A Florida congresswoman was indicted for fraud in early July 2016. According to allegations, Rep. Corrine Brown and her chief of staff used the $800,000 they collected in donations for an educational charity known as One Door for Education Foundation Inc. as a slush fund. The money was supposed to go toward school computer drives, scholarships and other education initiatives.
California residents may know who Abby Lee Miller is thanks to her role on the Lifetime network reality series 'Dance Moms" and other spinoff shows. On June 27, Miller pleaded guilty to two fraud charges related to her Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Miller was charged with structuring an international monetary transaction and concealing bankruptcy assets.
On May 31, a federal judge sentenced the ex-head of the California Public Employees' Retirement System to four and a half years in prison for fraud and bribery. The judge called the defendant's crimes a "spectacular breach of trust" for the purpose of "self-enrichment."
Law enforcement officials in California have accused a 43-year-old woman of stealing the identities of multiple people who she met through dating and home rental sites. The woman was detained at a luxury hotel in Santa Barbara County on April 28 and booked on two felony warrants. Investigators say she was staying at the hotel under a stolen identity.
It was reported on April 29 that a California construction company was charged with 11 felony offenses following a lengthy investigation. The company was accused of withholding wages from their workers and failing to provide workers' compensation insurance.
California residents have likely read stories or watched television news reports that deal with Ponzi schemes, but they may not know how this type of investment fraud is carried out. The perpetrators usually offer investors the opportunity to earn significant returns with little or no risk, but these returns are rarely genuine. Instead, money put into the scheme by new participants is used to pay existing investors until the scheme eventually collapses.
Authorities announced on Jan. 28 that several people in California were indicted for defrauding the state's workers' compensation insurance system. The 13 indictments were handed to medical providers, doctors and attorneys who had allegedly taken $500,000 in illegal kickbacks for workers' compensation claims. The alleged scam is reported to be one of the largest cases of fraud in the history of the California Department of Insurance.
According to a lawsuit that was filed on Jan. 8, City National Bank was involved in an ATM investment Ponzi scheme that was run by two California residents. The two individuals involved, ages 75 and 77, were both sentenced to federal prison for their roles. The lawsuit alleged that the bank assisted the scheme by bringing in investors and keeping fictitious checks from bouncing.
On Nov. 24, federal prosecutors in California announced that five people had been charged for participating in a $600 million health care kickback scheme. One of the accused individuals formerly worked as the chief financial officer for a hospital in California. Among the five accused people, two have already pleaded guilty, and three are expected to plead guilty.
A California woman charged with aggravated identity theft as well as conspiracy to commit bank fraud pleaded guilty to those charges on Nov. 17. She is one of four individuals charged in connection with the case.