Articles Posted in Attorney Keith Corbett

US News and World Report has once again included the Barone Defense Firm as among the region’s Best Law Firms for DUI/DWI Defense. The Firm has been so listed since 2010.

US News and World Report ranks lawyers based on a variety of criteria. While the award is granted by the publication, it is essentially based on peer review. For a law firm to be ranked by US News and World Report a lawyer in the subject firm must first be among those lawyers who have previously received a “Best Lawyers” award by US News and World Report. These lawyers have passed peer review, meaning that other lawyers in the region, or nationally if applicable, have indicated that the lawyer possesses sufficient subject matter expertise, is known to possess and execute a high level of responsiveness to the rigors and demands of the profession, including things such as decorum with the courts, timely filing of pleadings and papers, responding to clients and opposing counsel, and many other professional demands. Peers are also asked whether they would refer a matter to a firm and whether they consider a firm a worthy competitor. On this basis, the Barone Defense Firm has a tier one regional ranking for the area of DUI/DWI.

For more than 20 years the Barone Defense Firm has developed its pristine reputation for DUI/DWI defense and distinguished itself among its peers for excellence in this challenging area of criminal law. However, for the later portion of the past 20-year period the Barone Defense Firm has expanded its practice to include other areas of criminal defense at both the State and Federal level and has developed expertise in such disparate areas as firearms law, criminal sexual conduct including the possession manufacture and distribution of child pornography (at the Federal level) and CSAM (child sexually abuse material) and other CSC cases at the state level, and many areas of white collar criminal including health care fraud, prescription fraud, complex financial crimes and RICO.

The Barone Defense Firm is pleased to announce that Patrick Barone, the Firm’s founding member, has been admitted to practice before the Federal District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Mr. Barone has been admitted to practice before the Federal District Court for the Eastern District since 1993.

Mr. Barone was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 1991. He was admitted to the State Bar of Illinois in 1993.  However, being admitted to the state bar in one or more states does not authorize a lawyer to practice before any Federal Court.  This is because the rules applicable to Federal Courts differ from State Courts in several ways.  First, simply being admitted to a state bar is necessary but insufficient. Admission before a specific Federal Court requires that the attorney seeking admission prepare a petition to be filed with the Federal Court.  This petition must be supported by a sponsoring attorney who vouches for the attorney seeking admission.  The sponsoring attorney must already be a member of Federal Court where the petitioning lawyer is seeking admission.

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Federal Criminal Defense Team

Michigan doctors are under heightened risk of prosecution for prescription fraud.  This is because Michigan, and specifically the Eastern District of Michigan, has been identified as one of the top 12 places in the Country for opioid fraud and abuse. For this reason alone it’s important for Michigan doctors to be aware of how prescription fraud cases are identified and prosecuted.

Broadly speaking, prescription fraud is committed when someone fraudulently obtains prescription drugs. The fraud can be committed in various ways. For example, there have been cases in which doctors wrote fake prescriptions for pain killers and gave the scripts to a “runner.” The runner then takes the scripts to a knowing or unknowing pharmacy for the prescription to be filled. In these cases, the drugs are typically re-sold on the street at a very high markup. The funds are then distributed back up the chain.

Another example comes from a recent prescription fraud case in Michigan. In this case, two men worked together. One would impersonate a doctor and call a prescription into a pharmacy. The two men then drove to the pharmacy and the other would go in and try to obtain the prescription drugs.

The Payroll Protection Program was included in the CARES Act to provide small businesses with funds to pay employees when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Like almost any government assistance program in history, there have been instances of fraud related to PPP loans. The Department of Justice and Office of The United States Attorneys have been on the lookout for businesses and people who fraudulently obtained PPP funds. If you have been contacted by law enforcement about your PPP funds, do not make any statements to law enforcement and call an experienced Federal Fraud Lawyer at the Barone Defense Firm immediately.

What are the qualifications to be eligible for the PPP?

The first requirement to be eligible for the PPP is that the business must be a small business as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Your business must not have more than 500 employees or must meet the size standards set by the SBA. The SBA sets size standards in terms of revenue dollars and number of employees. For example, if you own a brewery, you’re considered a small business by the SBA if you have 1,250 employees or less

Doctor Roger D. Beyer recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan. In a complaint filed on May 8, 2020, the US Attorney assigned to the case set out several allegations.

Regarding healthcare fraud, the complaint alleged that Dr. Beyer’s office improperly coded procedures reported to Medicare. The complaint alleged that Dr. Beyer directed his staff to perform a rectal diagnostic procedure repeatedly, beyond the initial diagnostic purpose of the procedure. Dr. Beyer’s offices then continuously billed Medicare for the diagnostic service even though they weren’t medically necessary. By continuously performing the diagnostic service, Dr. Beyer’s office could bill Medicare each time for that service even though it wasn’t medically necessary.

What are CPT codes?

George Tompkins , a Texas pharmacist from Houston, was recently given a 10-year prison term after a jury convicted him of multiple felony counts, including health care fraud, money laundering and wire fraud.  Known as the “compound king”, the 75-year-old was also convicted of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks.  Mr. Tomkins was first arraigned on the 17-count indictment back in February 2018.

The evidence received by the court during the 6-day jury trial suggested that Mr. Tompkins, working with others, devised a health care prescription fraud scheme whereby they unlawfully received almost twenty-two million dollars in government payments for prescriptions that were medically unnecessary. The money was paid to Tomkins by the Department of Labor, and most of the prescriptions were given to patients referred to them by and through their contract to provide such services to state and federal employees. The payments were contracted through the Federal Employees Compensation Act program (FECA).  Many hundreds of patients were involved in this prescription fraud scheme.

To assist in their criminal enterprise, Mr. Tompkins and his cohorts created a couple different shell companies through which much of the fraud was run.  They used these companies to launder their ill-gotten proceeds. Part of the fraud involved continuing to ship prescriptions to their “patients” even after they had repeatedly been told to stop sending them.

One of the many unintended consequences of the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic may well be a significant increase in financial fraud. This is due in part to the central banks lowering of the prime interest rate to zero percent. With money this “cheap” companies and individuals are encouraged to borrow money, which is all well and good until the money must be repaid. And when money is cheap, individuals may use the money they have borrowed recklessly, taking greater risks of loss.

Financial fraud occurs when an individual or corporation offers to provide goods, services, or financial benefits knowing that that these things do not and may never exist. In these situations, the victims of financial fraud trade money for these benefits, but never receive what’s been promised to them.  This is because the perpetrators of the financial fraud know that the benefits  do not exist, were never intended to be provided, or were misrepresented. Typically, victims give money but never receive what they paid for.

Possibly the most famous historical example of financial fraud occurred in the 1870s and is referred to as a “Ponzi scheme.”  Charles Ponzi was a businessman and financier who created the Securities and Exchange Company.  Using this as a front to defraud, Mr. Ponzi took money from investors, and then, after a mere 45 days, promised to return to them a 50% profit.  Trouble was that the money was never “invested.” Ponzi simply took the new money he was being paid today to pay off the older investors.  Also called a “pyramid scheme” a Ponzi scheme can only last so long, and like all Ponzi schemes, it eventually collapsed.

As part of an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, several of Michigan’s pharmacists have been charged with Medicare and Medicaid Prescription Fraud.  The allegations include claims that at least one scheme lead to the defrauding of the Federal Government of more than five million dollars. Further, that fraudulent claims were submitted to Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross via the service dialdrugspharmacy.com. Medications fraudulently prescribed included Clozapine and Alprazolam. According to the complaint, some of these prescriptions were written for dead people.

According to Title 18 of the United States Code, health care fraud consists of the knowing implementation (or attempted implementation) of a scheme intended to defraud a health care program using false pretenses. A pharmacist can violate this law even if they are ignorant of the law itself, or if they only have the “general intent” to violate the law. This is because health care fraud under this section is not a specific intent crime. The law defines “fraud” as being the intentional deception or misrepresentation of facts which lead to the receiving of an unauthorized benefit. But here again the intent need only be general and not specific. According to the Michigan prescription fraud lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm, this can lead to unfair prosecution of pharmacists who never specifically intended to violate the law.

There are many kinds of prescription fraud.  Once type of prescription fraud involves a scheme whereby a prescription is set on “auto-refill” and then billed as scheduled when the patient never actually ordered or wanted the medication. These prescriptions are never picked up but the pharmacy non-the-less bills Medicare. This same medication can be “re-sold” many times over, thereby increasing the size of the auto-refill fraud. Another version of this kind of fraud involves giving the undelivered pills to patients, staff or medical sales reps for redistribution. This is most common with Opioid drugs that have significant street value.

Former Mob Prosecutor Keith Corbett Says Netflix Irishman Misleads About Hoffa’s Disappearance.

Barone Defense Firm attorney Keith Corbett spent most of his career putting away Detroit’s most notorious mobsters. As the Chief of the Organized Crime Strike Force for the United States Attorney’s Office, Corbett was responsible for helping to put away some of the biggest players in Detroit’s top crime families, including Tocco and Zerilli. After a couple decades as a mob prosecutor working with these cases, and in the course of it, immersing himself in the history and culture of La Cosa Nostra, it’s no wonder he’s been repeatedly interviewed regarding the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa. With the release of the Netflix original The Irishman, a Martin Scorsese film starring Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci, the public’s interest in knowing more about this topic is once again piqued, leading to a flurry of more recent interviews.

According to Channel Four News, Corbett “was the prosecutor who sent both Zerilli and Tocco to prison.” Having prosecuted them, Corbett has an idea of the ill-will that might exist between them and told Channel Four News that Tocco blames Zerilli for his conviction and incarceration.  So maybe Tocco had a reason to lie about Jimmy Hoffa being buried on Zerilli’s property?

On the other hand, in a WJR interview, Corbett doubted Hoffa’s good friend Charles O’Brien had anything to do with his disappearance.  “I don’t think Chuckie was involved, he’s not the kind of guy you want,” Corbett said regarding Hoffa’s disappearance.

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