Attorney Sam’s Take: Boston Federal Prosecution For Embezzlement Exemplifies Need For Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys

More bad choices in the Boston area. Another defendant who needed a lawyer.

And now…another statistic. one more white collar conviction.

Richard W., 42 (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) apparently worked as a practice assistant in the ear, nose and throat department of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. From January 2006 through April 2009, he is said to have stolen more than $1 million by stealing checks written to the department and by seeking fraudulent refunds for hearing aids and other items.

This is called the white collar crime of embezzlement.

On the 3rd, the Defendant pleaded guilty before the Honorable United States District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro to one count of health care theft and embezzlement, the US attorney’s office said in a statement.

This was the result of a plea agreement between the government and the Defendant. The joint agreement that will be put before the court will be a recommendation of a 42-month sentence, restitution and forfeiture of more than $1 million, the statement said. A sentencing hearing has been set for June 9th.

This is reminder to those who believe we are still in the days in which white collar crimes do not result in prison. It also is an example of how mere restitution, even where it is possible, will not prevent a prison sentence.

If you think about it, it makes sense. Why would the justice system simply shrug off the fact of the theft if it could all go away if the money is paid back? Kinda would make it worth the risk, wouldn’t it?

Well, I will leave that question to some psychology blog. This one has to do with criminal law.

Federal prosecutors and judges do not fool around. First of all, their investigators include federal investigators like the FBI, DEA and IRS. Second, the rules of criminal procedure are not quite as generous to the defense as in the state counterpart.

Third of all, sentencing is an adventure in and of itself. There are very complicated federal sentencing guidelines which the judges generally follow. The sentences take many things into account, including previous criminal history and even allegations for which you were never convicted.

Bottom line? Two main points.

1. Do not assume that stealing on the “down low” from your company is considered a nonviolent crime and so not a big deal. It is a very big deal. People are still suffering after the Madoff nightmare;

2. Just because you have convinced yourself a criminal genius because of whatever scheme you thought up…do not assume that you will never get caught. When investigators come a-calling, do not figure you are also smarter than them and give them a song and dance that will come back to bite you in court.

Rather than jumping to the conclusion that you, a first time criminal mastermind were born with instinct and brilliance that put to shame federal investigators. Similarly, even if you believe you are innocent of what the investigation is about, do not assume that you are absolutely home free.

Get an experienced criminal defense attorney to advise and, if necessary, represent you. Going it alone is foolish and usually just gets you membership to the “Hey, I Bet I Can Make This Situation Worse ” club.

Club meetings are generally held via telepathy between various federal and state prisons.

It you wish to discuss such a matter with me, please feel free to contact me at 617-492-3000.

In the meantime, have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!

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