State Drug Possession Cases

Talking About the State Jail Felony & Drug Possession Cases

Texas has strict illegal controlled substance and narcotics drug possession laws. Keep in mind; even just for conviction of possession of any unlawful drug, you may face probation, jail time, fines, and even a 6 month loss of your driver’s license. If you are charged under the drug possession law, it means the state has accused you of having access to a controlled substance.

Although most of the violations are typically listed under the Texas Penal Code, however it is the Texas Controlled Substances Act, Health and Safety Code, which provide for the finer points of law that is to be applied in specific drug possession cases.

Drug possession is considered as a serious felony in Texas. Based on the amount of the illegal substance, the penalties may range from probation to lengthy time prison sentences. If you have been accused or charged with a drug crime in Dallas, whether drug possession, importation, distribution, drug trafficking or cultivation, you need a foolproof defense to protect your life, career and rights. Do not plead guilty to drug crimes. It makes sense to speak with a qualified and experienced attorney to explore alternatives to pleading guilty.

What is a State Jail felony?

State Jail felonies are the lowest degree of felony in Texas. Although it is the lowest degree of felony still it can leave you as a convicted felon. The range of punishment is between 6 months and 2 years in a State Jail unit.

It also makes sense to mention here, the State jail system in Texas was originally designed to make the drug addicts stay there until they were cured, so there’s NO PAROLE from State Jail.

How does the State Jail felony drug possession case may start?

According to the Texas law, the police may charge you with drug possession if they find any kind of drug in your pocket or in fact anywhere in your body.

Police in Texas can also charge you under the claim of “constructive possession.” This means the illegal substances were in a place, which is either controlled by you or can be easily reached by you. First you get arrested and make bail and then you may have to wait for the lab results from DPS lab.

Remember; drug possession charges can have serious implications. You might have to go to jail and pay hefty fines. In fact police may seize your car or other property. Also; drug possession charges may follow you with a criminal record.

In some instances state jail felony cases can be reduced to a misdemeanor. If the defense lawyer can mitigate evidences and if the prosecutor agrees to it, state jail felony may be reduced to a misdemeanor.

Keep in mind the judge may not sentence you to probation if in case you have been convicted of a previous felony, or if in case you have violated an earlier probation sentence. In those cases, it is up to the judge to decide whether you go to jail or get probation.

Legally speaking; drug possession cases get complicated very quickly. Get in touch with experienced defense lawyer for a consultation on your Texas drug possession charge.

Only a skilled attorney will be able to walk your through the facts of your case and can provide you with the best defense options.

 

Forgery

Legal Guide

Forgery

A fundamental key to a successful defense in a forgery case is the representation by an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The earlier in the case that the attorney is on board, the more options there will be and the greater likelihood there is for an outcome that will be satisfactory to both the accused person and the alleged wronged party.

Contact the Law Office of John R. Teakell to learn how attorney Teakell’s knowledge and experience can be put to work in your Texas forgery criminal case. Schedule an initial consultation at which you and Mr. Teakell will devise the next best course of action after you have been accused of or arrested for forgery (by way of a forged document or a forged signature) anywhere across the state.

There are a number of possible defenses that may result in dismissal of charges, reduction of charges, acquittal or reduction of penalties in a forgery case, including the following:

  • Demonstration of a compelling case for an alternative explanation of how a check was forged or how apparent credit card fraud occurred
  • Agreement for restitution of allegedly stolen money obtained apparently obtained by forging a check
  • Mitigating factors
  • Demonstration that evidence presented by the prosecution is inadequate, inconclusive, or obtained by illegal means
  • Showing a lack of intent to commit forgery

Forgery May Mean Counterfeiting, Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud or Bank Fraud

At the federal level, forgery charges are often articulated as charges of mail fraud, wire fraud or bank fraud in federal court. Forgery charges may be brought alongside charges of counterfeiting, as in schemes whereby treasury checks are forged as well as endorsement of the essentially counterfeit checks.

Experienced Federal Prosecutor

Attorney John Teakell is a former federal prosecutor with in-depth knowledge of the components of a successful prosecution ― and an understanding of how to construct effective defense in the face of allegations of forgery. Call or e-mail attorney Teakell sooner rather than later to schedule a preliminary case review.

18 U.S.C. §471 Whoever, with intent to defraud, falsely makes, forges, counterfeits, or alters any obligation or other security of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

Extortion and Federal Threat Crimes

Legal Brief

Extortion and Federal Threat Crimes

THREATENING COMMUNICATIONS, EXTORTION, BLACKMAIL AND OTHER THREAT CRIMES IN FEDERAL COURT

By John Teakell Attorney-­‐at-­‐Law

Dallas, Texas

I. Generally Title 18 of the United State Code contains several federal crimes of extortion, communicating threats, and similar federal offenses, whether the communication is via “wire” or mail. Sections 871 through 880 of Title 18, U.S. Code, list these federal crimes: §871. Threats Against the President §872. Extortion by U.S. Officers or Employees §873. Blackmail §874. Kickbacks from Public Works Employees §875. Interstate Communications §876. Mailing Threatening Communications §877. Mailing Threats from Foreign Country §878. Threats Against Foreign Officials §879. Threats Against Former Presidents §880. Receiving Proceeds of Extortion

Generally, the crime of “blackmail” has become more known as “extortion.” Extortion is essentially threatening to do something, or disclose something, that will in some manner harm the potential victim of the threat. Often, the threat of the potential harm is done in attempts to obtain something of value, whether it is money or some non-­‐tangible benefit. It is a federal crime pursuant to the use of interstate or foreign communications (see Title 18, U.S. Code, §875, Interstate Communications), or the use of the mail (see Title 18, U.S. Code §876, Mailing Threatening Communications). A federal threat crime can also be prosecuted pursuant to the requirement that it involve a violation of federal law (see Title 18, U.S. Code, §873, Blackmail).

II. Commonly Used Charges

The most common extortion or extortionate threat prosecuted by a United States Attorney’s Office or by the U.S. Department of Justice is for Interstate Communications, which involves threats of harm (can be physical, economic, or other) that are carried out by the use of wire transmissions, such as emails, faxes, computer chats or messages, wires, or other interstate or foreign communications. Mailing threatening communications would have been considered a common method of communicating threats that violate federal criminal law several years ago, but with technological advances with computers and communications, more such threats are commonly communicated by an interstate transmission than by using the mail system.

A less-­‐commonly charged federal crime than threats by interstate communication, but probably more known by the public, is the federal offense of Threats Against the President. The U.S. Secret Service commonly investigates leads of persons who may appear to have made threats against the President of the United States, yet a small percentage are actually formally charged through the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

III. Threatened Harm

The threat has to be an actual threat, and the potential or threatened harm can be economic, but it does not have to be so. A threatened harm can be to reputation or to any information that would negatively affect a person or his/her business.

Title 18 U.S.C. §875, Interstate Communications, references a potential, or threatened: 1) kidnapping; 2) harm/injury to a person; 3) harm to the property of a person; or 4) harm to his reputation.

Title 18, U.S.C. §876, Mailing Threatening Communications, lists the same potential harms from a threat as the subject of prosecution: 1) kidnapping; 2) harm to a person; 3) harm to property; or 4) harm to reputation.

Note that Title 18, U.S.C. §873 contains the phrase “under a threat of informing, or as a consideration for not informing.” This is the classical blackmail/extortion situation, wherein a person would threaten to inform people or the public of a wrongdoing or an embarrassing matter, in order to obtain a payment for not disclosing such information. Such information could be the subject of a legitimate prosecution for criminal activity, yet the “blackmailer” or person making the extortionate threat, would still be guilty of committing the crime of extortion or blackmail (or making threatening communications, depending on how the prosecution charged the case).

IV. Extortionate Credit Transactions

Title 18 of the U.S. Code makes it illegal to make extortionate lending of credit, which is, in general terms, making loans with rates of interest in excess of 45%. These types of transactions are historically associated with organized crime figures and/or “loan sharking.”

Extortionate lending offenses are found at 18 U.S.C. §891, et seq., specifically at §§892 and 893.

V. Investigations

Investigations of threatening communications are often started by a complaining person, who claims to have been threated by email, text, mail, or some other manner. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspectors, U.S. Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service can investigate these complaints of threats or extortion. The U.S. Secret Service becomes aware of letters written to the President or other communications to the President or White House due to their monitoring for security reasons.

These federal investigations, like all other federal investigations, would be prosecuted by a United States Attorney’s Office in the district where the offense occurred, or it might be prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. Some threats could be prosecuted in the District of Columbia, such as a threat against the President.

VI. Sentencing

Any person convicted in federal court of extortionate threats, blackmail, or threats against the President, is subject to the type of sentencing as in other federal cases. That is, such sentencings are guided by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, taking into consideration the recommendation punishment range from the calculations of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. These calculations depend on the base level of the particular guideline, plus the enhancements for factors that address the egregiousness of the incident(s). See the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual.

Counterfeit Goods

FEDERAL PROSECUTION OF COUNTERFEIT GOODS/PRODUCTS

By John Teakell
Law Office of John R. Teakell Dallas, TX

I. INTRODUCTION

When a person hears the word “counterfeit,” he/she usually thinks of counterfeit “money” or counterfeit “currency” or counterfeit “bills.” Although there are indeed federal prosecutions for counterfeit currency possessions and counterfeit currency trafficking, many other forms of counterfeiting have risen to affect the economy of the United States in recent years. Prosecutions of these cases is usually federal prosecutions, that allege violations of Title 18, U.S. Code, §2320, known as the Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984. The business of counterfeit goods and products is of course driven by the desire to make a profit by using a brand name of merchandise, while providing a “knock off” or artificial brand of merchandise that is inferior and/or less desirable than the popular brand.

Counterfeit products include expense luxury items to batteries and cigarettes. Other counterfeited goods and products sold in violation of the U.S. Code are pharmaceuticals, hair products, clothing, and a variety of other merchandise. Known prosecutions have included counterfeit guitars that were represented to be the original brand of choice of those persons seeking the popular guitar. Manufacturers, ironically, have developed a demand for such desirable products. For example, luxury items commonly counterfeited are purses and handbags. Such companies as Coach and Gucci, are imitated through their counterfeited products found in and out of stores and malls.

II. VIOLATIONS OF THE COUNTERFEITING STATUTE

The Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984, found in Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 320, titled as “Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods or Services, makes it illegal for any person to intentionally traffic in good or services, and to knowingly use a counterfeit trademark in doing so. Using a counterfeit trademark is usually achieved by an illegal/counterfeit label, or the packaging used for the counterfeit goods. The counterfeited trademark is a mark that is identical, or almost identical to, the trademark that is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.

III. OTHER FEDERAL STATUTES USED FOR COUNTERFEIT GOODS

Conspiracies or schemes to counterfeit items and traffic them can also be prosecuted under Title 18, U.S. Code, §371, Conspiracy/Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, or Money Laundering, Title 18 U.S. Code, §§1956 and 1957.

IV. TRAFFICKING IN COUNTERFEIT GOODS OR SERVICES STATUTE

The statute commonly used in prosecutions in U.S. District Court is listed here as printed in 18 U.S. Code §2320.

(a) Offenses. — Whoever intentionally—

  1. (1) traffics in goods or services and knowingly uses a counterfeit mark on or in connection with such goods or services,
  2. (2) traffics in labels, patches, stickers, wrappers, badges, emblems, medallions, charms, boxes, containers, cans, cases, hangtags, documentation, or packaging of any type or nature, knowing that a counterfeit mark has been applied thereto, the use of which is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive,
  3. (3) traffics in goods or services knowing that such good or service is a counterfeit military good or service the use, malfunction, or failure of which is likely to cause serious bodily injury or death, the disclosure of classified information, impairment of combat operations, or other significant harm to a combat operation, a member of the Armed Forces, or to national security, or
  4. (4) traffics in a counterfeit drug, or attempts or conspires to violate any of paragraphs (1) through (4) shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

(b) Penalties.

(1) In general.— Whoever commits an offense under subsection (a)—

  • (A) if an individual, shall be fined not more than $2,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both, and, if a person other than an individual, shall be fined not more than $5,000,000; and
  • (B) for a second or subsequent offense under subsection (a), if an individual, shall be fined not more than $5,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if other than an individual, shall be fined not more than $15,000,000.

(2) Serious bodily injury or death.—

  • (A) Serious bodily injury.— Whoever knowingly or recklessly causes or attempts to cause serious bodily injury from conduct in violation of subsection (a), if an individual, shall be fined not more than $5,000,000 or imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both, and if other than an individual, shall be fined not more than $15,000,000.
  • (B) Death.— Whoever knowingly or recklessly causes or attempts to cause death from conduct in violation of subsection (a), if an individual, shall be fined not more than $5,000,000 or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, and if other than an individual, shall be fined not more than $15,000,000.

(3) Counterfeit military goods or services and counterfeit drugs.— Whoever commits an offense under subsection (a) involving a counterfeit military good or service or counterfeit drug—

  • (A) if an individual, shall be fined not more than $5,000,000, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if other than an individual, be fined not more than $15,000,000; and
  • (B) for a second or subsequent offense, if an individual, shall be fined not more than $15,000,000, imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both, and if other than an individual, shall be fined not more than $30,000,000.
  • (C) Forfeiture and Destruction of Property; Restitution.— Forfeiture, destruction, and restitution relating to this section shall be subject to section 2323, to the extent provided in that section, in addition to any other similar remedies provided by law.

(D) Defenses.— All defenses, affirmative defenses, and limitations on remedies that would be applicable in an action under the Lanham Act shall be applicable in a prosecution under this section. In a prosecution under this section, the defendant shall have the burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, of any such affirmative defense.

(E) Presentence Report.—

(1) During preparation of the presentence report pursuant to Rule 32(c) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, victims of the offense shall be permitted to submit, and the probation officer shall receive, a victim impact statement that identifies the victim of the offense and the extent and scope of the injury and loss suffered by the victim, including the estimated economic impact of the offense on that victim.

(2) Persons permitted to submit victim impact statements shall include—

  • (a) producers and sellers of legitimate goods or services affected by conduct involved in the offense;
  • (b) holders of intellectual property rights in such goods or services; and
  • (c) the legal representatives of such producers, sellers, and holders.
  • (F) Definitions.— For the purposes of this section—

(1) the term “counterfeit mark” means—

  • (A) a spurious mark—
  • (i) that is used in connection with trafficking in any goods, services, labels, patches, stickers, wrappers, badges, emblems, medallions, charms, boxes, containers, cans, cases, hangtags, documentation, or packaging of any type or nature;
  • (ii) that is identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from, a mark registered on the principal register in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and in use, whether or not the defendant knew such mark was so registered;
  • (iii) that is applied to or used in connection with the goods or services for which the mark is registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or is applied to or consists of a label, patch, sticker, wrapper, badge, emblem, medallion, charm, box, container, can, case, hangtag, documentation, or packaging of any type or nature that is designed, marketed, or otherwise intended to be used on or in connection with the goods or services for which the mark is registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office; and
  • (iv) the use of which is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake, or to deceive; or

(B) a spurious designation that is identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from, a designation as to which the remedies of the Lanham Act are made available by reason of section 220506 of title 36; but such term does not include any mark or designation used in connection with goods or services, or a mark or designation applied to labels, patches, stickers, wrappers, badges, emblems, medallions, charms, boxes, containers, cans, cases, hang tags, documentation, or packaging of any type or nature used in connection with such goods or services, of which the manufacturer or producer was, at the time of the manufacture or production in question, authorized to use the mark or designation for the type of goods or services so manufactured or produced, by the holder of the right to use such mark or designation;

(2) the term “financial gain” includes the receipt, or expected receipt, of anything of value;

(3) the term “Lanham Act” means the Act entitled “An Act to provide for the registration and protection of trademarks used in commerce, to carry out the provisions of certain international conventions, and for other purposes”, approved July 5, 1946 (15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq.);

(4) the term “counterfeit military good or service” means a good or service that uses a counterfeit mark on or in connection with such good or service and that—

(A) is falsely identified or labeled as meeting military specifications, or

(B) is intended for use in a military or national security application;

(5) the term “traffic” means to transport, transfer, or otherwise dispose of, to another, for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or to make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess, with intent to so transport, transfer, or otherwise dispose of; and

(6) the term “counterfeit drug” means a drug, as defined by section 201 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, that uses a counterfeit mark on or in connection with the drug.

(G) Limitation on Cause of Action.— Nothing in this section shall entitle the United States to bring a criminal cause of action under this section for the repackaging of genuine goods or services not intended to deceive or confuse.

(H) Report to Congress.—

(1) Beginning with the first year after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Attorney General shall include in the report of the Attorney General to Congress on the business of the Department of Justice prepared pursuant to section 522 of title 28, an accounting, on a district by district basis, of the following with respect to all actions taken by the Department of Justice that involve trafficking in counterfeit labels for phonorecords, copies of computer programs or computer program documentation or packaging, copies of motion pictures or other audiovisual works (as defined in section 2318 of this title), criminal infringement of copyrights (as defined in section 2319 of this title), unauthorized fixation of and trafficking in sound recordings and music videos of live musical performances (as defined in section 2319A of this title), or trafficking in goods or services bearing counterfeit marks (as defined in section 2320 of this title):

(a) The number of open investigations.

(b) The number of cases referred by the United States Customs Service.

(c) The number of cases referred by other agencies or sources.

(d) The number and outcome, including settlements, sentences, recoveries, and penalties,of all prosecutions brought under sections 2318, 2319, 2319A, and 2320 of title 18.

(a) The report under paragraph (1), with respect to criminal infringement of copyright, 5 shall include the following:

  • (i) The number of infringement cases in these categories: audiovisual (videos and films); audio (sound recordings); literary works (books and musical compositions); computer programs; video games; and, others.
  • (ii) The number of online infringement cases.
  • (iii) The number and dollar amounts of fines assessed in specific categories of dollar amounts. These categories shall be: no fines ordered; fines under $500; fines from $500 to $1,000; fines from $1,000 to $5,000; fines from $5,000 to $10,000; and fines over $10,000.
  • (iv) The total amount of restitution ordered in all copyright infringement cases.

(b) In this paragraph, the term “online infringement cases” as used in paragraph (2) means those cases where the infringer—

  • (i) advertised or publicized the infringing work on the Internet; or
  • (ii) made the infringing work available on the Internet for download, reproduction,performance, or distribution by other persons.

(c) The information required under subparagraph (A) shall be submitted in the report required in fiscal year 2005 and thereafter.

  • (i) Transshipment and Exportation.— No goods or services, the trafficking in of which is prohibited by this section, shall be transshipped through or exported from the United States. Any such transshipment or exportation shall be deemed a violation of section 42 of an Act to provide for the registration of trademarks used in commerce, to carry out the provisions of certain international conventions, and for other purposes, approved July 5, 1946 (commonly referred to as the “Trademark Act of 1946” or the “Lanham Act”).

Counterfeit Currency Charges

Prosecution of Counterfeit Money Possession and Passing Counterfeit Monies

By John Teakell
Attorney-at-Law
Dallas, Texas

I. OVERVIEW

Prosecutions in federal district courts in the United States (U.S. District Courts) for violations of counterfeit currency are prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office, and usually are investigated by the federal investigative agency known as the United States Secret Service (“Secret Service” or “USSS”). These federal violations start when persons create or print counterfeit currency (money or cash) to imitate genuine currency authorized and printed by the U.S. Treasury Department. Some counterfeit currency printers have sophisticated operations that produce counterfeit currency bills that are difficult to distinguish from genuine United States currency. Others can produce counterfeit bills from home printers that are more readily distinguished from genuine currency.

Commonly, these charges include:

  • Possession of counterfeit currency (sometimes known as “funny money”);
  • Manufacture of counterfeit currency;
  • Passing counterfeit currency or sale of counterfeit currency;
  • Possessing counterfeit currency plates or electronic images for counterfeiting;
  • Conspiracy to manufacture, possess and pass counterfeit currency.

These federal violations, or “counterfeit cases” as these are sometimes called, are found in Title 18, United States Code, Sections 470, et seq. Currency is referred to as “obligations or securities of the United States” in these federal statutes.

II. COUNTERFEITING CHARGES OFTEN USED IN INDICTMENTS

A. Making, Altering or Counterfeiting Obligations or Securities of the United States

  • “Obligations or Securities of the United States”
  • Title 18, United States Code, Section 471
  • “Manufacturing” or “making” counterfeit currency is commonly charged under this statute, as the statute wording clearly sets forth the violation. It is sometimes plead in the Indictment as:
  • “…with intent to defraud, falsely made, forged, and counterfeited obligations of the United States…”

B. “Uttering Counterfeit Obligations or Securities”

Title 18, United States Code, Section 472

Possessions of counterfeit money and sales of counterfeit monies are usually prosecuted under this statute. This statute reads:

“Whoever, with intent to defraud, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish or sell, or with like intent brings into the United States or keeps in possession or conceals any falsely made, forged, counterfeited, or altered obligation or other security of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

Counterfeit Charges

Counterfeit Charges

Counterfeit currency possession and/or trafficking charges are not the only types of counterfeiting charges which can be brought against a person. Since 1984, when the Trademark Counterfeiting Act was introduced, it has been illegal for a person to knowingly sell goods or services bearing a counterfeit trademark. Counterfeit trademarks are identical, or almost identical, to the actual trademark.

Contact John R. Teakell

If you are or your loved one is facing counterfeit charges due to counterfeit currency possession or trafficking, or trafficking in counterfeit goods or services, you need the help of Attorney John R. Teakell. When you hire his services, you don’t just hire him. You hire an entire team of experts who will help you to find and compile evidence in your favor, locate witnesses, and provide expert testimony on your behalf. You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that your attorney will not only be with you in the courtroom, but will be fighting for your freedom outside of the courtroom as well.

The Experience You Need

Mr. Teakell has spent more than 20 years in law, first as a local and state prosecutor and then as a federal prosecutor. He knows their tactics, knows their methods, and knows what it takes to beat them in court. He has been practicing criminal law for over 9 years and has a proven track record of success. He has been named one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the American Trial Lawyer Association, and is one of a handful of Texas SuperLawyers. Forbes’ Magazine recognized him as the White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney for the Dallas/Fort Worth area. When you need a legal defense, you need Attorney John R. Teakell.

Don’t Wait!

The longer you wait to contact John R. Teakell for your defense, the harder it will be to put that defense together, and the less likely you are to have a favorable outcome on your case. Don’t delay. The federal government will NOT forget the charges, and this nightmare will not go away on its own. You need help, and the sooner you get that help the better your chances are to secure your freedom. Contact the law offices of John R. Teakell now and get the help you need to clear your name, restore your reputation, and secure your freedom. It’s never too soon to begin preparing a strong defense. Contact us TODAY!

Controlled Substances By Doctors

Prescription Fraud by Medical Professionals

Drug trafficking conspiracy cases are commonly prosecuted in federal court, but cases of doctor’s prescriptions for pain medications are not the usual conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. Often the pattern of drug conspiracies reveals local traffickers who are recruited to assist in the chain of distribution from the border of the United States to destinations much farther away. However, “pill mill” cases are prosecuted by the United States Attorney where physicians are accused of providing prescriptions for hydrocodone and other pain medications where there is no medical necessity and not within the usual course of practice. Often these cases are prosecuted in federal court, yet some are prosecuted in the state district courts by the local District Attorney.

Roles and Accusations

The more-common scheme or conspiracy includes a physician, or physicians, often from pain management clinics, who prescribe many prescriptions to patients with a significantly higher amount of pain pills per prescription than normally found within a medical practice. Others who are accused are the doctor’s staff, and possibly a pharmacist or pharmacists. If staff members are accused as part of the conspiracy, the accusations usually are that the staff assisted in scheduling patients for continued visits, knowing that there are very high levels of pain medications being prescribed.

Also, allegations in such a conspiracy can include: mass marketing of the clinic; cash payments required for visits; tests conducted on the patients that are not necessary; diagnosis that are incorrect in order to justify giving the pain medications and at the level prescribed; and false urine test results to also justify the medication levels.

Pharmacists can be charged when: 1) they are filling prescriptions that have no medical value due to the overly high dosage rates; 2) the pharmacist is filling the prescription for someone else, although it is not in that person’s name; 3) the prescription is altered to reflect a higher dosage; and 4) the prescription has been altered in some other manner. If a pharmacist is targeted as a person involved in the conspiracy, he may be filling prescriptions that he knows are not correct dosages.

Charges for Pill Mill Cases

Pill mill cases are frequently charged as federal criminal offenses by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as Conspiracies to Distribute Controlled Substances. Controlled substances charges are in Title 21 of the United States Code. Also, Money Laundering is charged where the proceeds of the physician’s clinics, or of the pharmacies, are used to purchase assets and where the proceeds are deposited into a financial institution or brokerage account. Money Laundering charges are found in Title 18 of the United States Code, Sections 1956 and 1957.

Criminal Indictments

Indictments charging criminal tax evasion or tax fraud sometimes contain forfeiture provisions, as do Indictments for other cases in federal court. A forfeiture provision provides that an order of forfeiture is granted if the defendant(s) are found guilty of the charges, thereby giving the U.S. Attorney’s Office the ability to seize and forfeit property that was purchased, or partially purchased, with illegally obtained monies. Also, these forfeiture orders usually contain a “substitute assets” provision, allowing the U.S. Attorney to seize other assets that the defendant owns that does not have a mortgage or lien, in order to forfeit them for the government’s benefit, with the proceeds of the sale going to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Criminal Investigations for Prescription Drug Related Offenses

Investigations are document intense and include numerous records that the agents compile after: 1) subpoenas are issued and served for bank records and other records, such as records of real estate purchases and other asset acquisitions; 2) search warrant executions of businesses, residences, and safe deposit boxes; 3) a financial analysis of the defendant related to his financial condition and the amount of assets he owns or controls; and 4) records of straw acquisitions by others who may hold assets for the defendant so the does not have certain properties in his name.

Sentencing

Any person convicted of tax evasion, tax fraud or other similar charges in federal courts related to prescription drug fraud is subject to the same type of sentencing as in other federal cases. These sentencings are influenced greatly by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, taking into consideration the recommendation punishment range from the calculations of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

 

Conspiracy To Commit Fraud

Conspiracy To Commit Fraud

A Frequent Charge Used In Federal White­‐Collar Cases

John Teakell
Law Office Of John R. Teakell
DALLAS, TX

I. Introduction

A conspiracy is defined as an agreement between two or more persons to commit an illegal act, with at least one conspirator attempting to commit an overt act that would further the object of conspiracy. The use of the conspiracy charge is much more common in federal court, as a lesser participant in a fraud scheme can be held criminally liable if there is less direct evidence of his/her involvement.

II. Federal Conspiracy For Fraud

The federal statute conspiracy statute specifically alleging fraud, that is, material misrepresentations of fact, is found in Title 18, specifically 18 U.S. Code §1349, Conspiracy to Commit Fraud. This statute provides three different underlying federal offenses as the object of the conspiracy. These underlying offenses/allegations in §1349 are:

  • 1) Bank Fraud, 18 U.S. Code §1344;
  • 2) Mail Fraud, 18 U.S. Code §1341; and
  • 3) Wire Fraud, 18 U.S. Code §1343.

Their respective statue of limitations is dependent upon the underlying fraud allegation statute, that is, these fraud states listed here. Bank Fraud has a statute of ten (10) years, which would then increase the statute of limitations under §1349 to ten (10) years, while Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud conspiracies alleged under §1349 are five (5) years for statute of limitations, because Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud have the five (5) years as a statute of limitations.

III. Traditional Conspiracy Charge

The Conspiracy practice area listed in this website lists the “traditional” or original conspiracy, charge used for drug trafficking cases and a variety of federal cases. It is found at Title 18, U.S. Code §371, and it can be used for all types of crimes where the prosecutor believes that there is evidence of a conspiracy.