Articles Posted in White Collar Crime

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An elderly criminal defendant who commits a crime is in an especially difficult position. What does the criminal justice system do with a defendant who has violated the law but who is of an age where it makes no sense to put him in jail? An elderly defendant can be someone who kills their aged and desperately ill spouse, acts out because of conflicting medications and a diminished mental state or perhaps someone who has committed an economic crime in an effort to make ends meet when he is on a fixed income.

Recent examples in the court system point out the difficulties in representing defendants who are elderly. In an economic crime like Worker’s Compensation Fraud an elderly defendant might continue to work after getting injured on the job simply to ensure that he is able to pay the bills. Of course, it is illegal to work without reporting that fact while receiving Worker’s Compensation benefits. This is because those benefits are based on the theory that the defendant isn’t working.

However, Worker’s Compensation benefits rarely allow the recipient to pay his bills. Many times young and old alike are tempted to work even though they are not supposed to while getting Worker’s Compensation benefits. If one gets benefits, those benefits will be cut or even terminated if the defendant goes back to work. If an elderly defendant is working to supplement his income and gets hurt he may be unable to even pay for his medicine and necessities of life.

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When an employee gets accused of taking money, merchandise, products, or writing checks without permission from his employer it almost always costs the employee his or her job. Often times the employer will call in law enforcement to back up the claim of theft. Why? Many times it is in the employer’s interest to have the theft investigated and prosecuted by the District Attorney.

The employer may have insurance which will reimburse the employer for losses caused by employee theft. If embezzlement or theft charges are filed, the District Attorney will, by the very filing of charges, protect the employer from allegations by the employee that he or she was wrongfully discharged or fired.

For example, if the worker is preparing to file a sexual harassment charge against the employer what better way to prevent the sexual allegations from being found to be true than to claim the employee stole from the company? The fact that the theft claim is made first puts the employee on the defensive and makes the sexual harassment allegations appear as merely retaliatory for the employer’s claims of theft. This is just one example of how the employer might wrongfully accuse a worker in an effort to protect himself from allegations of wrongdoing.