over a bag of money to the man, which included a red dye pack. The dye pack is said to have exploded on the suspect as he was getting into a vehicle described as an “older white vehicle.” Police say the dye pack may have burned the suspect’s hands, as it exploded leaving red dye all over the inside of the vehicle, as well as on the suspect.

Gordy Schick, Deputy Police Chief, said that at the time the bank robbery occurred there were many shoppers coming in and out of the Kroger store who may have witnessed the incident. He urged them to contact investigators with any tips. By the time police had arrived on the scene, the man had driven away.

The suspect is described as a black male between 5’4″ and 5’9″ in height, slender built, and wearing a fake beard at the time. He was dressed in blue jeans and a black hooded sweatshirt.

A news article at Annarbor.com indicates that during the robbery no weapon was seen or implied.

A conviction for bank robbery can leave the individual facing any number of years in prison and steep fines. While news reports indicate no weapon was implied, the penalties are still harsh as robbing a bank is a federal crime. Those who do use a weapon or even imply the presence of a weapon will face penalties which are more severe. In some cases, sentencing may include life in prison or even the death penalty. This is true when a kidnapping or killing takes place in the commission of the crime.

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50-year-old John William Wilson, a man who had just been released from prison, is reportedly headed back after being convicted of running a counterfeiting operation out of a South Haven hotel room. According to a news article at Mlive.com, Wilson used the bogus bills making purchases at local businesses. 333407043_7c8888408c.jpg

Wilson was arrested after Wilson allegedly attempted to purchase a used car he found on Craigslist using counterfeit money. The owner of the car recognized that the money Wilson was attempting to use to purchase the car was fake; Wilson gave the man $800 in fake bills, according to the article. The owner of the vehicle alerted police, who located Wilson and arrested him outside of the Secretary of State’s office in Paw Paw.

In a letter Wilson wrote to U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney, he claimed he had suffered a “horrifying addiction to drugs and alcohol.” Wilson went on to say that he had been addicted to the substances for decades. Sean Tilton, Wilson’s attorney, added that his client wants to address his problems, and that he began using drugs as a teen growing up in foster homes.

Wilson had previously served time in prison for counterfeiting, and targeted local businesses due to the fact that he did not have a car. To avoid drawing unwanted attention to the fake bills, Wilson kept purchases under $100. He also allegedly came up with a scheme while in prison to purchase merchandise with counterfeit bills, then return the goods in exchange for authentic bills.

Judge Maloney sentenced Wilson on Wednesday, August 7 to four years and three months in federal prison. Upon completion of his prison term, he will be placed on supervised release for three years.

Michigan federal criminal attorneys know that while all criminal offenses are punished harshly, those at the federal level incur more serious penalties.

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Matthew Daniels, a 46-year-old Grand Haven man who pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return, was sentenced on Wednesday, May 8 to six months in federal prison. Daniels was also ordered to pay more than $119,000 in restitution to the IRS after he allegedly under-reported his income by $362,000 according to a news article at Mlive.com.

Daniels’ attorney, Matthew Vicari, said that his client “is sorry and ashamed for what he has done.” Daniels is a married father of three children; his attorney said in court that his client had taken responsibility for his actions.

The news article highlights the fact that Daniels is a respected member of society who received numerous letters of support from his friends, family and colleagues during the criminal justice process. He is said to be a role model to his three children, and very much involved in their lives.

Daniels wrote a letter apologizing for what he had done to U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell. His attorney said that Daniels was simply motivated by greed, and that he under-reported his income never thinking he would be caught. Daniels also wrote to Judge Bell that he was living beyond his means, and that he was ashamed of the pain he caused his family, his dishonesty, and of what he did. He also revealed in the letter that he is losing this insurance business he had built.

Michigan federal crime attorneys understand the serious consequences individuals convicted for federal tax fraud face. Any fraud-related crimes prosecuted at the federal level subject the defendant to more serious penalties than they would usually face at the state level. Some of these crimes include welfare and Medicare fraud, bank and social security fraud, and more. Perhaps the worst thing of all in the case of Mr. Daniels is that he has lost a business that was seemingly successful.

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In a recent weapons possession case, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals considered what type of objects may be considered “dangerous weapons” pursuant to federal law. In United States v. Tolbert, Jr., John Tolbert Jr. had just finished his trial for intentional possession of a firearm. When he was told to place his hands behind his back so that law enforcement could cuff them, he grabbed and plastic water pitcher and hit a deputy in the head with it. Although the officer wasn’t seriously hurt and didn’t need medical attention, the district court determined that the pitcher constituted a “dangerous weapon.” Based on the court’s characterization of this as a dangerous weapon, the court then increased Tolbert’s sentence, applying a “4-level enhancement” stating that any object used “with the intent to commit bodily injury” may be considered a dangerous weapon.

Michigan weapons charges are serious. If you are found to have used a dangerous weapon in connection with committing a crime, the penalties for the underlying charge may increase. It is important to consult with an aggressive Michigan weapons charge attorney immediately to begin preparing your defense. As this case illustrates, courts may find nearly any object is a “dangerous object” depending on how it is used and the person’s intent in using it.

Here the both the lower court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Michigan, determined that even a plastic water pitcher placed on the courtroom table can be a “dangerous weapon” under certain circumstances. The pitcher was a standard water pitcher, about 10 inches tall, with a 6-inch handle and a 12-inch circumference. It weighed a mere ½ pound to 1 pound when empty. The appellate court stated, “It is reasonable to infer…that such a water pitcher swung with sufficient force and proper aim, was capable of inflicting serious harm.” The court cited additional dangerous weapons case law that supports the notion that “Almost any object can be a dangerous weapon depending on how it is wielded in the circumstances.” Other items found to be dangerous include “walking sticks, leather straps, rakes, tennis shoes, rubber boots, dogs, rings, concrete curbs, clothes irons, and stink bombs.”

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White-collar crimes can be some of the most complex and technical cases. In a recent Sixth Circuit case, United States v. Parkes, a businessman – Timothy Parkes – was convicted of 10 counts of bank fraud concerning the making of alleged fraudulent entries in the books of a small bank. However on appeal, the 6th circuit – which includes Michigan – reversed this white-collar crime jury verdict based on a lack of evidence.

If you have are under investigation for or have been charged with a white-collar crime such as fraud or embezzlement, it is important to speak with an experienced fraud lawyer in Michigan to immediately begin preparing your defense. Fraud charges often require in-depth knowledge of complex financial matters in order to investigate and defend. Consulting with a knowledgeable Michigan white-collar crimes defense attorney is important to ensure you get the best defense possible.

In Parkes, the prosecution claimed that the businessman had worked together with the bank president to create fraudulent entries meant to disguise troubled loans. Parkes was indicted for and convicted of ten counts of bank fraud pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1344. At trial, in order to prove a violation of bank fraud the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) the defendant knowingly executed or attempted to execute a scheme to defraud a financial institution; (2) that the defendant did so with the intent to defraud; and (3) that the financial institution was insured by the FDIC.

Parkes alleged on appeal that the no evidence existed at trial that he knowingly executed a scheme to defraud, intended to defraud the bank or even participated in the creation of the bank entries. The Sixth Circuit agreed. The appellate court determined that the lower court improperly excluded a number of key pieces of defense evidence, including the fact that the bank president on his own had made identical fraudulent entries.

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According to a press release from the Department of Justice, a Detroit area man has been charged and arrested for masterminding an alleged Medicare fraud scheme worth $30 million. Reports claim that the man devised a scheme involving the submission of fraudulent claims for Medicare services that were either medically unnecessary or never performed involving at least four different home health agencies. The health agencies named in the complaint were located in Ypsilanti and Detroit.

Many times, white-collar crimes such as fraud or embezzlement charges are based allegations requiring complex accounting knowledge and investigation. If you are being investigated by a federal grand jury or are facing federal charges, it is imperative to speak to a Michigan criminal defense lawyer who understands the federal justice system immediately.

White-collar criminal charges can be serious and include several different types of alleged activity including:

• Fraud and embezzlement
• Medicare fraud
• Bank fraud
• Identity theft
• Bad check writing
• Credit card theft
• Sarbanes-Oxley violations
• RICO charges
The potential penalties vary on the type of fraud alleged, the amount of money involved and whether a crime is charged under federal or state law. Although consequences may be harsh if convicted, and may include potential jail time and substantial fines and penalties, in many cases an experienced Michigan fraud defense attorney can help you avoid jail or be able to get felony charges reduced with thorough investigation and aggressive defense.

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