Fentanyl worth $1.5 million found during California traffic stop

A 24-year-old woman and her 36-year-old boyfriend were charged with felony counts of transporting a controlled substance on April 10 after 44 pounds of the deadly opioid fentanyl were allegedly found in their car during a traffic stop. The seized narcotics are said to have a street value in excess of $1.5 million. The woman is being detained at a Las Colinas detention facility, and the man has been transported to the San Diego County Jail. The bail for each defendant has been set at $750,000.

The couple was traveling in a Mitsubishi SUV that was pulled over at approximately 2:30 p.m. for exceeding the posted speed limit by deputies assigned to the Border Crime Suppression Team of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and U.S. Border Patrol agents. The traffic stop took place on the westbound lanes of State Route 905. The Mitsubishi was searched thoroughly after a K9 officer allegedly alerted to the presence of illegal narcotics.

Avenatti's troubles continue to grow

Michael Avenatti, the attorney who became known as the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, is facing charges in California and in New York. In California, his charges include embezzling money from a client's settlement and filing false tax returns to gain approval for a $4 million loan from a bank in Mississippi. In New York, he is facing charges for extortion for allegedly trying to extort $25 million from Nike.

Avenatti, who denied the charges, stated that he is worried about them. In the California case involving the former client, Avenatti is accused of receiving a settlement of $1.6 million for the client; instead of turning over the man's money, the lawyer allegedly deposited it into a personal account and used it to pay for a luxury apartment and payments on a Ferrari.

Former MLB all-star sentenced on felony drug charge

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Esteban Loaiza was sentenced to three years in prison followed by five years of probation by a California federal court judge on March 8 after pleading guilty to a felony drug possession charge. Loaiza entered into a plea agreement with U.S. attorneys in August 2018. The charge he was convicted of carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The former All-Star Game starter will also be deported to his home country of Mexico after completing his sentence.

Loaiza's legal problems began when his minivan was pulled over by San Diego County Sheriff's Department deputies for a traffic violation in February 2018. A search warrant was issued for his Imperial Beach townhouse after deputies discovered what they referred to as a sophisticated hidden compartment in the vehicle. During the ensuing search, Drug Enforcement Agency agents discovered approximately 40 pounds of a white powder that was later determined to be cocaine.

Top types of health care fraud

Fraud can affect any industry, from cybersecurity to home improvement. However, the insurance world experiences the most, and no other sector faces the most scams than does health care, reports the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

While many fraudulent activities are intentional, others may be accidental due to errors. Therefore, it is important to know what the top causes of health care fraud are so you can avoid mistakes that will lead to criminal charges and other consequences.

Pharmacy owner sentenced in health care fraud case

A California pharmacy owner has been sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted on charges of health care fraud. The government alleged that the 39-year-old Pasadena woman had billed Medicare for over $1.3 million in prescription drugs. However, these drugs were never prescribed or distributed to patients; instead, they only existed in the records submitted by the pharmacy owner.

She was found guilty of one count of health care fraud and two counts of wire fraud in December 2018 following a jury trial. In addition to the prison sentence, she was also ordered to pay $1.5 million in restitution to Medicare for the amount that had been paid out to her for these claims. The woman ran Akhtamar Pharmacy, where she reportedly submitted false claims to plan sponsors of Medicare Part D programs between October 2015 and October 2017. She created phony invoices for pharmaceuticals, but never actually placed orders with wholesalers or distributed drugs to Medicare patients.

Criminal fraud: the role of proven legal defense counsel

The criminal fraud realm is a universe that is often misperceived and not well understood by a large swath of the public.

One central disconnect and flat-out myth is this: White collar criminal conduct is not as aggressively investigated or prosecuted as are other forms of crime. Many people believe that state and federal criminal task forces deemphasize probes into financial criminal matters such as securities fraud and billing improprieties in the health care sector.

White-collar cybercrime: Three levels of intrusion

Federal crimes in cyberspace are growing exponentially in number and sophistication. The Federal Government of the United States is actively pursuing tougher sentencing laws. The age-old problem of how to stay one step ahead of their opponents still confronts law enforcement.

Historically, police and criminals continually tried to one-up each other. Each side modified vehicles and weapons, but criminals had time on their side. Delays in obtaining search warrants hindered police. Frustrating loopholes prevented convictions even when unassailable witnesses identified criminals caught in the act.

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