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Ann Arbor Criminal Defense Blog

Psychologist indicted on health care fraud, ID theft charges

There are many Ann Arbor residents who make the pilgrimage west in order to enjoy the famous skyline, blues music or to sample the local cuisine that includes deep dish pizza, Italian beef sandwiches and legendary hot dogs. We’re referring to Chicago, of course.

A psychologist there is facing the possibility that she will be denied the pleasures of her hometown if she is convicted of health care fraud. She is accused of submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare and health insurance companies in a scheme that prosecutors allege lasted for years.

Federal white collar charges filed against West Michigan suspects

It’s about a two-hour drive due west of Ann Arbor to get to Kalamazoo. The city is home to five people recently arrested on federal white collar crime charges involving allegations of identity theft and credit card fraud in several West Michigan towns.

A spokesperson for the United States Postal Inspection Service alleged that the suspects opened credit cards in the names of victims, had the cards shipped to their homes and then stole the cards from their mail. The cards were then reportedly used at Meijer stores in Kalamazoo, Portage, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor and other towns.

Part II: Court-appointed guardians in parental alienation matters

Regular readers of our Ann Arbor legal blog know that our previous post dove into the legal complexities of parental alienation in divorce. In the Michigan Family Law Journal, attorney Ashish Joshi wrote that parental alienation cases involve “an unjustified campaign of denigration against a parent, often referred to as the 'target parent.'"

Courts have increasingly appointing a GAL (guardian ad litem) or LGAL (lawyer-guardian ad litem) in these matters. GALs help the court understand the child’s best interests and LGALs are appointed to “determine and then advocate for the child's best interests."

Part I: Court-appointed guardians in parental alienation matters

Some of the most difficult cases in family law involve parental alienation. A recent article in the Michigan Family Law Journal by attorney Ashish Joshi notes that "parental alienation is an unjustified campaign of denigration against a parent, often referred to as the 'target parent.'"

Because target parents are often denied parenting time and visitation, they will ask the court to intervene. The court - often frustrated as well because its child custody orders are being ignored by the "favored parent" and the child in question - will assign a GAL (guardian ad litem) or LGAL (lawyer-guardian ad litem) to help sort matters out. The court's hope is that the guardian will investigate, make dispute resolution recommendations and help the process "to move towards a collaborative model where divorcing parties treat each other with dignity and respect," Joshi writes.

Michigan woman accused of posing as FBI agent

Michigan State Police say they recently uncovered a couple involved in unusual criminal activity about 200 miles north of Ann Arbor. MSP said the woman “presented herself as a special agent with the FBI” and her partner worked with her to commit extortion.

Law enforcement officials said the woman posed as an FBI agent to help the man reclaim a car from a woman he knows. The two suspects were arrested for extortion and other felonies.

Political overtones in Medicare fraud case

As our regular readers know, we do not share political views in our Ann Arbor criminal defense blog. But so many news items have been politicized in these highly charged times that it’s impossible not to note the political significance of some news reports.

A federal court recently ruled that Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen must remain behind bars as he appeals a conviction in April of last year for Medicare fraud. Melgen was a co-defendant with Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey in a corruption case that ended in mistrial in late 2017.

Michigan charter school shuts down amid fraud investigation

While we’re all enjoying another beautiful Michigan summer, it comes as no surprise that a school is shuttered. However, this school is an online facility and has reportedly voluntarily shut down operations after State Police launched an investigation into allegations of fraud.

The Paris Academy has informed parents that the school is closing, according to a news report.

DOJ announces health care fraud charges against 35 in Michigan

On its website, the Department of Justice recently announced charges against 601 people across the United States as part of its National Health Care Fraud Takedown. The defendants include 76 doctors who are accused of illegal prescription peddling “and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics.”  

Among those arrested were 35 in the Eastern District of Michigan. The DOJ said they are facing charges of fraud, money laundering and participating in drug diversion schemes that resulted in about $197 million in false Medicare claims for medical services that weren’t necessary or weren’t performed.

When business disputes cross international borders

The world is becoming more globalized each day. Instant communication across oceans and time zones is simpler than ever. It’s becoming increasingly easy to set up a business in Detroit with a partner in Delhi.

The ease of international collaboration creates many opportunities for developing businesses. However, it also brings its share of complications. When conflict arises with a partner, vendor or manufacturer, there can be additional legal challenges when the disputing parties reside in different countries.

Judge saves Pitt from parental alienation

When celebrities are at their peak of fame, we live vicariously through them. When their lives take a turn for the worse, however, it's easy to separate ourselves from the celebrity and rejoice in the proof that no one can be that perfect.

For over a decade, much of the U.S. has been captivated by the couple known as "Brangelina". Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie started off an unlikely duo for breaking Jennifer Aniston's heart, but gained favor with the public when they began their family. Having adopted three of their six children from third-world countries, the couple called attention to humanitarian crises around the world. While their love story had evolved into a modern day fairy-tale, it took the shape of a nightmare in 2016.

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Current News & Events

Christina T. Kline, Dr. Demosthenes Lorandos, of the Joshi law firm, and Dr. Michael Spence, are featured as the cover story in the NACDL magazine, The Champion, Jan/Feb 2015 with the article - 'If DNA, Then Guilty': Strategies for Overcoming Juror Assumptions About DNA Evidence in Criminal Trials. Read More

Ashish Joshi was featured in Ingham County Legal news discussing the recent 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decision overturning the convictions of two Wall Street traders, Anthony Chiasson and Todd Newman. Read More

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