Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

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Atlanta Federal Criminal Defense Law Blog

Tax fraud or negligence? The difference matters

As April 15th descends like a cloud upon tax-paying Americans, individuals and corporations alike are scurrying to get all of their ducks in a row. Figures involving income, expenses, deductions, dependents, etc. must all be tracked down, categorized, organized, and reported.

It probably won't surprise you to learn that not every tax return submitted to the IRS is 100% correct and conforms perfectly to the tax code. But these errors can be divided into two basic categories: intentional and unintentional. And that is essentially the difference between tax negligence and tax fraud.

Don't add a DUI to your holiday list this year

The holidays are a fun, hectic, stressful, exciting and busy time of year. They are also a time for parties and gatherings with loved ones, which will often include alcohol. Driving from such gatherings invites a DUI charge which can immediately dampen the cheer of the season. Many people don't realize how severe a DUI charge is, even for those with an otherwise clean record, and it's a charge that can easily be avoided with a little planning.

Charter school white collar crime: Innocent until proven guilty

Ten years ago, charter schools were a small segment of Georgia's public schools. But over the last ten years, with the benefit of substantial tax revenues and the attractiveness of relative autonomy for a small board of directors to design an approved teaching a curriculum, enrollment has jumped to nearly 100,000 students statewide.

Teachers benefit from small class size, and the specific focuses - such as art, science, languages and project based learning - allow students and parents to choose an academic structure providing students the oppurtunity to thrive. But do these freedoms come with a downside?

If you are committing fraud, don't brag about it

$140 million is a lot of money, even for a business that plays in the big leagues.

That was the fine levied against an oil services company, Weatherford International, by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle charges that it inflated its earnings by using deceptive income tax accounting. From 2007 to 2012 the company overstated its profits by $900 million. In each of those years, the company lowered its year-end provision for income taxes by $100 million to $154 million to "better align its earnings results with its earlier-announced projections and analysts' expectations," according to an SEC order.

The ins and outs of the Sherman Act

Competition is the foundation of the capitalist economy here in the United States. Our free market encourages innovation and fuels the development of products and services that enrich the lives of consumers throughout the country and here in Atlanta.

When it appears that a company or an individual is stifling that competitive spirit, the government might step in and make accusations that the country's antitrust laws are being violated. Three main antitrust laws govern fair trade in the United States, and while most violations are dealt with under civil law, criminal charges are possible under the Sherman Act.

Common errors that can lead to Medicare fraud charges

Because so many people are involved in a patient's care, the potential for Medicare fraud is enormous. One simple mistake in record-keeping can cause a billing disaster that leads to serious issues for you, whether you are a physician, pharmacist, physical therapist or any other kind of health care professional who represents a link in a chain of caregivers.

Recent arrests shine light on health care fraud

When the Affordable Care Act -- aka Obamacare -- was passed, it gave more resources and tools to fight fraud in federal health care programs. One such tool was $350 million to hire added prosecutors and investigators for the fight against fraud. The law also made for harsher sentencing in criminal prosecutions of health care fraud and improves upon provider and supplier screenings. The ACA also boosts the sharing of data across all levels of government.

On June 18, 2016, Sylvia M. Burwell, secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, announced a national Medicare fraud strike that caused charges to be filed against 243 persons for falsely billing about $712 million in false billings.

Panama Papers shine light on money laundering, related crimes

The Panama Papers have made a lot of headlines, partially for the people named in them, but also for the allegations against them. Many of the individuals implicated in the Papers have been suspected of money laundering and other types of white collar crime.

For anyone accused of laundering money, both federal and state charges can be brought. That can mean the need for a quick and thorough legal defense, to protect the interests of the accused as much as possible. If you have been accused of money laundering, understanding the charges against you is very important.

Credit card fraud promises big rewards, but risks are greater

We live in a society so dependent on credit and debit cards that people hardly seem to notice when and where their money comes and goes. Gone are the days of balancing checkbooks and counting bills. We often don't know how much money we have until we look at a bank statement once a month.

These somewhat lax tendencies can increase the temptation to skim off the accounts of unsuspecting consumers, especially for those who regularly handle others' credit cards. But credit card fraud isn't limited to one industry or demographic. You may work in retail, mail services or any business that handles financial transactions. Or you may have simply happened across a lost credit card. The intended monetary gain may be fairly insignificant or in the tens of thousands of dollars.

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If you are facing criminal charges, your future, your freedom and your reputation are all at stake. Get help from our committed and compassionate team. Contact the Atlanta law office of Nick Lotito and Seth Kirschenbaum.

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