Internet Pirate Sentenced for Copyright Infringement

The New York man who admitted to uploading an unfinished copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine to the Internet has been sentenced to one year in federal prison. Sanchez pleaded guilty in March to one count of uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution. He admitted that he put the work print of the film on Megaupload.com in March 2009 and publicized the posting on other websites.

“Although [Twentieth Century] Fox was able to get defendant’s Wolverine work print removed from his Megaupload.com account within approximately one day, by then, the damage was done and the film had proliferated like wildfire throughout the Internet, resulting in up to millions of infringements,” prosecutors said in court documents.

Facing federal charges is probably one of the most life-changing experiences, even with one of the best Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at your side.  If you or someone you know is the target of grand jury inquiries or federal investigation, we offer you sound advice. As a federal defense attorney, Mr. Carl Barkemeyer handles all federal criminal charges including fraud, forgery, money laundering, and copyright infringement.  Contact Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Lawyer Carl Barkemeyer for a free consultation.

 

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “X-Men Wolverine Pirate Sentenced to Year in Federal Prison, December 19, 2011.

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Louisiana Doctors Indicted in Healthcare Fraud

A federal grand jury in New Orleans has indicted several people, including two elderly doctors, who allegedly netted more than $21 million in a phony Medicaid and Medicare billing scam last Friday.

The defendants allegedly schemed to bill the government for thousands of tests that were never performed, and for others done unnecessarily, the indictment alleges.

According to federal prosecutors, people involved in the scam would take patients to clinics in Metairie and Kenner in exchange for prescription drugs and cash. Prosecutors say patients also were driven to various clinics for redundant tests.

Prosecutors say unneeded neurology tests, pulmonary tests, echocardiograms and other exams were rampant in the scheme, which ran in 2009 and 2010, according to the indictment. An earlier indictment in April named nine defendants and placed the cost of the alleged scam at about $12 million.

Executives for a California company ironically named, Solo Lucky Claims Processing, submitted the phony claims for the clinics, and money was laundered through another California company, Med-Tech, through inflated purchases of old or obsolete medical equipment charged to the clinics, the indictment alleges.  These companies ended up not being so lucky after all.

The clinics would bill the government for the same tests for the vast majority of patients, regardless of their complaints, the indictment alleges.

The indictment alleges that one clinic billed for about 1,000 Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries, another for 1,100, and two others for about 1,500, although the numbers overlap, with some patients visiting more than one clinic.

One of the criminal defense attorneys said that his client thought he was just doing some general medical tests.  In addition, he said that his 80 year-old client is being exploited because of his age.

All of the defendants face a conspiracy charge and numerous counts of healthcare fraud.

In Louisiana, healthcare fraud is defined as:

(1) to defraud any health care benefit program; or

(2) to obtain, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, any of the money or property owned by, or under the custody or control of, any health care benefit program, in connection with the delivery of or payment for health care benefits, items, or services, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both. If the violation results in serious bodily injury, such person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both; and if the violation results in death, such person shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both.

(b) With respect to violations of this section, a person need not have actual knowledge of this section or specific intent to commit a violation of this section.

Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Lawyer Carl Barkemeyer represents those accused of white-collar crimes in Louisiana such as fraud, money laundering, bribery, extortion, corruption, conspiracy, healthcare fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, tax fraud, and securities fraud.  If you or someone you know has been charged with healthcare fraud or another white-collar crime, contact Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Attorney Carl Barkemeyer for a free consultation.

 

Source: The Advocate, “Doctors accused of scam,” December 18, 2011.

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Ethics Panel Rules that Law was Broken

Last week a grand jury indicted Scott Storms’ former boss for helping Storms set up a new job with Duke Energy Corp. while he still worked on Duke cases before the commission.  The grand jury in Indianapolis indicted David Lott Hardy, Storms’ ex-boss, on three felony counts. The first count involved Storms.  The indictment states that Hardy knowingly aided and abetted Storms by communicating with Duke employees about Storms’ prospective employment as in-house counsel, “while allowing Storms to continue to participate in [commission] proceedings involving Duke Energy.”

The other two counts concern Hardy’s alleged failure to disclose huge cost overruns at a new plant Duke was building.

In April 2011, an ethics panel ruled that the former top lawyer for the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, Scott Storms, violated state law when he presided over cases involving a utility with which he was trying to secure a more lucrative job.

The Indiana State Ethics Commission found that Storms, the regulatory agency’s former general counsel and chief administrative law judge, twice participated in matters involving Duke Energy Indiana, Inc., while he was negotiating a position as its assistant general counsel.

Kelly Karn, deputy general counsel for Duke Energy, testified that she and Storms communicated approximately 10 times about the position between April and July of 2010. Storms said he didn’t actually apply until August, but e-mails exchanged between Storms and Michael Reed, the president of the Indiana unit that hired him, show a different side to the story.

The Ethics Commission found that Storms violated two state codes by participating in decisions in which he had a financial interest and by failing to notify his appointing authority of the potential conflict.

Storms was fined $12,120 and barred from ever working for the state again.

Storms said there was no conflict of interest in how he handled cases involving Duke while he was seeking a job with the company.  The inspector general presented the commission with subpoenaed evidence showing Storms had dated his online application cover letter in late April, according to news reports. But Storms argued that he didn’t hit the “submit” button on his computer until August.

Storms’s criminal defense attorney, Thomas Farlow said,”[Storms] is a bright, experienced lawyer who was sought after because of his expertise in utility law… we maintain he did nothing wrong.”

Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Lawyer Carl Barkemeyer handles Ethics Board complaints for contractors, nurses, and doctors in Louisiana.  He also defends those accused of white-collar crimes such as fraud, money laundering, bribery, extortion, corruption, conspiracy, healthcare fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, tax fraud, and securities fraud.  If you or someone you know has a case involving either of these legal matters, contact Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Attorney Carl Barkemeyer for a free consultation.

 

Source: www.law.com, “Ethics Panel Rules That Storms Broke the Law,” “Scott Storm’s Boss Indicted in Duke Energy Ethics Case,” December 15, 2011.

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Hacker Arrested for Computer Crimes

A Connecticut man affiliated with a hacking group was arrested Tuesday on federal charges for an attack on a website belonging to Kiss bandmember Gene Simmons.  Kevin Poe was indicted in Los Angeles on one count of conspiracy and one count of unauthorized impairment of a protected computer.   If convicted of both charges, he could face up to 15 years in prison.

Poe and others linked to the Anonymous hacking group allegedly conducted a “denial of service” attack over a five-day period last October against Simmons’ computer systems, sending tens of thousands of electronic requests designed to overload the server, shutting down www.genesimmons.com.

No other arrests have been made.

There is increasing public pressure for vigorous prosecution of crimes deriving from the Internet, which requires strong criminal defense lawyers to protect the rights of the accused. If you have been accused of computer crimes in Louisiana, also known as Internet crimes or cyber crimes, contact Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Attorney Carl Barkemeyer.   Attorney Barkemeyer’s Baton Rouge law office handles state and federal charges including, Internet fraud, identity theft, and computer hacking.

 

Source: www.cbsnews.com, “Alleged Gene Simmons website hacker arrested in Connecticut,” December 14, 2011.

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Louisiana State Government Official Arrested for DWI in Baton Rouge

Police arrested state Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater and booked him into Parish Prison at 1 a.m. on one count each of first-offense DWI, reckless operation of a vehicle and failure to obey a stop sign or yield sign.

Rainwater was pulled over in the 2700 block of Kalurah Street near Christian Street around 11:15 p.m. Friday, according to an affidavit of probable cause.  A Baton Rouge police officer saw Rainwater run a stop sign and drive on the wrong side of the road, the affidavit says.

Rainwater performed “very poor” on his field sobriety test and registered a .170 blood alcohol level, or more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent to operate a motor vehicle in Louisiana, the affidavit says.

Governor Jindal named Rainwater commissioner of administration in June 2010, making him his top financial adviser.  As commissioner, Rainwater also oversees the daily operations of state government and the crafting of the state operating budget.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence), also known as DWI (Driving While Impaired), the first thing you should do is seek the guidance of a skilled DWI attorney as soon as possible.  Your DUI defense lawyer will explain the consequences of your arrest and will take you through any pre-trial, trial and sentencing that may apply to your case.  He will also request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  If this is not done in a timely manner, your driver’s license will be suspended.  You have up to fifteen (15) days from the date of arrest to request an administrative hearing.  A conviction of DUI/DWI will drastically affect the rest of your life.  You must do everything possible to protect yourself, your family, and your property from the effects of a drunk driving conviction.

A common mistake that individuals who are new to the justice system make is in hiring a lawyer who does NOT specialize in DUI defense.  Many people are under the mistaken idea that all defense attorneys are trained in DUI defense.  This is not the case with the majority of criminal defense attorneys.   If you have been arrested and charged with DWI in Louisiana, you need a criminal defense attorney.  Contact Baton Rouge DWI Lawyer Carl Barkemeyer.

Penalties for DWI or DUI depend on many facts and circumstances of the offender. Generally, the penalties of a DWI of DUI conviction result in the following:

  • Fines that can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, increased insurance costs;
  • Probation, community service, mandatory attendance at DWI or AA meetings;
  • Suspension, revocation or restriction of driver’s license, in conjunction with the DMV;
  • Installation of ignition interlock devices;
  • Monetary restitution to the victim(s);

Incarceration in a parish or state prison for sentences ranging from one day to several months or even years for multiple offenses.  For more information on Louisiana DWI laws see DWI FAQ and DWI Defenses.

 

Source: The Advocate, “Top Jindal official booked with DWI,” December 11, 2011

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Is Synthetic Marijuana Legal?

Authorities have arrested one of the owners of a smoke shop in Lafayette after undercover officers purchased packets of “legal weed” that tested positive for a banned substance.  The business also sells tobacco products such as pipes, bongs and rolling papers.

The storeowner, Richard Buswell, was arrested on one count of possession with intent to distribute Schedule I narcotics.  Agents also arrested four store employees on one count each of possession with intent to distribute Schedule I narcotics.

There seems to be some confusion about whether or not synthetic marijuana is legal in Louisiana.  Synthetic marijuana is illegal as long as the specific chemical compound is listed in the Louisiana statute.  This statute went into effect in August 2010.  If a new chemical compound of synthetic marijuana is developed, and it is not listed in the statute, it is not illegal.  If you or someone you know has been charged with possession or intent to distribute drugs, contact Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Attorney Carl Barkemeyer.

 

Source: The Advocate, “Lafayette authorities arrest five on drug counts,” December 9, 2011.

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Investigation Records to be kept Secret in Case of Future Criminal Charges

The First Circuit Court of Appeal in Baton Rouge ruled against The Times-Picayune and CNN, which have been fighting in court for four years to unseal the records of former Attorney General Charles Foti’s explosive investigation into whether doctors and nurses euthanized 34 patients as they prepared to evacuate the Memorial Medical Center after Hurricane Katrina.

The key issue in the case is a state law allowing prosecutors to keep secret records in criminal cases where prosecution is “pending or reasonably anticipated.”

The judges rejected the argument by the media companies that if legislators intended to keep criminal case files secret permanently because prosecutors might catch a break, the law would have been written to provide an absolute exemption.

Foti accused Dr. Anna Pou and nurses Lori Budo and Cheri Landry of killing critically ill patients at the hospital with overdoses of a mix of sedatives and painkillers. Budo and Landry were given immunity for grand jury testimony after Pou and the two nurses each were arrested in 2006 on four counts of second-degree murder.

An Orleans Parish grand jury declined to indict Pou in 2007. The charges against all three women have been expunged.   An expungement is the process of legally removing records or information in files relating to criminal charges.

First Circuit Chief Judge Burrell Carter, who authored Thursday’s ruling, noted that there is no time limitation on the institution of prosecution for any crime punishable by death or life in prison. Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence.

In Louisiana, second-degree murder is defined as the killing of a human being:

(1) When the offender has a specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm; or

(2) When the offender is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of aggravated rape, forcible rape, aggravated arson, aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, aggravated escape, assault by drive-by shooting, armed robbery, first degree robbery, second degree robbery, simple robbery, cruelty to juveniles, second degree cruelty to juveniles, or terrorism, even though he has no intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm.

(3) When the offender unlawfully distributes or dispenses a controlled dangerous substance listed in Schedules I through V of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law*, or any combination thereof, which is the direct cause of the death of the recipient who ingested or consumed the controlled dangerous substance.

(4) When the offender unlawfully distributes or dispenses a controlled dangerous substance listed in Schedules I through V of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law*, or any combination thereof, to another who subsequently distributes or dispenses such controlled dangerous substance which is the direct cause of the death of the person who ingested or consumed the controlled dangerous substance.

If you or someone you know has been charged with murder or other crimes, contact Baton Rouge Criminal Attorney Carl Barkemeyer by visiting www.attorneycarl.com.

 

Sources: The Times-Picayune, “Appeals Court rejects media request to open files on Memorial Medical Center investigation,” December 8, 2011.

The Advocate, “Court: No hospital records,” December 9, 2011.

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Gambling Arrests in Baton Rouge

Troopers seized more than $15,000 from Hybrid Poker Club on George O’Neal Road, State Police Troop A spokesman Russell Graham said.

State Police spent four months investigating Hybrid Poker Club and sent a trooper undercover to observe the club’s gambling activities, the affidavits say.

The club was charging its members a $35 buy-in to enter poker tournaments, $15 of which went toward “door fees” and “dealer fees,” the affidavits say. The remaining $20 went toward tournament pots.

After games were finished, the dealers would give the door fees directly to Troy Davis, one of the owners of the club, the affidavits say.

“If the house is taking a cut, that’s illegal gambling,” Graham said.

Davis and his wife were booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on one count each of illegal gambling and keeping a disorderly place.

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, contact Baton Rouge Criminal Lawyer Carl Barkemeyer by visiting www.attorneycarl.com.

 

Source: The Advocate, “Gambling probe nets six arrests,” December 3, 2011.

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Insurance Fraud Fugitive is Extradited and back in Baton Rouge

Former Baton Rouge resident Milton Windsor Harris, who once faked his death, was back in the city Friday after an absence of 16 years.

Harris became a federal fugitive in February 1995 rather than face allegations that he failed to comply with the terms of a five-year probation period that followed a five-year prison term for defrauding Prudential Life Insurance Company of America of $516,596. He had pleaded guilty to mail fraud and obstruction of justice in the case.

Harris was apprehended in Northern Ireland earlier this year, flown to New Jersey and then transferred to Baton Rouge late last month.

The 1989 indictment said Harris faked his accidental drowning death in New Zealand four years earlier.

Harris’ beneficiaries then collected the $516,596 in life insurance proceeds from Prudential, the indictment stated. Sheila D. Fowler Harris, the admitted faker’s purported widow, also attempted to collect on more than $1.8 million in life insurance from Lloyd’s of London, according to records of a civil suit.

In 1990, Sheila Harris was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John V. Parker to a prison term of five years for knowingly participating in the mail fraud scheme and receiving the majority of the life insurance proceeds from Prudential.

On Friday, Milton Harris was not represented by a Baton Rouge criminal defense attorney.  He will most likely receive a court-appointed attorney for future hearings.

In Louisiana, bank fraud is when whoever knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice to do any of the following shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or may be fined not more than one hundred thousand dollars, or both:

(1) To defraud a financial institution.

(2) To obtain any of the monies, funds, credits, assets, securities, or other property owned by or under the custody or control of a financial institution by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, practices, transactions, representations, or promises.

If you or someone you know has been charged with fraud or other white-collar crimes, contact Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Lawyer Carl Barkemeyer by visiting www.attorneycarl.com.

 

Source: The Advocate, “Insurance fraud fugitive held in BR,” December 3, 2011.

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When is an Item Common Enough to be used as Criminal Defense? Part Three

Question: Is a visible construction tool probable cause for an arrest?

In United States v. Irizarry, 509 F. Supp. 2d 198, 209 (E.D.N.Y. 2007), a police officer saw the defendant walking with a metal instrument clipped to his pants. He believed it was a type of gravity knife and stopped him. When questioned about it, the defendant explained that he used it to cut sheet rock at his job. Unsatisfied with the response, the officer put him under arrest. During the pat down he found a loaded revolver.

At the suppression hearing, the defendant testified that the cutting tool was a utility knife, i.e., a Husky Sure-Grip Folding Knife, which he had bought two years earlier for his work using the company credit card. A store manager from Home Depot took the stand to describe the nature and uses of the tool, which were intended for contractors to cut sheet rock, carpeting, etc. He also indicated that it was “a top selling product,” and they sold more than 50,000 a year. An expert and owner of a cutlery factory reported that the same type of utility knife was sold under different brand names, and the manufacturer of this one sold over 1.7 million in 2006.

Ultimately, the issue became whether possession of a Husky knife was sufficient for probable cause to arrest the defendant. Judge Jack B. Weinstein held that it was not and concluded: “The widespread and lawful presence of an item in society undercuts the reasonableness of an officer’s belief that it represents contraband.”

In Louisiana an officer must have probable cause or a warrant based on probable cause to arrest someone.  An officer has probable cause to arrest if he believes that the person in question has committed a crime.

If you or someone you know thinks you were arrested without probable cause and charged with a crime, contact Baton Rouge Criminal Defense Attorney Carl Barkemeyer by visiting http://www.attorneycarl.com.

 

Source: www.law.com, “The Commonality of Technology as Defense,” November 28, 2011.

 

 

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