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Category Archives: 47 Miscellaneous Theft/Fraud Victories

State v. Ms. R (DMC No. 14569) – Felony Embezzlement ($50,000 Misappropriated from Interior Design Business), Felony Fraudulent Schemes, Felony Theft, Felony Identify Theft, Felony Forgery and Felony Obtaining a Credit Card by Fraudulent Means – Not Charged – Phoenix Police Department Investigated (DR No. 20XX-XXXXXXX3).

Ms. R was employed as a bookkeeper/personal assistant to the owner of an interior design business. She had access to all information regarding the business, and access to the checking accounts in order to pay business expenses. She was accused of using 3 different bank accounts and obtaining 5 different credit cards fraudulently by assuming the identity of the owner. Over the course of three years, she allegedly embezzled over $50,000.

We were brought into the case and we began defending Ms. R. We contacted the interior design business owner’s husband who was a licensed attorney in Arizona. We were able to demonstrate that some of the credit cards obtained were actually in our client’s name, and those were used actually to pay business expenses. The itemized business expenses on the credit card were then paid by company check. What became problematic was demonstrating other credit cards taken out in the owner’s name had a forged signature on the application in violation of ARS 13-2102. The owners ultimately filed a police report with the City of Phoenix. We had always contended that this was actually a civil matter, and not a criminal matter, and ultimately the Phoenix Police Department did not forward the case onto the County Attorney’s Office for charging. No criminal charges were ever brought against Ms. R. If they had been, and if she were convicted of all charges, she would have faced well over a decade in prison. As it finalized, no criminal charges were ever brought against Ms. R and she has no criminal record.

State v. Mr. D (DMC No. 15136) – Felony Fraudulent Schemes ($350,000 Misappropriated Wire Transfer), Federal Felony Bank and Wire Fraud, Felony Theft, Felony Vulnerable Adult Abuse and Felony Unlawful Use of Power of Attorney – Not Charged – Mesa Police Department Investigated (DR No. 20XX-XXXXXX3) and  CFA Institute Investigated.

Mr. D was a financial planner. His mother went in for surgery and passed away. After that, his father (actually his grandfather that adopted him when he was a child) asked for help with his financial affairs because he was getting older and more forgetful. They then met with an Attorney and signed a Power of Attorney. This gave Mr. D access to a joint account with his father.

At some point, Mr. D wired $350,000 into his own account which he used to pay off his own mortgage. Also, funds were used to pay off about $80,000 on a Discover card. That $80,000 was later clawed back by his father. Lastly, he took a $124,000 payment to himself.  The balance was then used to purchase a third condominium for his father’s trust. Mr. D also transferred two other condominiums into the trust, which resulted in a net positive of $65,000 to his father. Because everything totaled positive for his father’s trust, he assumed that he had done nothing wrong. However, he was contacted by Mesa Police and the CFA Institute regarding various improprieties. Mesa Police were looking into Felony charges of Fraud Schemes, Unlawful Use of a Power of Attorney, Theft, and Vulnerable Adult Abuse. There was also a potential for a Felony Federal Bank and Wire Fraud claim due to the use of the wire transfer to a federal banking institution.

We became involved and we were able to shut down the investigation and keep it purely as a civil matter.  Through the course of the civil lawsuit, a proposal was made to have Mr. D. repay his father $400,000, in exchange for merely keeping  all three condominiums. Ultimately, the case resolved civilly and there were no criminal charges ever brought against Mr. D. Originally, Mr. D was facing mandatory prison time due to the fact that the amount of loss was above $100,000.

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. R worked for the Swift Transportation Co. as an Information Technology (IT) Network Engineer. He subsequently formed an additional company known as PGN Solutions and began issuing false invoices to Swift Technology. He also secured credit cards from Swift Technology which allowed him to make other purchases. These purchases were disguised because he had claimed an Affiliation with Aspen Technologies (a legitimate contractor with whom Swift conducted a considerable amount of business). Unfortunately, PGN Solutions was merely a shell-company and was never affiliated with Aspen Technologies.

Ultimately, all of these purchases (combined with a tax liability) came to a total of $2,192,000. We were able to show the Prosecution that there had been no Obstruction of Justice by Mr. R., there had been an acceptance of responsibility and there was true remorse. Mr. R. had a family with young children and had also assisted the Sheriff’s Department with remote mountain rescues in the past. Ultimately, we were able to secure a deal that included restitution and 57 months in prison. If we would have gone to Trial and lost, Mr. R. would have faced potentially the rest of life in prison.

Felony Benefits Fraud ($50,800 Misappropriated from SSI), Felony Fraudulent Schemes and Felony False Swearing Reduced to Probation with Zero Days of Actual Jail – State v. Ms. M (DMC No. 12750) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2014-002739): Ms. M was born without part of her arm.  She was on SSI Benefits and had to fill out regular forms with the Social Security Administration.  She became married to a gentleman who made good money, and who owned several houses.  In addition, she received a $250,000 civil settlement (which left her with $100,000 after attorney’s fees and cost).  She did not report any of these to the Social Security Administration and, in fact, signed forms stating she was not married and had no other income.

When she was interviewed by the Social Security Agency, she denied being married.  When they showed her a copy of her marriage certificate, she broke down and confessed to the entire scheme.  She was then charged with Fraudulent Schemes Involving Benefits Fraud, Theft and False Swearing.  If all charges were run consecutively and she was sentenced to the maximum, she would do almost 30 years in prison.

We became involved and we were able to show some of the hardships that Ms. M had faced.  We also showed through Mitigation that she was truly remorseful and was now seeking counseling to deal with the loss of her arm and medical situation. Ultimately, we were able to get the charges reduced and the Judge sentenced Ms. M to probation with Zero Days of Actual Jail.

(8 Counts) Felony Identity Theft, (4 Counts) Felony Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, (8 Counts) Felony Forgery & (4 Counts) Felony Presentment of False Instrument for Filing Reduced to Probation and Zero Days in Jail – State v Mr. M (DMC No. 11311) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2012-006755): In 1972, Mr. M was 17 years old and ran away from home from Florida to California, where he assumed a different name.  He went and got his social security card when he got his first job and always left it under the assumed name.  He was later convicted of multiple misdemeanor sex crimes in the Phoenix City Court, and was required to Register as a Sex Offender per Arizona Revised Statue ARS 13-3821.  He had done so for years under the pseudonym.

In 2011, he changed his name back to his birth name.  This was done with the assistance of an “enumeration expert” with the Sex Offender Registry. She had told him he could change his name as long as he never went back to using his fake name, and she did not inform him that he had to re-register the new name within 72 hours of the change. Later, Mr. M was on unemployment and was collecting benefits under his old name.  He ultimately was arrested and charged with multiple counts of Forgery based on the Sex Offender Registration forms that he originally signed, and based on his employment verifications he signed on jobs he had worked at throughout the years.  He was also charged with Taking the Identity of another, Presentment of False Instruments and Failure to Register as a Sex Offender during the course of various moves during his lifetime.  We were able to show the Prosecutor that throughout the course of Mr. M lifetime he had never committed any other types of sex crimes (over the previous 50 years). In addition, he had always paid taxes and tried to comply with the law.  Although he was facing the rest of his life in prison if he were tried and convicted on all charges, we were able to secure a deal to Probation with zero days in jail.

FEDERAL FELONY FALSE STATEMENT in CONNECTION with the ACQUISITION of a FIREARM REDUCED to PROBATION with ZERO DAYS in Jail – State v. Ms. C (DMC No. 9181) (United States District Court, District of Arizona No. 06CR00764-001-PHX-ROS): Ms. C was charged with a Class D felony for False Statement in connection with the Acquisition of a Firearm, pursuant to 18 USC 924 (a)(1)(A). This particular crime carries up to 5 years in prison in a $250,000 fine. Ms. C was dating a convicted felon and she had purchased several firearms using her father’s business address as her home address. It appeared that she had purchased the firearms in order to allow her boyfriend to illegally possess them. She was subsequently indicted for the original False Statement, and the Federal Government was seeking prison time. We were able to convince the Judge that she was merely an infatuated girlfriend who wrote down her father’s address at the behest of her boyfriend. She was ultimately sentenced to only probation with zero days in Jail.

ILLEGALLY CONDUCTING an ENTERPRISE/RICO ($251,000), FRAUDULENT SCHEMES, PARTICIPATING in a CRIMINAL SYNDICATE, (20 COUNTS) FORGERY, (9 COUNTS) IDENTITY THEFT & (14 COUNTS) FRAUDULENT PREPARATION of TAX RETURNS REDUCED to 1 COUNT of POSSESSION of a FORGERY DEVICE (Class 6 Open/Misdemeanor) with PROBATION and ZERO DAYS in JAIL – State v. Ms. D (DMC No. 8354) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2007-008286): Ms. D’s father owned a tax preparation business that she worked for. Her father and his wife would meet numerous clients and sign them up for tax services. It appeared that her father was receiving falsified Social Security cards and other false documents in order to file fraudulent tax returns. After their returns were prepared, Ms. D’s father would ask her to sign his signature on the returns themselves.  This resulted in over $1,000,000 of loss in tax revenue.

Although Ms. D and both her parents were indicted along with other co-conspirators, she had no direct information that these were fraudulent returns. Through Forensic Accounting, hand writing experts and numerous interviews we were able to show that she was an innocent pawn in the fraudulent scheme. Her father ended up being sentenced to prison, and Ms. D had all 46 counts reduced to a single count of Possessing a Forgery Device (i.e. holding a pen that signed her father’s names to the returns) in exchange for Probation with no jail. When she completed probation, that one charge was converted to a Misdemeanor. Ms. D has no felony on her record.

EXTORTION NOT CHARGED; NOT GUILTY/COMPLETE ACQUITTAL at BENCH TRIAL: HARASSMENT – State v. Mr. S (DMC No. 9286) Jan. 27, 2010 (McDowell Mountain Justice Court JC2009-107805): Mr. S had done some electrical contracting work for a neighbor across the street. The neighbor had not paid him approximately $2,300, and Mr. S went over to speak with the neighbor about it. The neighbor’s house was currently in Escrow to be sold, and Mr. S allegedly stated that if he didn’t get his money he was going to contact the buyer and make sure that “the sale did not go through”. Initially Detectives were investigating Mr. S for a Theft by Extortion charge, however the prosecutor’s office declined to file those charges. They did, however file a charge of Harassment. We went to Bench Trial and presented all evidence and cross examined the state’s witnesses. After the state had finished their case and then rested, we moved for a “Directed Verdict” judgement, and the Judge agreed. The case was Dismissed on the spot at that point.

RICO/ILLEGAL CONTROL of an ENTERPRISE; ASSISTING a CRIMINAL SYNDICATE; CONSPIRACY to COMMIT POSSESSION of MARIJUANA for SALE and USE of a WIRE COMMUNICATION in a DRUG RELATED TRANSACTION: ALL REDUCED to FACILITATION to COMMIT TRANSPORTATION of MARIJUANA for SALE with PROBATION and ZERO ADDITIONAL DAYS in JAIL. – State v. Mr. M (DMC No. 9464) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR 2010-005410): Mr. M was employed as a UPS driver and had become involved with 22 other co-defendants who were shipping Marijuana via UPS. After all defendants were arrested, Mr. M was charged with Assisting a Criminal Syndicate under the Arizona RICO (Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization Act). We were able to show that Mr. M was a very minor player who received low compensation for being involved in this Criminal Syndicate. Because he was not the “King Pin”, we were able to negotiate a deal which reduced all charges to the lowest level Felony of “Facilitation” which included Probation and zero additional days in Jail. If Mr. M were to have been convicted of all charges, he could have potentially spent the rest of his life in Prison.

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