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Articles Posted in White Collar Crimes

A United States Attorney recently announced that an alleged Chinatown crime boss has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for his involvement in drug trafficking, money laundering, and prostitution related criminal activities.The U.S. Attorney said in a statement that the defendant, Wei Xing Chen, pleaded guilty in April to conspiring to the following charges:

  • money-laundering;
  • inducing travel for the purpose of prostitution;
  • conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), and benzylpiperazine (BZP), both are forms of the street drug ecstacy;
  • and possession with intent to distribute BZP.

The defendant was sentenced last week in U.S. District Court to 70 months in prison, with two subsequent years of supervised release, an additional $1,000 fine, and forfeiture of his Mercedes and $8,000 in cash.

The U.S. Attorney further reported that a co-defendant in the case pleaded guilty last November to his involvement in the prostitution ring, and was sentenced to two years of probation including six months of home detention.

In a separate sworn statement, the government revealed that the two defendants were among 26 individuals initially indicted in 2011, following a long term FBI investigation into organized crime within Chinatown. In addition to the indictments, government officials also seized 13 guns, $340,000 in cash, and nearly 13,000 of what they believed to be oxycodone pills, in addition to “extensive evidence” of prostitution and illegal gambling.
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Investigators from local, state, and federal authorities announced last week that they have made an arrest inconnection with an extensive criminal operation, which involved identity theft, high end electronics, and counterfeit money. The suspect was arrested last Thursday on the Boston Common after he allegedly attempted to purchase counterfeit money.

The alleged criminal enterprise involved a man operating out of a kiosk located within a jewelry store, named “Time Products,” which is located at Downtown Crossing on Washington Street.

Authorities believe that the suspect would procure credit card information from people, or use their identities to apply for new credit card accounts. He would then use that information to purchase iPads, high end cell phones, and other high end electronics.

Attorney General Martha Coakley stated, among other things, that “Runners were paid [to use] those accounts to obtain smart phones and other high-end electronics at discounted prices from stores across the Commonwealth.”

It is believed that the runners would use the acquired identities or credit cards to purchase the high end phones at a discount, by for example agreeing to a two year service contract. A local news station reported that the credit cards may have also been used to purchase gift cards, which were then used to purchase merchandise. The products were in turn then sold, either from the kiosk or on the street, at a lower than market price.

Police said that an undercover investigation, which is ongoing, ultimately led to the arrest of the suspect. The Boston PD commissioner said that more arrests are expected, in addition to the at least two other men who have been arrested on unspecified charges.
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Recent arrests in Massachusetts prove that people from all walks of life commit crimes and the advantageous sector of welfare benefits provides ample opportunities for those looking to make a quick buck. The Huffington Post reports that two Massachusetts lottery winners have been accused of collecting welfare benefits. James Casey Jr. of Waltham and Frank Basile of Belmont face charges of larceny and fraud as of May 2012. After a full investigation, the Boston Globe reports that James T. Casey Jr. allegedly collected $12,157 in MassHealth benefits and $1,553 in food stamps since allegedly winning more than $700,000 from the state lottery in Massachusetts. In addition, Frank Basile allegedly collected $17,500 in MassHealth benefits despite having allegedly cashed in more than $316,000 in winning lottery tickets over four years. The two reportedly failed to report their lottery winning in order to claim the public health benefits. Welfare fraud is a serious criminal offense resulting in both civil and criminal penalties for those convicted. Welfare fraud takes place when people make false statements or fail to report important information when applying for these types of public programs in order to receive benefits to which they are not otherwise entitled. If convicted, Casey and Basile could potentially face incarceration for up to five years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. If you are suspected of welfare fraud, you should contact a well-educated welfare fraud defense attorney as soon as possible to maximize your chances of avoiding conviction. In some instances, early intervention by a lawyer may prevent the loss of welfare benefits or the filing of criminal charges.

Instances of welfare fraud have become more prevalent in recent years, as the economy continues to produce negative results and Americans feel the pressure of unemployment and lay offs. The Boston Herald reports that nearly $2 million in taxpayer-funded Massachusetts welfare has been fraudulently claimed since the beginning of 2012. In Massachusetts, the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI), part of the State Auditor’s Office, is in charge of fraud prevention for public assistance programs. The Bureau of Special Investigations has identified many people who took advantage of welfare, food stamps, health care, housing, and childcare services. While welfare fraud remains a detrimental and growing problem, detecting instances of this practice are difficult because the current law does not require the lottery to disclose its list of winners to MassHealth. State officials have worked to change this so that they may combat the rising costs of the crime and Alec Loftus, spokesman for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, says that as of 2014 MassHealth will have access to tax records.
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