Fraud Cases

United States v. Brandon Jones (2nd Cir. July 2020)

The Second Circuit upheld a conviction for using fictitious government documents because 18 U.S.C. § 514 applies to both fake versions of existing documents and wholly contrived, fake documents. The Court held that evidence that a defendant used inauthentic documents, misrepresented government employment, and paid with fake purchase orders is sufficient to uphold a conviction.

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United States v. Xiulu Ruan and John Patrick Couch (11th Cir. July 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit vacated a conviction for conspiracy to receive illegal kickbacks in relation to a federal health care program, holding that the government must prove that a defendant charged under 42 U.S.C. § 1320(a)-7b(b) in conjunction with conspiracy under 18 U.S.C. § 371, the government must prove that federal funds passed through the conspiracy.

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DOJ Announces Another String of CARES Act Fraud Charges

Throughout July, the Department of Justice has been announcing an increasing number of prosecutions against individuals accused of "COVID Relief Fraud," also referred to as CARES Act Fraud. Most cases involved the CARES Act's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The past week saw cases brought across the country from California to Florida and included charges for wire fraud, bank fraud, false statements, money laundering, and healthcare fraud.

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United States v. Stephen Chalker (11th Cir. July 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the defendant's conviction for healthcare fraud, holding that there was sufficient evidence based on testimony regarding "red flags" at the defendant's pharmacy, including patients from out of state, unrealistically high prices, and discrepancies in billing and inventory. The Court also rejected the defendant's challenges to lay witness testimony from patients stating they received medication that they did not need and held that the Government replacing its expert did not prejudice the defendant where the substance of the testimony stayed the same.

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United States v. Mitchell Stein (11th Cir. July 2020)

The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the defendant's sentence, holding that the district court properly estimated the loss amount based on specific, circumstantial evidence of causation, namely that the defendant's investors relied on the defendant's fraudulent representations, and that the court did not err in rejecting the defendant's intervening causation theory. The Court also held that the defendant's claims on remand before the district court where limited by the scope fo the appellate court's mandate on remand and did not fall under any of the three exceptions.

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