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medical fraud, fraud, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneySeveral federal agencies, working together, announced a major nationwide health care fraud sweep which resulted in the arrests of almost 250 people. Among those arrested were physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, who were all accused of defrauding both Medicare and Medicaid systems. According to investigators, the effort uncovered more than $700 million in allegedly fraudulent billing.

Many of those charged allegedly billed the government for services that were never received and medical equipment which was never provided to patients. Prescription drug fraud was also targeted by investigators, with more than 40 of the defendants who were arrested accused of defrauding Medicare’s drug benefit program. Investigators say this program has become one of the fastest growing targets of fraudulent activity, with many of the prescription painkillers dispensed ending up being sold illegally on the streets to drug addicts.

Federal and state agencies were involved in the massive arrests, including the FBI, the U.S. Health and Human Services inspector general's office, U.S. attorneys& offices across the country, and dozens of state Medicaid fraud units. The arrests spanned the nation and involved many states. Examples of the fraud allegedly committed include:

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sex crime, new law, Illinois criminal defense attorneyThere has been much controversy regarding a sexual assault case brought against a former Northern Illinois University (NIU) campus police officer and how the campus police force handled the investigation. The allegations of impropriety led to a raid by the FBI of the NIU police headquarters, as well as the firing of the department’s police chief.  The case has also led to the filing of an Illinois bill which would turn over any investigations of sex crimes on a college campus to the local police department.

In the NIU case, the former campus police officer has been accused of sexually assaulting a college freshman, with whom he had a relationship, in 2011. The alleged victim has testified that she turned over an exchange of text messages she had with the defendant to the campus police. Those text messages have disappeared, along with two hours of recorded testimony made by the former NIU officer while he was being questioned by investigating campus police officers. The defendant’s attorney claims that all of this missing evidence would exonerate his client, and has accused the NIU police department of intentionally destroying the evidence.

In response to this case, as well as several other cases around the country where there has been questionable handling of sexual assault investigations by other campus police departments, one Illinois lawmaker has introduced House Bill 3520, the Investigations of Sexual Assault in Higher Education Act. Under the proposed legislation, any sex crime investigation, which takes place at a college or university – whether a public or private institution – would automatically be under the jurisdiction of either the municipal police department or county sheriff. Supporters of the bill say that one of the biggest problems with the current system is that college campus police lack the training to properly investigate these types of cases.

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concealed carry, concealed carry law, Illinois Defense LawyerNearly two years ago, the Illinois became the last state in the country to enact a concealed carry law, which permits appropriately licensed residents to carry a concealed firearm within the state. Enacted in 2013 and taking effect in 2014, the legislation is known as Firearm Concealed Carry Act and supporters insist the law simply recognized rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. To members of law enforcement organizations, however, the Act created a whole new set of challenges, which include conducting traffic stops of legally armed Illinois citizens.

Even as the legislation was being drafted and reviewed, law enforcement officials looked ahead to potential dangers. They pointed out that any interaction with an individual legally carrying a concealed firearm would carry an increased risk of escalation simply to due the existence and proximity of the weapon. Kevin McClain, director of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board, acknowledged at the time, however, that law-abiding citizens may just be exercising their Second Amendment right, and that police officers need to be “a little more savvy in approaching someone” so a mutual level of respect can be maintained.

One of the provisions that law enforcement officials were hoping to get included in the concealed carry law was a requirement for legally carrying individuals to announce their permit status during a traffic stop. To the disappointment of some, including Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, the provision was not enacted in the law. “It was something that we felt strongly about collectively that would help,” Dart said.

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