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3 guilty in Dallas-area, Houston health care fraud
Legal Interview | 2013/04/12 22:20
Three more people have been convicted in a nearly $3 million health care fraud case involving Houston and Dallas-area companies.

Prosecutors say unlicensed doctors were recruited to treat patients at their homes and then wrongly bill Medicare.

A federal judge in Dallas on Wednesday convicted Godwin Umotong and Comfort Gates of Houston of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and health care fraud. A third person - Vagharshak Smbatyan of Grenada Hills, Calif., - was convicted of making a false statement to an agency.

All will be sentenced in July and face penalties ranging from five to 10 years per count.

Prosecutors say Umotong worked for Euless Healthcare Corp. in Hurst and Medic Healthcare Inc. of Houston. Gates worked for Medic.


Court upholds RI lawyer's corruption conviction
Legal Interview | 2012/10/12 23:14
A federal appeals court has upheld the corruption conviction of a former North Providence town attorney who facilitated bribes to three town councilmen.

Robert Ciresi was convicted in April 2011 of bribery, extortion and conspiracy charges. The jury found he arranged and delivered a $25,000 bribe to then-Councilman John Zambarano after the town council rezoned a plot of land so a supermarket could be built there. Ciresi also helped put Zambarano in touch with a middleman on a separate $75,000 bribe related to a mill development.

Among other issues, Ciresi’s lawyers argued to the appeals court that the lower court incorrectly allowed prosecutors to play for the jury audiotapes that were made of Zambarano discussing Ciresi’s role in the scheme, arguing it constituted hearsay evidence.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday disagreed and upheld the conviction, as well as Ciresi’s sentence of five years and three months in prison.


Mo. high court hears arguments on incentive fund
Legal Interview | 2012/09/20 22:35
Missouri Supreme Court judges are weighing two potentially contradictory sections of legislation while deciding whether a new law creating an incentive fund for high-tech businesses can take effect.

Arguments Wednesday before the high court focused on the bill's contingency clause, which made the program effective only if lawmakers also passed a separate economic development bill during a 2011 special session. A trial judge struck down the entire law earlier this year, ruling the contingency clause was unconstitutional.

During an appeal to the Supreme Court, the attorney general's office argued that judges should focus a severability clause that also was contained in the bill. That section said that if part of the measure were struck down, other portions of the bill could still be allowed to take effect.


Assembly OKs adding bank settlement into Calif law
Legal Interview | 2012/07/02 22:07
California would become the first state to write into law much of the national mortgage settlement negotiated this year with the nation's top five banks, and expand it to all lenders, under wide-ranging legislation state lawmakers approved Monday.

Majority Democrats sent the homeowner protection package to Gov. Jerry Brown despite opposition from business and lending organizations and most Republican legislators.

The Assembly approved the legislation on a 53-25 vote, and the Senate followed by voting 25-13.

The legislation would require large lenders to provide a single point of contact for homeowners who want to discuss loan modifications. It would prohibit lenders from foreclosing while the lenders consider homeowners' request for alternatives to foreclosure. And it would let California homeowners sue lenders to stop foreclosures or seek monetary damages if the lender violates state law.


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