Charges/Accusations: 8 Counts of Felony Obtaining Property by False Pretenses, Financial Card Fraud, & Identity Theft in State Court; Federal Investigation for Access Device Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
Facing: 153 Months in NC Department of Corrections on State Charges; up to 22 Years if Indicted Federally
Result: Plea to Misdemeanor with time served on State Charges and avoided Federal prosecution
North Carolina v. E.D.: Our client was the subject of a large-scale federal investigation by the United States Secret Service for identity theft crimes in North Carolina and several other states. Our firm dedicated multiple attorneys to this complex financial crime case and ultimately brokered a plea resolution involving the district attorneys of two North Carolina counties as well as the US Attorney’s Office – a deal which ultimately allowed our client to avoid prison time and any felony convictions as well as avoiding federal prosecution.
Accusation: Making False Statements to Obtain Federal Worker’s Compensation Benefits, 18 U.S.C. § 1920.
Facing: Five years
United States v. L.F.: Our client received federal worker’s compensation benefits for an injury he sustained while working for the government. While receiving benefits, the client also participated in the day-to-day operations of a family farm. Federal agents covertly placed a camera near the farm and captured the client performing work. However, when asked by the government to confirm his work status on a standard government benefits form (CA-1032), our client answered “no” to the question “were you self-employed or involved in any business enterprise.” For our client’s offense, the government and the United States Sentencing Guidelines recommended a sentence of 10 to 16 months in prison. However, after presenting a number of mitigating factors to the Court, our client received a sentence of only probation.
Accusation: Conspiracy to Possession with Intent to Distribute 500 or more grams of Cocaine, 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B); and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A).
Facing: Mandatory 10 years to Life: Mandatory Minimum 5 Years to Life for 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (possession of a firearm in connection with drug trafficking), and Mandatory Minimum 5 Years to 40 Years for 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B) (conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine).
Result: Five years
United States v. E.W.: Our client was the target of a federal DEA drug investigation involving recorded phone conversations about cocaine and a government informant. After conducting a “reverse sting operation” where a cooperating witness arranged to sell a large quantity of cocaine to our client, law enforcement officers surrounded our client’s car. Our client then attempted to flee causing a collision with an undercover agent’s vehicle. When the client’s car was searched, a firearm was located next to a large quantity of currency. If our client was convicted of both conspiracy involving 500 grams of cocaine and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, he/she would face no less than 10 years in prison. However, through negations, we were able to persuade the government to dismiss the firearm charge. In addition, we were able to reach a favorable agreement with the government regarding the drug quantity that our client would be accountable for at sentencing. Finally, we were able to persuade the U.S. Probation Office that our client’s attempted flight and resulting accident did not warrant a sentencing enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 3C1.2 (reckless endangerment during flight). Ultimately, after receiving a dismissal on the firearms offense, our client received the lowest possible sentence under law for conspiracy to possess 500 grams or more of cocaine.
Accusation: Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1347 and 1349
Facing: 10 years imprisonment and $250,000 fine
Result: 20 months in custody
United States v. A.B.: Our client was a licensed clinical social worker who sought reimbursement from Medicaid for mental health services she rendered. Our client owned a business dedicated to providing these services. Federal authorities began investigating our client when they determined that her Medicaid provider number was being used to file for fraudulent Medicaid reimbursements. All told, the federal government alleged that our client was involved in over $4,000,000 of fraudulent Medicaid claims. Although the client’s recommended sentence was 57 to 71 months in prison, we were able to convince the Court to impose a sentence of less than 2 years based on our client’s unique family circumstances and her cooperation with law enforcement, among other factors.
Investigation by United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Services (FNS)
Accusation: “EBT” trafficking, Section 271.2
Facing: $59,000 fine; permanent disqualification from “SNAP”
Result: Investigation closed without penalty
USDA v. W.T.: The USDA notified our client that her business had violated regulations of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (“SNAP”). The violation notice alleged that a large number of transactions appeared to be “unusual” or “irregular” for her business. Three categories of suspicious transactions were cited: 1. Excessively large purchase transactions, 2. Unusual number of transactions that ended in the same “cent” value, and 3. Multiple transactions from the same benefit account in unusually short time frames. In response to the violation notice, we provided photos, invoices, and receipts related to our client’s business inventory. We also provided affidavits from customers of the business, explaining the types of purchases that they commonly made. With this information, we were able to address each allegation made against our client’s business and persuade the officer to close his investigation against the business. The business was permitted to continue accepting EBT from customers.
Charges: Two Counts Transporting Child Pornography, 18 U.S.C. 2252(a)(1); Two Counts Production of Child Pornography, 18 U.S.C. 2251(a); Two Counts Advertising for Child Production, 18 U.S.C. 2251(d); One Count of Possession of Child Pornography, 18 U.S.C. 2252(a)(5)(B)
Facing: Minimum 15 years and maximum 160 years (life) in prison (15-30 years per count of Production of Child Pornography; 20 years per count for Advertising, Transporting, and Possessing Child Pornography)
Result: 20 years
United States v. T.B.: Defendant was actively involved in secret online communities designed specifically for individuals who wanted to download and share child pornography. Upon execution of a search warrant, he was found to be in possession of over 2,000 videos and images of child pornography. He was also having video chat sessions with teenage minors and his chat sessions contained sexually explicit material. Defendant had requested the minors to engage in sexually explicit activities during their video chat sessions and had created “screen shots” of the minors performing the requested activities. The Assistant United States Attorney described Defendant’s collection of child pornography as some of the most violent and horrifying images ever seen by her office and she requested that the judge impose a 40 year sentence for our client. However, we were able to assist our client with obtaining a mental health assessment and treatment, which revealed mitigating information about our client’s past. At the sentencing hearing, we were able to demonstrate to the court that our client had suffered severe childhood trauma and had never received any type of counseling or therapy to cope with his trauma. Had he received such counseling, he may not have been involved in this conduct. We were also able to demonstrate to the court that our client had never had any physical contact with a minor, despite having engaged in sexual explicit conversations online. This distinguished him from the average defendant charged with producing child pornography. Our client received a 20 year sentence.
Charges: Ten Counts of Receipt of Child Pornography, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(2) and (b)(1), and One Count of Possession of Child Pornography, 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B).
Facing: Up to 20 years on each count of receiving child pornography, and as many as 10 years on the one count of possession of child pornography.
Result: 6.5 years in prison, ten of the eleven counts charged were dismissed.
United States v. M.P.: Our client was indicted for downloading several child pornography videos over the course of two years. In our client’s Presentence Investigation Report, the United States Probation Office determined that our client’s guideline range under the United States Sentencing Guidelines was 168 to 210 months in prison. After filing a sentencing memorandum attacking the merits of USSG § 2G2.2 (the child pornography sentencing guideline), the Court sentenced our client to 78 months. This sentence was less than half of the bottom end of the recommended guideline range sentence.
Charges: Conspiracy to Distribute Oxycodone, 21 U.S.C. § 846; Possession with Intent to Distribute Oxycodone and Aiding and Abetting the Same, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C), and 18 U.S.C. § 2.
Facing: 20 years’ imprisonment on each count.
Result: 57 months.
United States v. D.G.: Our client hired the firm after already having entered a guilty plea in federal court. Due to these circumstances, our goal was receive the most favorable outcome possible for our client at sentencing. Initially, the Government argued that our client was responsible for 6,750 thirty milligram Oxycodone pills. Given this large amount of pills, the United States Sentencing Guidelines recommended a sentence of 87-108 months. After filing lengthy legal and factual objections to the 6,750 pill amount, the Government conceded that the amount of pills attributable to our client was only 3,350 thirty milligram Oxycodones. This concession reduced our client’s recommended sentence to 57-71 months. After filing a motion for a downward variance and downward departure, we persuaded the Court to impose a sentence at the bottom of the recommended range, 57 months, which was 30 to 51 months below our client’s initial sentence recommendation.
Disclaimer: The listed cases are illustrative of the types of cases handled and do not represent the entire record of cases handled by the firm. The outcome of a particular case is based upon a variety of factors and cannot be predicated upon a lawyer’s or law firm’s past results. The penalties listed for each case are the maximum amount of time the client was facing, based upon the structured sentencing guidelines and taking into consideration each client’s criminal record at that time. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories — legal ability and general ethical standards.