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New York City Criminal Defense Blog

What is the difference between a pardon and a commutation?

You may be one of many people in New York with questions about executive clemency after a series of well-publicized cases in the news. The President of the United States, as well as state governors, have the right to show clemency to people convicted of a crime. In other words, if you go to prison after a criminal trial, officials of the executive branch of government at both the state and national levels are able to change the terms of your sentence upon review of your case.

According to the United States Department of Justice, executive clemency usually takes one of two different forms: a pardon or a commuted sentence. Both are similar in that they do not excuse you from wrongdoing or imply innocence on your part, but although they are similar in some ways, they are different in others. If convicted of a crime, you can receive a pardon even after your release from prison. Some people have received pardons years after finishing their sentences, sometimes even after death. A commutation is different in that it shortens the term of your prison sentence and gets you out earlier than expected, meaning that you can only receive a commutation while you are still in prison.

Medical billing professionals often held responsible for fraud

When the media talks about Medicaid and Medicare fraud, they almost always focus on individuals receiving benefits they don't necessarily deserve. However, fraud perpetrated by medical professionals costs the government the most money. Doctors and other medical providers can abuse their position of trust and authority to intentionally overbill the government for services rendered.

Regardless of the way in which they do so, if caught, these professionals and other members of their staff could face serious criminal charges. Working as a medical billing professional puts you at risk of fraud allegations or charges, even if you aren't directly responsible for it. Handling the billing process often implicates these professionals, even if they don't receive any kind of compensation related to the fraud.

New York caretaker accused of home deed theft

As the New York City real estate market heats up, suspected cases of deed theft have been on the rise for several years. Authorities claim that the unlawful practice has reached crisis levels in Brooklyn, where a caretaker allegedly forced an 85-year-old diabetic homeowner to sign the deed to the home over to him in an attempt to sell at a profit. The former caretaker is now under indictment on counts of identity theft, grand larceny and ten others.

The elderly homeowner's family discovered the alleged crime when a buyer interested in purchasing the home contacted them. The victim's daughter reportedly found a letter from the Department of Finance regarding recent filings related to the property. An investigation revealed that the caretaker allegedly convinced the homeowner in 2017 that he had to sign a document or risk losing his home. The homeowner complied, unwittingly signing over his property to the caretaker, according to reports. Authorities claim that the caretaker then had the document notarized and forged a signature on another document when the notary public refused a second notarization. A sale attempt shortly after the caretaker allegedly acquired the deed reportedly fell through due to the refusal of a suspicious title company to insure the home.

How could Kelley Blue Book correlate with your time served?

If you're a fan of Mercedes-Benz, you probably already appreciate the specs involved with a finely-tuned AMG engine, safety features like ATTENTION ASSIST and the status the brand carries. For some people who can't afford these luxury vehicles, the thought of stealing one may seem tempting. But, did you know that the value of the stolen vehicle could factor into your penalties?

In New York, theft, or larceny, charges depend on what was stolen and how much it's worth. For example, shoplifting might result in misdemeanor charges with a possible jail sentence. However, a stolen vehicle would bring grand larceny charges your way, along with more serious implications.

U.S. sees drop in white collar crime cases

Residents in New York might feel that they hear a lot about white collar crime cases, especially those involving some very high-profile people. This may well be due in part to the fact that New York City is the financial heart of the country. However, despite a seemingly excessive amount of media attention on these types of cases lately, recent statistics show that the number of such cases being prosecuted has dropped dramatically in recent years.

According to Bloomberg, a study conducted by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse found that the 3,249 white collar cases pursued between October 2017 and April 2018 represents a decline of more than 33 percent compared to five years ago. Going back to 1998, the current number represents a drop of almost 41 percent. Even when comparing to just one year ago, a reduction by more than four percent is seen.

Domestic violence charges may not stand up to scrutiny

Facing domestic violence charges is never something to take lightly, no matter how the charges arise. If you find yourself charged with acts of domestic violence, you should begin building a defense as quickly as possible, even if it seems like you don't have many options at first.

Domestic violence charges are often more destructive to defendants than other kinds of charges because they can do significant damage to social reputation in a way that few other charges can.

Arrest on federal drug charges for N.Y. substance abuse expert

People who take steps to recover from drug addiction sometimes turn their experience toward helping others with substance abuse problems. However, even one who has apparently had successes on the road to recovery can relapse. That appears to be what has happened to a faculty member at the University of Buffalo medical school following his recent arrest on drug charges. 

The University of Buffalo was aware of the physician's history of drug addiction, including a 2008 suspension of his medical license due to prior substance abuse, when it hired him to its Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program. He received reinstatement of his license on a probationary basis specifically for that purpose in 2014, becoming the faculty expert on substance abuse.

Drivers should beware after drinking

New York is perhaps the hub of New Year's Eve celebrations in America as countless tourists flock to the city to see the ball drop in Times Square at midnight. This is an event that is commonly central to festivities across the nation as it graces screens from coast to coast. When the ball has dropped at the start of the New Year is officially heralded, many people toast with a glass of champagne or some other alcoholic beverage. 

The toast at the start of a New Year is just one of many traditions in the U.S. at which alcohol is generally served. Despite this being a normal and accepted part of life today, critics of those who enjoy their social drinks and then drive home seem to be quite vocal. Some people might even feel that there appears to be all but a war on all drinking and driving as if the social drinker is put on a par with the person who truly is intoxicated.

Prescription drug crackdowns can lead more people to heroin

The epidemic of Americans addicted to opioid and opiate medications has reached an alarming point across the country. There are very few communities and neighborhoods that do not see some impact of opioid or opiate addiction. People from all backgrounds and all walks of life can quickly find themselves dependent on narcotic pain medication.

All it takes is a surgery or simple accident to wind up prescribed and then addicted to narcotic pain relief. People absolutely need pain relief when they have medical procedures or after a traumatic injury. Unfortunately, the same medications that help people cope with pain can have addictive and debilitating consequences in the future. Doctors often crack down on individuals they believe are seeking pain relievers for recreational purposes or because of addiction.

Multi-year investigation leads to agent's arrest

Residents in New York who hear stories about people being arrested and charged with drug-related crimes might have a preconceived idea in their minds about the people who find themselves in these positions. Contrary to many of the stereotypes, even very responsible people and citizens can end up being the subject of a criminal investigation and arrest and this includes those people who work in law enforcement.

As reported by U.S. News and World Report, an investigation that is said to have taken place over more than five years recently led officials to arrest a man for his alleged involvement in aiding a drug trafficking organization based in Puerto Rico. The investigation was launched by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2013 and included a supposed drug operation being run out of a childcare center in the Bronx.

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