Insurance Fraud Arrests in Florida
Operation Flames and Floods resulted in thirty one arrests recently in what the State claimed was a major insurance fraud ring operating in South Florida. According to the new reports “finders”, runners were used to solicit home owners to allow their property to be used for fire and water damage claims to fraudulently bill insurance companies. The State claims that millions of dollars were paid out on these allegedly phony insurance claims. Although the ring was based on the East coast of Florida, some of the claims were made and paid in Collier, Lee and Sarasota Counties.
Submitting a false claim to an insurance company is a felony.
As a state and federal criminal defense law firm, We see one of the most common false claims is for water damage. The fact is however, that if you have an unexpected “flood” in your house from broken pipes or roof damage, the extent of the damage can really be substantial. Be sure to document the actual expenses and bills paid. Take pictures of the actual damage and keep a detailed log of the time, hours and money spent fixing the problem. Do not be bullied by the insurance companies.
As a result of a ruling just last week in Palm Beach, my predictions is that you are going to see false claims dramatically increase. The Court sided with contractors that had submitted claims pursuant to an assignment of benefits. The Court sided with contractors that had submitted claims pursuant to an assignment of benefits. It was argued, unsuccessfully, that this created a situation where the contractors could over bill and created a situation where there was no incentive to charge market prices. The next time there is a hurricane, my prediction is that if the “assignment of benefits” hold up, there will be millions of dollars in questionable claims. As a criminal defense lawyer, for over thirty years I have been defending people charged with insurance fraud. I have defended doctors charged with submitting false claims on automobile insurance policies, false Medicare claims and prescription fraud. The insurance companies have a powerful lobby and laws are constantly being passed to protect them. If you are falsely accused of fraud, I may be able to help
For a free consultation, call 941 366 3506 in Sarasota or 239 334 8890 in Lee County “Click HERE” to VIEW OUR QUALIFICATIONS
Major Problems with Minors
Over the last five years, it seems you can’t go a week without reading or hearing about an Internet sex sting. A sex sting was run in Volusia County Florida that resulted in the arrest of both men and women. A sex sting was run in Volusia County Florida that resulted in the arrest of both men and women. Another Internet Sting was run in Bradenton and Palmetto with multiple arrests. The truth is that there are predators out there, but they are the police, preying on young gullible men who answer social media ads thinking they are talking to adults. It is far easier for the police to run one sting and arrest twenty unsuspecting men for traveling to meet a minor that it is for them to catch the real pedophiles. An arrest for traveling to meet a minor or solicitation of a minor is a major huge problem. Everyone assumes the worst and assumes you are guilty. Generally high bonds are set, people lose their jobs and many times the families abandon them. Many times these men are victims themselves of police entrapment.
As a sex crime lawyer, I have now handled cases in Lee, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Seminole, Brevard and Polk County. The pattern is always the same although in recent months the police tactics have changed a little. Many times, the police post ads on Craigslist in the casual encounters section for “women seeking men”. In recent months the police seem to be focusing on “men seeking men”. The police now candidly admit that they lie when they post the ads in adult sites. The undercover officers will usually in the first few chats say something like, “I lied, I am really 14 but I am mature for my age”. They then with seductive emails, texts and chat will try and lure and entice the person into traveling to meet them either at a house of nearby convenience store. Although they claim that the person arrested is doing the luring, seducing and enticing, most of the time it is the police that bring up sex. It is the police that invite travel. It is the police that say bring condoms and it is the police that are really doing the seducing. The general public has no idea of what the police are really doing and usually after the Sting, the local sheriff goes on television with his spin version of how he is keeping his County safe. This is the ultimate lie. If a loved one has been arrested in one of these stings, do not assume they are guilty of Internet solicitation. Nothing is worse than being falsely accused of committing a sex crime. There are defenses to these entrapment cases but it takes an attorney that knows the ropes, knows what the police are really doing and knows how to defend it. If you or a loved one have been arrested, you can call my office or visit my site at sarasotadefender.com or aikenandohalloran.com for more information. Sarasota 941-366-3506 Fort Myers 239-334-8890
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Under the law everyone charged with a crime is supposed to be presumed to be innocent. That presumption goes out the window if you are charged with a crime involving sex with a child. As a Sarasota criminal lawyer, I have been defending sex crimes now for over thirty years, and the reality is that if a mother or a child accuses a person of a sexual assault, most of the time, the detectives investigating the allegation are biased and prejudiced and assume the accusation is true. What most people do not realize is that in the context of divorce or custody proceedings, there is often a motive to falsely accuse someone.. A false accusation will result in an arrest and a no contact order. A false accusation can result in immediate possession of the family home by the parent of the accuser. The police start out trying to prove the accusation is true instead of doing a real investigation. A false accusation can destroy a person’s life forever if it results in an arrest.
If you are under investigation for a sex crime, in Sarasota, Lee, Manatee, Charlotte or adjacent areas, it is super important that you get immediate legal representation. Do not make a statement to anyone without talking to an experienced criminal lawyer. Family lawyers sometimes do not understand the importance of pro- active investigation and action. You cannot just sit and wait and hope things will work out. The best defense is a good offense and if you think you are about to be accused or have been accused of any improper conduct with a child seek immediate representation. In defending these types of cases having a private investigator on board early can result in the discovery of favorable facts and evidence that the police simply overlook. It is also important to preserve evidence, particularly when it comes to emails, texts and other communications. If a spouse or relative is accusing you, having a record of the communications often shows their true motives. Preserving photographs and video evidence is also important.
Do not wait for the police to come to you. For a free consultation in Fort Myers call 239 334 8890 and in Sarasota 941 366 3506
Should I Use the Public Defender in Lee County? Call Sean C. O’Halloran at 239-334-8890
If you or a loved one get arrested you will go before the Court within 24 hours at what they call a first appearance. Before that happens, while you are in the jail, someone will ask you to fill out an application for a Public Defender. Did you know that they charge you a fee simply for filling out the application? They charge you a booking fee and they charge you a fee for every day you are in jail. If you have been arrested and you are facing criminal charges you absolutely must have an attorney. Even if you are guilty, you still need an attorney to guide you through the system. Many people because of the lack of money are forced to use the Public Defender. One of the questions I am often asked is “should I use the Public Defender in Lee County”
Some of the lawyers at the Public Defender’s office are experienced and qualified. Others have little experience and minimal qualifications. Would you want heart surgery performed by a doctor at a public health clinic? If you are facing charges in 2015 in Lee County you really need to think about a way to hire a private criminal defense attorney. Our Fort Myers criminal defense firm, like many others will work with you to find a way to provide a quality defense. Often a relative or friend can put the fee on a credit card. In some instances, we may be able to take an assignment of your bond collateral to secure our fee and in other instances, we may be able to work out a payment plan. I have over thirty years experience. As a former Prosecutor I have handled over the years thousands of serious felony cases for crimes ranging from Homicide, aggravated battery, drug trafficking, racketeering and numerous Sex crime offenses. Many of the charges now, particularly violent crimes carry minimum mandatory sentences. If you are facing 15 years in prison or in some instances life do you want some young inexperienced lawyer representing you?
When you are arrested it is generally a surprise to everyone. It is like any other emergency. If your roof fell in, if your transmission failed or if you got some serious illness, you would find a way to pay for it. It is the same with being charged with a serious crime like, Possessing or Selling Drugs, large quantity drug trafficking, burglary of a dwelling or dealing in stolen property. Talk to your relatives and friends. Sometimes an employer will help you. Sometimes you may have to sell something you own on Craigslist to raise the money. Find a way because it may make a big difference in your life.
Call for a free consultation Sean C. O’Halloran in Lee county today 239-334-8890. It costs nothing to talk to us. Check out our qualifications and experience and compare them with other private lawyers
IS IT FINALLY TIME TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA?
Legalizing marijuana is not only over due but absolutely necessary. The drug war against marijuana is not only a losing battle but is absolutely harmful to the health and well being of the public. Did our lawmakers learn nothing from Prohibition? When alcohol was made illegal it was the birth of organized crime in America. In a few short years a criminal empire was created that still exists today. As a former prosecutor and a veteran criminal defense lawyer, I understand the pros and cons of legalization of pot. The time is now to change this stupid law.
When the Feds cracked down on pot in the Seventies, it pushed the smugglers into Cocaine, a more compact product to smuggle. When the Feds cracked down on cocaine the crack cocaine industry exploded. When the Feds cracked down on crack with the terrible Federal Sentencing Guidelines it unfairly punished Blacks and the poor. The latest push is to crack down on grow houses in Lee County. Making locally grown pot hard to get has fueled to explosion in the synthetic marijuana market. Our lawmakers are way out of touch with reality. The war on pot is lost and the sooner our lawmakers realize it the better off we will all be.
Law enforcement is a huge industry in Florida. We already have more people in jail than any country in the world. The privatization of prisons now puts corporate America in the business of putting and keeping people in jail. As a criminal lawyer, this sickens me. My partner can remember the Sixties and Seventies and have many friends who still smoke pot. The truth is that many highly respected citizens still are midnight tokers. Many political figures still burn one every now and then. It is so hypocritical for them to support these archaic laws. Go rent a movie called “reefer madness”, get yourself some munchies and chill one night watching one of the funniest movies you will ever see.
As an attorney trying pot cases I have seen a change in the attitude of juries. Half the prospective jurors will admit to smoking weed in their life. The other half will simply lie about it. How many of the judges smoked? How many of the young prosecutors smokes pot in college? It is time to change the law. If you have questions, or god forbid you have been busted for possession of Marijuana, sale of marijuana or cultivation of marijuana in a grow house, call today for a free consultation. As a drug lawyer , I understand and will vigorously defend you. Call Sean O’Halloran today for a free consultation 239-334-8890
LEY DE DROGAS DE FLORIDA DECLARADO INCONSTITUCION
Si usted ha sido acusado de un delito de posesión de drogas, debe de estar muy seguro que su abogado defensor de Ft. Myers sabe sobre la nueva sentencia judicial del Tribunal Federal que sostiene el Estatuto 893.13 de la Florida inconstitucional. Esta nueva sentencia judicial del Tribunal Federal encontró inválido el Estatuto de la Florida. Si usted ha sido acusado de la posesión actual o constructiva de sustancia controlada su abogado debería archivar un movimiento que ataca el estatuto inmediatamente. La opinión Federal en Shelton v Secretaria del Departamento de Correcciones en Orlando sólo la semana pasada decidio que no es inmediatament vinculante para los tribunals estatales pero un buen Abogado de Defensa Criminal debería abordarlo ahora para permitir que usted tenga acceso a los Tribunales Federales más tarde.
La ley de la Florida elimina el requisito de conocimiento para la posesión de drogas y crea la responsabilidad criminal estricta de actos inocentes. El Tribunal Federal encontró que la ley de la Florida viola el debido proceso porque esto regula la conducta inocente. Si usted ha sido acusado en el Condado de Lee, Charlotte, Manatee o Sarasota por la posesión de marihuana, posesión de la cocaína o posesión de una sustancia controlada, tiene que estar seguro que le pregunte a su abogado defensor sobre esta nueva sentencia judicial. Si él es inconsciente de esta sentencia judicial, hay que traerla a su atención. Nuestros abogados defensores de Ft Myers y Sarasota siguen y cumplin con la ley en estrecha colaboración y buscan constantemente modos de luchar contra su caso aun si esto significa una petición a los Tribunales Federales.
Si le gustaria saber más sobre esta nueva sentencia judicial y como esto podría afectar su caso, llame nuestros abogados experimentados penalistas del condado de Lee hoy. Usted puede ir a nuestro sitio de la red y examinar los perfiles de nuestros abogados antes de tomar una decisión para contratar un abogado para defender su caso. Si usted usa el Defensor Público tiene que estar seguro y preguntar sobre como este caso puede afectarle.
Si usted ha sido acusado de la posesión de oxycontin o la posesión de hydrocodone puede que usted tenga que responder a acusaciones de tráfico de drogas con penas minimas pero obligatorias y severas. Esté seguro que su abogado sabe la ley. La mayor parte del tiempo, la experiencia debería ser un factor que usted debería considerar antes de contratar a un abogado penalista.
Ofrecemos una consulta gratis si usted ha sido acusado de un delito en el Condado de Lee, detenido en Punta Gorda o acusado de un delito en el condado de Charlotte, Manatee o Sarasota. Llame hoy y habla sobre su caso con un abogado sin costo a usted. Sólo porque ha sido detenido no significa que es culpable. Usted si tiene derechos y la ley es compleja. Actue hoy y hable con uno de nuestros abogados penalistas experimentados. Call Sean O’Halloran at Aiken and O’Halloran of Lee County today 239-334-8890
Florida Supreme Court Says Guilty Until Proven Innocent is A-OK When it comes to Drug Offenses In a completely mind-blowing opinion, the Florida Supreme Court released its opinion in Florida v. Adkins, a challenge which will affect cases of possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine, possession of oxycontin, possession of adderall — indeed, possession of every controlled substance and, in the future, potentially possession of every kind of illegal contraband. Here’s what’s happened. Over the last ten years or so, Florida Courts have repeatedly emphasized that Florida’s Controlled Substances Act — its law making illegal drugs illegal — must have the element of “knowledge” in order for it to be fair. In other words, if someone is honestly unaware they had an illegal drug in their possession, it is unconstitutional for them to be found guilty of drug possession and sentenced in criminal court. Hogwash! said the Florida Legislature, and in response to all of these rulings, passed a new amendment to Florida’s Controlled Substances Act that the government shouldn’t have to prove someone had knowledge of drugs found in their possession, rather, there should be a presumption that the person knew of the substance and it is up to them to prove their innocence. Anytime anyone in government suggests it should be up to an accused to prove their innocence, reasonable people should stop and take note, because that is absolutely not how a wise justice system is run. It has been nearly universally recognized among civilized peoples since literally the Roman Empire that an accused should stand innocent until he or she is proven guilty.
So take note, Florida. When it comes to drugs, you are now guilty until you prove yourself innocent. A good defense can make the difference. Call today for a free consultation 239-334-8890 www.aikenandohalloran.com
Cheat on your Sales Tax? Look out…..Here comes the State
The simple fact is the State needs the money. The Florida Department of Revenue knows this and has launched a crackdown on businessmen who may have underreported their sales tax. If you collected sales tax and under reported it on your monthly sales tax report, even if you had a good reason, you can be arrested and prosecuted for grand theft.
The State takes the position that the money is theirs at the point you collect it, and not remit it, you have stolen the money.
Many times, particularly in hard times at the end of the month you simply may not have the money to send in. It is easy to become careless and not remit it. It is worse to file a false sales tax return and not report what you collected. The State has ways of determining your true sales. The State has ways of determining your true sales. They look at your purchases. They look at what others in the industry are reporting. Peter Aiken is a former criminal investigator for the Internal Revenue Service and former Federal Prosecutor and thirty year veteran criminal defense tax lawyer and understands how to poke loopholes in their estimates and projections. We work closely with local accountants and CPAs. Our number one goal as a criminal Defense firm, and my number one goal as a criminal lawyer is to keep your sales tax investigation from becoming criminal. I have offices in Sarasota, Ft. Myers and Punta Gorda and can meet with you on short notice. Do not think you can talk your way out of a problem. You can get more money in life, but you cannot get more time. If you go to jail for evasion of sales tax or grand theft you will wish you had hired a good tax crime lawyer. The State is taking a close look at used car dealers, liquor stores and restaurants and head shops in their latest crackdown. If you get a letter telling you that you are going to be audited for sales tax, or worse yet, you are under investigation, call Sean C O’Halloran today for a free consultation. 239-334-8890
Most people who get charged with grand theft for stealing from their employer did not start out with the intent of stealing. Often employees who have fallen upon hard times simply intended to borrow a few bucks for a short period of time and intended to pay it back. Many times a cashier, a bookkeeper, a salesman or another trusted employee will make a terrible mistake in judgment and pocket a small amount of money with the absolute intent to return it.
There are other instances where a person is falsely accused of stealing because a fellow employee who knows how to work the system has actually taken the money. These are the really sad cases because an arrest for a crime you did not commit will damage your reputation terribly. You can find your face on Mugshots and even if you get your case dismissed it will still be there. I have been handling employee theft and embezzlement cases for over thirty years. As a criminal defense attorney, if I am lucky enough to get into the case early, often restitution can be arranged before criminal charges are filed thus avoiding and arrest and criminal prosecution. Often the Employer feels betrayed if it was a trusted employee and the first step is to show remorse on behalf of the employee. We may be able to intervene in these cases and work out a situation to avoid and embarrassing arrest.
Hiring an attorney before you are arrested often can make a huge difference in resolving a bad situation. If we get in early enough we may be able to negotiate a payback plan that makes the employer whole and keeps a person out of the criminal justice system. If you have been fired and are under investigation for embezzlement, call today before it is too late to avoid criminal charges being files.
Sean O’Halloran: Ft. Myers 239-334-8890
Peter Aiken: Sarasota 941-366-3506
Andrew Banyai: Punta Gorda 239-639-6009