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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