Fraud exists in all industries, including those that one might not expect.
Recently, a Florida resident, who formerly operated Florida airline fuel
suppliers, was slapped with federal charges for
fraudulent activities. According to the Department of Justice, the man was arrested and made
his first appearance in the U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach on
July 22, 2013. The man faces charges for honest services
fraud and wire fraud. All allegations are linked to his alleged dealings with
an Illinois-based airline company.
In the past, the airline company provided cargo and passenger services
for companies and U.S. government officials, including the departments
of Homeland Security and Defense and the US Marshals Service. Earlier
this year, the company was liquidated in bankruptcy proceedings. The airline
blamed its financial troubles on recent changes within the military flight
programs, which the company used to rely on for business transactions.
Sources allege that the Florida man provided kickback payments to the airline's
vice president of ground operations to help make certain that the airline
supplied business to the suspect's companies. At that time, the suspect
owned businesses in Sunrise. According to court documents, the man is
charged with handing out approximately 40 kickbacks in wire transfers,
gift cards, checks and cash from at least December 2005 through August 2009.
If the man is convicted on the federal charges, he could face over two
decades behind bars and a $250,000 fine for the most egregious charge.
The vice president of the airline has pleaded guilty to charges associated
with the scheme. He awaits his sentence. Moreover, three other individuals
have been sentenced for their involvement.
The Justice Department is now looking into other potential kickbacks from
fuel suppliers. Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer notes,
When it comes to
fraudulent legal matters, no two people are exactly the same. Some, as those charged in these cases,
will be prosecuted and ultimately meted out lengthy prison sentences.
Others may not be prosecuted. Some will fall between the two extremes.
Many factors will determine the outcome of a case. One critical factor,
which can be controlled, is the lawyer one chooses to represent him or
her. Not all criminal defense lawyers are alike. Though no lawyer can
predict or promise a particular result in your case, why would anyone
not choose a skilled and seasoned criminal law specialist when freedom
is at stake? Do your homework before choosing the lawyer who will represent
you, then choose carefully and wisely.
"The Antitrust Division will take enforcement action against those
who subvert the competitive process by trading contracts for kickbacks,
especially where the U.S. government is being victimized."