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Sexual Battery

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Marijuana Grow Houses

Money Laundering

Tax Evasion

Medicare/Medicaid Fraud

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Practice areas

Florida Criminal Law Areas of Practice

Aggravated Assault Battery, Drug Crimes, Medicare/Medicaid Fraud,
Tax Evasion Lawyers in Coral Gables, Miami, Florida

Click on each criminal law area to view more.

Sexual Battery

Under modern statutory schemes, battery is often divided into grades that determine the severity of punishment. For example:

  • Simple battery may include any form of non-consensual harmful or insulting contact, regardless of the injury caused. Criminal battery requires an intent to inflict an injury on another, as distinguished from a tortious battery.
  • Sexual battery may be defined as non-consensual touching of the intimate parts of another. At least in Florida, "Sexual battery means oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by, or union with, the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object" [4]. *
  • Family-violence battery may be limited in its scope between persons within a certain degree of relationship: statutes for this offense have been enacted in response to increasing awareness of the problem of domestic violence.
  • Aggravated battery generally is seen as a serious offense of felony grade, involving the loss of the victim's limb or some other type of permanent disfigurement. As successor to the common-law crime of mayhem, this is sometimes subsumed in the definition of aggravated assault. In some jurisdictions, battery recently has been constructed to include directing bodily secretions at another person without his or her permission. In some jurisdictions this automatically is considered aggravated battery. In some jurisdictions, the charge of criminal battery also requires evidence of a mental state (mens rea).

Distinction between battery and assault

The overt behavior of an assault might be Person A advancing upon Person B by chasing after him and swinging a fist toward his head. The overt behavior of battery might be A actually striking B. Battery requires (1) a volitional act that (2) results in a harmful or offensive contact with another person and (3) is committed for the purpose of causing a harmful or offensive contact or under circumstances that render such contact substantially certain to occur or with a reckless disregard as to whether such contact will result. Assault is an attempted battery or the act of intentionally placing a person in apprehension of a harmful or offensive contact with his or her person.

In some places, assault is the threat of violence against another while aggravated assault is the threat with the clear and present ability and willingness to carry it out. Likewise, battery is undesired touching of another, while aggravated battery is touching of another with or without a tool or weapon with attempt to harm or restrain.

Florida Sex Crime Legal Penalties

Of all crimes, sexual offenses tend to be the most vigorously prosecuted by law enforcement and district attorneys. The consecuences of a sexual offense conviction include imprisonment, large fines, restitution, court ordered counseling, community service, probation, parole, mandatory Sex Offender Registration.

 

Drug Crimes

Illegal drugs are related to crime in multiple ways. Most directly, it is a crime to use, possess, manufacture, or distribute drugs classified as having a potential for abuse (such as cocaine, heroin, morphine and amphetamines). Drugs are also related to crime as drug trafficking and drug production are often controlled by drug cartels, organized crime and gangs. The statistics on this page summarize the various ways that drugs and crime are related in the United States. Links for other countries are provided below. Some drug related crime involves crime against the person such as robbery or sexual assaults.

Drugs and Crime Facts
Drug law violations

Arrests and seizures

Arrests

Federal, state, and local agencies share responsibility for enforcing the Nation's drug laws, although most arrests are made by state and local authorities. In 2007 the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) estimated that there were about 1,841,200 state and local arrests for drug abuse violations in the United States.

Drug arrest for sales and possession


Source: FBI, Uniform Crime Reports, Crime in the United States, annually.

According to the UCR, drug abuse violations are defined as state and/or local offenses relating to the unlawful possession, sale, use, growing, manufacturing, and making of narcotic drugs including opium or cocaine and their derivatives, marijuana, synthetic narcotics, and dangerous nonnarcotic drugs such as barbiturates.

More than four-fifths of drug law violation arrests are for possession.


Drug arrests for sales or possession


Source: FBI, Uniform Crime Reports, Crime in the United States, annually.

The estimated number of arrests for drug abuse violations has been increasing. Arrests of adults increased in recent years, while arrests of juveniles decreased slightly. Juveniles are defined as persons under age 18. Adults are defined as persons age 18 or older.

In 1987 drug arrests were 7.4% of the total of all arrests reported to the FBI; by 2007, drug arrests had risen to 13.0% of all arrests.

Drug arrests by age

Click on the chart to view the data.
Source: FBI, Uniform Crime Reports, Crime in the United States, annually.

In 2006, according to the UCR, law enforcement agencies nationwide made an estimated 14 million arrests for all criminal infractions except traffic violations. Among the specific categories, the highest arrest counts were --

  • 1.9 million for drug abuse violations;
  • approximately 1.4 million for driving under the influence;
  • 1.3 million for simple assaults; and
  • 1.2 million for larceny-thefts.

Estimated totals of top seven arrest offenses in the United States, 2007

Type of arrest   Number of arrests*

Total arrests*
  14,209,400
Drug abuse violations   1,841,200
Driving under the influence   1,427,500
Simple assaults   1,305,700
Larceny/theft   1,172,800
Disorderly conduct   709,100
Liquor laws   633,600
Drunkenness   589,400

*Arrest totals are based on all reporting agencies and estimates for unreported areas.
Source: FBI, Uniform Crime Reports, Crime in the United States, annually.

From 1987 to 1995 more drug arrests involved heroin or cocaine than other types of drugs. Since 1996 the number of arrests involving marijuana exceeded that for other types of drugs.

Arrests by drug type


Source: FBI, Uniform Crime Reports, Crime in the United States, annually.


 

Money Laundering

Money laundering is the process of creating the appearance that large amounts of money obtained from serious crimes, such as drug trafficking, originated from a legitimate source. It is a crime in many jurisdictions with varying definitions. It is a key operation of the underground economy.

In US law it is the practice of engaging in financial transactions to conceal the identity, source, or destination of illegally gained money. The act is defined as taking any action with property of any form which is either wholly or in part the proceeds of a crime that will disguise the fact that that property is the proceeds of a crime or obscure the beneficial ownership of said property.

In the past, the term "money laundering" was applied only to financial transactions related to organized crime. Today its definition is often expanded by government and international regulators such as the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to mean any financial transaction which generates an asset or a value as the result of an illegal act, which may involve actions such as tax evasion or false accounting. Courts involve money laundering committed by private individuals, drug dealers, businesses, corrupt officials, members of criminal organizations such as the Mafia, and even states.

As financial crime has become more complex, and "Financial Intelligence" (FININT) has become more recognized in combating international crime and terrorism, money laundering has become more prominent in political, economic, and legal debate. Money laundering is ipso facto illegal; the acts generating the money almost always are themselves criminal in some way (for if not, the money would not need to be laundered).

 

Tax Evasion

Tax avoidance is the legal utilization of the tax regime to one's own advantage, to reduce the amount of tax that is payable by means that are within the law. By contrast, tax evasion is the general term for efforts to not pay taxes by illegal means. The term tax mitigation is a synonym for tax avoidance. Its original use was by tax advisors as an alternative to the pejorative term tax avoidance. Latterly the term has also been used in the tax regulations of some jurisdictions to distinguish tax avoidance foreseen by the legislators from tax avoidance which exploits loopholes in the law.

Some of those attempting not to pay tax believe that they have discovered interpretations of the law that show that they are not subject to being taxed: these individuals and groups are sometimes called tax protesters. An unsuccessful tax protestor has been attempting openly to evade tax, while a successful one avoids tax. Tax resistance is the declared refusal to pay a tax for conscientious reasons (because the resister does not want to support the government or some of its activities). Tax resisters typically do not take the position that the tax laws are themselves illegal or do not apply to them (as tax protesters do) and they are more concerned with not paying for particular government policies that they oppose.

 

Medicare/Medicaid Fraud

Medicare fraud is a general term that refers to an individual or corporation that seeks to collect Medicare health care reimbursement under false pretenses.

There are many different types of Medicare fraud, all of which have the same goal: to bilk money from the Medicare program. Then general scam is believed to have started in South Florida; specifically, Miami-Dade County. From there, Medicare Fraud spread to other major cities like Detroit, Houston, and Los Angeles.

Combating Medicare Fraud has been the media spotlight recently as President Barack Obama attempts to re-work the country's Medicare system. Both opponents and proponents of the President's plan agree that Medicare fraud costs the American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars per year.

The federal government does not keep track of the total amount of Medicare fraud. But if the Medicare budget is $368 billion, and 20% of all Medicare bills are fraudulent, then the total amount of fraud is an estimated $74 billion per year.

The Medicare program is a target for fraud because it is based on the "honor system" of billing. It was originally set-up to help honest doctors who helped the needy with medical services. There are few safeguards to eliminate false claims. In fact, claims are paid automatically because the goal of Medicare is not to root out false claims, but to pay claims quickly and smoothly.

Types of Medicare Fraud

(1) Phantom Billing: The medical provider bills Medicare for unnecessary procedures, or procedures that are never performed; for unnecessary medical tests or tests never performed; for unnecessary equipment; or equipment that is billed as new but is, in fact, used.

(2) Patient Billing: A patient who is in on the scam provides his or her Medicare number in exchange for kickbacks. The provider bills Medicare for any reason and the patient is told to admit that he or she indeed received the medical treatment.

(3) Upcoding scheme and unbundling: Inflating bills by using a billing code that indicates the patient needs expensive procedures.

Durable Medical Equipment (DME) is a particularly susceptible to Medicare fraud. DME is used to describe any medical equipment used in the home to aid in a better quality of living. Examples include wheelchairs or oxygen tents. In a DME fraud, scammers will charge Medicare for the same wheelchair many times over, never once actually delivering the chair to an actual person.

Recent Medicare fraud, however, focuses on HIV/AIDS infusion injections. These injections are very expensive and can sometimes cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per injection. Patients are recruited to receive these injections but are actually injected with saline solution or some other common liquid. Medicare is billed as if the expensive injection was actually given.

 

The South Florida area has become the epicenter of Medicare fraud in the United States. In 2008, criminals from two Florida counties alone accounted for approximately $400 million in fraudulent Medicare bills. Also in 2008, Miami-Dade County billed Medicare six times more for home health services than Los Angeles County, where the Medicare population is three times larger. In fact, the problem has become so rampant that in 2008, federal investigators found nearly half of all DME suppliers in South Florida were not in compliance with Medicare rules. In response, the authorities required every single medical equipment supplier to re-apply for billing privileges.

In 2005, 72% of all Medicare claims nationwide for HIV/AIDS infusion injections were billed in Miami-Dade County. Many recent immigrants to South Florida open up a company and immediately start billing Medicare for tens of thousands in equipment and services that Medicare beneficiaries never receive.

Many South Florida drug dealers look to Medicare fraud as the new crime of choice. Criminals, now federal defendants, report that (1) there is more money in Medicare fraud than in drug smuggling, (2) there is a lesser chance of being caught and, (3) if caught, defendants are treated like a white collar criminal as opposed to a drug dealer.

 

 

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