Tag Archives: Fraud

Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Lawyer Explains False Statements to Obtain Credit Cards

Mississippi criminal law prohibits making false statements to obtain a credit card.  Mississippi Code Section 97-19-11 makes it illegal to “directly or indirectly” makes a “false statement in writing with intent that it be relied upon with respect to his identity or that of any other person, firm or corporation.”

In Mississippi, providing false information to obtain a credit card is a misdemeanor.  If convicted of this crime, a person is facing a sentence of six (6) months in jail and a fine of $1,000.00.

Mississippi limits this statute to false statements regarding identity.  This law was obviously enacted in response to the related crime of identity theft.  Other statements one might falsify on a credit card application, such as income, do not fall under this statute.  However, lying about such other matters to obtain a credit card may be illegal under other state and federal criminal statutes.

There are defenses to the charge of making false statements to obtain credit cards in Mississippi.  If you have been arrested for this crime or other fraud-related offenses, please contact Jackson, Mississippi criminal defense lawyer Curt Crowley at 601.944.1984 to discuss your case.  As always, there is no cost for an initial consultation.

Jackson, Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Discusses White Collar Crime and the Arrest of Raj Rajaratnam Arrested

Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Curt Crowley

One of America’s richest men, Raj Rajaratnam, has been arrested and charged with numerous white collar crimes.  The charges center around an alleged insider trading conspiracy.

The ring is alleged to have generated $25 million in illegal profits for Rajaratnam.  After doing the obligatory “perp walk,” the government took Rajaratnam before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas F. Eaton for an initial appearance.  Judge Eaton also took up the issue of bail.  The Government sought pretrial detention without bail, claiming that Rajaratnam was a flight risk.  The judge didn’t buy the Government’s argument.  Bail was set at $100 million dollars (secured by $20 million in collateral).

The criminal complaint alleges four counts of conspiracy and nine counts of insider trading.  The criminal complaint is quite a read.  It quotes heavily from conversations among the defendants, which were obtained by wiretap.  You can read the criminal complaint here.

From Enron and WorldCom to Galleon, white collar crime is a major focus of both state and federal law enforcement.  White collar crime includes such offenses as:

  1. Bribery
  2. Extortion (blackmail)
  3. Counterfeiting
  4. Theft of trade secrets
  5. Embezzlement
  6. Money Laundering
  7. Honest Services Fraud
  8. Racketeering and RICO
  9. Securities Fraud/Insider Trading
  10. Bank Fraud
  11. Mail Fraud
  12. Wire Fraud
  13. Computer Fraud
  14. Credit Card Fraud
  15. Check Kiting
  16. Forgery
  17. Home Repair Fraud
  18. Healthcare Fraud
  19. Medicaid Fraud
  20. Medicare Fraud
  21. Welfare Fraud
  22. Food Stamp Fraud
  23. Insurance Fraud
  24. Investment Fraud
  25. Telemarketing Fraud

In recent years, these crimes have become more publicized and notorious.  In the current economic climate, some events that would have previously resulted in a civil lawsuit (at best), are now being prosecuted as crimes.  The sentences handed down for white collar crimes have become draconian, and frequently exceed sentences given to violent criminals.

Many of these cases are complex and involve tens of thousands of documents.  Defending these cases requires an intensive defense investigation.  The Government has often investigated these cases for years before an arrest is made.  The defense investigation must be swift and meticulous.  The sooner the accused hires an aggressive criminal defense attorney, the sooner the defense investigation can begin.

The time to hire a white collar criminal defense lawyer is when you have the first inkling that you may be under investigation.  In many cases, a thorough defense investigation, conducted before a person is arrested or indicted, can persuade the Government not to pursue the case further.

If you think you may be under investigation for a white collar crime, or if you’ve been arrested or indicted, the time to act is now.  Please call me to discuss your case.

Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Curt Crowley

Mississippi Criminal Defense Lawyer Explains The Crime of Embezzlement

Crime rates as a whole generally increase in tough economic times.  Financial crimes, especially embezzlement, tend to have sharp increases. 

Mississippi has experienced an increase in embezzlement cases.  Laurel Leader Call reporter Eloria Newell James writes:

LAUREL — From taking merchandise for personal use to removing cash from a business’ cash register, law enforcement officials say embezzlement is on the rise.

The Laurel Police Department’s Investigative Division has reported an increase in embezzlement cases in recent weeks.

The department has reported several recent cases involving the theft of businesses’ money.

Sgt. Michael Reaves with the Laurel Police said while law enforcement officials have seen “a decrease in a lot of crimes in our areas” the number of cases involving money has increased.

“In the last six months, we’ve seen a lot of our financial crimes spike,” Reaves said. “Economic crimes, crimes dealing with money, have increased.”

In May, a Laurel woman was arrested and charged in an ongoing embezzlement case in Ellisville. Kathy Hilbun, 48, who once worked at the BP Convenience Store in Ellisville, was arrested and charged with one count of felony embezzlement after store officials reported on May 25 possible embezzlement.

Then in July, Sara Rose Dearman, 20, of Laurel was arrested in connection with embezzling money from the eatery where she worked.

Stephanie Thornton, 40, of Laurel, former business manager of the Laurel Leader-Call, was arrested Sept. 17 and charged with embezzling from the newspaper.

In late September, Quonesha Walters, 18, of Laurel, a former employee of Murphy Oil on 16th Avenue, was arrested by police and charged with two counts of embezzlement.

“We’ve seen several economic crimes lately,” Reaves said. “They have ranged from embezzlement, credit card fraud, identity theft and a little increase in counterfeit checks.”

“Some of the suspects (in the recent cases) have not been your typical suspects,” Reaves acknowledged. “Most of them have been women – blue collar workers, middle class people. They have been normal working people that seem to have allowed circumstances to put added stress on them and result in them doing something that they would not normally do.

“These are people with jobs and families,” Reaves added. “We’ve seen stolen (credit card) numbers, others they have obtained (credit) cards in other people’s names…. These are people who are getting money and/or goods by illegal gain.”

“We realize the economy is tough, but people should realize that embezzlement is a serious crime,” the police sergeant said.

While there are several types of embezzlement, this crime usually involves employees stealing money or goods from their employers.  Under Mississippi law,

If any person shall embezzle…or convert to his own use…any…property of any kind…which shall have…been entrusted to his care or possession by virtue of his…employment…with a value of [$500.00] or more, he shall be guilty of felony embezzlement, and, upon conviction…shall be imprisoned…not more than ten (10) years, or fined not more than [$25,000.00], or both.

If the value of such…property…is less than [$500.00], he shall be guilty of misdemeanor embezzlement, and, upon conviction…shall be imprisoned…not more than six (6) months, or fined not more than [$1,000.00], or both.

See Mississippi Code Annotated Section 97-23-19.

I handle cases involving white-collar and financial crimes, including embezzlement.  Even though embezzlement of a rather small amount of cash or property carries stiff penalties, there are defenses available to such a charge.  A thorough defense investigation is almost always required to defend against an embezzlement charge.  I’ve often said defense attorneys win (or lose) cases based upon how well they perform the defense investigation at the inception of the case.  There is no better example of this principle than embezzlement cases. 

If you have been charged with embezzlement, or think you might be under suspicion or investigation for a white-collar or other financial crime, please contact me immediately to protect your rights.

Mississippi Criminal Defense Attorney Curt Crowley