Hi, How Can We Help You?

Category Archives: 45 Theft Reduced

State v. Ms. D (DMC No. 13219) – (4 Counts) Felony Embezzlement/Fraud Schemes ($315,237 Misappropriated from Employer) and (1 Count) Felony Theft – Reduced to 1.2 Years in Prison – Maricopa County Superior Court (Case No. CR2015-001338).

Ms. D was a Controller at a local HVAC company. She was responsible to utilize online bill payment software in order to handle the company’s accounts payables. She had used company funds to pay her personal credit card 55 times for a total $262,879. A reconciliation of the books had not been done for three months, and the owner became suspicious.

The owner also noticed that Ms. D was living an extravagant lifestyle for somebody who wasn’t paid very much. The owner had the company’s CPA do a reconciliation, and the Fraud Scheme was discovered. In addition to the 55 credit card payments, it was also discovered that two credit card refunds were posted on Ms. D’s account for a total of $5,048. She also made deposits to her husband’s bank account as fake payroll in an amount of $11,463. She had personal air conditioning units installed in her home for $9,020, and she did not take any deduction for her personal health insurance for an amount of $25,551. Lastly, she had the company pay her childcare costs for approximately $5,000. The total amount of the Fraud was $315,237.

Once Detectives were brought in, Ms. D was questioned and then arrested. She then secured our services. We immediately began combing through all of the financial records in order to verify whether these claims were true. We also began making arrangements for Ms. D to secure funds in order to attempt to make as much restitution as possible. We dealt with the Prosecutor and the victim’s attorney, and we explained Ms. D’s history and other mitigating factors. Ultimately, we secured an offer of probation with 1.2 years in prison. If Ms. D were originally convicted on all 5 charges, which occurred on multiple dates, she could have been sentenced up to 62.5 years in prison. She successfully completed her brief prison time and her family is still intact.

State v. Mr. F (DMC No. 13324) – (26 Counts) Felony Benefits Fraud ($6,200 Misappropriated from Unemployment Insurance), Fraudulent Schemes and Theft – Reduced to Misdemeanor False Statements with Zero Days in Jail – Maricopa County Superior Court (Case No. CR2015-000358).

Mr F had previously worked for a credit card processing company which was owned by his parents. He was ultimately let go from that job because of various problems. However, his parents did not tell him that they kept him on the payroll at minimum wage, and then direct deposited those paychecks to a bank account that he did not know about. They did this in order so that their son would not lose health insurance and would be able to pay child support that came out of that bank account. Mr. F, unbeknownst to his parents, then began applying for unemployment benefits.

After that point in time, he went to work for another payment solutions company for approximately 6 year. The company was audited by the Department of Economic Security’s Inspector General, Fraud Department, Criminal Investigator. It was discovered that Mr. F had received approximately $6,200 in benefits for unemployment while he was on his parents’ payroll. We became involved in the case and immediately contacted the Assistant Attorney General who was handling the prosecution. We explained the situation and made full restitution as quickly as possible. The Prosecutor still felt that Mr. F should have known he received benefits for 26 months, because his child support payment was still being made. However, he agreed to dismiss all but 1 Count of False Statements per ARS 23-785, which was amended down to a Misdemeanor, and included a $166 fine. Mr. F was originally facing quite a bit of prison time, but it was ultimately resolved with a small fine and no jail whatsoever, and he only has a Misdemeanor on his record.

Mr. D was a Sergeant for the Phoenix Police Department who had worked there for a number of years. An audit was conducted on his timesheets by the Department’s Professional Standards Bureau Inspection Unit based upon tips from other disgruntled officers who worked below Sergeant D. It was determined that Sergeant D had falsified his timesheets and had been overpaid for 206 hours of work based upon either showing up late, leaving early, or not showing up to work at all, and yet claiming full time employment. Ultimately, Sergeant D was charged with Felony Tampering with Public Records per A.R.S. 13-2407, Felony Fraudulent Schemes and Felony Theft. After these charges arose, Sergeant D retired from the Phoenix Police Department.

When we became involved in the case, we had Sergeant D pay back the misappropriated $9,861 immediately. In addition, we sent the Prosecutor mitigation documents showing that Sergeant D had been in the Air Force, was married with children, and he had been stabbed while on duty as a Police Officer, in which he had received multiple service metals for bravery and other commendations. We also showed that he was fired upon by a suspect who ended up killing a fellow Officer directly in front him. This left Sergeant D with PTSD that was never properly treated or addressed by the Phoenix Police Department.

Once we received an offer to the Class 6 Open/Misdemeanor Theft with Probation, we then proceeded to Sentencing. After a very detailed Sentencing with numerous letters and people from the community speaking on Sergeant D’s behalf, we were able to secure a Sentence of only 9 months of Probation and zero days in jail. Initially, Sergeant D was facing the prospect of prison time and the loss of his pension. Neither of those things happened.

Mr. W had gone through a divorce and his ex-wife lived with their child in California. He would have the child over Christmas break and in the summers. He applied for benefits through AHCCCS (Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System) for healthcare and for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) for food stamps. He included his daughter as a full time dependent and resident and part of those benefits. Over time, he received more than $10,000 in benefits.

An Investigator for AHCCCS began looking through the case and called Mr. W. He told the Investigator that his child did live with him, however, he could not remember the name of the grade school the child attended. The Investigator then called the mother who confirmed that the child lived with her year-round, except for summers and during the Christmas break. Ultimately, Mr. W was charged with 8 Counts of Unlawful Use of Food Stamps/Benefit Fraud, 2 Counts of Fraud Schemes and 2 Counts of Theft. Cost of the actual loss and investigation came to a grand total of $11,521.

Once we became involved in the case, we began having Mr. W repay the government all of the money that they had lost. We informed the Prosecutor of this and we also sent over a mitigation package. That mitigation package included letters from family, friends and coworkers, totaling 40 in number. Due to the great amount of community support, combined with a lack of any real criminal history, the Prosecutor agreed to extend an offer for Attempted Fraudulent Schemes as a Class 6 Undesignated Felony which allowed Mr. W to earn a Misdemeanor. It also included Probation with zero days in jail. Initially, Mr. W was facing well over a decade in prison if convicted on all charges and sentenced to the maximum consecutive punishment.

Mr. W worked as a Banquet Captain for the Omni Hotel Management Corporation for years. For a period of 117 weeks, he collected Unemployment Benefits as if he was unemployed. When he would get work, he was supposed to report any earnings he received. He only reported earnings 17 times out of the 117 weeks, and all of those earnings were underreported. He was ultimately contacted by an Investigator, and he claimed that he only had sporadic work, when in reality, he was working full time. He never sent a letter of explanation, which they had requested.

Ultimately, Mr. W was charged with 35 Counts of False Statements in order to obtain benefits (Benefits Fraud), 1 Count of Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices and 1 Count of Theft. If he was convicted of all counts and given the maximum, he could have spent more than 80 years in prison.

After Mr. W became our client, we contacted the Assistant Arizona Attorney General handling the case and we worked out a restitution plan. In exchange for fully paying back all of the amount of the loss plus interest (just over $26,000), the Prosecutor agreed to dismiss all but 3 Counts of False Statements and offered a Class 6 Undesignated Offense, with a possibility of it being designated as a Misdemeanor on the date of Sentencing. At Sentencing, we were able to show the Judge that Mr. W was remorseful and appreciated the wrongfulness of his actions. In addition, we showed that he had a lack of criminal history, that he had good character, had performed prior good acts, and that he had cooperated and behaved appropriately during the pre-trial and pre-sentencing period of the case. The Judge agreed with us and immediately designated Mr. W’s case as a Misdemeanor on the date of Sentencing.

Ms. K was in the Air Force from 1981 through 2001 and received an Honorable Discharge. She was initially rated at 90% service-connected disability for various medical conditions from 2001 to 2003. Then from 2006 until 2014, she was rated at 100% medically disabled. She had vowed that she was unemployable.

Just prior to 2007, she applied to the Veteran’s Administration for increased compensation based on her unemployability. She stated that she formerly was employed by a large airline as an Operational Manager but had recently become 100% unemployed. The VA approved her for $2,560 a month from that point forward. From approximately January 1, 2007 to February 1, 2014, she received a total of $90,579 in Disability Benefits.

What she failed to do was update the VA that she had gained employment from late December of 2006 through February 7, 2014 and was working fulltime. Because of this Benefits Fraud, she was subsequently charged with 1 Count of Fraudulent Schemes, 1 Count of Theft, and 3 Counts of Forgery.  If we would have proceeded to Trial and lost on all 5 Counts, she could have received up to 68 years in prison.

We were able to use significant mitigation to Ms. K’s benefit. We were able to show the Prosecutor that she had no prior felony convictions, that she was a single-parent mother and was an active member in the Baptist Church, and she had a fairly- outstanding military career that left her somewhat disabled mentally (which may have played a part in her crime). She cooperated fully in the investigation and truly had remorse. Ultimately, we negotiated a deal that could have allowed the Judge to have sentenced Ms. K up to 9 months in jail. In the end, the Judge sentenced her to Probation with 6 months of jail and the ability to be released daily for work under the Work Furlough Program.

Ms. N. was employed as an Office Manager for a corporation from 2005 to 2014. She was caught fraudulently distributing 401(k) profit share distribution, which belonged to other employees, into her personal 401(k) account. That amount totaled $6,600. While she was being terminated, she admitted to the Theft. After a complete and thorough accounting was done by the corporation, it was determined that other amounts were also missing. In addition to the 401(k) money, she submitted fraudulent expense reimbursements between 2010 and 2014, which totaled $146,600. Lastly, as for two terminated employee 401(k) amounts, which were misappropriated, these totaled $12,100. Although all losses totaled $158,820, the corporation had to reimburse $165,400 into accounts due to their costs and gains.

We were able to work with the Prosecutor to show extensive mitigation that Ms. N had regarding her life. She was the youngest of two children and experienced a traumatic upbringing. She grew up in significant poverty, and her father was a former Vietnam Marine with PTSD, who was severely alcoholic and was physically and verbally abusive to both her and her mother. She began working at 16 in order to provide for herself and the family. She also was periodically homeless. Eventually, she gave birth to her first daughter when she was 19-years old, and then had three children before she was hired by the corporation.

Her first day on the job, she was a single mother to three and was only being paid $35,000 per year. Shortly after being hired, her mother died, and Ms. N was now responsible to pay all of the funeral costs and other expenses left behind by her mother. Although, none of this is an excuse to steal, it was mitigation. A few months later her father passed away from stage 4 lung cancer approximately one week after this investigation had begun. In addition, her only prior criminal conviction was for a misdemeanor DUI.

Ultimately, the Prosecutor agreed to a plea which included probation with 1 year of prison. Originally, she was facing much higher/longer prison time due to the fact that there were multiple offenses committed on different dates, and the total amount of loss was above $100,000.

Ms. W worked for the Hayden Police Department in Gila County. She was in charge of taking cash pertaining to vehicle impounds, issuing receipts and releasing the vehicles. The Hayden Police Department alleged that money from 30 Impound Hearings, at $150 each, were missing and there were no receipts. All 30 of these impound fees were paid in cash by various citizens, totaling $4,500.

According to detectives, various witnesses claimed that they were told by Ms. W that they must pay in cash. Ultimately, a warrant was issued for charges regarding 8 Counts of Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices. After we were retained, we had the warrant quashed and had the case set to a Case Management Conference. After speaking with the Prosecutor on the case, we informed them that they did not have the following information which would be necessary for a successful prosecution: no clean copy of the Authorization for Release of Impound Vehicle covering the section of the towing and charging checkbox area; no copies of the tow sheets and citations for two particular cases; no copy of the citation in one of the departmental reports; and no copy of the Authorization for Release of Impound Vehicles without Post-it notes covering up vital information. Ultimately, the Prosecutor filed a Motion to Dismiss without Prejudice regarding these charges, which left Ms. W. with a clean record.

(40 COUNTS) FELONY COMPUTER TAMPERING, TAMPERING with PHYSICAL EVIDENCE, ACQUISITION of a NARCOTIC DRUG, THEFT and FRAUD SCHEMES REDUCED to 3.75 YEARS in PRISON – State v. Mr. M (DMC No. 12321) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2012-007417): Our office was retained after Mr.  M, a former Phoenix Police Detective, was arrested and extradited to Arizona. Initially, we were retained for just the Initial Appearance which involved a 40 count indictment for Computer Tampering per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2316, Tampering with Physical Evidence per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2809, Acquisition of Narcotic Drugs per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-3408, Theft per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1802, and Fraudulent Schemes per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-2310. Subsequent to this, the client retained us for the entire case.

At the not guilty Arraignment, a brief discussion was had with  the  assigned  prosecutor, who  advised  that  there  was  over  5000  pages  of discovery. He advised he would be filing a motion to designate the case “complex.” After this hearing, which was attended by my partner, Certified Criminal Law Specialist Christine Whalin, she and I met to discuss the motion to modify release conditions that had been filed and the anticipated voluminous discovery that was forthcoming.

In Court, co-counsel and I appeared to address the bond on the matter. We ascertained a $50,000 secured bond, which the client’s family subsequently posted. At the initial pretrial conference the, Commissioner granted the State’s motion to designate the case “complex” and reset the last day. An additional motion to modify release conditions had been filed at this time and a hearing was set to address that two weeks after the IPTC date. Subsequent to this court hearing co-counsel and I met with Mr. M to discuss his options in this case and the strategy that would be taken. During this meeting, we determined the best strategy would be for us to try to negotiate the best plea offer possible and  potentially  have  our  client  speak  with  the  Prosecutor  and/or  Detective.  Soon after this meeting, we received our first offer from the Prosecutor, which was five years in the Department of Corrections with a probation tail.  On Two weeks later, myself and co-counsel appeared to address our additional motion to modify release conditions – specifically requesting that Mr. M be able to reside in Pennsylvania while the case was ongoing. This motion was granted by the court.

After having received the voluminous discovery on this case, both co-counsel and I spent hours reviewing and summarizing the accusations being made by the State. We also spoke with our client about sending information to provide in a deviation letter to the Prosecutor.

A deviation letter was prepared and submitted to the Prosecutor for review. Although the deviation was denied, the Prosecutor indicated he was open to reconsideration with additional information. Subsequently, interviews began to commence. Soon after this, the Prosecutor approached us regarding a potential “free-talk” with our client. A free-talk occurred another free-talk occurred shortly thereafter. After the second free-talk, a modified offer was extended to either five years in the Department of Corrections or a range of three to seven years. After conveying this new offer to Mr. M, he requested we counter with a request for intensive probation for a stipulated term of seven years with counseling, community service and a fine of $10,000. This counter-offer was requested and staffed by the Prosecutor and ultimately we were successful in getting a meeting scheduled with the elected Maricopa County Attorney and the Prosecutor. We met at the County Attorney’s Office in an effort to have a probation offer extended. Unfortunately, there was no agreement on that, however, the State advised that we could pick a judge for change of plea and sentencing and they would not oppose whoever we chose.

Eventually a settlement conference occurred before a settlement Judge. At this time, Mr. M entered the plea agreement that allowed for a range in the Department of Corrections of anywhere between three to seven years. The plea was not accepted at the time that it was entered, in order to allow Mr. M to remain out of custody pending sentencing. I appeared for the sentencing and argued mitigating factors. Mr. M was sentenced to the low end of the range at 3.75 years in the Department of Corrections, and given credit for 53 days of presentence incarceration. He was placed on probation for 3 years following that term in the Department of Corrections.

CONVICTION RESERVED PCR (Rule 32) LATER REDUCED TO Class 6 Open/ Misdemeanor with ZERO DAYS in JAIL/ Class 3 FELONY THEFT ($20,000) – State v. Mr. B (DMC No. 11873) (Maricopa County Superior Court No. CR2010-135297): Mr. B was a business man who took a $20,000 deposit for a Real Estate transaction which was to occur in Florida. Eventually, the Real Estate market turned and the Real Estate deal did not go through. The $20, 000 was spent covering costs. He was subsequently indicted for a Class 3 Felony Theft.

Mr. B used the same Attorney for his civil case to do his criminal case. This Attorney did not relay the State’s initial plea offer to Mr. B. In addition, the Trial Attorney did not do any discovery or research prior to Trial. Lastly, he presented an improper closing argument to the Jury. Our firm was hired to do a Post Conviction Release Petition pursuant to Rule 32 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure. We ultimately were allowed to have an Evidentiary Hearing and prove to the Trial Judge that the previous Trial counsel was “ineffective” on behalf of Mr. B. Once the Conviction was Reversed and the case came back to the Trial level, we convinced the Prosecutor to offer a Class 6 Open/ Misdemeanor which became a Designated Misdemeanor upon Mr. B’s successful completion of probation. He did not serve any time in jail.

Call Now Button