Case Studies: Federal Criminal Defense

Corporate Executive Avoids Federal Healthcare Fraud Conviction over Multiple Prescriptions

A corporate vice-president retained the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team after U.S. attorneys charged her in a federal court criminal case with healthcare fraud. The FBI had obtained similar charges against several physicians for writing voluminous false prescriptions in a drug and Medicare fraud scheme. The FBI sought charges against only a handful of prominent patients, one of whom was our client, who had visited two of the several defendant physicians for the suspect prescriptions. Our client maintained that her use of the two physicians was coincidental in that she had just changed physicians. She also maintained her legitimate need for large quantities of the pain-killing medication related to a back and hip condition until she could arrange her executive schedule for surgery and a long recovery. Our client admitted that she might be addicted to the medication but was unaware that she had violated any law or standards and insisted that the prescriptions were for her alone. Our defense thus centered on our client's intent and state of mind, as well as on her good-faith reliance on her prescribing physicians. At trial, we called expert physicians and toxicologists on these issues and presented our client's testimony to the above effect. The jury acquitted our client of the charges. Our client retained her executive position, taking a medical leave for the surgery that she needed and returning to work after the medical leave concluded. Our communications with her corporate employer helped maintain the confidence of our client's employer in her innocence and good character.

Art Dealer Successfully Defends Federal Money Laundering Charges

An art dealer retained the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team after federal authorities charged her with a federal money laundering crime. The charge followed the arrest of two of our client's art customers, with whom our client had several significant art sales from which she earned substantial commissions. The federal charges alleged that the art she sold to her customers, the other federal defendants, had only a fraction of the value of the sale prices, that the sale monies had found their way back to the customers, and that our client was aware of and a part of the money laundering scheme from which she derived substantial excess benefit. Our client admitted wondering where her customers really got their money because the vehicle detailing business they claimed to own didn't seem sufficiently significant to generate their income. But our client was unaware of her customer's drug and weapons sales contributing to their income, for which they used her services to launder the proceeds. Our defense focused on the legitimacy, profitability, and long history of our client's art dealership, independent of any relationship with the two customers. Our client also indicated that she and the customers shared heritage, culture, and art affinities that might have blinded her judgment. In addition to these proofs, we also presented an art appraiser's testimony that the value of art can be highly speculative and that the disputed sales were within the realm of that speculation, no matter where the proceeds had ended up, so that our client might reasonably not have suspected any wrongdoing. The jury acquitted our client on the charges.

University Student Avoids Federal Child Pornography Prosecution

The parents of a student at a New Jersey private university retained the Lento Law Firm's Criminal Defense Team after federal authorities contacted the student to investigate suspected child pornography. Our communication on our client's behalf with those federal authorities confirmed that while they were suspicious of our client's internet searches and cross-state file access and distribution, our client was not the focus of their investigation. They would have executed a search warrant on our client's electronic devices and charged our client rather than contacting him if he had been their target. What they proposed instead was to engage the student's cooperation in a sting operation involving the suspected producer, promoter, and distributor of child pornography. Our client accepted the proposal to eliminate the risk that he would face federal child pornography charges and to eliminate the stress and distraction of worrying over future charges while he continued his university studies. We negotiated a non-prosecution agreement to protect our client from any charges. Federal authorities ended up not using our client in their investigation, which further relieved our client of participating in the investigation. Our client achieved all of his objectives in defense of the potential child pornography charges. He was also able to keep the entire matter confidential, avoiding embarrassment and other collateral consequences.

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