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Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

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Health Care Qui Tam cases

What does Qui Tam mean? 

Qui tam is short for the Latin phrase “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur,” which roughly translates to “he who brings an action for the king as well as for himself.”  

The Department of Justice just announced that U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland created COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to enhance enforcement efforts against COVID-19 related fraud.

Cases have included:

  • Offers to purchase COVID-19 vaccination cards

People in Georgia tend to have mixed opinions on polygraph tests-if they even have an opinion at all. One camp purports that the tests are unreliable and easy to beat. Another camp recognizes potential flaws while still understanding that these tests have a lot to offer.

The reality is that they do provide tremendous value in many cases. In fact, they have helped criminal suspects in Georgia avoid charges or have led to charges being dropped.

Official use

If you are facing criminal charges, you are naturally concerned about the potential legal and financial consequences of a conviction. However, as a nurse, even a charge of certain offenses may lead to professional consequences as well.

The state requires that licensed nurses report any convictions that involve a felony offense, controlled substances or irresponsible use of alcohol or drugs to the Georgia Board of Nursing. If charged with such a crime, the board may suspend or revoke your professional license.

1. Felony offenses

When a nurse struggles with substance use, he or she may worry that seeking help will result in career damage. In fact, self-reporting a problem with drugs or alcohol can help protect your ability to practice as a nurse.

Learn how a DUI or drug diversion arrest could impact your Georgia nursing license.

Understanding mandatory reporting requirements

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020.

A major part of the CARES Act provided for a total of $669 million in federal funds to be designated for financial relief for small and medium-sized businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The crush of applications meant the fund ran out in minutes. Lenders scrambled to handle applications and disburse money to struggling businesses, with 4 million disbursements made by the middle of May. However, many companies that were eligible were unable to access assistance. Public outcry about nationally recognized businesses receiving funds led to the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department establishing a “Safe Harbor” return program whereby businesses could return loans. The Safe Harbor deadline, originally set for May 7, was extended twice but ended on May 18.

Now, federal authorities are investigating and filing fraud charges against those thought to have taken advantage of the new program. Applicants who falsely certified any part of the loan request could face criminal charges, fines, and restitution. In addition, as forgiveness applications are submitted and approved, use of PPP funds for anything other than allowed business purposes could subject applicants to investigation.

This past week, Conaway & Strickler’s Meg Strickler and Chelsea Thomas tried a capital case in Fulton County Superior Court.  Our client was facing life in prison. Ms. Thomas and Ms. Strickler were able to secure a NOT GUILTY verdict. The jury deliberated just 30 minutes.

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Something viewed as a humorous prank by one person could be perceived in a much different light by another. Every action taken, regardless of someone’s age, can potentially bring life-changing consequences. A college scholarship student in Georgia is likely preparing a criminal defense due to his actions involving a photo he allegedly snapped and posted on social media.

In Nov. 2016, a cadet at the University of North Georgia in his junior year went to a restroom in the Military Leadership Center in Dahlonega. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the cadet apparently saw one of his instructors at a urinal with his shorts pulled down. The cadet allegedly took a photo with his phone and sent it to some of his friends. Following that, the photo was purportedly shared on a messaging app and was seen by hundreds of viewers.

News of the photo reached university officials, and the cadet was asked to show it to his superiors. He now faces up to six years in prison regarding a felony charge of unlawful eavesdropping or surveillance and a misdemeanor charge of transmission of photography depicting nudity. Reports say that he could also be fined $51,000 for the incident. In addition, the student may lose his scholarship, which included funding for his room, meals, books and tuition.

Crime rates are high in many areas. However, not all people charged with crimes are convicted. In fact, some accused individuals are successful in having their charges lowered or their cases dismissed entirely. Often, aggressive strategies help defendants protect their rights and preserve their freedoms. There are at least 22 people in Georgia who are likely focused on criminal defense after their recent arrests over a six-day period.

Columbus police investigated various possible crime situations in the area. In addition to arresting so many people, authorities say they also recovered over $100,000 in stolen property. A special operations division and patrol unit combined efforts in this particular investigation.

Authorities say 10 vehicles that had previously been reported stolen were seized. All of the persons arrested will have their day in court. Regardless of how minor or serious charges are, American jurisprudence protects the rights of every accused individual by allowing him or her to present a defense and by guaranteeing the presumption of innocence unless and until prosecutors prove otherwise in court. It can be quite intimidating to go up against tenacious prosecutors, however, which is why it is highly advisable to act alongside experienced and aggressive defense assistance.

Criminal Defense: In criminal trials, prosecutors will often attempt to bring in prior convictions or prior bad acts in trial as a way to persuade jurors as to a defendant’s guilt. These are fights that our fought before trial in pretrial hearings. The case against actor Bill Cosby is a great example of a prosecutor trying to get in prior bad acts. Cosby faces sexual assault charges in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Today, the prosecutor attempted to win a preliminary hearing arguing for the testimony of more than twelve women to testify at Cosby’s upcoming trial. The prosecutor argued a concept that we use in Georgia of “similar transactions”. If the judge allows this testimonry to come in, it will ease the prosecutor’s burden of showing intent and it will most definitly bolster the prosecution’s case against Cosby. In Georgia, these “other acts”, like in Pennsylvania, need to be similar enough so that they show the “handiwork of the same perpetrator,” (the PA prosecutor’s words from today) and the limited purpose of showing the defendant’s state of mind, knowledge, intent, or mode of operation in the crime charge (Georgia). In both states, the judge will focus on the similarities versus the differences in making his/her decision in allowing similar transactions in.

Interestingly, the prosecutor has a tough burden in the Cosby case. The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court recently ruled against allowing too many victims testifying. What is a good limit? The judge will probably rule on this issue today.

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