Criminal Justice News

Monday, June 25, 2012

White-Collar Crimes Prosecuted in the Middle District

MONTGOMERY—June is Financial Fraud Month, according to U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr. As such, U.S. Attorney Beck wants to highlight some of the financial fraud crimes that are emerging and being prosecuted in the Middle District of Alabama.

Financial fraud cases are often incredibly complex and include such crimes as identity theft, tax fraud, embezzlement, bank fraud, mortgage fraud, health care fraud, and wire fraud, as well as other frauds that affect citizens’ money. The U.S. Attorney’s Office regularly prosecutes these crimes. Of all the financial fraud crimes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecutes the identity theft/tax fraud cases the most frequently. During the course of the these identity theft/tax fraud prosecutions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has learned that lists of stolen identities have been stolen from hospitals, state agencies, schools, and businesses. These criminals take the lists of citizens’ identifying information from these hospitals, state agencies, schools, and businesses and sell the lists to fraudulent tax preparers. The fraudulent tax preparers then use these stolen identities to file fraudulent tax returns and divert the tax refunds to the fraudulent tax preparer. These cases have resulted in a tax loss to the people of the United States of over $15 million.

Furthermore, this year alone, the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted a bank manager for embezzling over $180,000, a Social Security employee for stealing $32,000, a state employee for accepting bribes, an attorney who stole over $2 million in a mortgage fraud scheme, a businessman who kited over $1.8 million in checks, a woman who embezzled money from the Bingo Hall at Fort Rucker, a man who attempted to sell a part of a helicopter that belonged to Ft. Rucker Army Post, and a postal employee who lied on his time sheets and therefore was paid for work he did not do. These cases listed above are mere examples of the cases that are regularly prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“As you can see from the examples listed above, financial fraud is a serious problem in the Middle District. It puts a strain on citizens, businesses, banks, and the government,” said U.S. Attorney Beck. “We are committed to prosecuting these crimes to help keep the Alabama business community strong, to keep jobs in Alabama, and to attract more businesses to our state. Those criminals involved in financial fraud crimes should know that if they break the law, they will be prosecuted and can face long prison sentences.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office White-Collar Unit is headed by Andrew Schiff. Financial Fraud cases are usually investigated by FBI, IRS, and Secret Service. “We are lucky to have such experienced prosecutors and investigators pursuing white-collar crimes in this district,” said U.S. Attorney Beck. “Prosecution of financial fraud supports the second of my two-fold goals of making streets safe and protecting taxpayer money.”

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