Former Prosecutor

If you or someone close to you is charged with any alcohol-related driving violation it’s crucial to retain a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who specializes in these types of occurrences at the earliest possible moment.

Accepting her fate at the Turner Gilford Knight Correctional Center late last month where she was being held on $80,000 bail, Jessica Araujo of Miami was formally arrested and charged with numerous alcohol related charges including DUI manslaughter.

Other charges that Araujo will now face are vehicular homicide, reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol; causing serious bodily injury, and possession of cocaine.

Following up on an article posted here last September, the second of five defendants who was convicted of bribery charges that stemmed from a fraud that amounted to millions in duplicitous Medicaid and food stamps payments will be released from a Residential Reentry Management (RRM) field office, a halfway house operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Miami.

Alejandro Lomoso was the last to be sentenced earlier this year and was given the second lightest punishment of the five defendants involved in the fraud by a Federal Judge. He is scheduled to be released from the facility on Sept. 6. His release will be followed by six months of house arrest with electronic monitoring.

Lomoso a former Social Security Administration employee admitted at trial that he accepted roughly $10,000 in bribes from the masterminded of the racket; Irma Davidian.

In 2014, new laws regarding the crime of human trafficking were passed by the Florida legislature and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott.

The criminal aspect of these new laws were tested for the first time earlier last month (May 2016) in a case involving a West Park man accused of operating a prostitution and drug ring.

It took a jury a little more than one hour to convict Gerard Nelson of the crime based on the framework of the “up until now” untested law.

A one-time law student was convicted of conspiracy to import and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance in association with the role he played in a drug ring that used the Internet to order synthetic chemicals from China and have them transported to a location in Miami under the control of he and his co-conspirators.

This was the first conviction attained by the government after starting the year 2016 with a 0-3 result for similar illegal importation cases that went to a federal jury.

In this particular case, Mario Melton used his family’s freight forwarding company Transfreight International to ship large amounts of MDMA (Molly) into the country. It was the government’s second attempt at trying Melton; the first resulting in a mistrial when a federal jury couldn’t come to a decision after four days of deliberations.

Melton was convicted of assisting two ex-soldiers; Jorge Hernandez and Matthew Anich along with nine others run one of the largest synthetic drug rings in Miami history. All of the other named conspirators have already accepted plea deals for the charges filed against them.

Not all attorneys in Fort Lauderdale have experience in federal cases. When choosing an attorney for the defense of any federal charge it’s crucial that the chosen advocate is well-versed in all aspects of federal criminal law.

Michael Cohen’s experience in the federal system goes back to when he worked for the US Attorney’s Office as an Assistant United States Attorney. Now working in the private sector for close to twenty years, Mr. Cohen is the proper choice to counter all charges filed by the government.

When the federal government hands down an Indictment most cases are resolved by an agreement between the prosecution and the defense. The accused usually waives their right to a trial by jury and a federal judge ordinarily agrees to the terms of the deal.
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Many people are arrested by police when suspicions are raised in cases when they’re pulled over for simple traffic stops. This also frequently happens when law enforcement is given access to people’s homes for indeterminate reasons, such as a 911 call for a domestic argument that wasn’t actually serious and may have even been resolved before police arrived.

For example, if a police officer notices a pouch of what appears to be marijuana with a box of rolling paper in plain view, they can possibly make an arrest, even though they were called to the scene for a totally different purpose.

But in many cases, when police notice items that cause them to assume that a more substantial crime may be involved due to what they feel to be evidence witnessed with their own eyes, they may choose to further investigate and hold parties they believe to be involved as they begin and continue the inspective process.

Michael Cohen is a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney whose practice concentrates on the defense of federal charges. In cases such as these, his help can be invaluable for resulting in the best outcome if charges are filed by the federal government or the State of Florida.

When an arrest takes place by law enforcement when they assume the evidence they stumbled upon by chance may be a fragment of a greater possible crime, in many cases they may be correct.

Such was the case when Miramar Police were investigating an armed home invasion that took place in 2013 at a residence inhabited by three men: Harlan and Frantz Decoste, and Francis Jeudy.

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Recently on my Website, I’ve been focusing on the topic of identity theft since tax season is fast approaching and the rise in these types of cases increases dramatically this time of year.

Most people submit their tax information to the IRS before the April 15 deadline hoping to receive their refund checks as early as possible.

But in many cases, others are already spending that expected money as people continually check their mailboxes for the check they assume to receive from the Department of the Treasury.

Tax Season has begun, and potential identity thieves are making plans.

After the New Year’s festivities end, up until the April 15 deadline (excluding extensions) people go through their records from the previous year and prepare to submit their completed income tax information to the IRS by themselves or through a representative, in the hopes of receiving a nice refund from the taxes they overpaid during the year; using the deductions they are legally entitled to.

But well before that date, plans are hatched by identity thieves imagining how to play the system by stealing people’s identities, and cashing the refunds that are due to others.

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Some would say that the exclusive island village of Bal Harbour, Florida doesn’t even need a police department. With a population of just more than 2,500 residents; as of the latest census, the town’s crime rate is minimal in comparison to other parts of Miami-Dade County. In addition to its permanent residents, Bal Harbour boasts close to fifteen percent of Miami’s overall tourism (as of 2014), with luxury hotels such as The Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis as well as the world class luxury Bal Harbour Shops, Bal Harbour Beach and Haulover Beach Park.

The latest statistics show a total of two violent crimes included in the one assault and robbery that occurred, with the rate of murders and rape exhibiting at zero. There were only two vehicle thefts last year which amounts to a miniscule percentage when compared to the overall incidents of motor vehicle theft in the entire county of Miami-Dade. Complete crime statistics can be found by clicking here.

So it may seem odd that a small police agency in a town facing little crime would concoct a plan to take on the world’s most treacherous drug cartels. But in a partnership with the Glades County Sheriff’s Office that’s exactly what they did. Or did they?

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In early November, 2011, an unnamed board member of Pharmasset Inc., a New Jersey based pharmaceutical company that developed a drug named sofosbuvir, (brand name Sovaldi) which had promising results in the treatment of hepatitis C met with members of the company’s Boca Raton based legal team and longtime advisors Robert Spallina and Donald Teascher.

Steven Rosen, CPA, a director in a Plantation based accounting firm was also present at the meeting. At the time, Pharmasset didn’t have any major drugs on the market.

The unnamed board member owned a substantial amount of his company’s stock and was discussing financial and legal advice with the lawyers and accountant regarding what he may realize monetarily from a pending buyout transaction if the company was sold. Rumors of the sale of the company had been abounding recently causing the stock price to slowly move on a slightly upward bias. During the extent of their conversation he told the three men that Pharmasset was in the advanced stages of a negotiation to sell the company.
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A recent example of enforcement of these new laws is a case involving Saiful Hossain, who worked in his father’s grocery store in Hillsborough County.

In 2012, the business was selling the synthetic drug openly before new laws were enacted banning a list of the chemicals used to manufacture the synthetic drug known as Spice.

According to federal documents, on November 7 of last year, Vero Beach resident Ahmed Maher Elhelw was arrested when federal agents discovered a three kilogram package of XLR-11, a controlled substance chemical used in the manufacture of SSC (smokable synthetic cannabinoids) in his possession. The chemical was one of many that were banned by the new law implemented in 2012. Subsequent investigation uncovered approximately seven more packages, containing equal amounts. The chemical that was imported into the Vero Beach area originating in China had a projected street value of more than $5.4 million.

Elhelw was the first of four South Florida residents who was taken into custody in a conspiracy to import and distribute synthetic chemicals in a plan that was hatched by Hossain after he decided to go out on his own when his father’s grocery store stopped selling the now illegal substance.
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