Manslaughter, Murder or Homicide in South Florida

A person who kills another human being may not only have committed homicide. Homicide can be divided into murder and manslaughter. Cases differ from one another and it is the examination of every single detail that will determine if someone will be charged with either manslaughter or murder. You may wonder what the difference is. In the counties of Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Broward in South Florida, when a person kills another without having malice aforethought, it means the person has committed manslaughter. When we say malice aforethought, we mean the premeditation to commit the murder. Many times, manslaughter occurs due to negligence by the perpetrator towards another human being.
In South Florida, a person would have committed murder when he or she planned the killing before the event actually occurred. It is the State who will have the burden of proving that the perpetrator of the homicide had premeditated his actions.
If you are being charged with murder or manslaughter in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Miami, or other areas in South Florida, you have to call an experienced and qualified criminal attorney for a free consultation on your case.

What Is A Federal Criminal Attorney?

Federal criminal lawyers must be current with the explosive increase of Federal criminal laws, federal criminal procedures, federal criminal evidence and the inscrutable PACER Federal online document filing system. It is almost impossible to be an effective and competent lawyer in federal court unless the attorney devotes significant ongoing time keeping current with federal criminal law. Federal court is hobbled by arcane procedural rules, almost Byzantine local rules that overlay the federal criminal rules and procedures, and……it gets worse…... THIS ARTICLE CONTINUES ON PAGE TWO....

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Florida Attorney Suspect in Fraud by the FBI and IRS

Scott Rothstein, 47, is suspected of misappropriating millions of dollars via investments of faked legal settlements. FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents searched the law offices of Rothstein Rosenfeldt, home of the high-profile South Florida attorney. Investment fraud is at the center of the matter. Nearly $100 million in total fraud is estimated to have occurred in Rothstein's debacle. No charges have been filed yet against Rothstein, and his lawyer declined to comment on any of the events surrounding his client.

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Florida Fugitive Caught In Tough Situation Faces Prison Time

A 37-year-old man left the state of Florida last June with a $25,000 bail in lieu of a conspiracy for trafficking ecstasy charge. The man's name will remain anonymous due to death threats he has been receiving and pending legal proceedings. Due to a life-and-death incident he faced, he left Florida to Canada on illegal standing due to organized criminals in Florida. The unidentified man will be facing 15 years in US prison for the falsification of documents and skipping bail in Florida.

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ICE Agent Arrested on Cocaine Charges Will Be Sent to Florida

Richard P. Cramer, a high-ranking agent at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement federal agency, was arrested in his Arizona home for suspicion of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine. Cramer was formerly stationed in Mexico during his active duty and later retired in 2007 in the U.S. An investigation reaching back into 2006 was discovered to be the source of the warrant and arrest. Authorities claim that Cramer assisted a big time drug trafficking organization by alerting them to inside informants working for the government via illegal use of a confidential law enforcement database. One shipment the organization involved with Cramer was worth $400,000 and weighed about 660 pounds. That's a lot of cocaine. Officials seized the shipment once it landed on U.S. soil, stopping its journey which originally started in Panama and was going to conclude in Spain. Cramer will be extradited to a holding center in Florida because most of the criminal acts occurred here.

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Florida Judge Guilty of Mortgage Fraud

Thomas E. Stringer of Tampa plead guilty to a bank fraud charge. The hefty jail time facing Stringer could be in upwards of thirty years. A break in the case though for Stringer is that no parties sustained financial loss in the crime, so Stringer may only face forfeiture of the funds acquired from the fraud itself. No date on sentencing has been confirmed as of yet. The premise of Stringer's fraudulent scheme was to receive a loan for a residential property in Hawaii. A mortgage application made by Stringer was falsified by saying that he did not borrow any money for the down payment. In reality, he used a third party in borrowing some money. The FBI investigated the case to its conclusion, in partnership with two US Attorneys.

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Florida at the Center of a Cocaine Ring

Dennis A. Bell, Jr., 28, has been charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine from Florida to London. He will face up to 30 years in prison, six years of supervised release, a maximum fine of $2 million and a required payment of $100 at the close of the proceedings. By pleading guilty to the charges, as a first time offender, he got one of the charges waived and the first two pleaded out. The right to vote will no longer be something Mr. Bell can do. Oh, boo hoo. Bell along with the 2 other conspirators were arrested by London Police last May. Bell was the only one of the three with a valid driver license.

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Mortgage Fraud and Florida Prosecution: Part 9

Attorney Behr's mortgage fraud prosecutions series continues with the following excerpt:

18 U.S.C. § 2314 Transportation of stolen goods, securities, moneys, fraudulent State tax stamps, or articles used in counterfeiting

Under this statute, a person who enables assists or intends to enable property with a value of $5,000.00 or more into interstate commerce or foreign commerce by a scheme enabled through the use of material misrepresentations could be convicted under the statute.89

In United States v. Grintjes, 237 F.3d 876, 877 (7th Cir. 2001), the defendant a mortgage broker and his co-defendant Thomas Younk, a client who owned a real estate company allegedly obtained “…inflated appraisals of properties, use the inflated appraisals to obtain mortgages, purchase the properties for significantly less than the amount of the mortgage, and pocket the rest of the loan.”90 The defendant was indicted for “…aiding and abetting a fraudulent scheme involving the interstate transfer of funds… ”91 “Grintjes testified that he never independently inspected the properties Younk sought to finance, nor did he ever verify the appraisals.”92 He also testified that it was not uncommon in the mortgage broker industry not to inspect verify the appraisals.93


Any use of the previous article requires written permission from AttorneyRalph Behr and from this website and its subsidiaries under State and Federal Law. DO NOT copy and use the text provided above and/or publish as your own. The document may only be used for private study or distributing among peers in paper, not on internet transmission, with no intent to make profit or sell without credit being due to the original author.

Florida Prosecution of Mortgage Frauds by Criminal Lawyer Ralph Behr: Part 8

South Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog is proud to present the next installment of Attorney Behr's mortgage fraud prosecutions series:

18 U.S.C. §1956 Laundering of monetary instruments


18 U.S.C. §1957 Engaging in monetary transactions in property

derived from specified unlawful activity

Both statutes essentially have the same purpose of preventing persons from legitimizing proceeds obtained illegally although there are differences. 18 U.S.C. § 1956, is concerned with any financial transaction concerning proceeds of a “specified unlawful activity”73 whenever action is focused to keep the criminal activity from being discovered, or to hide the source or current possessor of the funds, or to avoid the mandatory disclosures under the Bank Secrecy Act under Title 31 U.S.C.74 Conversely, provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 1957 is applicable if a person “…knowingly engages or attempts to engage in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000 and is derived from specified unlawful activity…”75

In United States v. Moncrief, 133 Fed.Appx. 924 (5th Cir. 2004), both of these statutes were instituted in a case which the government claimed to be “…the largest mortgage-loan-fraud operation ever to be prosecuted.”76 The case involved Meis Enterprises which was owned and operated by the Meis family.77 Mei Enterprises was a conglomeration of several businesses operated by members of the Mei family.78 Mei Enterprises operated a construction company and several real estate companies.79 Although the assortment of companies had differing bank accounts and officers in charge, Mei Enterprises “…operated out of one common office.”80

The alleged end result of the mortgage fraud scheme was to collect “…large amounts of cash by inducing mortgage lenders to provide the Meis with loans that were $50,000 to $80,000…” over what “…it cost the Meis to purchase the real estate that served as the collateral for the loan.”81 In order to obtain the loans, “…the Meis orchestrated sham real estate transactions in which the Meis would appear to sell a particular property, which…” would overlap “…with actual sales in which the Meis would purchase, for the first time, the very same property.”82 Purportedly, the Meis first would find a property for sale and “…acting through one of their realty companies such as Hathaway Properties, would contract to purchase the property from its owner.”83

Third parties or straw buyer would serve as a temporary purchaser usually Frank Mei Sr. to complete “…a parallel sham transaction that would be used to obtain an inflated loan.”84 Mortgage brokers in one of the Mei Enterprises would falsify employment and income information on loan application to lenders.85 Eventually, Moncrief, a residential real estate appraiser became involved in the Mei scheme.86 Allegedly, Moncrief used the Mei’s formula for over inflating the value of selected properties and “…was involved in more straw buyer transactions than any other appraiser that the Meis use…”87 which exposed him to the money laundering violations.88


Any use of the previous article requires written permission from Ralph Behr and from this website and its subsidiaries under State and Federal Law. DO NOT copy and use the text provided above and/or publish as your own. The document may only be used for private study or distributing among peers in paper, not on internet transmission, with no intent to make profit or sell without credit being due to the original author.

White Collar Florida Crime Goes to Federal Courts

Huey Granderson of Millersport, Ohio was charged with three counts related to an insurance fraud ring which involved real estate. Granderson was the ringleader of this group that committed theft in upwards of $5 million from companies in the area. He pled guilty to partaking in corrupt activities, theft and failure to file an income tax return; all have been deemed felonies. According to his plea agreement, the other 14 dropped were lifted from his case. Granderson is set for sentencing at a later date although he can face up to 19 years in prison and a hefty fine.

White collar crime can be committed by a number of individuals, generally those with images like accountants, lawyers, doctors, business executives, stock brokers, and bankers. Real estate fraud comes under the grouping of white collar crimes. Penalties for a white collar crime conviction, as displayed in Granderson's instance, can include criminal forfeiture, payment of fines, supervised release, restitution, and imprisonment.

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Florida Prosecution of Mortgage Frauds by Criminal Lawyer Ralph Behr: Part 5

Further exposition of Attorney Behr's mortgage fraud prosecutions series:

18 U.S.C. § 1341 Frauds and swindles


18 U.S.C. § 1343 Fraud by wire, radio, or television

Also know as the mail and wire fraud statutes. These statutes explain any person “…having devised or intending to devise any scheme or…” ploy while making material misrepresentations in conjunction with the use of the United States Postal Service or the use of any electronic media format may be exposed to prosecution under these statutes.36

An example of both these statutes in action is outlined in the Seventh Federal Circuit case of United States v. Owens, 301 F.3d 521 (7th Cir. 2002). “A jury convicted real estate appraiser Reginald Owens of mail fraud and wire fraud for his part in a multi-million dollar real estate and mortgage fraud scheme.”37 The alleged “…scheme was a land “flip” scheme, which basically involved having people purchase distressed properties for cash and then immediately resell that same property at artificially-inflated prices.”38 One of the co-defendants, Brian Parr’s “…role in the scheme was to first identify the property he wanted to buy through realtors and by searching the Multiple Listing Services (“MLS”), a real estate computer database that showed properties for sale and the seller's listing price.”39 While arranging for the proper contracts for purchase of these properties, “…Parr would prepare to sell the property at an artificially-inflated price to a second buyer.”40 These sales mostly happened at the same time; however there were instances when the subsequent sale was performed prior to the property being contracted with the first purchaser.41

Second possible buyers were lured in with offers of “…no money down and cash back at closing.”42 “The second buyers, however, typically did not have jobs or bank accounts and thus could not have normally qualified for a mortgage.”43 In avoidance of this potential problem, “…several other co-schemers, including loan officer Tamira Smyth, created false documents to submit to the lender institutions.”44

Besides false documents, the mortgage brokers additionally worked with individual appraisers to make certain the appraisals synched up with the contract price of the subsequent sale to exploit Parr’s profits.45 The appraisers utilized inflated the value of the properties by leaving out critical pieces of information from their appraisal reports and the MLS and “…by comparing the sale house involved in the flip transaction to houses that were far superior.”46 “Parr then used the profits from each transaction to pay his co-schemers.”47


Any use of the previous article requires written permission from Ralph Behr and from this website and its subsidiaries under State and Federal Law. DO NOT copy and use the text provided above and/or publish as your own. The document may only be used for private study or distributing among peers in paper, not on internet transmission, with no intent to make profit or sell without credit being due to the original author.

Federal Tax Evasion Hits an Attorney and Doctor

According to AP reports, a lawyer-turned-tax preparer was jailed after a jury convicted him of helping a radiologist and others hide $24 million in income. A defense lawyer for 59-year-old Bernard J. Bagdis of Norristown says his client was obsessed with the tax code and did not believe he had to file or pay taxes, in part because of business losses. The jury found otherwise, convicting Bagdis, 57-year-old radiologist Bertram Russell of Gladwyne and 63-year-old engineer Richard Frase of Schoharie, N.Y., of dozens of counts. Nine defendants pleased guilty before trial. Prosecutors say Russell filed no taxes despite earning nearly $3 million in income from 1998 to 2006.

They say the 12 defendants together avoided nearly $5 million in taxes.

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Florida Marshals Recover Firearms

Thomas McCoy, 42, was caught walking outside of a Holiday Inn Express in Tampa by members of the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force, who then tried to arrest him. McCoy, According to the Marshals Office in Tampa, it was determined that McCoy had turned to shoot at the law enforcement officers and did, when a Deputy Marshal shot back, hitting him in the shoulder and buttocks.

While executing a search warrant investigators and Deputy U.S. Marshals recovered a fully-loaded automatic rifle, numerous rounds of ammunition and other loaded hand guns from the hotel room of the murder suspect they apprehended yesterday after having to shoot him, according to the Marshals Office in Florida's Middle District.

McCoy is listed in critical condition at a local hospital as of this writing.

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Florida to Federal Crimes: Madoff and Jail for Dummies

Kieran Crowley, New York Post, Jail for Dummies

Bernard Madoff's niece and another relative -- worried they'll wind up behind bars -- have contacted a consultant who teaches white-collar criminals how to survive in federal prison and secure early release, sources said. A jail cell would be a stark change for Shana Madoff, who grew up on a six-acre Woodbury, LI, estate called Hastings Hall owned by her parents, Peter and Marion Madoff. Peter is Bernie's brother.

Shana, 38, who was a compliance officer with the infamous Madoff firm, contacted Larry Levine, a former federal prisoner and founder of Wall Street Prison Consultants, the sources said.

Levine refused to identify his clients, but admitted that "a female relative of Bernie Madoff contacted me" about taking his Fedtime 101 crash course. Shana contacted the company two weeks ago "because she was concerned about her safety" should she ever go to jail, one source said.

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Pittsburgh Calls for Tougher Gun Laws

In kneejerk fashion, Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania is expected to call on federal and state lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws in the wake of the shooting deaths of three Pittsburgh police officers. Rendell was scheduled to hold a news conference this afternoon with Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and other municipal officials from around the state.

Rendell told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he will ask the Legislature to allow municipalities to enact their own gun laws. In addition, spokesmen for Ravenstahl and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter say they expect Rendell to ask Congress to re-enact a ban on assault weapons.

Authorities say Richard Poplawski was armed with a rifle and other weapons when he allegedly shot three Pittsburgh officers earlier this month.

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Drug Ring from Florida to Kentucky

Roughly six million Americans abuse prescription drugs, which is more than hallucinogens, cocaine, heroin, and inhalants combined. A sort of "script" madness has occurred where patients will show up in pharmacies. In mid-March, a Kentucky pharmacy was suddenly flooded with residents trying to fill Florida prescriptions for powerful painkillers like Oxycodone, Roxycodone and Percocet. "We were real surprised when we first started seeing them come in due to the fact they were all stamped with the drug name on them and you could see where the people had put all their information on there ahead of time."

"The officer brought back the people that were involved to the office and within the hour another call from CVS pharmacy that another script was being passed from a doctor in Florida, so another officer went up there and brought those people back to the office ... so we had our office full of Kentucky residents trying to pass Florida scripts."

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Gang-led Mortgage Fraud Ring Dissolved

Two dozen people were indicted on racketeering and other charges for allegedly conducting a wide-ranging mortgage fraud based in San Diego and led by a street gang member, according an indictment unsealed on Tuesday. The lead defendant, Darnell Bell, a documented member of the Lincoln Park street gang in Los Angeles, received at least $9 million in proceeds from the enterprise, prosecutors said. Bell's status as an active member of the Lincoln Park street gang helped him recruit straw buyers for 220 properties with a total sales price of $100 million, and later maintain discipline among them, according the indictment. "It was relevant not so much to running the (real estate) scheme but to managing (the people)," Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Acton Jones said.

Another defendant, Stanley Gentry, let the conspirators use his real estate license in exchange for a $10,000 monthly payment and a percentage of the commission and broker's fees from each purchase, prosecutors said. Defendant Billie Bishop was an escrow officer who helped with the enterprise's fraudulent purchases of more than 100 properties, prosecutors said. The defendants allegedly used straw buyers and inflated appraisals to purchase homes that had sat on the market for extended periods and had been reduced in price. They submitted offers that exceeded the homes' asking prices, and had the overage paid to a shell construction company that they claimed would make upgrades or handicap modifications to the properties, prosecutors said. The defendants instead disbursed the "kickback amount" to members and associates of the enterprise as payments for their participation, the indictment said.

Lenders later foreclosed on the properties, taking "severe financial losses," after the straw buyers failed to make payments, the indictment said.

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Florida Man Pleads Guilty To Sex-Related Offense

William Joe Mitchell, 48, pled guilty to charges that he knowingly transported a minor in interstate commerce with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. In a plea hearing held before Federal Magistrate Judge Terry F. Moorer, Mitchell admitted that he had met the minor, a 15-year old female, in an online chat room, and that on October 1, 2007, he drove her from Bartow, Florida, to Andalusia, Alabama, with the intent to have sex with her. Mitchell also admitted knowing that the girl was underage. Title 18, United States Code, Section 2423(a) makes it a crime for any person to knowingly transport an individual who has not attained the age of 18 in interstate commerce with intent that the individual engage in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.

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Florida Drugs and Federal Prosecution for a ex-NFL Player

A former NFL player, Leonardo Carson, is in hot water in a drug operation that ran over 4 years, authorities say. Carson is accused of conspiracy to sell crack cocaine and marijuana. Federal authorities in Texas today arrested a former NFL player on charges that he dealt the drugs over a four-year period. These federal drug charges are serious and Carson is now scheduled to appear in front of a Texas federal magistrate judge in the face of a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to prison, that is if he is convicted of the most serious of the charges.

According to the indictment, Carson conspired to sell drugs from Jan. 1, 2004, until August 2008. The indictment lists the following quantities: more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, more than 20 of grams of crack and more than 20 kilograms of marijuana. The charges also accuse Carson of aiding and abetting Kareem Abdul Cook in the possession with intent to distribute 468 grams of marijuana and 47 grams of crack cocaine on Aug. 19.

Mobile County sheriff's deputies arrested Carson, his younger brother and Cook on state charges after what authorities described as a monthlong investigation. Deputies arrested several others on Aug. 19, seizing four vehicles, $1,500 in cash, a pistol and bulk quantities of cocaine and marijuana.

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Federal Court Upholds Law on Sex Offender Registration

Recently a federal appeals court has maintained authority on enforcing a current law regarding sex offenders registering with authorities when moving from state to state. U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell of Orlando, Fla., erred when he ruled the registration provision of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 was "facially unconstitutional," a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found in two opinions. The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, part of the Walsh law, were the specific issues in the upheld ruling. John Badalamenti, an assistant federal public defender in Tampa, says Congress overstepped its boundaries because the states enforce registration requirements.

Sex offenders, take notice that whenever you move , in or out of your probation, you MUST always notify the feds AND the state that you are doing so. Don't risk it or just plain ignore the rules by not telling officials.

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Federal Human Trafficker Pleads Guilty

Dereck Hounakey, 32, a West African immigrant from Togo, plead guilty to charges of human trafficking in a sex worker operation out of New Jersey. Hounakey has been in custody since he was arrested in 2007 along with his mother, Akouavi Kpade Afolabi, and Lassissi Afolabi, who authorities say may be her husband. A fourth person, Geoffry Kouevi, was charged later.

Hounakey admitted to having sex with some of the girls, ranging in age from 10 to 17. Hounakey faces up to five years in jail and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Jose Linares scheduled sentencing for June 22.

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