Saturday, June 26, 2010

Goolsby Law Firm: Check Out Our New Sign!

If you have followed this blog, then you probably already know that we are father and son lawyers who practice law together at 233 Davis Road in Augusta, Georgia. I am a former federal prosecutor, (for over 20 years), who has been fortunate to have tried some of the largest, most complex criminal cases in Georgia history. I now practice criminal defense, divorce law, personal injury, and other general litigation.
But that's enough about us! Today, I mainly just wanted to show you our new "GOOLSBY LAW FIRM" sign on our building! I hope you like it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Tale of the IRS, the House Buyer's Tax Credit, and How the Inmates Ripped Off Both of 'Em

According to various news reports, the U. S. Treasury Department has just reported that the I.R.S. has discovered that 1,295 prison inmates around the country have ripped off Uncle Sam to the tune of $9.1 million in bogus house buyer tax credits on their fraudulently filed income tax returns. Incredibly, 241 of the inmates were reportedly serving life sentences when they were "allegedly" out buying homes and taking advantage of the incentive!
Reportedly, the I.R.S. is busy trying to reclaim the fraudulent tax refunds! Lotsa luck trying to get money back from these prisoners, right!?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Will DOJ Ever Bring Wall Street to Justice?

A Washington Post article published today raises an interesting question: Will the Department of Justice ever "bring to justice" the greedy Wall Street banks and bank executives who were responsible for nearly ruining the U.S. economy in late 2008? Attorney General Eric Holder has promised that such prosecutions will be forthcoming, but, after a year and a half since the financial meltdown, no noteworthy prosecutions have occurred.

However, as a former federal prosecutor, I can sympathize with the DOJ prosecutors entrusted with this responsiblity. For instance, can you imagine the enormous paper trail that the government agents and prosecutors must follow in such an enormous bank fraud investigation? There would be literally millions of documents to examine and just about as many witnesses to interview and rabbit holes for the investigators to jump into, in order to ferret out the fraud! In addition, government prosecutors would face difficult charging decisions. In other words, it's easy to lambast and rail against big banks and bankers, (and slow-moving prosecutors), but it can be difficult to decide, on an individual basis, whether or not sufficient evidence exists to charge an individual who may have simply been following orders, or following the status quo.

So, as to this question about whether or not DOJ is taking too long to bring the Wall Street "fat cats" to justice, I am willing to cut them, (i.e. the prosecutors), some more slack! In this case, government agents and prosecutors have an incredibly difficult task and I would prefer that they do their jobs right, instead of rushing to judgment!

What do you think?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

How Corporate Email Can Put You in a Federal Prison

As you know, I am a former federal prosecutor for over twenty years, (and currently, a Georgia criminal defense lawyer). This blog is generally about fraud and white collar crime. I also throw in a few "war stories" from the courtroom from time to time! This blog is not about how to avoid criminal liability! (And, of course, if you are currently the target of a federal grand jury investigation, you should consult with your own attorney about your own situation!) However, the current investigation by examiners of millions of emails at Lehman Brothers--who are attempting to determine who knew what and when, and who drove the large securities firm into bankruptcy--should provide some important lessons on how to avoid letting your email send you to federal prison!
For example, if you work for a corporation, it is critical that you never get careless or take email for granted. In other words, always remember that email lasts forever! It can be forwarded, printed out, and even retrieved after you press "delete." And it can come back to haunt you, months later, during a federal criminal investigation. In other words, always be circumspect: never say stupid things in email, such as joking about liability, or admitting fault, (especially when you really aren't at fault), unless you are willing to accept the consequences. Also, if you have warned your bosses about your concern about the legality of the company's course of action, you might want to document it in an email, and then print it out and save a copy.
In short, as the current Lehman Brothers investigation illustrates, email can be your best friend, or your worst enemy!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

In Memory of Those Who Served: D-Day: June 6, 1944

I just wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on the meaning of this day in history. On June 6, 1944, my late father, then a 20 year old young man, landed and fought on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. He lost friends on that beach. And today, all lovers of freedom owe to each of them an everlasting debt of gratitude. We will never forget! Thank you!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Former Florida GOP Chairman Charged With Fraud

Have you heard the bad news from Florida? No, I'm not referring to the approach of oil toward Florida beaches from the BP oil spill. Instead, I am talking about the reported arrest earlier today of former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer on fraud, theft, and money laundering charges. According to numerous reports, Greer, a close associate of Florida Governor Charlie Crist, is accused of utilizing a shell company to steal money from the state party.
Now, I have no clue about whether or not Greer actually committed any crimes. Also, I believe he should be entitled to a presumption of innocence. But as a former federal prosecutor, (and currently, as a criminal defense lawyer), I have often seen schemes to defraud committed in which the perpetrator utlized shell companies in this manner. The key to success is often whether or not the perpetrator has unchecked authority to pay bills of such an entity. In other words, if the victim entity has no real checks and balances in place, it can be relatively easy for someone who controls the checkbook of that entity to created a bogus, non-existent company and then pay its fictitious invoices.
Now, that's enough bad news about white collar crime today! Let's all get back to worrying about the BP oil spill mess! (Of course, if other news reports are true, there may also be some white collar crime percolating to the surface in the BP oil spill fiasco, too).