White Collar Crime: Mail Fraud

Posted by on Feb 11, 2017 in White Collar Crime | 0 comments

The use of the U.S. Mail system to promote a crime is a felony. The United States Postal Service is a federal agency, which makes mail fraud a federal offense. Like any federal crime, conviction of mail fraud can result in time spent in a federal prison. According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Postal Inspectors investigate any crime in which the U.S. Mail system is used to further a scheme. Considered a white collar crime, fraud is the use of deception to receive personal or financial gain. The involvement of the U.S. Mail system in this deception is what constitutes mail fraud.

Mail fraud constitutes many different crimes; all of these crimes share the quality of intent to deceive. One of the most commonly known kinds of mail fraud is multi-level marketing jobs, also called pyramid schemes. This practice involves selling a good or service while also recruiting other people to work for the company. Commission is earned from sales and also from the sales of recruits; these schemes often involve a fee to join the scheme. In most states, earning a commission from the recruitment of new workers is illegal and what makes a strategy be considered a pyramid scheme.

Another common scam is the phony inheritance scam. This involves someone receiving a letter in the mail informing them of an unclaimed inheritance. This generally comes from the mailer fraudulently posing as an estate locator or a research specialist who is looking for the inheritor of an estate. Many people with the same last name are mailed in hopes of them sending in a fee in order to receive the estate report and then claim their inheritance. Although inheriting money from an unknown distant relative is possible, in an inheritance scam, no relative exists and the claims are fraudulently devised in order to earn money.

When someone is accused of fraud of any kind, the chances are high that he or she has already been fairly extensively investigated by the federal government. In the case of mail fraud, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service does the investigating. If the case of mail fraud violates or possibly violates another agency’s jurisdiction, then that agency can also become involved in the investigation.

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The Nursing Home Reform Act and the Residents’ Bill of Rights

Posted by on Dec 29, 2016 in Nursing Home Abuse | 0 comments

When an act of abuse or negligence that is committed in a nursing home results to harm to a patient or resident elder, the injured individual or his/her family can pursue legal action to hold legally responsible the person who committed the act, the owner and/or operator of the facility, and probably even the state Health Board.

Negligence is failure to use reasonable care that results to damage or injury to another. When committed in a nursing home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines it as “failure by a caregiver or other responsible person to protect an elder from harm, or the failure to meet needs for essential medical care, nutrition, hydration, hygiene, clothing, basic activities of daily living or shelter, which results in a serious risk of compromised health and safety.”

The most common types of nursing home neglect include: lack of proper care; failure to properly manage medication; isolation; Failure to maintain adequate health and safety policies, and keep the premises reasonably safe and free of hazards; and delayed treatment of residents who fall or injure themselves. These acts are most rampant and widespread in facilities that are understaffed and where there is negligent hiring of employees (due to this specific fault, even individuals with records of abuse get hired as nursing aides or registered/licensed nurses – the very persons who are guilty of unjust and cruel acts against nursing home patients and residents).

Families of nursing homes residents (which include elders, usually 65 years old; individuals who, because of an illness, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, require extra care and assistance; and, those needing rehabilitation therapies) should know that they are empowered by the law to file a lawsuit against perpetrators of abuse or neglect. This right is established in the Nursing Home Reform Act which was made a federal law by the U.S. Congress in 1997. This Act specifically addresses facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds to provide services and activities that will help attain or maintain the highest possible physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of every resident in accordance with a written plan of care. The Act also mandates that residents should be free from corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion and all forms of abuses, including, but not limited to, verbal, physical, mental abuse, and sexual abuse.

Other than being designed to prevent incidences of nursing home neglect and abuse, the Act also addresses important issues, such as sufficiency of staffing, individual patient assessment, and assurance of hygiene and nutrition. Furthermore, it establishes the “Residents’ Bill of Rights,” which is a list of residents’ rights, especially in the face of neglect and/or abuse.

The federal law, even state laws, do not and will neither tolerate nor excuse acts of negligence of nursing home staff. Any act, be it abuse or negligence, can be a federal offense. Many nursing home facility current and former employees have already been put behind bars; it depends on families of abused or neglected residents to make their own legal move which, hopefully, will punish the guilty and save others from becoming future victims.

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A Look At The Common Car Accident Injuries

Posted by on Nov 21, 2016 in Car Accidents | 0 comments

Car accidents are one of the major causes of injuries or deaths in the United States. In 2012, there were more than 5.6 million car accidents in the United States. From that number, 30,000 were serious and another 1.6 million involved other types of injuries. Car accidents cost $277 billion every year. The severity of injuries will depend on the circumstances surrounding the collision.

Car accident injuries can be categorized into impact and penetrating injuries. The former refers to injuries that result from the person’s body hitting some parts of the car’s interior. It may range from the knee hitting the dashboard or the head hitting the seat rest or the side window. The latter, on the other hand, may involve cuts and scrapes. Common examples of penetrating injuries are shattering glass or flying objects.

Injuries from automobile collision may vary from one person to another. However, there are some fairly common injuries and they are the following:

Head and Back Injuries

These types of injuries are the most serious and may cause traumatic brain injuries. Drivers who are involved in high speed collisions may hit their heads against the steering wheel, dashboard, or windows. Head injuries may cause skull fracture, hearing loss, and vision problems. Medical treatment and long-term medical care may be required after such injuries.

Back injuries, on the other hand, are also common. Damages to the spinal cord can lead to significant nerve damage. Back injuries are accompanied by reduced sensation and control on the arms, hands, legs, feet, and other body parts. It may cause permanent paralysis.

Chest Injuries

Chest injuries may range from broken ribs or internal injuries. These types of injuries may happen because of the position of the driver behind the steering wheel. While the body of the person may not come in contact with the steering wheel or dashboard, the chest may still suffer from a high level of force against the shoulder harness or seat belt causing it to be badly bruised.

Arm and Leg Injuries

When involved in a car accident, the driver’s knees or that of their passengers may hit the dashboard or seats in front of them. This may cause not only bruises or scrapes but also sprains and breaks.
Symptoms of car accident injuries may not appear right away. It may take days or weeks for them to do so.

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Rights of “At Will” Employees

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Employment Laws | 0 comments

One of the newest ways used by many firms in hiring job applicants is through an offer an “at will” employment contract. The “Employment at Will” doctrine, now a legal business practice in almost all U.S. states, recognizes the right of an employee to resign from work anytime; in like manner, it gives the employer the right to terminate an employee whenever he/she decides that such employee’s services are no longer needed. Resignation from work or termination of work contract may be done whether the reason is justifiable or not, or even if there is no reason at all. A court would usually not intervene to protect the employee unless any of the laws that protect employee rights, such as the right against wrongful termination, has been violated.

Many job application forms, employment contracts, and employee handbooks in the U.S. now contain this short “at will’ phrase. Despite adhering to this statute, however, state authorities do not ignore claims of unjust termination, specifically those that are based on discrimination. While companies may be allowed to fire anyone to enable it to cut costs, or for whatever reason or absence of reason, this will remain illegal if the cause of termination can be proven to be due to a person’s religion, sex, race, color, age, or any of the factors protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights Act strictly prohibits employment discrimination of those presently employed or seeking work.

Proving termination as unlawful will be a hard thing to prove, though, especially for “at will” employees. Despite this “at will” practice, employers should not forget that there are laws that continue to protect and uphold the rights and interests of employees and job applicants.

According to the Leichter Law Firm, besides terminating an employee due to illegal discrimination, wrongful termination can also be committed through retaliation against a worker who:

  • Files a workers’ compensation claim;
  • Complains about his/her company’s unjust employment practices; or
  • Refuses to perform an illegal act ordered by his/her employer
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Low Visibility can Cause Car Accidents

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Car Accidents | 0 comments

Weather conditions are major causes of car accidents. When bad weather comes, the chances of road accidents become higher, and even when you are a defensive driver trying to avoid accidents, you may have little control of other drivers and the road conditions on which you are driving on. It may be difficult to win a personal injury claim if you’ve been involved in a car accident due to bad weather, but Williams Kherkher states on their website that you still get compensation from your insurance company.

There are many ways in which bad weather can cause a car accident. One of these things is due to poor visibility. Diminished visibility makes it difficult to see the roads clearly and notice other motorists who are with you in the road. Certain car signals may be hard to distinguish, and these could easily lead to accidents and collisions. Another cause for accidents is the decreased traction; motorist should drive safely and adjust their speed in order to avoid collisions and make instant decisions that could prevent an accident. Likewise, strong winds, especially when you are in an open space such as a freeway, can be very dangerous. Light vehicles can easily be moved by strong winds, and there has been many times where even commercial trucks have been blown away by strong winds while on the roads.

In order to avoid accidents while driving in poor weather conditions, make sure that your vehicles are properly equipped with well maintained. Make sure your windshield wipers are working when going out on rainy weather, and that brakes are properly functioning. Staying alert while on the road is a must, and keeping a safe speed and distance from other motorist is vital to keep from colliding in an event of an accident. Being a responsible driver, especially in bad weather, is the key in avoiding road accidents. Likewise, if the weather is especially bad, it may be better to stay home and avoid driving altogether.

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How Can I Prepare for a Birth Injury?

Posted by on Jan 14, 2016 in Medical Malpractice | 0 comments

If you’re a parent who is expecting their first child, you might be wondering as to what could be the worst possible scenarios that could happen in child-birth and, more importantly, what are the chances that it could happen to you?

These are all very valid fears, of course. Even before written history began, the people of ancient times commended those who died in child-birth with the same reverence as soldiers who died in battle for they, too, recognized the difficulty that it could present. However, when you’ve worried about every possible outcome – from situations where the baby is born with two faces on one head, to circumstances where an emergency procedure gone wrong could cost you everything you hold dear – there comes the question as to what happens when the worst does happen.

Nobody ever wants the worst to happen to them. They are often reassured by the statistics that state that infant mortality rates are at their lowest ever and that, thanks to modern medicine, child-birth related deaths are at an all-time low. Though these are true, there is still the chance that something wrong can go wrong. And that’s when you don’t want to be left without the right kind of people to turn to – which is why it might be a good idea to look into a reputable birth injury lawyer pretty early on.

According to the website of the lawyers with Driscoll Firm, P.C., victims of debilitating accidents can sometimes agree on settlements set by insurance companies that are not enough to cover all the necessary expenses. It can be easy to want a quick-fix to a terrible situation but sometimes, instant gratification can have its own long-term consequences. If your child was injured at birth due to negligence, that injury could affect them for the rest of their lives – such is the case for people with cerebral palsy as it has no cure, for example – which would mean that a quick deal that only appeases the shallow aspects of the situation could mean more problems in the future.

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Immigrant Investors and Visa Eligibility

Posted by on Sep 18, 2015 in Money | 0 comments

Eligibility for immigrant investors are not really strict in that what they are generally required to do is to invest a minimum of $1 million in either creating a new commercial US business or through restructure or expansion of an already existing business. The source of the money is not really an issue, as long as it was acquired through legal means. Despite the basic amount of investment, the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) can increase or decrease the amount of investment depending on the location that the investor chooses to establish the business; a location where there is low unemployment and good economy can call for higher than $1 million investment while rural areas with high unemployment and not doing well economically may ask for lower investment.

According to the website of the AmLaw Group, aside from the requirements needed by the USCIS, a business will need to be prepped for compliance with the US tax system that they will be adhering to. It is important to note that the United States follows a worldwide tax system, which means that the income from a US person (citizen or resident) either from the country or all over the world will be taxed in accordance to US law.

Investors are required to be actively engaged in the matters of the company. It doesn’t have to be as head of the company, but a managerial position or a policy-forming duty. Any passive investments are not generally accepted in the EB-5 category, except on certain temporary investment programs.

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process

Posted by on May 15, 2015 in Money | 0 comments

One of the most common ways to declare bankruptcy is through Chapter 13 or reorganization of debt. This method requires you to pay back some or all of your debt after creating an extensive debt repayment plan. It is often difficult to qualify for this kind of bankruptcy since it requires the debtor to repay the debt using their own income. In order to be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, secured debt must not equal more than $1,149,525 and unsecured debt must not exceed $383,175.

Once a person is considered eligible, they are required to file Chapter 13 paperwork and receive credit counseling from an agency office that is approved by the United States Trustee’s organization. There are fees and charges associated with this process, however if an individual is unable to pay, the agency must provide the counseling service for free.

The main purpose to counseling is to create a repayment plan to restructure your debt. The detailed schedule will outline how, when, and how much you will pay towards each debt. Courts often have a suggested way of paying debts however there is no official plan. Priority debts must be paid in full according to your payment plan. These include child support, alimony, wages to employees, and specific tax obligations. In your plan, any remaining income must go towards secured and unsecured debts. In some cases, unsecured debts may be discharged partially or completely, however if funds are available to pay towards these, the courts will demand the debts be repaid.

According to the website of the attorneys at Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., speaking with a bankruptcy lawyer can help you fully understand the benefits of filing for bankruptcy using Chapter 13. If you or someone you know is considering bankruptcy, consult an attorney in your state to discuss your situation and legal options.

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Increased Risk Associated with Xarelto

Posted by on Mar 13, 2015 in Defective Pharmaceuticals, Personal Injury | 0 comments

Anticoagulants, or blood thinners, are considered a dangerous group of drugs since they increase the likelihood of bleeding when an injury occurs. Popular blood thinner Xarelto is currently involved in a lawsuit that accuses the drug manufacturers, Johnson & Johnson and Bayer, of not warning against the excessive and possible fatal bleeding incidents that the Xarelto can cause. While all blood thinners are dangerous, there are preventive methods that may limit the risk of bleeding incidents associated with anticoagulants.

It is important to only take blood thinners when a physician prescribes the medication and strictly in the dosage given. It is a common occurrence that individuals fail to fill their prescription or decide to stop taking the prescribed drug without consulting a doctor prior. The act of stopping Xarelto before speaking with a physician places a patient at greater risk of stroke and cardiovascular problems.

Some doctors will prescribe Xarelto to be taken in tandem with other medications. Drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with Xarelto include aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin sodium, heparin, and other medicines that prevent blood clots.

Aspirin is commonly prescribed with Xarelto but can cause severe bleeding incidents such as fatal hemorrhaging. Warning signs of complications resulting from mixing the two medications include unusual bruising, dizziness, red or black stools, coughing or vomiting blood, or general weakness.

According to estimates, around 7 million people are prescribed Xarelto. The popularity of the drug, while helpful to millions in overcoming serious medical issues, also presents the danger of causing millions more to suffer unwarranted side effects. If you have taken Xarelto while prescribed other medications and experienced harmful side effects as a result, consult with an attorney in your area about your legal options.

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Visitation and Custody Interference Issues: Factors that Warrant a Change in Child Custody

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Child Custody | 0 comments

In a child custody case the most important question is, “Who will have custody of the child?” After naming the custodial parent, the other parent will necessarily be given visitation rights, of course, unless he is seen and proven unfit by the court.

Legal experts, like those at Arenson Law Group, PC, agree that it is very important that a child has a strong relationship with both of his/her parents. Thus, courts typically award custodial rights to that parent who would very likely be able to cultivate such relationship between the child and the other (non-custodial) parent. There are other relevant factors that courts consider when deciding on the matter of custody but, regardless of what these are, these should be in line with the most important factor which is the best interest of the child. The child indeed is the most important part in such cases.

There are times, however, when the chosen custodial parent (or sometimes the parent given visitation rights) is not able to live up to the court’s expectations, failing in his/her obligations to fully recognize and respect the other parent’s rights and personhood.

The specific details through which failures are committed are numerous and varied. Generally speaking, all these are considered as visitation and custody interference issues and all call for the same thing: a modification in the original decision pronounced by the court. These interference issues include:

  • Frustration of the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights: these are instances wherein a custodial parent, for whatever reasons, eventually resorts to means that will alienate the child/children from the other parent. The most common of these means is denial of visitation rights
  • Estrangement of the child’s affections from the non-custodial parent: a child’s relationship with his/ her non-custodial parent can be severed through false accusations and/or negative comments by the custodial parent against the other. Unknown to the custodial parent, however, is that this/her ill-talks about his/her former partner also negatively affect the child’s emotional and mental health
  • Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS): this occurs when the custodial parent consciously and systematically brainwashes the children, resulting to the children eventually disfavoring the other parent. Since most Family courts consider as vital the existence of a strong relationship between a child and his/her parents, these courts also believe that the ill behavior displayed by the custodial parent warrants a change in custody
  • Change of Residence: despite the stipulation (in the divorce decree) of the need for the noncustodial parent to be informed of any plans by the custodial parent to move to another city or state, many custodial parents ignore this requirement and even relocate to a distant location secretly. This stipulation is inserted in the divorce decree to give the noncustodial parent the chance to argue against such plans. As this move can affect the child’s relationship with the other parent, many courts believe that it establishes a significant change in circumstances which justifies a change in custody

There are also other reasons why a change in custody may be warranted, such as:

  • Material and Substantial Changes: these include the custodial parent’s remarriage, inability of the custodial parent to provide the required care due to a medical condition, commission of a criminal act, and criminal conviction.
  • Child’s Preference: children aged 12 (or those who have reached the age of 12) are usually interviewed by the judge in his/her chamber or private office. A change in custody (as well as in visitation rights) may be made if the child asks for it, but on the condition that the court is convinced that such change will be in best interest of the child.
  • Relinquishment of Custody: in some instances, a change in the court’s original decision on custody may be made by the custodial parent if he/she voluntarily gives up care and custody of the child. The change, however, will only be ruled as temporary if the reason of the custodial parent is due to military deployment or duty.
  • Unfavorable Environment: if the environment where the custodial parent lives can endanger the child’s physical health or significantly harm the child’s emotional growth, then the other parent can request the court to alter its original decision.

It is important for (custodial and non-custodial) parents to file petitions with the court for a modification of its original decision regarding child custody and visitation issues as soon as his/her circumstances change or if he/she gathers information and proof that changes need to be made for the child’s best interest. These changes cannot simply be decided on and implemented by both parents, though, since the situation they are living has been ordered by the court; thus, any change to be made will need to be approved by the court, especially changes in custody and visitation rights.

Divorcing spouses should make sure that any request for modification of decision is made correctly and that this is supported by acceptable evidences, it is important that every legal move is done with the help of a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney.

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