Michael C. Hennenberg

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Ohio Criminal Law Blog

How Ponzi schemes got their name

Most people in Ohio have likely heard references to Ponzi schemes but they may not fully understand what they are or why they are even called Ponzi schemes. These events are forms of fraud and classified as white collar crimes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation explains that the name dates back nearly a century when a man named Charles Ponzi was accused of illegally scheming to take money from supposed investors.

The crux of an alleged Ponzi scheme involves a person soliciting and accepting money that is intended to be invested in a particular venture. However, instead of investing the money into a business or activity that may generate a return, the person instead uses that money to pay dividends to previous investors. In essence, there is an assertion that no true business activity or investment opportunity exists.

Ohio doctor loses license, faces charges over alleged overdoses

Officials at the Mount Carmel Health Care System in the area of Columbus, Ohio, fired a 43-year-old doctor in December over concerns that he allegedly ordered patients to receive excessive amounts of medication. These concerns also caused the doctor to lose his license. Today, he is facing criminal charges in connection with 25 patient deaths allegedly resulting from drug overdoses that authorities claim were deliberate. 

The deaths reportedly occurred over a three-year period from 2015 to 2018. Many of the patients who died were receiving palliative care and/or were on ventilator machines. The alleged overdoses reportedly consisted of orders for 500 micrograms or more of fentanyl, an extremely powerful painkiller. 

Why you should not brandish a firearm

You legally carry a handgun. It gives you a sense of protection and safety that you wouldn't have otherwise. You know that modern society isn't always safe, and you do not want to find you and your family in a dangerous position. You hope that you never have to use the gun, but you know that day may come.

In the spirit of not using it, though, you hope that maybe it can help to diffuse a potentially dangerous situation. For instance, say you get into a minor car accident. The person you hit gets furious, however, and they start walking toward you aggressively, shouting about the accident.

What is money laundering?

In Ohio, money laundering crimes are taken seriously. If you are accused of being involved in any sort of laundering scheme, you could face harsh penalties. Michael C. Hennenberg is here to help, first by building the basics and explaining exactly what actions are categorized as money laundering.

In short, money laundering is defined as any act in which money that was obtained illegally becomes legitimized or concealed through legal means. Usually this involves passing illegal money through foreign banks or rerouting it through legitimate businesses.

Ways to protect yourself when called to a grand jury

Ohio professionals who are subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury may find the upcoming testimony frightening and something to avoid if possible. Naturally, if you are in this position, you want all the legal protection possible so that you do not land yourself in hot water by testifying. According to the American Bar Association, there are ways a person can minimize legal risks if called upon to testify before a grand jury.

Many people are familiar with “pleading the Fifth” and may assume that they can invoke it in front of a grand jury. However, a court has recourse to compel a testimony from you if it wants by granting you immunity, using statutory immunity through the court or immunity by letter, also known as “informal immunity.” These forms of immunity, while they do lessen the risk of self-incrimination, do not eliminate the possibility of a perjury charge.

What is a crime of moral turpitude?

If you hold a professional license in Ohio, you likely know that your licensing board can suspend or even revoke it if you receive a conviction for, among other things, a crime of moral turpitude. It can otherwise discipline you as well. But just exactly what constitutes a crime of this nature?

Hondros College recently reported on an Ohio case wherein the court looked into a situation where the Ohio Nursing Board disciplined one of its members for moral turpitude. It disciplined the nurse when she received two convictions, a first-degree misdemeanor conviction for using a firearm while intoxicated, and a second-degree misdemeanor conviction for failing to secure a “dangerous ordinance,” i.e., a gun.

What does the addicted RN look like?

Nurses are the backbone of the American health care system, filling approximately 4 million roles within the industry — which is four times the number of physicians throughout the U.S.. Not only do nurses make up a majority of health care workers but also, they shoulder much of the burden in any given health care environment. The high stress of their jobs, the long hours and the rotating shifts, coupled with easy access to addictive medications, make nurses particularly vulnerable to chemical dependency. If you work in a health care setting in Ohio, and if you suspect a colleague abuses prescription drugs, it would be helpful to know the signs of addiction so that you can act accordingly.

According to findings published by DrugRehab.com, one in 10 nurses today abuse drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse is dangerous no matter who the victim is, but in nurses, it can be even more so. Substance abuse disorder can result in slower reaction times and impaired judgement. If a nurse abuses drugs and continues to work, he or she may put him or herself, patients and the nursing profession at risk. To prevent tragic or costly accidents, all members of a health care organization should be aware of what substance abuse disorder looks like.

Help! I'm being investigated by the nursing board

It's every nurse's living nightmare — being investigated by the Board of Nursing. But don't be too quick to hang up your stethoscope. Just because a complaint has been lodged against you does not automatically mean that it is valid.

If you or your specific actions are under investigation, you need to be fully aware of the circumstances and how you present yourself at all times when dealing with this matter. Below are some tips to help you navigate the situation.

Health care fraud charges for Ohio podiatrist

Charges of fraud can lead to serious and long-lasting consequences for a health care provider, such as the suspension of one's medical license, financial penalties and fines, as well as potential prison time. A podiatrist in Ohio with a history of fraud conviction not related to his medical practice now faces charges for illegally submitting Medicare and Medicaid claims amounting to more than $1.1 million.

In 2013, the podiatrist allegedly became involved in a mortgage fraud scheme, acting as a straw buyer of real estate in Florida. He initially received a 10-year federal prison sentence and had his medical license suspended, but he received five years' probation in May 2013 and had his medical license reinstated in March 2014. Perhaps related to this incident, although the details are somewhat unclear, Medicare and Medicaid prohibited him from submitting claims related to his practice. However, between 2014 and 2018, the podiatrist allegedly submitted a combined total of more than $1,187,000 to both agencies by making it appear that another physician performed the services and obscuring his role as owner of the practice. 

Can your medical license be suspended?

Physicians in Ohio, like anywhere else in the country, need a license in order to practice. However, certain convictions can lead to your license being suspended or even revoked. Not only are those statuses viewable to the public, but they can strongly impact your ability to find work, keep clients, and successfully promote yourself and your business.

The Georgia Composite Medical Board takes a look at different forms of medical license statuses when a person is facing punishment for a medical-related crime. Generally speaking, these apply across America. The first is suspension. This is a case in which you have been temporarily asked to cease activities and business as a medical professional until the Medical Board deems otherwise.

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