Articles Posted in Drug Crimes

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Last Monday, 61-year-old Christopher Iruke was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for designing and executing a Los Angeles Medicare fraud scheme; he leveraged his position as a local pastor to defraud the government. Iruke and his wife, Connie Ikpoh, and Aura Marroquin (an employee) were convicted in August of Los Angeles health care fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. christopher_iruke_low-angeles-medicare-fraud.jpg

Last Monday, US District Judge Terry Hatter sentenced Iruke for his role in the complicated scheme. According to a CNN report, during the 2011 trial, prosecutors presented evidence “that Iruke bought fraudulent prescriptions and documents…to bill Medicare for equipment that were either medically unnecessary or never provided”…for instance, they billed Medicare of about $6,000 for a power wheelchair that actually cost closer to $900.

As Iruke’s situation escalated and became more legally and logistically entangled, he asked his sister to protect him from a Medicare audit by opening two additional medical supply firms. Witnesses told jurors that Iruke and his coconspirators “paid kickbacks to street level marketers to offer Medicare beneficiaries free [devices and equipment] in exchange for the beneficiaries’ Medicare numbers and personal information.” Iruke and his conspirators allegedly leveraged these data as part of their complicated scheme.

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If you have been charged with a Southern California white collar crime, like insurance fraud, medical fraud, bribery, etc, you may ultimately have to face a jury trial, depending on an array of factors, including what you allegedly did, how much harm ensued, who was involved, the scope of the scheme, etc.conrad-murray-trial-lessons.jpg

Jury selections can be a tricky business, however, particularly in high profile cases.

To wit, consider the brouhaha surrounding jury selection for the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray. The Thursday before last, Judge Michael Pastor gathered 160 prospective jurors to see whether attorneys could find candidate jurors to hear Murray’s involuntary manslaughter trial. All 160 prospective jurors had heard about the trial.

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Crimes like Los Angeles Medicare, Medical, and Medicaid fraud are serious and scary for defendants. But the details often make for dry, complicated reading.

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Readers interested in pulpy, tabloid-like Southern California medical crimes might be more galvanized by an amazing revelation in the trial of Michael Jackson’s erstwhile doctor, Conrad Murray.

According to a report from the UK paper, The Mirror, the transcript of a witness statement “revealed that the doctor [Conrad Murray] stood in front of a lifeless Jacko in the singer’s bedroom and claimed: “He doesn’t have a problem. He is fine. He was practicing all night. I am just treating him for dehydration.””

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Getting arrested for driving under the influence in Beverly Hills is zero fun. braylon-edwards-DUI.jpg

Contrary to popular perceptions, drivers who violate California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) or 23152(b) are often acutely remorseful, scared, and dismayed by their actions, even hours after an arrest. And while some DUI defendants certainly “fit the stereotype” many people have, the reality is that defendants are diverse and come from all over the community.

One common thread among Beverly Hills DUI defendants is fear.

Defendants worry about job security, family, the possibility of jail time, the possibility of a license suspension, the logistical inconvenience of having to attend weeks or months of alcohol school, the embarrassment of facing strict probation terms, and so on. And these punishments are very real possibilities, by the way, even if you committed a small, misdemeanor Beverly Hills DUI, and it was your first offense.

But certain choices you make now – after the fact, while you are more rational – can radically change the course of your life. Your decision to work with a reputable, creditable Harvard Law School educated Beverly Hills DUI criminal defense attorney, for instance, might lead to a better outcome than you currently believe is possible.

It is also helpful to look at public DUI news events to see how they play out. As a case in point, consider the San Francisco Forty-Niners’ Braylon Edwards. The wide receiver pled guilty to a DUI in July and got fined $50,000. Under ordinary circumstances, he might have been suspended from playing in the NFL, which could have derailed his career and led to a professional catastrophe. And sports analysts who examined similar cases involving Kenny Britt, Aqib Talib, and Terrelle Pryor, thought Edwards’ situation could have gone either way.

He could have been suspended, but he got lucky.

This goes to show that your case is not entirely within your control. Edwards could have done everything the same but been suspended and he wouldn’t have had any say in the matter.

The important takeaway here is that Beverly Hills DUI defendants need to figure out what they can control and what they can’t control. And then they need to focus on what they can control, such as their choice of attorney. Beverly Hills DUI attorney Michael Kraut, of the Kraut Law Group (9107 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 450, Beverly Hills, California 90210 Phone: (310) 550-6935), can put together a powerful and solid defense plan for you, irrespective of the circumstances and complexity of your legal challenges.

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Last week, Moammar Gaddafi’s four-plus decade rein over Libya came to a screeching halt as rebels overtook Green Square in Tripoli. qaddafi.jpg

If you were recently arrested for driving under the influence in Glendale, you probably weren’t paying much attention. You were probably focused more on the imminent crises in your life – potential jail time, license suspension, mandatory installation of interlock ignition device, and other problems that you could face if you are ultimately convicted of Glendale DUI.

Maybe you made a mistake, ignoring the news.

Maybe you should have been paying attention to Libya – and not just to have something to chat about with coworkers while you gather around the water cooler. You see, the rapid and surprising collapse of Gaddafi’s loyalist forces indirectly teaches us a powerful lesson about Glendale DUI defense.

Yes, it sounds like a stretch at first. But stay with this train of thought…
When you read analyses of the drama in Libya, there is a common refrain: “No one saw this coming.” NATO didn’t anticipate it, policymakers didn’t anticipate it, probably even the rebels themselves didn’t anticipate that they would be able to march into Tripoli in such short order. This kind of deer-caught-in-the-headlights reaction is typical during war. Events on the ground often come as a surprise, and war plans disintegrate often immediately after they go into effect.

Now, building a coherent defense against Glendale DUI – to get you unhooked from charges pursuant to California Vehicle Code Sections 23152(a) or 23152(b) – is not exactly like going to a war. But both war and DUI defense involve strategic thinking – and they also involve surprising setbacks and opportunities. Good generals – and good Glendale criminal defense attorneys, too –understand the power of strategic thinking as well as the power of renegotiating, reassessing, and reforming plans in the midst of battle.

For instance, in your case, new evidence might suddenly emerge that could potentially get your charges dropped or at least give prosecutors a much harder time. If you don’t have the strategic focus and flexibility available to take advantage of that development, you might miss out on a key opportunity to reduce your sentence.

Just as the Libyan rebels managed to take advantage of the surprising collapse of Gaddafi’s forces to turn the tide and take down Tripoli, your Glendale DUI defense attorney may potentially leverage surprising developments in your favor. These include sudden revelations of weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and other subtle factors that could transform your options and get you better results than you – or even your attorney – ever expected.

To that end, you want to work with an attorney who thinks like a general – who helps you not only construct the right strategic defense, but also continually reassesses your options in real time. Attorney Michael Kraut of Glendale’s Kraut Law Group (450 North Brand Boulevard, Suite 600, Glendale, California 91203 Phone: (818) 507-9123) has a unique vantage on Glendale DUI defense law. Attorney Kraut served as a prosecutor for over 14 years. He put DUI defendants behind bars before switching over to become a criminal defense attorney. Since he has “played the game from both sides,” he can help you understand what your prosecutors are planning and counter-plan accordingly.

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If you or someone you care about has recently been arrested or indicted for Southern California Medicare fraud, you have company. burbank-medicare-fraud.jpg

As this blog regularly reports, government investigators are cracking down, big time, on entitlement fraud across the country. One of the biggest news stories on this front came out of Chicago last week: 43-year-old Jacinto Gabriel, Jr. was indicted in connection with a $20 million scam to defraud Medicare. Gabriel, Jr. owned a variety of businesses, including Perpetual Home Health, Incorporated and Legacy Home Healthcare Services. He submitted millions of dollars in false claims for services never delivered (or price inflated or medically unnecessary services).

Allegedly, Perpetual Home Health, Inc. – by itself – submitted 14,000 different claims between the middle of 2006 and early 2011 and collected $38 million in payments from Medicare. This made it one of the biggest recipients of Medicare funds in all of Illinois. Gabriel, Jr. allegedly used the money he collected from Medicare to gamble, buy automobiles, purchase real estate at home and abroad, provide kickbacks and gifts to physicians for patient referrals, and more.

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If you smoke medical marijuana and get behind the wheel – or drive under the influence of alcohol in Beverly Hills — you can be charged with a crime pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a). Indeed, it doesn’t matter if the marijuana you smoke is legal – even over-the-counter medications or prescription medications taken with a doctor’s order can cause you to violate 23152(a). In the annals of the literature about Glendale DUI, Burbank DUI, Los Angeles DUI, and Pasadena DUI, you can find hundreds of cases involving people getting arrested for driving after consuming totally illegal drugs.colorado-marijuana-bill.jpg

The question about how to measure drug-induced driving problems has obsessed lawmakers and policymakers for some time. The Colorado Senate last month proposed a bill to set a limit for marijuana blood content. But last Tuesday, the CO Senate Judiciary Committee killed that bill — House Bill 1261 — on a voice vote. The Pot DUI Bill would have set a limit for medicinal marijuana drivers – if you had more than 5 nanograms per milliliter of THC in your blood, you would be considered over the legal limit.

A medicinal marijuana advocate, William Breathes, demonstrated that his THC levels remained over that limit — even after he had slept for a full night and abstained from smoking for 15 hours. An occupational medicine specialist evaluated him at that time and declared him to be “in no way incapacitated.”

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Southern California medical care fraud analysts have been wrapped up debating the massive October bust of a Medicare fraud ring allegedly tied to the Armenian mafia. But a breaking story out of Kansas has siphoned off a lot of media attention.medical-fraud.jpg

Wayne W. Williamson, 67, an Olathe Kansas ex-physician, was sentenced last Monday to a three year federal jail sentence for distributing prescription drugs illegally and committing healthcare fraud. Williamson pled guilty in July to medical fraud and to harassing a Kansas medical investigator. White collar crime prosecutors said that Williamson used to go into apartment complex parking lots and sell drugs out of his car – drugs like Percocet, Xanax, and OxyContin. One “client” allegedly paid the doctor for $150 for prescriptions of Oxycodone. The client then resold those pills on the black market for $30 each to make a profit. The man testified to making several transactions with the former doctor over two years. Williamson also billed Medicare and Medicaid for non-existing services. The court ordered him to pay restitution of nearly $3,000. Williamson also surrendered his medical license and agreed to never practice medicine in the U.S. again.

Southern California healthcare fraud
is an immensely complicated crime. Depending on what you allegedly did, how you did it, and various other factors, you can face charges pursuant to many different laws. For instance, Labor Code Section 3700, Penal Code Section 118, Penal Code Section 550, and Insurance Code Section 1871.4 could be applicable. If convicted, you can face jail time, loss of your license, strict probation terms, major court costs and fines, and mandatory restitution to providers like Medi-Cal, Medicare, or insurance companies.

Law enforcement agents are familiar with myriad “varieties” of Southern California insurance fraud, white collar crime, and healthcare fraud. For instance, if you made up medical records, billed providers like Medi-Cal or Medicare for services that you never rendered, prescribed medicines that were not necessary, or “double billed” or offered excessive and unnecessary procedures, prosecutors can go after you.

Given how complicated these charges can be, it’s important to have a savvy and experienced Southern California medical care fraud attorney on your side, like Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut.

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Celebutante Paris Hilton’s 2006 Los Angeles DUI made headlines around the globe. The billionaire heiress was sentenced to 45 days behind bars for violating her probation, and she served her jail time on June 3, 2007 – just after she finished attending the MTV Movie Awards. Her subsequent release on June 26, 2007 attracted hoards of paparazzi and other star watchers and turned her Los Angeles DUI event into one of the stories of the year.paris-hilton-dui.jpg

Although Ms. Hilton attempted rehabilitation, this summer has been pretty rough for her. During the World Cup in South Africa, Hilton got detained by local authorities for allegedly possessing marijuana – she was later exculpated when authorities discovered that another person in her coterie had been smoking. More recently – on August 27th – Hilton got busted for cocaine possession in Las Vegas near the Wynn Casino. Paris had been a passenger in a Cadillac Escalade driven by her boyfriend, Cy Waits, who got pulled over by the police. As Hilton waited, she removed lip balm from her purse, revealing a small but not insignificant amount of cocaine right in front of the officer. Hilton was booked for cocaine possession at the Clark County Detention Center and released the next day. Her boyfriend, Waits, got charged with driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol (allegedly marijuana).

According to California Vehicle Code section 23152 (a), if you drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Burbank (or wherever in California), you can be charged with a significant crime. The drugs can be illegal – e.g. cocaine or marijuana – or even over-the-counter prescription drugs. Although an officer will not likely give you a breathalyzer test for a Burbank DUI drug case, you may be asked to submit a urine or blood sample to be chemically analyzed.

Although all Los Angeles DUI drug cases are serious – and penalties can include everything from jail time to mandatory drug and alcohol classes to suspension of driving privileges – a qualified and experienced Southern California DUI attorney can often break down the prosecution’s case against you. For instance, the so-called science used to identify someone as under the influence of drugs can be attacked using a number of different strategies and tactics.

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Most Southern California DUI cases involve simple roadside stops or failures at sobriety checkpoints. These stops tend to be no-drama affairs — perhaps involving someone driving under the influence in Burbank with a BAC of 0.09% following a night out at a bar in the town center. bizarre-dui.jpg

But every once in a while, truly bizarre DUI arrests occur. The website TruTV.com recently put up an amusing catalog of notoriously strange DUI arrests. These include:

o Afredo Martinez of Reno, who allowed his 7-year old son to get behind the wheel;
o Tina Williams, who continued to drink beer in front of the police while being questioned about driving DUI — all while a 16-month year old infant was in her car!
o Lynn Bailey, who got pulled over in Florida while wearing a shirt that read “I’m Not an Alcoholic. I’m a Drunk. Alcoholics go to meetings.”
o A Reno woman named April Westfall, who had been driving around with six feet of gas station hose sticking out of her tank when she got pulled over for suspicion of DUI.

Other bizarre stories of Southern California DUI (and DUI elsewhere in the US) include:
o A husband who pulled over his own wife for DUI;
o A father jacked up on cocaine who allowed a 10-year old boy to drive his vehicle — the 10-year-old crashed the car at over 100 miles per hour;
o A woman named Terri Comer, who passed out behind the wheel of her Toyota with a BAC of a mind-boggling 0.72% (9 times the legal limit for a Southern California DUI) — right next to a flashing road sign lit up with the words “don’t drink and drive.”

As amusing as these accounts of bizarre arrests may be, they demonstrate just how helpless many drivers are to control themselves and their behavior. When someone drives under the influence in Beverly Hills or Glendale, that person puts others at risk. What’s more, punishments for DUI with injury can be far more severe.

Consider that most DUI stops lead to charges under either California Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) or 23152(b) but that DUI injury is charged under two separate statutes, 23153(a) and 23153(b). These other statutes stipulate that standard misdemeanor DUI charges can be inflated to felony counts if a DUI driver hurts another person. The severe punishments could entail lengthy prison sentences, forced restitution to a victim (or a victim’s family), major court fines, loss of a right to vote, loss of a job, and so on.

That said, just because someone drives DUI in Glendale and gets into an injury accident doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she will be charged under 23153(a) or 23153(b). To make a case, prosecutors must show that the driver violated a traffic law or in some other way behaved with negligence — and that this behavior caused an accident, which in turn caused an injury. In other words, say you were DUI in Glendale and you hit another car, causing injury. If the other driver was solely responsible for the accident — for instance, if his vehicle suddenly swerved into your lane — you likely will not be hit with the tougher charges, although you likely will still face charges under 23152(a) and/or 23152(b).

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