Organized retail theft is a very real problem. Yesterday the Oregon Supreme Court made it worse by elevating many otherwise class C and B felony shoplifting cases into Class A felony mobster prosecutions.
Last week, Jon Harder, the man who built one of the largest senior living housing chains in the country pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he scammed 1,000 investors out of $130 million. According to authorities, the 47-year-old entrepreneur defrauded investors while running Sunwest's chain of over 300 assisted-living centers and related entities. Sunwest suffered greatly during the real-estate market crash in 2008.
Christina Goodenow found out the hard way that theft in Oregon doesn't pay; at least if you get caught. Ms. Goodenow was the happy winner of a $1,000,000. Oregon lottery ticket. When she claimed her prize she elected to take it installments of $50,000 per year for the next twenty years. She hit the street with her first check and the good times began.
On Monday, an Oregon City man was sentenced in federal court to three years of probation after allegedly selling steroids to a police officer from Canby and a fitness equipment specialist. He had also been accused of insurance fraud.
Our Portland readers may have heard about the recent conviction of 61-year-old Texas financier Allen Stanford on fraud charges connected to what is said to be the biggest Ponzi scheme since that of Bernie Madoff.
A 54-year-old Portland, Oregon stock analyst faces accusations of involvement in insider trading in violation of federal securities fraud. The charges were lodged Feb. 16, approximately a year after he made public his refusal to cooperate into an FBI investigation into alleged insider trading. He announced that he had refused the federal agents request that he serve as an undercover informant in their investigation and wear a wire to record conversations with clients and others in the stock industry. He further revealed the scope of the investigation by sending an email warning approximately 50 people working for about 20 hedge funds that the investigation was ongoing.
A federal jury on Feb. 3 found a woman not guilty of accusations that she cheated the U.S. government out of $400,000 in benefits. The 68-year-old widow allegedly received Medicaid and Supplemental Social Security benefits for approximately 20 years while there was almost $900,000 in cash in a safe deposit box in the possession of her family. The problem is that government benefits programs are intended for individuals who are either disabled or elderly with little or no income.
Last week, a Coos Bay defense contractor was indicted on federal charges of fraud conspiracy based on a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme in which company officials purchased cheap truck and aircraft parts overseas, underbid competitors and sold them at marked up prices to the U.S. military.
Today the 9th Circuit affirmed the provisions of the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act (MVRA) requiring a federal district court to impose full restitution for all losses in certain criminal fraud cases.
In a disappointing decision the Ninth Circuit on Monday upheld a Sentencing Guidelines enhancement for obstructing justice where the underlying "obstruction" did not occur in the criminal case itself, but in a private civil lawsuit.