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Former executive at development firm pleads guilty to fraud

Federal allegations of fraud should always be taken seriously, and often the circumstances that lead to this kind of criminal charge are very complex, requiring close scrutiny of the evidence in the case. Fraud allegations are sometimes the result of oversight or a misunderstanding, and a criminal defense attorney may be able to achieve a reduction or dismissal of charges by effectively telling the defendant's story.

With that in mind, consider the case of a man from Indiana who recently pleaded guilty to fraud in federal court in Pittsburgh. Prosecutors alleged that he was involved in a kickback scheme with a man from Springdale who pleaded guilty to fraud this past summer. In particular, the Indiana man was accused of influencing a construction contract in exchange for kickbacks.

At the time of the alleged fraud, the Indiana man was an executive at a development firm that hired a construction company to build malls in California and Washington State. According to the prosecution, after the contract was given to the construction company, the owner of that company directed $766,000 in kickbacks to another entity owned by the Indiana man.

Investigators claimed that the owner of the construction firm also inflated bills sent to the mall developer. Investigators also said the owner of the construction company made up false subcontractor bills to make the inflated bills look appropriate.

The Indiana man's defense maintained that he played no part in the construction company's overbilling the mall developer.

The Springdale man is expected to be sentenced for mail fraud in January, and the Indiana man reached a plea agreement that is expected to result in an 18-month prison sentence.

Depending on the facts of a particular case, the possible penalties for a federal fraud conviction can vary significantly. To achieve the best possible outcome, people accused of white collar crimes will need a defense attorney with experience in federal cases.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Businessman pleads guilty to fraud charges involving Springdale construction firm," Rich Lord, Nov. 4, 2013

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