Jared Lee Loughner pleads guilty to Arizona shooting rampage

August 7, 2012

The Boston Herald on August 7, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. — Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty today to going on a shooting rampage at a political gathering, killing six people and wounding 13 others, including his intended target, then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Loughner’s plea spares him the death penalty and came soon after a federal judge found that months of forcibly medicating him to treat his schizophrenia had made the 23-year-old college dropout competent.

At one point, Judge Larry A. Burns asked Loughner if he understood the charges against him and what the government would need to convict him.

“Yes, I understand,” Loughner replied.

The judge said that Loughner was a different person and that he is able to help his lawyers in his defense. Burns said that observing Loughner in the court left “no question that he understands what’s happening today.”

Loughner faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The outcome was welcomed by some victims, including Giffords herself, as a way to avoid a lengthy, possibly traumatic trial and years of legal wrangling over a death sentence.

“The pain and loss caused by the events of Jan. 8, 2011, are incalculable,” Giffords said in a joint statement with her husband, Mark Kelly. “Avoiding a trial will allow us — and we hope the whole Southern Arizona community — to continue with our recovery.”

Experts had concluded that Loughner suffers from schizophrenia, and officials at a federal prison have forcibly medicated him with psychotropic drugs for more than a year.

Court-appointed pyschologist Christina Pietz testified for an hour about how she believes Loughner became competent. Loughner listened calmly without expression. His arms were crossed over his stomach, lurched slightly forward and looking straight at Pietz.

At one point, he smiled and nodded when psychologist mentioned he had a special bond with one of the prison guards.

A plea agreement offers something for both sides, said Quin Denvir, a California defense attorney who has worked with Loughner attorney Judy Clarke on the case against unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

Prosecutors would avoid a potentially lengthy and costly trial and appeal, knowing that the defendant will be locked up for life. Clarke managed to avoid the death penalty for other high-profile clients such as Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph, who bombed abortion clinics in the late 1990s and Atlanta’s Olympic park in 1996.

The top prosecutor in southern Arizona’s Pima County said last year that she may file state charges in the case that could carry the death penalty. An official in the prosecutor’s office, Amelia Craig Cramer, declined to comment, saying the office did not have an active prosecution against Loughner.

Denvir said it was possible that the plea agreement calls for the state to avoid pursuing criminal charges against Loughner, though that’s not a given.

“Ideally (as a defense attorney) you’d like to have it resolved all at once, but sometimes you have to take one at a time,” he said.

The decision to spare Loughner a federal death sentence makes sense, said Dale Baich, a federal public defender in Phoenix who handles capital case appeals and isn’t involved in the case.

“As time went on and there were numerous evaluations, I think everybody had a better understanding of Mr. Loughner’s mental illness.” Baich said.

He added: “It appears that he will need to be treated for the rest of his life in order to remain competent.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


FBI Arrests Dozens in alleged Medicaid Drug Scheme

July 17, 2012

The Wall Street Journal on July 17, 2012 released the following:

“By Chad Bray

Four dozen people have been charged in a scheme to illegally resell expensive prescription drugs obtained by Medicaid recipients in New York City to pharmacies nationwide.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said that people involved in the alleged scheme obtained hundreds of millions of dollars worth of prescription drugs from low-income and other Medicaid recipients — who would get them at a steep discount or for free — and then resold the drugs through a network of corrupt wholesale distribution companies.

The drugs, which are costly when purchased legitimately, included treatments for HIV, schizophrenia and asthma. For example, the defendants allegedly targeted HIV drugs Atripla and Truvada and schizophrenia treatment Zyprexa, all of which retail for more than $1,000 a bottle.

Prosecutors have charged 48 people in total in the case, ranging from persons who allegedly bought the drugs on the street to persons who allegedly resold them to wholesale distribution channels. The charges include: conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and healthcare fraud; conspiracy to misbrand and unlawfully distribute prescription drugs; conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods; and engaging in a narcotics conspiracy.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation had taken 35 people into custody across the country on Tuesday morning, including more than a dozen in New York and New Jersey, said spokesman Peter Donald.

FBI officials are expected to join Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at a 1 p.m. press conference Tuesday to discuss the case.

The investigation is the latest in an ongoing effort to crack down on fraud within government health-care programs, which costs the U.S. billions of dollars each year.

In February, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services said efforts to prevent and combat fraud had resulted in the recovery of nearly $4.1 billion in taxpayer dollars in fiscal year 2011. In May, doctors and nurses were among 107 people arrested nationwide in a coordinated sweep related to some $452 million in bogus claims to Medicare, which provides health insurance to the elderly and the disabled.

In the latest case, the Medicaid recipients allegedly sold their drugs for cash on street corners and in bodegas in New York City, including in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan and the Bronx, prosecutors said. Those drugs then pass up a chain of persons, known as “collectors” and “aggregators,” who then sell the second-hand drugs into corrupt distribution channels that resell the drugs to pharmacies.

Prosecutors said that members of the scheme used lighter fluid and other potentially hazardous chemicals to remove the original patient labels from the drug bottles, which include information about the patient, the original pharmacy where it was purchased and dosage instructions, prosecutors said. Other times, they replaced the original manufacturers’ labels with counterfeit ones when the drugs have expired or are close to their expiration dates.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.