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Former ArthroCare Executive Pleads Guilty to Charges of Securities Fraud

Friday, December 06, 2013

A former executive at ArthroCare Inc. has pleaded guilty for his role in a massive $400 million securities fraud targeting investors in surgical device manufacturers.

Last month, John Raffle pleaded guilty to several charges of white-collar crimes, including conspiracy to commit securities, mail and wire fraud as well as making false statements.  During the time the fraud is believed to have occurred, Raffle was working as the head of the company's sales and marketing staff.  He has admitted that during his tenure at the company, he and other co-conspirators of the company falsely inflated the company’s sales and revenues figures. 

Other former executives of the company have also faced similar charges. The company's former Chief Financial Officer as well as former Chief Executive Officer were also indicted on charges that they falsely boosted revenues of the company.  This fraud is believed to have continued between December 2005 and December 2008.  The co-conspirators used end- of- quarter transactions with the company’s distributors in order to falsely inflate the revenue figures of the company.

Charges of securities fraud and mail fraud, and other types of investment-related fraud are extremely damaging.  Persons, who face these charges, are looking at not just a hefty prison sentence, but a battered reputation and a ruined career.  The financial world is strewn with examples of promising careers that were destroyed after allegations of financial misappropriation or mishandling came to light.

In many such cases that Arizona criminal defense lawyers come across, persons charged with securities fraud or wire fraud did not even realize that what they were doing was not allowed under the law.

Rupert Murdoch Divorce Set to Take Acrimonious Turn

Friday, December 06, 2013

It is being called the divorce of the decade, and many San Jose divorce lawyers had predicted right at the very beginning that this would not be a divorce that would be settled very amicably by both parties involved.  It appears that this prediction is likely to come true.  In a sign that Wendi Deng is gearing up for a tough fight, she recently switched divorce lawyers.

Murdoch filed for divorce in June, and the couple has two young daughters.  Now, according to reports, Deng has hired a law firm that has specific experience in representing women in high-profile divorce cases involving wealthy businessmen. 

Obviously, Murdoch's massive billion-dollar fortune is likely to be the focus of the divorce battle which explains the lawyer switch.  The lawyer who earlier represented Deng was the same one who had earlier brokered the couple’s prenuptial agreement.  It is likely that Deng now believes that her interests will be better protected if she gets an independent lawyer, who isn't connected to her soon-to-be ex-husband in any way at all.

Soon after the announcement of the divorce filing was made, it appeared that the couple had a prenuptial agreement in place, as well as two postnuptial agreements, which specifically focused on the separation of assets in the case of a divorce.  However, it is unlikely that either of these two agreements included any details about the custody of the children or child support for the daughters.  These issues are likely to be very thorny elements in the divorce.  Deng’s role in the Murdoch family trust is also likely to be another focus as the divorce moves ahead.

Prenuptial agreements are highly recommended when one of the partners in the marriage is much wealthier or has a much higher income earning potential in the near future compared to the other.  Murdoch will no doubt be depending on these early agreements to contain some of the financial damage he is expected to suffer.

California Lawsuit Seeks Dismissal of Halloween Law for Sex Offenders

Monday, September 23, 2013

A new lawsuit seeks dismissal of a California law that requires persons convicted of sex crimes and enrolled in a sex offender registry to post a sign in front of their homes on Halloween evening, discouraging neighborhood children from visiting the houses while trick-or-treating.

According to the lawsuit that was filed by the California Reform Sex Offender Laws group, the law that requires offenders to post a sign outside their homes on Halloween, is highly unconstitutional, and should be thrown out. The rule is currently in place in the city of Orange, where offenders are required to post a warning sign measuring 12" x 24" outside their homes. The sign should say “no candy or treat at this residence. “. Violators can be fined up to $1,000, and can spend up to six months in jail.

According to the California Reform Sex Offender Laws group, the rule is a violation of First Amendment rights. The rule is highly discriminating towards registered sex offenders, who have already served their sentence for their crimes, and places these persons at risk of physical and emotional harm. Family members of these offenders may also suffer the effects of such discrimination because of their loved one's past.

According to the lawsuit, instead of protecting children, these rules place hundreds of residents in the city at risk of harm. So far, no Orange city sex offender has been convicted of a violation of the ordinance.
Such controversial laws against persons convicted of sex crimes, have also been enacted in Simi Valley. In that city, the rule requires offenders to keep their lights off on Halloween night, refrain from decorating their homes or answering their doors to children who arrive at their home.

Mobile Doctor Clinic Faces Healthcare Fraud Charges

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Chief Operating Officer of Mobile Doctors which manages Doctor house calls in several cities in 6 states has been arrested on federal health-care charges. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, agents also visited Mobile Doctors offices located in Detroit, Chicago and Indianapolis, with warrants to seize proceeds from the healthcare fraud from various bank accounts.

Mobile Doctors arranges patient home visits by physicians. The doctors hand over their rights to bill the patient to Mobile Doctors.  Mobile Doctors claims that its associated doctors have made more than half a million house calls since the company was established.

However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation believes that many of these doctors billed Medicare for patient visits that were falsely claimed as being much longer and more complicated than they actually were. This is a common type of health care fraud known as upcoding.

According to the charges against the Chief Executive Officer of Mobile Doctors, physicians associated with Mobile Doctors also participated in the fraud by falsely certifying that patients were in much worse conditions than they actually were. They claimed that the patients were confined to their homes, and as a result, home health care agencies were able to claim fees for providing additional services to patients who were confined to their home. The patients were not eligible for these additional services, because they were not in such a serious medical condition.

Healthcare fraud charges can be extremely serious, and the federal administration takes a very strong view of persons who defraud Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health care agencies, through healthcare fraud techniques like upcoding, billing for services not rendered, billing for equipment that was not purchased, off-label promotion of prescription drugs and other techniques.

Increased Activity Weeks after Brain Injury Indicates Compensation for Rest

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

When a person suffers a concussion, he may suffer from irregular brain activity over the first 24 hours after the injury. However, just a few weeks after the injury, there may be increased levels of brain activity, and this indicates that the brain may be compensating for the period of rest.

Those were the findings of new research that was recently reported in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. The researchers based their findings on an analysis of the recovery rate after brain injury of 12 high school football players. They used functional MRI scans of the players who had suffered concussions, and compared the scans with those of 12 teammates, who had not suffered a brain injury.
The players who had suffered a concussion also underwent brain scans at 13 hours after the injury, and again seven weeks after the injury. Similar procedures were followed for the players without any brain injury as well.
The researchers found that at 13 hours into the injury, symptoms clearly signified lower level of activity, including lower reaction time and reduced mental abilities. The brain scans clearly revealed decreased brain activity in the right hemisphere of the brain.
At seven weeks, these very same players showed improvement in their brain activity, which was indicated by normal reaction time and improvement in their mental abilities. When scans were taken at seven weeks into the injury, they revealed that a few weeks after the concussion, there was more brain activity in the brain circuits in the right hemisphere of the brain, compared to the players who had not suffered a concussion.
This sort of increased level of brain activation compared to a player without a concussion several weeks after the injury may indicate that the brain is trying to compensate for the recovery period after the injury.   This information could prove useful to doctors and therapists when they make the decision about whether a player should return to the sport after an injury.

Sylmar Man Charged with Child Molestation

Monday, August 26, 2013

Child molestation crimes are some of the more serious crimes that a person can be charged with. A 47-year-old man from Sylmar has been charged with these serious crimes, after police found cameras, recorders and other devices at his apartment.

The man is the son of a woman, who frequently babysits for children in the neighborhood. According to the Los Angeles Police Department, he molested children in his apartment, and recorded the crimes on camera. He was arrested recently on charges of child molestation, and officers recovered the computers, cameras and other pieces of incriminating evidence from the apartment.

The man's mother runs a childcare service, and many of the victims are believed to have been children, who were placed in the care of his mother. The man lives with his mother at an apartment near downtown Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles Department, the man's room had been equipped with cameras to record the child molestation, presumably for distribution over the Internet.

The Los Angeles Police Department triggered an investigation after it found evidence that pointed to sex crimes that involved the man. In these cases, one of the victims was 18 months old, while the other was 10 years old. However, investigators believe that there are at least four more victims who were molested in the man's apartment. The victims live in the same apartment complex as the suspect.   Police are quite certain that these are the victims, because they are seen in the video footage that they have recovered from the defendant’s laptop computer.

Sex crimes against children are some of the most abhorred crimes, and can lead to stringent penalties that include not just a hefty prison sentence, but a requirement to enroll oneself in a federal sex offender registry.

Accident Risks for Teens with ADHD Magnified by Texting

Friday, August 16, 2013

Recent research indicates that teenagers with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD have poor driving skills, compared to teens of the same age with no symptoms of the condition. However, those poor driving skills and higher accident risks are simply magnified when teenagers with ADHD use a cell phone to text or have a cell phone conversation while driving.

Those are the findings of new research that was released recently. Overall, California car accident attorneys would recommend that all teenagers simply avoid texting while driving or using a hand-held cell phone while driving. The research also confirmed the deadly effects of texting while driving even for normal teenagers. Normal teenagers who were texting while driving showed even worse driving skills, than teenagers who suffered from ADHD.

The researchers used a driving simulator to compare driving skills, not just among teenagers who suffered from ADHD and those who did not, but also while these teenagers were driving without any distractions and when distractions in the form of cell phones were introduced into the situation.  They found that when a teenager without ADHD was texting while driving, he spent about 2% of the time veering off his lane. That is approximately the same amount of distraction that occurs when a person who suffers from severe ADHD is driving.

Parents must use the varied amount of technology that is currently available to help prevent teenagers from using cell phones or texting while driving. Cell phone blocking technologies, or cellphone apps and easy- to- install devices that help shut the phone down when a car is in motion, can help reduce the risk of an accident involving a teenage driver. While parental communication and rules are very important, they may not always be sufficient to help encourage teenage drivers to switch off their cell phone.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District in Center of Sexual Harassment Scandal

Friday, July 05, 2013

In the latest in a series of sexual harassment complaints involving the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, a woman has filed a lawsuit against the agency. The lawsuit claims that she was repeatedly stalked and abused by a former fire chief.

Lisa Barsdale, in her lawsuit, claims that he was constantly harassed by former Deputy fire Marshal Stephen Broderick. Broderick who has since retired had been Barsdale‘s supervisor since 2005. The lawsuit claims a number of inappropriate behaviors including comments made to Barsdale, and requests for sexual favors. For instance, according to the lawsuit, in March of 2009, Broderick suggested to Barksdale that they spend time together at a conference that they were both supposed to attend.

On the 5th of March, Barksdale filed a complaint. The following month, the complaint was sustained, but she was placed on two days of administrative leave. Even after the complaint, authorities at the fire district simply ordered Barksdale to go back to work under Broderick’s supervision.

The lawsuit also names Fire Chief Donald Mette, who has also since retired from his position. Mette was in charge of overseeing the department at the time the harassment took place.

This isn't the first time that California sexual harassment lawyers have found the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District at the center of a sexual harassment controversy. In fact, it is only the most recent in a string of complaints alleging sexual harassment at the agency. Just a few years ago, the district was involved in a harassment scandal that involved several supervisors. That scandal ended with a payout of $550,000 to the woman who had filed the complaint. Since then, other employees at the agency have also filed their own lawsuits, alleging that they were unfairly terminated after the complaint. Investigations into their complaints are going on.

In order for certain behaviors to be considered sexual harassment, the harassment must be continuous or severe. A single instance of harassment, for instance, may not count as sexual harassment. However, in cases where a single act has been severe, like rape or assault, it will constitute as sexual harassment. Sexual harassment claims in California are governed both by federal laws as contained in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as well as state laws contained in the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Juveniles in Detention at High Risk of Brain trauma

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Juveniles who are in detention at a much higher risk of suffering brain trauma as a result of exposure to violence. According to the results of a new study released recently by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, most of the youth in the study who were in detention had been exposed to one or more traumatic events.

The Office of Justice program is aimed at controlling and preventing youth-related crime and assisting victims. The report titled PTSD, Trauma and Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders and Detained Youth is the second report from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention's series on the conclusions of the Northwestern Juvenile Project. This program is based on data that was collected from more than 1800 juveniles arrested and detained in Cook County, Illinois between 1995 and 1998.

Out of the juveniles who were researched as part of the study, the researchers found that 93% had previously been exposed to trauma. Further, at least 57% were exposed to trauma at least six or more times. Male juveniles were much more likely to report trauma, compared to females.

The study also found that this exposure to trauma increased the risk of the development of symptoms of post- traumatic stress disorder among these juvenile delinquents. As many as 11% of the participants in the study were diagnosed with post- traumatic stress disorder over the past 12 months. Out of the persons who were diagnosed with symptoms of post- traumatic stress disorder, more than 50% reported witnessing violence during detention as the main factor that triggered the post- traumatic stress disorder. 93 percent suffered from at least one additional comorbid psychiatric disorder.

Help Reduce Risk of Injuries to Children in Accidents

Friday, May 24, 2013

Over the next few weeks, thousands of children will make holiday trips across the country. These trips are some of the riskiest that they will ever take because summer is peak travel season in California and around the country. That means an increased risk of accidents that injure child passengers.

The AAA is offering some advice for parents and caregivers to reduce the risk of injuries to children in an accident. The number one piece of advice that any California car accident lawyer would offer is to make sure that you appropriately restrain children in the car. Make sure that younger children are in car seats or booster seats, and older children are buckled in.

Make sure that your car seat is installed properly. A badly or improperly seat can actually increase injury risks. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be restrained in booster seats until they reach a minimum height of 4’9. Most children between the age of eight and 12 fall in this group.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that as many as three out of four car seats are improperly installed. Get a car seat technician to check your car seat installation.

Buy a car seat that is manufactured by a reputed maker. Avoid buying used car seats.

Even older children who can wear seat belts must be seated safely in the back seat. Keep children occupied in the car with games and puzzles to eliminate the risk of distractions.

Another major source of injuries to children in a car in the event of an accident are loose objects in the car. Make sure that all items are safely stowed away in the trunk. These items include toys and accessories.

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