Fact Pattern A: John and the Food Stamps
was a divorced father of four. He made a lot of poor business choices,
and as a result, he ended up losing his business. Further, creditors
sought payment from loans he had taken out when his business was
running. They won judgments against him in amounts over $190,000. He was
working as an admissions counselor at a small community college when
his checks started being garnished. He decided instead to enroll in
school and stop working. He thought he could get money from federal
grants in his role as a student to live on. He did get some money, but
it wasn’t enough to pay his bills. Instead, he decided to try to get
some welfare aid, including food stamps and money from the state he
lived in. His custody agreement permitted him to have his kids every
weekend. However, in filling out the government welfare forms, he
claimed he had full custody of his children. This allowed him to receive
more aid in food stamps and other monetary funds from the state, since
it was for five people instead of one.
After doing this for a
year, he started to get nervous he would be uncovered. He decided to
seek full custody of his children from their mother. During the process,
mother’s attorney discovered John was claiming the children as his
dependents when they were not living with him. Attorney reported him to
State Agency. State Agency contacted John, and he stated again that
children were living with him full- time. He signed a legal document
stating the same.
State Agency turned the matter over to State
Police. On Thursday afternoon, police went to John’s house, where he was
outside reading a book. Police began to ask John questions, including
where the children were. Unaware what they were investigating, John
answered, “They are at their mother’s.” Officer Smith asked John who had
custody of the children. John stated, “Their mother does.”
These statements were used against him in a criminal welfare fraud trial.
Fact Pattern B: Mary and the Shipping Department Practices
works in the shipping department at a local office supply company,
Paper Company. There is a lot of pressure to keep sales up, especially
in this down economy. Mary is training a new employee, Mike. She says
customary practice is to send orders to customers consistently, even
when they haven’t ordered anything, unless they complain. Mary explains
to a co-worker that most of the time, the companies think they have
ordered the materials. Many customers have their credit cards on file
with Paper Company, and Mary charges the cards as the shipments are sent
out without the requisite approval.
Mike isn’t comfortable with
this policy, but Mary explains, “Hey, the last person was let go because
she wasn’t sending out enough orders. I have 3 kids to feed and I’m a
single mom!” Still uncomfortable, Mike approached the company CEO,
Scott. Mike recounted every detail, to which Scott replied “Hmm. Okay,
thanks, Mike. I’ll look into it.”
In truth, Scott was not
bothered by the practice and did not want it to stop. He received a big
bonus the last two years, likely stemming from Mary’s shipping
practices, he now realized.
Two months later and without any
change to the shipping practice, Mike reported the practice to the local
police. Police arrived on the scene to question Mary. Mary refused to
answer any questions. Frustrated, the police arrested her. At the police
station, Mary was read her Miranda rights, and she immediately demanded
The case was forwarded to the district attorney’s office. They promptly filed charges against Mary, Scott, and Paper Company.
Fact Pattern C: Dr. Pointer and the Sweaty Palms Surgeries
Pointer, a plastic surgeon, was accustomed to living an expensive
lifestyle. He had houses in several states and took international
vacations several times a year. However, the recent downturn in the
economy produced significantly fewer clients than in years past. He was
having difficulty paying all his bills, much less doing the expensive
things he liked to do.
He realized that people might be in need
of money and started advertising for “sweaty palms” surgery, where he
would “fix” their sweaty palms issues without any cost to them as their
insurance would cover it. In fact, in person, he promised patients he
would give them $500 for having the minimally invasive surgery. Many
didn’t have a legitimate “sweaty palms” issue, but Dr. Pointer assured
them what he was going to do wouldn’t make much difference. They would
agree to a minimally invasive procedure, and Dr. Pointer would
overcharge insurance companies by $2500 a patient, then pay out $500 to
On top of that, he kept minimal records on each patient and didn’t do any follow-up visits.
patients expressed hesitation. They didn’t really think they had a
sweaty palms issue. Dr. Pointer started submitting false invoices to
insurance companies on these people as he now had their insurance
One such person, Beth, received a confusing
statement from her health insurance company regarding sweaty palms
surgery with Dr. Pointer. She had met with him but opted not to have the
surgery. She called the police and reported the matter to them.
police went to Dr. Pointer’s office to investigate. His assistant told
the police he wasn’t there. The police demanded his office files. The
young assistant didn’t know what to do. She said, “No, I don’t think I
can turn them over to you. I haven’t seen any legal documentation that
you are allowed to do that.” However, the police raided the office
The police found Beth’s file, which indicated her
insurance company was billed for a surgery she said she never had. The
police turned the matter over to the district attorney, who decided to
prosecute. The DA got a warrant for Dr. Pointer’s arrest and gave it to
The police went to Dr. Pointer’s house. The door was
open, and they went inside without knocking. They saw him sitting in his
back pool and arrested him.
Fact Pattern D: Bill’s Investment
lived in Denver and was always careful with money. However, he realized
he could make his money grow by investing it. He researched a few
options, but nothing sounded good to him until he was approached in a
local bar by Amy. She started talking to him about “Western Tool and
Equipment Repair and Investment Services” (hereafter, “Western Tool”).
She gave him her card with that business name on it and with the title
of “Investment Manager.” She explained that the purpose of Western Tool
was to use invested funds to purchase used tractor-trailers. They would
be reconditioned and sold for profit to large corporations, like K-Mart
and Wal-mart. They would also be sold internationally.
explained that they operated at a distant plant out of state in Texas
but that there was a local headquarters nearby in Boulder, CO. She
stated that investors made a 36% profit within the first year and that
investment checks were distributed every 6 months.
this idea sounded great. He asked for some documents to review, which
Amy provided by e- mail. The numbers were too good to be true! He
decided to invest $20,000 at the start.
Six months in, Bill
received a check for $259 from Western Tool. He thought this was
significantly lower than he was supposed to receive based on the numbers
Amy provided him. He contacted Amy, who stated Bill needed to be
bringing in other investors to reach those higher numbers. Amy said she
would get him the information to bring others in, including some
business cards and updated files.
A week later, Bill received
business cards with his name on them and the title of “Investment
Manager.” Bill was confused because he was not an investment manager.
However, he believed in the goals of the company and set out to bring
more people into the business. He connected three individuals with Amy,
and each person invested $5000. When Bill received his next investment
check six months later, it was for $98. Now he was confused and angry.
He managed to get other people to invest, and his investment proceeds
decreased, contrary to what Amy told him.
At this point, he asked
Amy for a face-to-face meeting because he wanted his money back. He
suspected something was not right with this investment arrangement. He
last saw her in the local bar and never went to headquarters in Boulder.
Amy never responded to his e-mails or phone calls. Bill drove to
the address listed as headquarters in Boulder; but when he got there,
it was a P.O. Box.
He hired a private investigator to find out more information. It turns out the Texas plant address didn’t exist.
of the people whom Bill managed to get to sign up, Dan, called the
police after his own small investment check for $27 came in the mail.
Dan thought this was some kind of fraud. He explained the details as he
knew them to the police. Bill never hid any information about himself,
so Dan had Bill’s home address. Police went there to talk to Bill. Bill
wanted to be helpful to the police. He answered the door and let them
in. They began asking him about Western Tool. This was not the first
time they had heard about the company, but Bill was the first person to
provide significant information. With all the information Bill provided,
the police forwarded the matter to the DA.