One of the best ways to pursue criminal organizations, white collar crime, and terrorist groups is to follow the money. That's why the FBI is prioritizing investigations of third-party money laundering facilitators. Money laundering is when alleged criminals turn "dirty money" into "clean money" by making it seem like it has derived from legitimate sources. It allows alleged criminals to hide and accumulate ill-gotten wealth, avoid prosecution, evade taxes, and multiply profits through reinvestment. It's also a major crime in large part because it helps to fund more major crimes. However, this doesn't mean the FBI is just going after secretive Swiss banks, corrupt foreign governments and shadowy virtual currencies. Instead, the Bureau has found targets closer to home: attorneys, accountants, investment managers, trust companies, and real estate professionals.
Rizzo Environmental Services has been cooperating in a federal white collar crime investigation involving alleged widespread corruption in Macomb County government. As recently reported in the Detroit Free Press, the results of the investigation and the coming slew of anti-corruption charges are expected to have far-reaching effects throughout local governments in southeast Michigan. This past Thursday, the first domino fell as Clinton Township Trustee, Dean Reynolds, was charged in federal court with accepting cash bribes from Rizzo to help secure the lucrative $18 million dollar government contract extension to pick up the township's trash until 2026.
White Collar Crime affects employees too. In the recent Volkswagen scandal where the automaker designed ways for their cars to fraudulently "pass" emissions tests, the government is rolling out a new prosecution strategy: going after the employees. The Detroit Free Press recently reported on Volkswagen engineer, James Liang, who plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Detroit to conspiracy to defraud U.S. regulators and Volkswagen customers, wire fraud, and violations of the U.S. Clean Air Act. He is not only the first Volkswagen employee to be convicted of criminal charges in this matter, his conviction is also a warning to all employees that just following company orders can lead to serious criminal consequences.
August was a good month for white collar crime clients of the Law Office of John Freeman, PLLC. In Monroe County, a client's felony embezzlement charges were dismissed when the Circuit Court granted Mr. Freeman's motion to quash the information. In agreeing with Mr. Freeman's motion, the Circuit Court judge found that the prosecutor's evidence at the preliminary examination failed to demonstrate probable cause that the client committed a crime. Therefore, the District Court judge abused his discretion in binding the case over to the Circuit Court.
Notwithstanding the fact that White Collar Crime includes election fraud, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has stated it is unlikely that fromer Rep. Thaddeus McCotter will face criminal charges after it was discovered that four of his former staff members allegedly faked ballot petition signatures. Unfortunately for the staffers, they are not quite as lucky. Attorney General Schuette apparently did not have enough evidence to link McCotter to the fraud scheme, but his four staffers are currently being accused of crimes including forgery and conspiracy. All four currently have pending criminal charges against them in several different courts.
White Collar Crime includes foreign crime. When it comes to punishing major drug companies, the United States government has made it very clear that you can run, but you cannot hide. The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has spent over three years investigating some of the largest drug manufacturers for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
White Collar Crime can result in significant jail time.
For years, Wall Street and Main Street have kept their distance from one another. Financial corruption typically involved bank-on-bank offenses. Not anymore. With more and more allegations of corruption coming to light recently, the two have become much more intertwined than most originally thought
The Detroit White Collar Crime Bid Rigging Trial of Bobby Ferguson ended as a mistrial today when jurors were unable to reach a verdict on any count. U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson granted the defense's motion for a mistrial after jurors deliberated for six days but could not come to a consensus on any of the charges against Ferguson, two co-defendants and three businesses that were also indicted on 24 total charges. Ferguson and his associates were charged in an illegal white collar crime scheme to obtain a $12 million housing contract from Detroit. Other charges included money laundering, mail fraud, and illegal gun possession by a felon.
One month after the start of the Bobby Ferguson bid rigging trial, the white-collar crime case was sent to a Detroit federal jury to begin deliberations. June 15, 2012 was the first day the jury began deliberating the guilt or innocence of Ferguson. He is accused of federal crimes in Detroit involving rigging contract bids in an effort to secure a $12-million project at the low-income housing project Garden View Estates. According to the prosecution, Ferguson allegedly ran Xcel Construction Services, the construction manager of the project, and authorized over $9 million worth of contracts to be acquired through his other company, Ferguson Enterprises. The prosecution argues that the Xcel checkbook was in Ferguson's possession, which is tantamount to controlling the operation, and amounts to a conflict of interest.