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).

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