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Federal charges dropped against landfill exec

After a Louisiana landfill executive and his brother-in-law were charged with accusations of embezzling and payroll fraud, two trials were set to determine the guilt or innocence of the two men. But amid a plethora of issues with evidence and unprofessional behavior by lawyers involved in the case, both the fraud and embezzlement charges against the executive have been dismissed.

What is more, the case has been dismissed with prejudice, which means that the man and his brother-in-law cannot be charged a second time for the same allegations. Dismissing a case with prejudice is typically a result of a complete collapse of the prosecution's case or untimely prosecution, and it can be a huge relief to someone wrongly accused of a serious crime.

The two men were originally charged with embezzling approximately $1 million from a firm that the brother-in-law owned and evading over $3 million in payroll taxes.

There were questions about whether it would be possible to try the men together in one trial, but separate trials were eventually ordered. When two defendants are tried concurrently, there is can be a danger of one defendant affecting the verdict or sentence of the other, so separate trials can be ordered to avoid prejudice.

Someone who has been accused of a serious crime involving financial fraud, especially if the charges allege millions of dollars have been mishandled, should be sure to advocate that they receive an individual trial so that any guilt another defendant may harbor will not prejudice their case. A skillful attorney will be able to fight for you and ensure that every avenue to your complete acquittal is pursued.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "Charges dropped in River Birch case, probe could be coming to an end," Manuel Torres, Mar. 8, 2013

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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