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March 2019 Archives

Michael Avenatti charged with extortion, embezzlement and fraud

Michael Avenatti became a familiar face on television screens in Louisiana and around the country in 2018 when he filed lawsuits against President Trump and attorney Michael Cohen on behalf of adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Daniels has since fired Avenatti, and the 48-year-old litigator's fortunes took another turn for the worse on March 25 when he was taken into custody in New York on extortion charges and charged in Los Angeles with embezzlement. The beleaguered attorney faces up to 100 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

SEC receives multiple tips about Tesla

If employees in Louisiana or anywhere else have information about illegal activity within their companies, they are allowed to report it. As long as a claim is made in good faith, an employee is generally protected from retaliation from their employer. A former Tesla employee told the Securities and Exchange Commission in January 2019 that the company had hacked employee cellphones and that other materials had been stolen. This tip is said to corroborate another tip the SEC received in August.

Trump campaign chair Manafort sentenced for fraud

Louisiana residents who have been following the Justice Department's investigation into alleged collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and the Russian government will likely know that the only person brought to trial so far by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is the president's former campaign chief Paul Manafort. Federal guidelines recommended a custodial sentence of between 19 and 24 years for the eight counts Manafort was found guilty of, but a federal judge in Virginia chose to send Manafort to prison for 47 months instead. He also imposed a $50,000 fine and ordered Manafort to make restitution in the amount of $24.8 million.

Pedestrian deaths for 2018 may be highest since 1990

A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed in the U.S. in 2018, which is an increase of 250 people from 2017 and the highest that the number has been since 1990. Louisiana residents should know that from 2009 to 2018, the number of pedestrian deaths has jumped 51.5 percent and now accounts for 16 percent of all road fatalities.

Pain cream fraud cost the government over $400 million

A conspiracy that involved submitting fraudulent claims for pain and scar creams is now tied to Louisiana. According to the Lafayette Daily Advertiser, the owner of a medical administration company in Monroe, Joseph Wiley, has admitted to creating fraudulent records to help pharmacies defraud the government.