Fraud Cases

The Federal Docket

United States v. David Pon (11th Cir. June 2020)

Evidence/Expert Testimony – Expert testimony discussing a theory that lacks sufficient testing, known or potential error rates, control standards, acceptance among the science community, and a connection between the theory and the underlying research is sufficiently unreliable to be excluded. Further, a peer-reviewed paper mentioning the theory is insufficient alone to prove reliability. Evidence/Rebuttal – …

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United States v. Mikel Clotaire (11th Cir. June 2020)

The Court affirmed the defendant’s convictions for identity theft and access device fraud. The Court affirmed the trial court’s admission of photographic stills from ATM video surveillance, holding that they were non-testimonial business records. The trial court also did not err in allowing lay witness identification, expert witness testimony, or the admission of the defendant’s mugshot where there was no indication of his prior criminal history.

United States v. Surmondrea McGregor (11th Cir. June 2020)

The Court affirmed the defendant’s convictions for unlawful possession of unauthorized access devices and aggravated identity fraud, holding that it was not an abuse of discretion for the court to admit evidence of a firearm owned by the defendant. The evidence was relevant to the defendant’s possession of the unauthorized access devices because the firearm was found within close proximity of the access devices and within the same small area, and the probative value outweighed any undue prejudice, especially since the government did not indicate to the jury that the firearm was unlawfully owned.

Kelly v. United States (U.S. Supreme Court, May 2020)

In a unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court reversed the convictions of the Port Authority officials involved in the infamous “Bridgegate scandal,” holding that their convictions for wire fraud on a federally funded program, predicated on their blocking off certain lanes as political retribution against an opposition mayor, were not supported by sufficient evidence because they did not involve a scheme “to obtain money or property.”

Feds look for fraud in $670-billion small business loan program

As part of the federal government’s efforts to keep the economy going during the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress created a $670 billion emergency loan program for small businesses called the Paycheck Protection Program. The DOJ is now announcing that it will scrutinize businesses that apply for and receive this aid, especially large businesses and those applying …

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DOJ Targets Internet Scams Involving COVID-19 Fraud

The Department of Justice issued a press release today announcing that it “has disrupted hundreds of internet domains used to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to commit fraud and other crimes.” The presser notes that the FBI has received thousands of tips related to COVID-19 scams from websites advertising fake vaccines and treatments, fake charity drives, …

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Feds bring first prosecution under Defense Production Act

In an unprecedented move, the federal government has brought its first criminal prosecution under the Defense Production Act, charging Bobby Singh, a business owner in Long Island, with hoarding and price-gouging personal protective equipment. Under the Defense Production Act, the president can issue an executive order recognizing certain products and materials as “scarce materials” and …

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United States v. Lee John Maher (11th Cir. April 2020)

In an appeal of the defendant’s conviction for retaining government property (in the form of federal grants), the Eleventh Circuit rejected the defendant’s statute of limitations argument, holding that retaining government property is a “continuing offense.” Given the definition of “retention,” the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the defendant relinquishes possession of the government property.

Feds Charge Man With Operating Coronavirus Kickback Scheme

March 30, 2020. The Department of Justice announced its latest effort in coronavirus-related prosecutions. The U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey has charged Erik Santos, a resident of Georgia, with operating a kickback scheme in which he allegedly solicited and received payments in exchange for funneling patients to lab companies for coronavirus testing …

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US Attorney for Middle District of GA Appoints Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator

March 27, 2020. As we see an increase in prosecutions for “coronavirus-related fraud,” it appears that law enforcement’s efforts are becoming more formal. Today, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia announced that he has appointed a federal prosecutor to investigative suspected fraud schemes related to the COVID-19 outbreak. The move comes after …

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