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Middle Tennessee Federal Criminal Defense Law Blog

Small businesses inoperable after fraud by payroll company

When businesses in Tennessee entrust aspects of their operation to a third-party, they often have specific reasons for doing so. They may be looking to streamline their processes, reduce busywork or expedite the efficiency with which they operate. However, they must rely on these third-party entities to uphold their portion of the agreement in order for everything to continue to function seamlessly. 

For a handful of small businesses throughout the nation, a payroll company's deceiving decision to steal money from their clients in a classic case of fraud has left many of the small businesses scrambling for solutions. According to investigators, the dishonesty came to light when a direct deposit company recognized that the payroll firm had transferred an alarming $26 million into their personal account. When questioned, it was discovered that other, similar, transfers had taken place in the past. 

White collar criminals face a lifetime of rebuilding trust

White-collar crime is often a complicated web of missteps and deception that can sometimes take considerable time to untangle. People who have been involved in white-collar or financial crimes in Tennessee may not realize or care just how much of an impact their choices have had on victims, their place of employment and even their own reputation. 

The consequences for someone who has been convicted of being involved in a white-collar crime can range from serious fines to time served in prison. For many perpetrators, the resulting consequences they face cause them to lose their job and can completely paralyze any hopes of a stable career in the future. For other perpetrators, they may lose the trust of people who were unaffected from a financial standpoint by their fraudulent activity, but simply unimpressed and appalled by what has happened. 

Examples of health insurance fraud

Health insurance fraud costs Tennessee residents a lot of money because they end up paying for it through higher healthcare expenses and insurance premiums. Both healthcare workers and scammers are offenders of this type of fraud, and along with paying more, some victims also face harm due to this deceit.

According to the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, each year there are billions of dollars in loss due to health care fraud. One part of this is due to healthcare providers taking advantage of insurance benefits. A doctor may give an incorrect medical diagnosis so he or she can bill for more serious (and expensive) treatment and care. This false information is on the patient's medical records, and the payments of these fake claims go towards the patient's life-time insurance limits. Other common things a provider may do are:

  • Bill for procedures that did not occur
  • Provide services that are unnecessary in order to bill insurance
  • Bill for more expensive procedures than were actually done
  • Waive deductibles or co-pays
  • Accept kickbacks
  • Misrepresent treatments or procedures 

Is damaging a mailbox really a federal crime?

When it comes to answering to federal criminal charges, your intent is often the most vital aspect of your case. Oftentimes, you may not fully realize that what you are doing is indeed a crime; you may simply believe you are helping someone out or just having some fun. Yet it is the end result that will typically bring scrutiny upon you. Take the act of destroying or breaking open a mailbox. According to the U.S. Postal Service, doing so could net you a $250,000 fine or three years in prison (or a combination of both). 

Why would destroying a mailbox be considered a federal offense? The Postal Service is a federal agency, and anything that interferes with their work could be considered a federal offense. Destroying or damaging a mailbox makes it more difficult to get important letters to their would-be recipients, and added additional work to those tasked with delivering an carrying the mail. 

The New York Times’ white-collar cheat sheet

Many people in Tennessee often wonder how white-collar crime goes on for so long undetected. In 2018, the NY Times published an article that covered information on how white-collar offenders got away with their activities. Two of the most common reasons white-collar offenders slip under the radar is the internet and tax havens. Some of the methods highlighted by the article include the following:

  •          Using prepaid debit cards for money laundering
  •          Conducting insider trading over cocktails
  •          Stashing cash in overseas accounts
  •          Forging corporate checks

When it comes to offshore accounts, there was a time when Switzerland held half of the capital stored in offshore accounts. Today, executives and business owners practice greater diversification. Switzerland only controls 25% of offshore wealth now, while Hong Kong and Singapore hold 30% of the wealth. The remaining balance sits in accounts in Panama, the Caribbean and Europe.

State and federal charges for drug crimes

The Tennessee laws that govern drug crimes may not be the only factors in determining charges for an accused individual. Federal laws may apply as well. In some cases, the penalties related to federal charges may be more severe than those related to state drug laws. Both types of convictions may have significant consequences for years to come. State charges often occur for drug possession crimes whereas activities related to trafficking and distribution frequently lead to federal charges.

The severity of drug charges may relate to both an individual's actions and the type of drug involved. FindLaw lists several categories of drug crimes, such as possession, manufacturing and dealing. There may also be state or federal charges for importing or selling drug paraphernalia, such as pipes, syringes or rolling papers. Charges may also vary based on the drugs involved. For example, although marijuana is legal in some states, U.S. law still classifies it as a Schedule I drug, which means federal criminal charges for possession and distribution carry severe penalties.

Bank fraud shows no signs of dying down any time soon

Bank fraud can happen anywhere to anyone and Tennessee is no exception. In 2017, CNBC reported that account-takeover fraud was on the rise and could drain a person’s bank account. To do this, someone else sources a bank user’s personal information and uses it to gain access to their account and transfer money. Between 2015 and 2016, this type of fraud increased by 61% and led to $2.3 billion in losses.

The increase stems partially from the pin and new chip technology utilized by credit cards and bank cards. In comparison, taking over someone’s account is just a lot easier to do. It does not require someone to be tech savvy. If they can access a person’s home address, phone number, name and birth date, they may already have enough information. If they somehow got their hands on the person’s SSN and personal email address, the likelihood of a successful takeover increases.

What is Medicare fraud?

The federal Medicare program provides benefits to patients and health care providers in Tennessee by making medical care more affordable and accessible. However, some criminals target this government program when they are planning health care fraud schemes. When Medicare fraud occurs, there may be several consequences to providers and patients. Understanding the warning signs may help you recognize and report suspicious activity to the proper authorities.

There are several possible types of health care fraud that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services attempt to identify and stop. According to CMS, most fraud starts with submitting false claims for medical services. When Medicare approves the claims, it processes payments to the criminals. This means the federal government essentially pays for services that never happened. Sometimes individuals commit Medicare fraud, and sometimes criminals are part of a large organization or institution. Other examples of this kind of fraud include billing Medicare for unattended appointments, unnecessary medical tests and redundant supplies. Criminals may also falsify medical records.

Things to know about income tax fraud

Income tax fraud is one of the most serious white collar crimes, as a conviction can result in life-altering consequences.

Income tax fraud comes in many different forms, with these among the most common:

  • Preparing and filing a false return
  • Intentionally failing to file a return
  • Intentionally hiding income from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Making false or fraudulent claims on your tax return

How high is the rate of violent crime in Tennessee?

When you think of states with the highest crime rates, you may think of New York, Florida and California. These three states have multiple big cities; urban areas have long been considered a common area for crime to take place. However, according to Fox17, Tennessee’s crime rate is on the rise and now outpaces the national average.

The news agency came to this conclusion after looking at data published by the FBI for crime rates in 2017. It analyzes reports from the 16,000 law enforcement agencies that supply it with statistical data every year. The FBI report notes that while the national crime rate is 394 per 100,000 persons, it is 638.5 per 100,000 persons in Tennessee. At the time of the report, this was the highest violent crime rate in the state since the economic recession. In 2009, the crime rate was 666 per 100,000 persons.

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Murfreesboro Office
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Toll Free: 800-673-1947
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