If You Commit Fraud, Don’t Buy A Nice Car

hummer.jpg From experience as criminal defense attorneys, nothing enrages agents and prosecutors more than extravagances by those accused. That is why good defense attorneys will make sure a client being accused of stealing vast or even minor sums of money go into a meeting with the government or into court without wearing a Rolex or pulling up in a new Mercedes. Justifiably, it grates on one’s sensibility that a thief should live better than the rest of the hard working population.
Usually everyone involved in the proceedings knows how much money is at issue, but that will often take a back seat in the minds of those involved to the obvious displays or wealth. Those items also often form the basis for the otherwise irrelevant but juicy nuggets at trial where the prosecutor or witness will speak about those items to inflame the jury. Remember the $6000 shower curtain in the trial of the former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski, do you remember anything else? As with other jurisdictions, California is getting heavily into health care fraud prosecutions.
This article is about a criminal prosecution brought by the California AG over $678,000 in DME fraud. The reporter, generally given such information by agents or prosecutors, feels compelled to point out a defendant bought a new Hummer, as if allegedly stealing $678,000 is not enough.