Justice Served Up Daily

Here is what we are reading today:

From @CrimeADay : 18 U.S.C. § 793(f) makes it a federal crime for a person with national defense information to be negligent and lose it.

Former Silk Road's Dread Pirate Asks Judge To Spare Him Life In Prison (Bloomberg) -  The man convicted of running the Silk Road online drug marketplace as the Dread Pirate Roberts asked a judge to spare him from life in prison, calling the website a “naïve and costly idea” that has ruined his life.  Ross Ulbricht, 31, expressed regret in a letter to the Manhattan federal judge who will sentence him May 29. Ulbricht faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life.  “Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness, however they individually saw fit,” Ulbricht told U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in the two-page letter Friday. “What it turned into was, in part, a convenient way for people to satisfy their drug addictions.”

Health Care Fraud: Little Guys Get Big Jail Time (Orlando Sentinel) - n March, Attorney General Pam Bondi announced she had nailed someone for Medicaid fraud.  The culprit was a 49-year-old home-health worker from dirt-poor Gadsden County, accused of bilking the state out of $13,000.  For her crime, Melissa Letica Simmons was ordered to spend six months behind bars — and repay all the money she stole from taxpayers.  Six months. For $13,000.  A few years earlier, the state accused three hospitals of bilking the Medicaid system as well … only this time, it involved millions.  Yet no one was criminally prosecuted. Or even ordered to repay all the money. Instead the hospitals settled — without admitting wrongdoing — and repay taxpayers pennies on the dollars.

Six Indicted On Food Stamp Fraud In Cleveland (Cleveland.com) - A Cleveland convenience store and six people were indicted Friday on a total of 20 counts related to food stamp fraud and theft.  Abdelhameed Hamdallah, 57, of Cleveland faces six counts of trafficking or using illegal food stamps and one count of theft. Hamdallah is the owner of Frank's Beverage on 12713 Woodside Avenue in Cleveland. The business faces another two counts of trafficking or using illegal food stamps and one count of theft.

Detroit Area Doctor Pleads Guilty To Performing Unnecessary Surgeries (Free Press) -  A Birmingham neurosurgeon pleaded guilty today to performing unnecessary spinal surgeries on patients and then unlawfully billing the government and private insurance companies $11 million for the operations, the U.S. Attorneys office announced today.  Dr. Aria Sabit, 39, entered guilty pleas in two separate cases before U.S. District Judge Paul Borman, admitting he convinced patients to undergo spinal fusion surgeries with medical stabilizing devices that he actually never used, but billed public and private healthcare programs for it. In some instances,

Temple Univ Physics Professor Charged With Fraud (Philly.com) -  THE CHAIRMAN of Temple University's physics department, a world-renowned expert in a complex field that most people know nothing about, has been indicted for fraudulently obtaining key technology to help associates in his native People's Republic of China.  Xiaoxing Xi, 47, of Penn Valley, is a whiz in the field of superconductivity, the ability of something to allow electricity to flow through it easily - especially at very low temperatures - which can boost the performance and efficiency of certain technology like MRI machines.

Dearborn, MI Doctor Pleads Guilty To Healthcare Fraud Scheme (Detroit News) -  A doctor from Dearborn pleaded guilty in federal court to participating in a $4.2 million health care fraud scheme at his Allen Park medical practice.  Dr. Hicham Elhorr, 47, pleaded guilty before Judge Nancy G. Edmunds to one count conspiracy to commit health care fraud. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 20.  Elhorr owned House Calls Physicians PLLC in Allen Park, where he conspired to bill Medicare for in-home physician services that were not provided by licensed physicians, officials said. The doctor hired unlicensed individuals to perform the services and to fill out medical documentation that Elhorr and other licensed physicians signed.

Miami Dade College Students Face Felony Records And Prison For Minor Role In Fraud Scheme (Miami Herald) - Caleb Fadet, who grew up in a working-class family in North Miami, seemed to be making all the right moves to get ahead in life.  He graduated with a criminal justice degree from Florida A&M, volunteered as a tutor in the federal AmeriCorps program and earned a scholarship to pursue a vocational degree in funeral sciences at Miami Dade College in 2012.  But Fadet did something really stupid along the way: For a lousy $550 kickback, he let a boyhood friend use his student bank account at MDC to deposit $18,000 in illegally obtained tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service. Federal agents arrested Fadet two years later while he was working at the U.S. Postal Service and applying to join the Army.

Shareholder Group Says Ernst & Young Knew About Walmart Mexico Bribes (WSJ) - A small shareholder group says Wal-Mart ’s longtime auditor, Ernst & Young, knew about possible bribery in Mexico long before the company disclosed it to U.S. authorities, highlighting a little-plumbed area of U.S. anticorruption law.  CtW Investment Group, which works with union pension funds that hold about 0.15% of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. stock, made the claim in a letter last Thursday to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which oversees public companies’ outside accounting firms.

Washington Biofuels Company Pleads Guilty To Tax Crimes (Seattle Times) - A CEO accused of stealing from his Pasco biofuels company pleaded guilty to tax crimes.  The Tri-City Herald reports  that Michael Spitzauer pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to failing to file a tax return one year and filing a false tax return another year. As part of the deal he acknowledged defrauding investors of $10.4 million and using the money to pay back previous investors and for personal expenses, such as his $1 million Kennewick mansion.  The recommended sentence is four years in prison.

82 Year Old Woman Pleads Guilty To Stealing From Friend (Advocate) - An 82-year-old woman pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing $80,000 from a friend with medical and physical disabilities, and could be sentenced to as much as two years behind bars.  After making her guilty plea to first-degree larceny, Dorothy Mead, of Courtland Avenue, was helped out of the courtroom by two judicial marshals while looking very unsteady on her feet.

Pharmerica Whistleblower Bitter And Looking For New Job (JS Online) -  Jennifer Buth thought being a pharmacist would be a challenging, well-paid, respected profession that would let her help people safely manage pain and illness.  She also quickly learned the dark side of the job.  Shortly after returning to Wisconsin from Florida with a doctorate in pharmacy, Buth was robbed twice in a month. When Walgreens wouldn't transfer her to a different store, she quit.  She found work at a Sam's Club pharmacy, then was recruited to PharMerica's Pewaukee operation, where the national firm filled prescriptions for institutions such as nursing homes.  As the managing pharmacist, she earned six figures and supervised a dozen people. She took her ethics very seriously, and when it became apparent her bosses weren't as concerned about cleaning up the operation, she called federal regulators.

Prosecutor Corrects Evidence Resulting In Lighter Sentences (Oregon Live) -  It's a rare day when a federal judge and a courtroom full of criminal defense lawyers, one after the other, praise a government prosecutor for reporting an error by the U.S. Department of Justice.  But that's precisely what happened Friday in Portland's U.S. District Court.  What brought them all together?  One important email.