Friday, July 31, 2009

Telemarketing Fraud and Elderly Crime Victims

One of the saddest, more deplorable white collar crimes in the United States today, (and one which is surpassed in terms of rapid growth only by identity theft), is telemarketing fraud. Of course, not all telemarketers are criminals! Most are honest citizens. But telemarketing fraud costs its victims, who are often elderly and poor, millions of dollars each year. According to the National Consumer League, the average loss to each victim is nearly $3,000.00.
As a former federal prosecutor in Augusta, Georgia, I prosecuted one telemarketer who utilized one of the most common telemarketing fraud schemes: the lottery prize scam. Telemarketing fraud has its own lexicon or terminology. This con artist had obtained a "sucker list," which is a target list of potential elderly victims, called "marks," including their addresses and telephone numbers. He also opened a "boiler room" in Augusta, Georgia, containing alot of telephones. He then began recruiting employee-callers at local bars, who were then instructed to call and make a pitch to the targeted victims. The pitch consisted of informing them that they had won a (non-existent) lottery prize and had only to pay (bogus) taxes in order to receive their prize winnings. I learned from this case that, as in most telemarketing faurd schemes, this con artist had deliberately set up shop here in Augusta, while most of the targeted victims lived in Oregon and northern California. The con artists realize that they have a better chance of getting away with their crimes if they are located far away, geographically, from their victims.
Fortunately, this case has a happy ending. This con artist made the mistake of calling one dear 83 year old woman who smelled a rat from the beginning. She convinced the con artist to call back--after she had wisely alerted law enforcement officers, who were prepared to record and trace the call. The F.B.I. in Augusta, Georgia was then alerted and they did a fine job of catching our con artist before he could leave town, and before he could get away with any of the targeted victims' money! This telemarketer was sentenced to a lengthy sentence in federal prison!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bernie Madoff and The "Corporate Perp Walk"

By now, we have all seen photographs in the news of Bernard "Bernie" Madoff, the convicted swindler and ponzi scheme perpetrator who ripped off billions of dollars from investors and is now serving a 150 year prison sentence. In my opinion, his crimes are deplorable and he is despicable. But what did you think about the staged photographs taken of Madoff, shortly after his arrest, while he was in handcuffs? Was this practice proper? In the criminal justice lexicon, this staged practice involving government agents parading an arrested white collar criminal (or perpetrator) before news media photographers is known as the "corporate perp walk." The apparent goals include fostering a public image of guilt for a prominent public figure and perhaps whetting the public's appetite for a guilty verdict. As a former federal prosecutor, even as to those, like Madoff, accused of heinous crimes, I did not believe in allowing government agents to conduct a "perp walk." I believe that, if they are guilty, then you should prove it inside the courtroom, not outside the courthouse. I once recall a situation in which agents, intent on getting their news headlines and "perp walks," raided a small town bank in south Georgia, while armed and wearing raid jackets. The agents must have resembled storm troopers. The incident terrified innocent bank customers and bystanders, along with the arrested bank officials. It was a disaster! And it was unethical and perhaps unconstitutional, in my opinion, to stage such a "perp walk." As to Madoff, while we all are disgusted with his crimes, and while we may believe 150 years may be too lenient, we still can believe the government should go about its job in a professional manner. And, in my opinion, that means dispensing with the "perp walks."

Monday, July 27, 2009

How Some White Collar Criminals Get Caught!

As a former federal prosecutor, I once prosecuted an Augusta, Georgia home health care company executive for participating in a scheme to defraud the Medicare and Medicaid programs of millions of dollars. He was tried and convicted, and then sentenced to serve a lengthy prison sentence. Fortunately for him, he was designated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to serve his sentence in a fairly cushy minimum security prison in Florida. There, he was allowed to drive a truck and deliver supplies, sometimes off the facility's grounds. But he wasn't happy being in confinement. So, one day, he decided to escape. He drove away and never returned. Neither he nor his truck could be found!

Later, it was discovered that he had obtained a new identity, a new sailboat, and a new girl friend. He enjoyed his newfound freedom by sailing with her around the Carribbean! Life was good! Conceivably, he might never have been caught. But he made a mistake -- a mistake often made by criminals! He confided in his girl friend about his past, including his true identity and the fact of his escape from federal prison.

Initially, his life of freedom, sailing, and sunny beaches continued. But eventually, problems developed in the escapee's relationship with his girl friend. And when the relationship soured, the girl friend's sister "dropped a dime on him" by calling the U.S. Marshal's Service and informing them about their missing inmate! He was quickly recaptured and returned to custody. But there were no more cushy prisons! This time, the former executive was assigned to a maximum security federal prison. And to top it off, he received an additional sentence of 18 months for the escape!

Is there a moral to this story? Perhaps one important moral is to never commit a crime! But maybe another moral is: never tell anyone else, even your girl friend, about your crimes! The girl friend of today may be the snitch who "drops a dime" on you tomorrow!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What is the Best, Winning Defense Against a Criminal Charge?

As a former career prosecutor for over 26 years, including over 20 years as a white collar crime federal prosecutor, (along with about 5 years as a criminal defense attorney), I have tried literally hundreds and hundreds of criminal cases. And I have seen criminal defense attorneys raise countless defenses, such as alibi, insanity, "the Devil made me do it," immunity, mistake of fact, and just about everything else imaginable. But can you guess the best, most winning defense that I have ever seen offered or utilized against criminal charges?

The answer, in my opinion, is fairly simple: If the government has (falsely) accused you of a crime, then you, (after careful consultation with your defense attorney), should consider raising a defense of admitting the act, (especially if they have overwhelming proof), but deny the intent. That is the best defense that I have seen succeed more often than any other defense! In other words, nearly every crime has two elements: an act and an intent. And generally, the law requires the government to prove both: i.e. not only that you have committed the criminal act, but also that you had the requisite mens rea, or intent, to commit the act. The first element, (i.e. the act), is often easier to prove. But the latter element, (i.e. the intent element), can often be difficult, if not impossible, to prove. For example, in a false billing, Medicare fraud case, the government may sometimes have overwhelming proof, and can easily prove, that you, or your employees, submitted the alleged improper billings. But it may be difficult for the government to prove that you intentionally over billed the government program. In other words, in some cases, maybe unintentional mistakes were made in only a few of the billings, out of numerous legitimate billings that were submitted for reimbursement. Or perhaps you reasonably relied on expert advice that the billings were legitimate and therefore didn't intend to defraud the government. Again, if the government cannot prove the element of intent beyond a reasonable doubt, then the prosecution should fail and you should be acquitted.

Naturally, each criminal case must be carefully analyzed by you and your experienced criminal defense attorney as to its own unique set of facts. But generally speaking, in my opinion, the winning defense in many cases may often be to admit the act, but deny the intent! At least this defense beats blaming the Devil for the crime!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Practical Tips On How To Find A Good Criminal Defense Lawyer

In this blog, we at The Goolsby Law Firm, LLC. ( want to not only provide you with some interesting information about Georgia law pertaining to white collar crime (and other criminal law topics), but also to give you some practical, useful information about criminal law matters, too. For example, here are five helpful tips or ideas to consider when you need to find and select a criminal attorney:

1. Talk to Family and Friends: First of all, when looking for a lawyer, we recommend that you start by asking family members and friends about criminal defense attorneys they know or perhaps have retained in the past. Even in this internet age with an overabundance of available information, there still is no substitute for a personal recommendation from someone you trust. And when you talk with your family members and friends, be sure to ask alot of questions about the attorney they have used or recommend: For example, ask about the attorney's experience in criminal law and whether or not the attorney gave them good, personal service. Also, ask about the attorney's fee schedule, (i.e. how much do they cost), and be sure to ask whether or not the attorney promptly returned their phone calls. Finally, ask questions to learn whether or not your family member or friend believed they got a good or fair result and whether or not they would use the attorney again.

2. Consult with (Bar) Referral Services: If you, your family members and friends don't know any attorneys, then you might consider contacting a lawyer referral service. Of course, if you are in a pre-paid lawyer referral service at work, then you may have to go this route. But your state or local bar association will also be a source of information about attorneys.

3. "Let Your Fingers Do the Walking....: Even though the trend in lawyer advertising is away from print media and toward the internet, you can still begin your criminal defense lawyer search by thumbing through the yellow pages of your telephone book. You will notice that there are attorneys who practice in a number of different areas of the law. Obviously, you want to focus on those attorneys who advertise in the area of criminal law matters. Also, if you have a federal criminal case, then you need to make sure that you focus on prospective attorneys having federal court experience. You may also consider whether or not the criminal defense attorney has prosecution experience in their background. As to the law firm advertisements, many of the ads will also refer you to the law firms' websites. Go there and get even more information to help you decide whether or not the criminal defense law firm merits a telephone call for a consultation. And one more bit of advice: We at The Goolsby Law Firm, LLC. recommend that you consider contacting criminal defense attorneys, like us, who offer a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION! At our law firm, you can call and talk freely with a criminal defense attorney about your legal problems by simply calling us at (706) 863-5281. But be careful! Not all criminal defense lawyers offer a free consultation. Please be sure to ask the receptionist before you make an appointment!

4. Find a Lawyer Over the Internet: Finding an attorney over the internet is becoming one of the most common ways that people make their lawyer selections. There are several ways to accomplish this. The most obvious way is to simply sit at your computer and type in the key words, such as "augusta, Georgia criminal defense lawyers," or "augusta criminal attorneys," in one of the search engines. Of course, if you do not refine your search terms by confining your search to "Augusta, Georgia," then you may also get a plethora of choices from Augusta, Maine! You can also search online by going to online referral services, such as This will give you a large number of lawyers and law firms to choose from. Then, you can refine your search by going to the websites of the various criminal defense lawyers that appeal to you. Again, we also advise you to check whether or not the attorneys offer a free initial consultation.

5. MEET THE LAWYER: And finally, no matter which method of finding a lawyer you utilize, we strongly urge you not to simply rely on what family or friends, or ads, or internet websites say. Instead, it is important that you meet with the prospective attorney, in person, to size them up, before you make your final decision! After all, when you select a criminal defense attorney to represent you, you should be satisfied that you have carefully found a lawyer who is not only an experienced criminal defense attorney, but also someone in whom you have complete confidence to handle one of the most important matters affecting your life. If you need to talk with an Augusta, Martinez, or Evans, Georgia criminal defense lawyer, please feel free to call us for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION at (706) 863-5281.


The Goolsby Law Firm, LLC. is a father and son general law practice, conveniently located at 4416 Columbia Road, Ste. 100, in Martinez, Georgia, just outside Augusta, Georgia.

Richard H. Goolsby, Sr., son and grandson of Southern Baptist preachers, has been an attorney and member of the Georgia State Bar for over 30 years. He is a 1978 graduate of the University of Georgia School of Law. He is also an experienced former prosecutor, including 6 years as a state prosecutor and over 20 years as a federal prosecutor in Augusta, Georgia.

Before going into private practice in 2007, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Richard Goolsby, Sr. was the lead prosecutor in some of the largest, most complex federal criminal cases ever prosecuted in the history of the State of Georgia. These cases include the successful recent public corruption prosecution of State Senator Charles Walker, along with his prosecution of the Healthmaster Medicare fraud case, the largest home health care prosecution in U. S. history. In each of these complex white collar crime cases, Goolsby handled over a million pages of documentary exhibits. In addition, Goolsby successfully prosecuted the largest vote-buying case in U.S. history, (Dodge County, Georgia: 28 defendants tried and convicted). While an Assistant U.S. Attorney for over 20 years, Richard Goolsby, Sr. also won 3 prestigious Department of Justice awards for his significant federal prosecutions, along with the 2007 Common Cause of Georgia Democracy Award. In sum, Richard Goolsby, Sr. is one of the most experienced former federal prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers throughout the State of Georgia who now handles criminal law defense in both state and federal courts in a wide range of criminal cases, from complex fraud cases, tax evasion cases, and other white collar crimes to drug and firearms cases.

Along with his son, Richard Goolsby, Jr., (a 2006 graduate of Mercer Law School and a "rising star of the Augusta bar"), Richard Goolsby, Sr. and The Goolsby Law Firm, LLC also handle all types of family law matters, including Georgia divorce, adoption, child custody, and child support cases, along with personal injury, wrongful death, and medical malpractice cases, and other general litigation. The Goolsby Law Firm, LLC., which offers FREE INITIAL CONSULTATIONS, (706) 863-5281, includes two Augusta, Georgia lawyers, father and son, who focus on providing experienced, personal service for all their clients’ legal needs. If you need an attorney in the Augusta, Georgia area, or anywhere in Georgia, then please call our law firm now, at (706) 863-5281, for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION, directly with an attorney, and let our family of Augusta lawyers help you and your family!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What is "White Collar Crime?"

How do you define "white collar crime?" In 1939, famous Professor Edwin Sutherland defined white collar crime as "crimes committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation." However, as a former federal prosecutor in Augusta, Georgia, I have always believed that Professor Sutherland's definition of white collar crime is too narrow. In my opinion, white collar criminals are not necessarily just people "of high social status." For instance, in my opinion, even an 18 year old bank teller who pockets a little bit of the bank's cash may not have "high social status," but she still is a "white collar criminal." In short, I would define "white collar crime" more broadly than Sutherland as any crime related to business or one's occupation. And one more point: in Sutherland's day, only men were considered in the discussion about white collar crime, but today, as we all know, women are as equally devoted as men to the task of committing white collar crime! What do you think?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

About Us and About This Blog

The Goolsby Law Firm, LLC is a general practice law firm presently composed of two attorneys, a father and son: Richard H. Goolsby, Sr. and Richard H. Goolsby, Jr. We enjoy practicing law together and helping people in the Augusta, Georgia area at our law firm located at 4416 Columbia Road, Suite 100, Martinez, Georgia 30907. We offer FREE INITIAL CONSULTATIONS to anyone who has a question about criminal law. All you have to do is post your Georgia law-related question here, on this blog, or please also feel free to contact us at our law offices. Our telephone number for a free initial consultation is: (706) 863-5281.

Richard H. Goolsby, Sr. is a former career prosecuting attorney. I was a Georgia state prosecutor for a total of six years and a federal prosecutor, (Assistant U.S. Attorney), in Augusta, Georgia for over twenty years. I have more experience as a former federal prosecutor in trying federal white collar crime cases than any other attorney in Augusta, Georgia. During my twenty years as a federal prosecutor in Augusta, I received three Department of Justice awards for three of my the largest, most complex white collar criminal (fraud and public corruption) cases. I have also been fortunate to have successfully prosecuted some of the biggest white collar and public corruption criminal cases in the history of the State of Georgia. For example, I was the lead federal prosecutor in the recent successful federal prosecution of former Senator Charles Walker.

Now, I enjoy practicing criminal defense with my son at the Goolsby Law Firm, LLC. As criminal defense lawyers, we offer aggressive, experienced criminal defense for clients in major criminal cases throughout Georgia and in federal criminal cases throughout the United States. The Goolsby Law Firm, LLC. also regularly handles criminal cases, including fraud cases, income tax evasion cases, and all other types of criminal cases in all courts in Augusta, (Richmond County, Georgia), Martinez, Evans, (Columbia County, Georgia), and all other counties near Augusta, Georgia.

In this blog, we hope to bring you a number of interesting articles and information dealing with various aspects of criminal law, particularly including white collar criminal defense. Of course, the usual disclaimers appear elsewhere on this blog concerning the fact that no attorney-client privilege is created by your participation in this blog, or as to any opinions expressed herein. And it will also be explained that you should not rely on any opinions expressed, or anything else in this blog, in making any decisions about your own case or situation. Naturally, you should contact and retain an attorney of your own choosing in order to consult and obtain legal advice upon which you should rely. But we still hope to present here some interesting information about a fascinating area of criminal law. And we hope you enjoy this blog and come back often!