When law enforcement officials conduct an investigation of an alleged fraud scheme, it can result in multiple people facing criminal charges. This can be seen in a recent fraud case in Florida.
The case involves an alleged fraud scheme regarding patient medical records. The scheme was supposedly led by a 62-year-old man from Miami-Dade County. The man allegedly paid an employee of a Florida hospital to steal thousands of patient records. The man would then use these records for lawyer referrals. The man reportedly received hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from lawyers because of this scheme. The man was convicted of criminal charges in connection to this scheme and was sentenced to serve 11 years in prison.
However, this man was not the only one to face criminal charges in relation to this alleged fraud. For instance, his 53-year-old wife also faced charges. The woman reportedly was the one who introduced her husband to the above mentioned hospital employee.
Last November, the woman pled guilty to fraud conspiracy charges. This month, the woman received her sentence. Prosecutors wanted the woman to serve 10 to 16 months in prison. However, the judge decided to be more lenient and gave her a sentence of a year and a half of house arrest.
This case demonstrates a couple of things. First, it shows how government authorities will often not only pursue criminal charges against the alleged leader of a fraud scheme, but will also prosecute all those believed to be connected to the scheme.
Second, it demonstrates how judges will sometimes give a sentence that differs considerably from the one recommended by the prosecution. Judges consider a variety of factors when making a sentencing decision and these considerations can cause them to reach a different conclusion than the prosecution regarding what is an appropriate sentence. Thus, the arguments a defendant puts forward during a sentencing hearing can be very important.
Source: Miami Herald, "Wife of ringleader in Jackson Memorial Hospital fraud case faces house arrest," Jay Weaver, 12 Feb 2011