Some of the Most Outrageous White Collar Crimes of 2020

January 2020: Schemes of staged accidents land Washingtonians in federal prison for insurance fraud

Two washingtonians from the Spokane area staged a total of seven accidents, including those related to fall, automobile, and boating accidents in order to defraud insurance companies out of payments to the tune of nearly $1.5 million. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Washington, the suspects were, in combination, charged with healthcare fraud, and mail and wire fraud conspiracy. The defendants plead guilty and were sentenced to, respectively, 10- and 13-month prison sentences, probation, and restitution and forfeiture based on the sums stolen.    

February 2020: Nationwide prostitution ring uncovers crimes of identity theft, sex trafficking, and fraud

A New Orleans man was indicted on 12 counts of federal crimes, including “interstate transportation and use of an interstate facility with intent to carry on unlawful activity, wire fraud, sex trafficking by force, fraud, and coercion, transportation of an individual to engage in prostitution, and aggravated identity theft. 

The 38-year-old man used an escort service across multiple states as a means of drugging customers, and stealing their valuable possessions. The man also was physically abusive to woman involved in the performance of sex work in order to “establish dominion” over her. The man’s acts led to the death of one individual. He faces a mandatory minimum of fifteen years in prison, a quarter million dollars in fines, a lifetime of post-prison supervision, and must register as a sex offender. 

March 2020: Illegal body parts scheme leads to arrest of Colorado funeral home operators

The operators of a Colorado funeral home were arrested for selling body parts, and, in some instances, entire bodies without the permission of the associated families. The accused, a mother and daughter duo, reportedly charged families of the deceased for cremation services that were never provided. Furthering the complexity of the scheme, the women created a non-profit donor service organization through which non-approved body parts and bodies were transferred to third parties. 

The women also transferred bodies and parts that had tested positive for infectious diseases despite having fraudulently certified their being disease-free. This violated DOT regulations regarding hazardous materials transport.

They were charged with mail fraud, illegal transportation of hazardous materials, and face 20 years in prison per the 9 counts they face, as well as $250,000 in fines per count. 

April 2020: Media executives charged with bribing soccer officials

As reported by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York, former broadcast executives from 21st Century Fox and Imagina Media Audiovisual (the latter being a Spanish sports media company), and Full Play Group, and Argentinian sports marketing firm were charged with bribing soccer officials.

With fifty three counts brought against the accused, including those related to wire fraud, money laundering, and racketeering conspiracy, the case is indicative of an ongoing development into the investigations against corruption in international soccer. Each defendant, should they be convicted, would face a maximum of twenty years in prison, mandatory restitution, fine, and forfeiture. 

May 2020: Man frauds women in online romance scam, cons them into investing sham company

A man in Santa Monica has been charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office Central District of California for using personal relationships to defraud a group of women out of money, conning them into investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into a fake company so he could keep their money for personal gain. 

The crimes took place over a two-and-a-half year period between 2015 and 2018, with the accused using a series of dating apps to engage with the women, form relationships, and coerce them by claiming to have held certain prestigious accomplishments, including his being an Oxford University graduate, a UCLA professor, and a Navy SEAL, all of which were untrue. 

If convicted, the man could face as many as twenty years in prison. 

June 2020: Man Pleads Guilty, is sentenced for falsely representing the Village People

A Florida man, as reported by the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Oregon, was sentenced to three years federal supervised release for fraudulently claiming he was a representative of 70s Disco band, The Village People, as well as for defrauding an Oregon-based casino out of $12,500. 

The man, coincidentally, had been in state custody in Florida since 2016 on unrelated charges.

Court documents show that the man had used fraudulent marketing materials promoting the opportunity to book and feature The Village People for a live performance at The Mill Casino. 

After several communications back and forth between the man and the casino, the venue signed and returned a contract in addition to a check for $12,500 but soon thereafter discovered that The Village People were actually booked on the very same day in the state of Florida. 

Upon investigation, the casino representative learned that the man who claimed to represent The Village People had no association with the band and was fraudulently representing himself. It would soon be discovered that this was not the first time this man perpetrated such a scheme, having committed similar crimes in 2004, when he was convicted for claiming to have represented comedian Jimmy Walker and musical groups The Supremes and The Temptations. 

The man was ultimately charged and pleaded guilty to wire fraud and was ordered to pay the Coquille Indian Tribe the $12,500 he had stolen.

These are just some of the many, many white collar crimes investigated and prosecuted by the Federal Government. Need representation in association with a white collar crime?

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