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St. Louis Criminal Defense Legal Blog

Dennis Hastert released from federal prison

While a great deal of media attention has been dedicated to O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has quietly left federal prison. Hastert, known as the longest serving Republican speaker was released on Monday and moved to a halfway house in Chicago where he will serve the remainder of his 15 month sentence for bank fraud.

The fraud conviction stems from a 2015 guilty plea following revelations that he withdrew $925,000 from four separate accounts in more than 100 separate transactions in order to avoid federal reporting requirements. The funds were later learned to be “hush money” payments to a former student to conceal years of sexual abuse by Hastert against high school students. 

Considerations on recent health care fraud operation

We submit in today's blog post that reactions regarding last week's announcement of a health care fraud-related bust of historic proportions might range considerably based on personal perspectives held by differing segments of the population.

On the one hand, of course, state and federal law enforcers across the country who were involved in operations that ensnared high numbers of alleged wrongdoers uniformly laud their undertaking and its result. The initiative -- which reportedly yielded criminal charges against more than 400 medical professionals -- has been described as "the largest health care fraud enforcement operation in U.S. history."

A bulls-eye target for regulators: white collar criminal suspects

Here's an interesting point to note about white collar crime, and something that is occasionally acknowledged by even police investigators and prosecutors: alleged wrongdoers sometimes get ensnared in fraud-related matters with scarce -- or even no -- evidence that they committed an illegal act with the purposeful intention of doing so.

We, too, note that fact on our criminal defense website at the trial-experienced criminal defense law firm of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry in St. Louis, pointing out that, "Confusion about legalities, panic regarding cash flow and a 'slippery slope' to more serious legal infractions often inform the background to these types of cases."

Why you should always fight drug charges

If you recently received drug charges, you may think that it is not worth it to fight them. Maybe you believe that the evidence against you is quite strong, or maybe you feel that a simple charge like drug possession is no big deal.

In reality, neither of these are very good reasons to opt out of building a strong legal defense against drug charges. Even if you believe that the evidence against you is particularly strong, a skilled attorney can find ways to fight for your freedom that you may never consider. Similarly, If you think that any drug charge is a small matter, you should seriously reconsider that position.

Criminal law tale of extenuating circumstances, judicial discretion

Many of our readers across Missouri and elsewhere are likely privy to some details regarding a widely reported story concerning a bank heist in Kansas City last year that turned out to be more than a bit anomalous.

In fact, the bank robbery was, well, what … fictional? We impart a summary account here for reasons we believe are relevant and even instructive for readers interested in criminal law matters.

SCOTUS case spotlights cellphone privacy rights

Today you might have gone to a couple stores, maybe a bar or restaurant, a doctor's office and a baseball game. Maybe you went to a place or two you would just as soon not identify to anyone for personal reasons, and you don't really consider that any third party's business.

Especially that of any government official or agency.

When the court weighs in: why a judge hates mandatory sentencing

A packet of sugar.

Things like that are what likely keep Mark Bennett and other similarly thinking federal judges awake at night as they ponder the disconnect between the stated objectives of mandatory minimum sentencing rules in the federal realm and what those guidelines actually achieve.

Do tougher penalties require new drug crime defense strategies?

Drug distribution laws penalize selling or transporting controlled substances. Both federal and state distribution charges vary based on the type of drug and the amount sold. Charges also vary based on whether minors were involved or targeted.

Yet politics also impact drug enforcement. Readers may be familiar with the slogan, America’s War on Drugs. In conjunction with that aggressive stance, the U.S. Sentencing Commission issued mandatory minimum sentencing rules.

What activities do white collar criminal laws prohibit?

Crimes involving financial fraud, commonly referred to as white collar crimes, occur in a surprisingly diverse range of contexts. Examples include mail fraud, investment fraud and tax evasion, when an individual willfully defrauds the federal government from taxes owed. There’s even a type of health care fraud, where a provider might over charge or bill for work that was never done.

White collar crimes are typically governed by federal laws, with accompanying severe penalties. For example, the federal RICO Act is a law designed to bring down organized crime. It allows for punishment of the leader of an organized crime organization, even if the leader was not personally involved in committing the offense.

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