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FTC and FDA Warn Against False Covid Claims

As federal courts slowly begin to reopen in phases, the government’s pursuit of Covid fraud continues apace. In particular, two agencies—the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration—are issuing warning letters to businesses selling or marketing products that purport to treat or prevent Covid-19. Think oils, herbs, vitamins, minerals, or supplements. But it can Read More

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Dude Catches Federal Case for Lying about Covid

Consider the juxtaposition. Last week, we wrote about people whose convictions were reversed because their conduct, while wrong, didn’t quite fit the crime. They made a mistake and lied—rather egregiously—but it wasn’t wire fraud because they didn’t do it to obtain money or property from the other side. Fair enough. This week, we couldn’t help but Read More

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Bridgegate, Reversed

Once upon a time, you might recall, there was another kind of lockdown. For four days in September 2013, three public officials shut down two traffic lanes on one bridge from New Jersey to New York. It wasn’t just any bridge, though, but the busiest motor-vehicle bridge in the world. And it wasn’t just for Read More

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Motive Meets Opportunity

Well, that didn’t take long, either. Yesterday, the Justice Department charged the very first case of fraud against the relief program set up to help small businesses weather the lockdown. Prosecutors charged two businessmen with fraudulently seeking over $500,000 in forgivable loans meant to defray the cost of their payroll, rent, utilities, or mortgage interest. Allegedly, the two Read More

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More Varsity Blues

As the college-admissions scandal winds its way through court, California’s clawing back the money. The tax money, that is. A few days ago, the state enacted a new law that scrutinizes all tax deductions these defendants may have taken for charitable donations to any college or university. It applies to every tax year beginning with 2014. It also denies Read More

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Whistleblower Programs Booming at SEC and CFTC

The two federal regulators recently submitted their annual reports to Congress for the fiscal year that ended September 30. And, well, business is booming. In the last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission awarded more money to whistleblowers than it had in all prior years combined. Since 2012, it has awarded $326 million, and more than half Read More

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Our Federal Prisons Are Fueled By Drugs

That’s the takeaway from this report by the federal courts and U.S. Sentencing Commission. To summarize, there are almost 200,000 people in federal prison today, and almost half of them (or 48%) are there for drugs. Almost all of them (93%) are men, and the vast majority are young, minority men. The breakdown is 35% Hispanic, 35% black, and 27% Read More

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What Are Your Intentions?

In most white-collar cases, the main driver at sentencing is the dollar amount of the victim’s loss, and in federal cases, the rule is that you’re responsible for either the actual loss or your intended loss, whichever is greater. We touched on the difference between actual and intended loss in this post from last spring. But recently, an Read More

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SCOTUS Stands Up for the Sixth Amendment

We’ve asked this question before. What if the government charged you with a crime, and you wanted to defend yourself but couldn’t—not because you didn’t have any money, but because the government had blocked all access to it? Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court said the government can freeze your money before trial if there’s probable Read More

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Federal Healthcare Fraud Is A Continuing Offense

Which means the statute of limitations won’t matter if the government can characterize your conduct as one, continuous scheme that extended into the limitations period. So held a decision last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers California and eight other states. The decision affirmed a podiatrist’s conviction for violating the federal healthcare Read More

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