Articles Posted in Property Crimes

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Maybe you stole some costume jewelry and brooches from a Venice Beach bodega. Or perhaps your Los Angeles petty theft charge came packaged with additional charges, like grand theft, robbery, assault, etc.

In any case, you want to avoid serious punishment and “put the crime behind you.” But you’re also “not that concerned,” on some level, since your crime is relatively minor.

But you should be concerned!

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Why did you commit healthcare fraud in Southern California?

Now that you’ve been investigated (or, perhaps, arrested), your life path certainly doesn’t seem fully rational. After all, you now face massive jail time, thousands (or millions) of dollars in forced restitution, public humiliation, the loss of your medical, dental, or chiropractic license (or other professional credentials), and problems with your relationships and self-esteem.

So… why did you do it?

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If you stole a mango, Lipton Ice Tea drink, and a pack of candy — a total of $3.67 worth of goods — do you think prosecutors would hit you with a misdemeanor Los Angeles petty theft charge … or a felony?petty-theft-in-southern-california.jpg

The answer is not so obvious!

If walked out of the grocery store or convenience store with your “five finger discount,” then got caught, and then calmly admitted what you did — you’d probably get tagged with just a misdemeanor. That’s still a big charge. But you won’t wind up behind bars for over a year for it.

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The Los Angeles Weekly recently ran a fantastic, compelling, and extremely disturbing story on Medicare fraud in Los Angeles and beyond. Entitled: “How Medicare fraud became the nation’s most lucrative crime,” the story blisteringly attacks a system of corruption that’s so deep and so diverse, it’s almost unbelievable. LA-weekly-health-care-fraud.jpg

It’s no secret that healthcare fraud in Southern California and beyond costs taxpayers $100 billion a year (some say that figure is as high as $300 billion). The Obama administration has clearly made it a priority to crack down on fraud, and the new awareness of the problem has undoubtedly led to improved policing.


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Your Los Angeles healthcare fraud charges are pretty severe. You could wind up paying massive fines and restitution as well as serving a big stint behind

But how does your case stack up against this one?

48-year-old Sandra Little (of Reno) and 65-year-old Susan Hill (of Las Vegas) recently pled guilty to defrauding Nevada’s Medicaid program out of about $1 million. Hill pled guilty to one count of money laundering and one count of healthcare fraud. Little pled guilty to 10 money laundering counts and 28 healthcare fraud counts. The U.S. Attorney for Nevada, Daniel Bogden, emphasized that the federal government “will vigorously prosecute persons who cheat and steal from federally funded programs … everyone suffers when programs designed to help persons in need are defrauded.”

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Often, Los Angeles petty theft cases take a turn for the bizarre. Separating truth from fiction can be a lot more challenging than people realize. How are your instincts? Take this quiz to find out. marla_maples-shoes-petty-theft.jpg

Three of stories actually happened, and three are totally made up.

1. Shoe fetishist steals 40 pairs of Marla Maples’ shoes

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Rob Kardashian’s Los Angeles petty theft and battery case has earned him time in the limelight, but odds are that his spotlight-hungry sisters are not particularly jealous. Kardashian-petty-theft-west-hollywood.jpg

In March, Kardashian — the youngest child of Kris Jenner and lawyer Robert Kardashian — allegedly swiped camera equipment from a photographer in the parking lot of a West Hollywood gym. Per reports, he was retaliating for her attempt to take shirtless pictures of him. He allegedly grabbed the memory card from the camera and told that he would pay for the card later.

According to celebrity news sources, Rob was undergoing a weight loss program, which might have explained why he wanted to keep the shirtless pictures out of the news. Andra Vaik, the photographer, subsequently sued the reality star.

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On April 24, 2013, the Obama Administration announced a spectacular new “Senior Reward” program, which could spur many new additional Southern California Medicare fraud cases. senior-los-angeles-medicare-fraud.jpg

The so-called Senior Medicare Patrol would offer whistleblowers up to $10 million for exposing fraud. The whistleblower would get 15% of the recovered funds. This is a huge change to the current HHS model, which offers a 10% reward of up to $1,000. The revised program is modeled after an IRS program, which has helped that agency collect nearly $2 billion in fraud over the past 10 years.

Since 1997, the Senior Medicare Patrol has generated 7,000 plus referrals to the Office of the Inspector General and the CMS. In just the last three years alone, the Obama Administration has cracked down hard and managed to re-collect nearly $15 billion stolen from Medicare’s coffers. Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, stated the President’s intentions in clear language: “President Obama has made the elimination of fraud, waste and abuse, particularly in healthcare, a top priority for the administration.”

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Maybe you concocted a sophisticated Los Angeles Medicare fraud scheme that raided the Federal Government’s coffers to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars. Or maybe you’re being investigated for failing to meet a Byzantine health care requirement. do-dont-los-angeles-medicare-fraud.jpg

Before taking action, read this list of five “don’ts,” so you can avoid making further mistakes that could imperil your case and lead to unnecessarily long jail sentences, the stripping of your professional license, humiliation, massive fines, and worse.

5 “Don’ts”

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Many Los Angeles Medicare and Medicaid fraud cases end in disaster for all stakeholders. For a tragic “rags to riches to rags” story, take a look at the disaster that befell the Scooter Store. scooter-store-los-angeles-medicare-fraud.jpg

If you’ve ever watched daytime TV, you’ve no doubt seen commercials for the Scooter Store. The vendor of power wheelchairs (based in New Braunfels, Texas) sold its products to consumers by pummeling the airwaves with advertisements. But a blockbuster CBS News investigative piece about the company led to a federal government investigation and ultimately an FBI raid. Doctors and salespeople alleged that the company followed a diabolical playbook. Salespeople would contact doctors’ offices and badger physicians to prescribe power wheelchairs and scooters to patients, even if patients did not need the products. They then relied on Medicare and Medicaid errors and bureaucratic snafus to approve the bad claims.

After the FBI raid, the company furloughed every employee and then laid off 1,000 workers.

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