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Oklahoma City Criminal Defense Blog

Unreliable field drug tests send people to jail in Oklahoma

Low-cost presumptive field tests in the hands of police officers regularly produce false positives that send people to jail on drug charges. A public defender working in Tulsa County said that about once a month she represents defendants arrested after the field tests produced false positives for suspected drug samples seized by police officers.

Police departments equip their officers with these test kits that cost about $2 each. Investigative reporters at multiple media organizations have uncovered a consistent flow of cases arising from false positives. The tests can report that substances like powdered milk, protein whey powder or laundry detergent are cocaine or methamphetamine. A biology professor explained that the tests were unreliable because the reagents used by the tests can react with many substances in the same manner as illegal substances. The officers conducting the tests must also interpret the color that results from the chemical reaction. Bad lighting at an arrest scene could skew these interpretations.

Stolen car alert leads to drug seizure

A 26-year-old Oklahoma woman faces a raft of felony charges linked to an allegedly stolen car and substances believed to be heroin and methamphetamine seized during the early morning hours of Oct. 9. The woman was taken into custody by Garfield County Sheriff's Office deputies after they said drug paraphernalia was discovered in her residence and illegal narcotics were allegedly found in the car she was driving. She has been charged with drug possession, possession of controlled dangerous substances, possession of a stolen vehicle and drug possession with the intent to distribute.

A GCSO deputy says that he became suspicious at about 2:48 a.m. when he observed a Kia sedan on West Willow Road in Enid that appeared to be trying to avoid him. The deputy then followed the vehicle until it pulled into a driveway outside a residence on North Monroe Street. The deputy says that he then observed a man and a woman exit the vehicle and run into the residence. A check of the vehicle's tags allegedly revealed that it had been reported stolen.

College admissions scandal parent sentenced

Oklahoma residents who have been following the recent college admissions scandal are likely aware that sentences have been handed down to some of the parents involved. On Oct. 4, a judge in California sent a 53-year-old man to prison for five months and fined him $100,000. The man will also serve 500 hours of community service when he is released from federal custody.

The sentence is the harshest yet handed down in connection with a scandal that has rocked several prominent universities and tarnished the reputations of celebrities including Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. Huffman was recently sentenced to 14 days in prison for paying a college consultant to improve her daughter's SAT scores. Loughlin denies paying the consultant $500,000 to secure her daughter's admission to the University of Southern California.

What happens at an arraignment?

Following your arrest for charges of white-collar crimes, drug crimes or other offenses, you may have many questions about what happens next. Certainly, your ultimate concern is what your future will look like, but that may depend heavily on what happens in the upcoming days and weeks. After the prosecutor reads the reports of your case from police and investigators, he or she will decide how to charge you. You will then move to the next step: arraignment.

Arraignment is when you hear the formal charges against you, the charges against which you will have to defend yourself at your trial. Understanding the process of arraignment may help you participate more fully in your defense. The arraignment process in every jurisdiction in Oklahoma may vary, but the following is a general idea of what to expect.

Scheme to raise SAT score had Felicity Huffman pay charity

Several people who are well known throughout Oklahoma, including actress Felicity Huffman, have been charged in the highly-publicized college cheating scandal. Huffman received her sentence after entering a guilty plea in May to federal charges of mail fraud and honest services fraud. She admitted paying a man, who advertised himself as a consultant who could help parents get their children accepted to colleges, to improve her daughter's SAT score. The arrangement required that she send the man's charity a donation of $15,000.

Huffman's defense attorneys urged the judge to spare the actress prison time because her case represented a first offense. Prosecutors recommended that the judge send her to prison for one month. Ultimately, the judge chose to sentence Huffman to 14 days in prison. The actress must also live under supervised release for 12 months, perform 250 hours of community service, and pay a fine of $30,000. After the sentencing, Huffman released a statement acknowledging that she had broken the law.

The motivation behind finance workers and white-collar crimes

Working in the finance industry offers many employees the opportunity to accelerate their talent and position within a company. However, more and more employees have testified before court in defense of white-collar crimes that they felt coerced to participate in due to the business structure enforced.

Not only does the lure of greed lead many workers to perform tasks in ways that will dishonestly increase their wealth. But too often sales incentives are designed that unintentionally encourage workers to justify their means by the promise of rewards put in place by the incentives.

Can I gift a gun to someone?

In Oklahoma you can gift someone a gun in most situations. However, if you gift a gun in the wrong situation, you could be committing a felony. This is why it is important to understand the laws surrounding the transaction.

Recipient must be able to legally own a gun

The criteria for committing mail fraud

If a person sells a counterfeit good or obtains property or money under false pretenses, those acts are referred to as fraud. If a person uses the mail system to commit those acts, he or she will likely be charged with mail fraud. It doesn't matter whether a message was sent through the United States Postal Service or through another carrier. Sending evidence of fraud to another party by mail could also be considered mail fraud.

Individuals such as Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff have been convicted of mail fraud. Ponzi was ultimately convicted in 1920 of one count and was sentenced to five years in prison. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison after obtaining $65 billion illegally from individuals throughout the country. The penalty for mail fraud is 20 years in prison in addition to a fine.

Are crime rates rising in Oklahoma?

In a recently released report by the FBI, Oklahoma criminal offenses seem to be on the rise. Violent crime went from 3,800 incidents to 4,500 incidents in just one year.

Aggravated assaults have slowly increased over the past few years. Local law enforcement isn’t sure if there truly is a rise in crime or simply a rise in reported crime. Investigators believe that victims may have started to feel more empowered to report the assault in recent years.

Oklahoma pharmacist pleads guilty to health care fraud

An Oklahoma pharmacist faces up to 20 years in a federal prison and a $500,000 fine after pleading guilty to two counts of felony health care fraud. The 37-year-old man was indicted by a federal grand jury in March for filing false Medicare and Medicaid claims, and Oklahoma prosecutors announced in April that he had been charged with 40 counts of insurance fraud. The man's guilty pleas were entered as part of a negotiated agreement with prosecutors.

The man is said to have made almost $1.1 million by billing Medicare, Medicaid and Oklahoma City-based SoonerCare for medicine that had never been prescribed by a physician for patients. The terms of his plea agreement require him to forfeit real estate in Greer County and pay restitution of $753,000 to Medicare and $338,000 to Medicaid. If he had been convicted at trial, the man could have been sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay a $250,000 fine for each of the 40 counts he faced.

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