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WORKER IN TEXAS SCHOOL DISTRICT INDICTED ON FEDERAL FRAUD CHARGES


On behalf of Hochglaube & DeBorde Law Firm posted in Fraud on Friday, June 6, 2014.


Mail and wire fraud statutes cover a broad range of activities, allowing federal prosecutors a great deal of flexibility in seeking charges.  As long as a person is accused of having a scheme to defraud another and uses mail or electronic communications in the alleged hopes of furthering a fraudulent scheme, it is probable that prosecutors can find a way to prosecute.

Two people in Texas are accused of federal crimes related to an alleged scheme to unlawfully siphon workers’ compensation benefits from a Texas school district program. Federal prosecutors claim that a woman who worked in the risk management department for schools in Dallas used her role to redirect workers’ compensation benefits to an alleged co-conspirator. Not surprisingly, prosecutors can pursue fraud charges here if mail or wires were used in the alleged scheme.  In cases like these, sentences can vary dramatically depending on the actual dollar amount lost, the intended loss amount and a variety of other factors.  An experienced practitioner can navigate the complex guidelines involved in these cases. 

Investigators claim that the risk management worker had access to a database involving school district workers’ compensation claims. Authorities believe that the woman modified claims to change the names on workers’ comp checks to list her alleged co-conspirator. The checks were then mailed out of the accounts payable office to the co-conspirator, according to a federal indictment. Prosecutors believe that the worker also directly cashed some checks while operating the scheme for roughly two years, beginning in May 2009.

The risk management worker was fired in 2011 after school officials investigated the alleged issues.

The two women have been formally charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The federal charge carries significant penalties, including up to 20 years in federal prison. The women appeared in federal court last week and were released on bail.

In general, mail fraud charges do not necessarily require checks to be mailed to trigger the broad scope of the federal statute. A letter or document that authorities think is sent in an effort to further a fraudulent scheme may be sufficient. In today’s electronic-based world, the wire fraud statute may be called into play when alleged communications related to a fraudulent scheme uses electronic means, like an email, to further the plot.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, “Former Dallas ISD employee is arrested in fraud case,” Tawnell D. Hobbs, June 3, 2014















































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