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By: Onisuru Ojegba Legal Intern to the firm

Insurance fraud consists of crimes where an individual consumer or insurance company, agent, or adjuster commits deliberate deception to obtain illicit profits or benefits. While the classification of insurance fraud is broad and consists of many different variations, including health care fraud, life insurance fraud, and unemployment fraud, the crime occurs in the same manner; during the process of buying, selling, or underwriting insurance.

While every state has its own laws which criminalize insurance fraud, federal law does not specifically address the crime. Instead, federal law addresses insurance fraud through The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994), which gives the Federal Government jurisdiction over insurance fraud once a transaction crosses state lines (either physically or through wire). The alleged fraud then falls into the federal government’s jurisdiction and will be prosecuted at the federal level. Title 18 U.S. Code § 1033: specifically outlines this jurisdiction as Crimes by or affecting persons engaged in the business of insurance whose activities affect interstate commerce. This law separates insurance fraud into 5 categories including:

The Department of Justice investigates and prosecutes cases where large amounts of money is alleged to have been taken. Examples of white collar crimes are money laundering, bank, wire and mail fraud, tax evasion, insider trading, insurance fraud, mortgage fraud, bribery and embezzlement.  Of course Homeland Security, the FBI, the IRS, Customs and Border Patrol and SEC can also investigate and prosecute cases of fraud as well.  

The government has a special United States Guideline Chapter dedicated to “basic” economic offenses.  For purposes of this blog, this chapter will be discussed in more detail below.  As with anything involving federal criminal litigation, nothing is crystal clear in the law. Therefore, there is also a chapter in the United States Guidelines dedicated to tax offenses, election fraud, gambling, and money laundering in the United States Sentencing Guidelines.  

This USSG chapter DOES cover extortion, bribery, kickbacks, counterfeiting, embezzlement, health care fraud, computer fraud, insurance fraud, securities fraud, mortgage fraud, identity fraud, bankruptcy fraud, etc.   What is most important in this chapter is the loss amount.   All charges start off with a base offense level of  6 or 7 depending on the statutory max of the offense charged. Then, you look at what the “loss amount” is using the below table.

Loss (apply the greatest) Increase in Level
(A) $6,500 or less no increase
(B) More than $6,500 add 2
(C) More than $15,000 add 4
(D) More than $40,000 add 6
(E) More than $95,000 add 8
(F) More than $150,000 add 10
(G) More than $250,000 add 12
(H) More than $550,000 add 14
(I) More than $1,500,000 add 16
(J) More than $3,500,000 add 18
(K) More than $9,500,000 add 20
(L) More than $25,000,000 add 22
(M) More than $65,000,000 add 24
(N) More than $150,000,000 add 26
(O) More than $250,000,000 add 28
(P) More than $550,000,000 add 30.

The loss amount is a pandora box of confusion and the government is able to add all kinds of relevant conduct and intended loss conduct to inflate these numbers.

To further make things complicated, there are enhancements in this section that permit the government to add levels for things such as the use of sophisticated means, role in the offense, number of victims, a defrauding a charity, mass marketing, among others.

Navigating the federal criminal system is a task that should not be endured alone. Contact our team today for more information about we can protect your rights and your freedom.

On April 5, 2023, the United States Sentencing Commission announced amendments to the United States Sentencing Guidelines that will come in to effect on November 1, 2023.  Below is a summary of those changes as it relates to just fraud cases.

Under proposed USSG 4C1.1, a client will receive a 2-level decrease to their offense level if

a)no criminal history points,

This news article explains most of the details of Mariam’s law, a law that was passed just last week.  It expands the restrictions on sex offenders.

The biggest wrinkle that this bill has caused so far is the requirement to be fitted by the Department of Community Supervision with a device capable of tracking the location of the sexual offender (aka ankle monitor) while on probation or parole and awaiting risk assessment classification from SORRB if the person has previously been convicted of a felony sexual offense. Basically, if the SORRB hasn’t leveled you yet, you will be contacted to get an ankle monitor at your expense, of course.

Or, if your assigned community supervision officer determines that a special need exists for you to wear an ankle monitor due to the ‘immediate danger to society the offender poses based upon a substantial risk of perpetrating a future dangerous sexual offense.’ then here they come as well with that ankle monitor.

What is Bitcoin money laundering? Bitcoin money laundering is the process of using Bitcoin to conceal the origins of illegally obtained money. This can be done by transferring the Bitcoin to multiple accounts, mixing it with other Bitcoin, or using it to purchase goods or services.  Some believe that Bitcoin transactions are anonymous.  There are, however, transaction records that are stored in the blockchain and publicly visible.  The FBI recently stated “Criminals always leave tracks, and …[this] is a reminder that the FBI has the tools to follow the digital trail, wherever it may lead” .

Bitcoin is definitely attractive to money launderers because it is a decentralized currency that is not subject to government regulation. This makes it difficult, but not impossible, to track and trace Bitcoin transactions. Additionally, Bitcoin is often used in online transactions, which makes it easy to conceal the identity of the sender and receiver.

There are a number of ways to launder money using Bitcoin. One common method is to use a mixer, which is a service that mixes Bitcoin from multiple sources together. This makes it difficult to trace the original source of the Bitcoin. Another method is to use a tumbler, which is a service that breaks up Bitcoin transactions into smaller pieces and then reassembles them. This makes it difficult to track the individual transactions.

By Brandon Fitz

Wire Fraud is a serious white-collar crime and is defined under 18 USC §1343 and states:

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)), or affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both. 18 U.S.C.A. § 1343.

By Maya Fouad

Tax evasion is the most common federal tax crime and involves the failure to report taxes, reporting taxes inaccurately, or failing to pay taxes. Federal law defines the crime broadly; 26 U.S.C. 7201 states, “[a]ny person who willfully attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax imposed by this title or the payment thereof shall, in addition to other penalties provided by law, be guilty of a felony. . .” The penalties for tax evasion can include significant monetary fines, imprisonment, or both.

To establish a case of tax evasion, the Government must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

On May 17, 2021, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the establishment of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

On March 10, 2022, Garland announced Associate Deputy Attorney General Kevin Chambers as the Director For Covid-19 Fraud Enforcement.

In August, 2022, President Biden signed laws that give the Department of Justice and other federal agencies more time to investigate and prosecute Covid-19 fraud. It extended the statute of limitations for fraud charges involving PPP and EIDL fraud to ten years.

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