Archive 10/19/2022

Ambridge Man Pleads Guilty to Possessing Fentanyl 12/2020

Possessing Fentanyl – DOJ

In early December 2020, Michael Gamble was paid a surprise visit by law enforcement. At the conclusion of their search, they found at least 90 G of Fentanyl along with a loaded handgun with an attached extended magazine. None of this looks good, and easily crosses an Offense Level of 34 (with its approximate base number of 28 or greater). Michael Gamble, age 37, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Christy Criswell Wiegand and is scheduled sentencing for Feb. 9, 2023.

The DOJ has a case, and while everyone deserves legal representation, in the federal system 98% plea as opposed to going to trial, but I get ahead of myself.

How over the years did a medication initially develop in 1959 by Dr. Paul Janssen as an intravenous surgical anesthetic, wind up on our streets? Recalling my days as a surgical resident in the mid-1980s, this was on no one’s radar, except anesthesia. Interest came initially from large animal veterinarians, which morphed into skin patches for humans in the early 2000s to treat chronic pain. This was followed with user-friendly delivery options; a lollipop, tablet, and nasal spray.

Carfentanyl, a fentanyl analog is approximately 10,000 times more potent than morphine, 100 times more than fentanyl, and 50 times more than heroin. It is to be used as a general anesthetic for very large animals.

Fentanyl (Carfentanyl) analogs, including fentanyl-laced heroin, come in many flavors, with street names such as white heroin, Perc-O-Pops, Chiclets, Apache, China Girl, White China, Dance Fever, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, Tango and Cash, Friend, Goodfella, and Redrum (murder spelled backward). The sheer variety and combinations make toxicology testing and accurate death reporting extremely challenging.

Having a cogent defense, that includes sentence mitigation through presentence interview preparation is key. Should you have a question, contact us.

2nd Chance Federal Pell Grants For Incarcerated Individuals

Federal Pell Grant Program

Education For Those In Prison

First established in 2015 by the Obama-Biden Administration, the Initiative has expanded under the Biden Administration to 73 additional schools, providing access to education to thousands of additional students, reducing recidivism rates, and improving public safety.  This expansion should bring the total number of schools able to participate in the Second Chance Pell Experiment to 200.

The Department of Education also announced changes to policies to help incarcerated individuals with defaulted loans, allowing them to qualify for a “fresh start,” which returns borrowers with defaulted loans to repayment in good standing, and allows them to access programs like the Second Chance Pell Experiment. The Department will also allow incarcerated individuals to consolidate their loans to help them exit default in the long term”.

Multiple studies, some done by RAND.org and funded by the DOJ were shown to reduce recidivism rates and were associated with higher employment, which improved public safety and allow individuals to return home to their communities and contribute to society.

It also showed that they were 48% less likely to return to prison within three years, than those incarcerated individuals who did not participate.

The Department intends to then fully implement the legislative changes to allow eligible students in college-in-prison programs to access Federal Pell Grants beginning on July 1, 2023. To see a full experimental list of participating sites.

Launching Historic DOJ-DOL Partnership. The Department of Justice and the Department of Labor are investing:

  • $145 million over FY22-FY23 to provide job skills training and individualized employment and
  • reentry plans for people incarcerated in Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities and to provide
  • pathways for a seamless transition to employment and reentry support upon release.
  • $55 million for job training, pre-apprenticeship programs, digital literacy training, and pre-release and post-release career counseling for justice-involved adults.

All of this works together, hand in glove with your efforts to get out of prison the earliest you can, on the most successful path that you can. While you may not see it now, together with the BOP (and the monster organization that it is) programs, education is something that nobody can take away from you.

I’m serious, give me a call.

Former CEO of Health Clinic Convicted of Medicaid Fraud

Former CEO of Health Clinic Convicted of Medicaid Fraud

St. Gabriel Health Clinic Inc. (St. Gabriel), a Louisiana nonprofit was contracted with the Iberville Parish School Board to provide primary care services to students as well as services related to the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses.


Evidence showed that St. Gabriel practitioners provided character development and other educational programs to entire classrooms of students and followed by fraudulent billing to Medicaid, as group psychotherapy.

Victor Clark Kirk, 73, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was the CEO of St. Gabriel Health Clinic Inc. and is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 12, 2023, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison per count.

When facing the Federal Bureau of Prisons, retaining an experienced federal criminal defense attorney, and someone experienced in guiding you through the sentencing process, following the guilty verdict is critical to your future. Should you have any questions, contact us. 

Former Missouri Health Care Charity Executives Plead Guilty to Multimillion-Dollar Bribery and Embezzlement Scheme

Preferred Family Healthcare Inc., was a charity that provided services across Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois, including mental and behavioral health treatment and counseling, substance abuse treatment and counseling, employment assistance, aid to individuals with developmental disabilities, and medical services.

Conspiracy charges included embezzling funds, bribes, and kickbacks to elected public officials against Bontiea Bernedette Goss, 63, and her husband, Tommy “Tom” Ray Goss, 66.

Several former executives from the charity, former members of the Arkansas state legislature, and others have also pleaded guilty in federal court as part of the long-running, multi-jurisdiction, federal investigation including the following:

  • Former Chief Executive Officer, Marilyn Luann Nolan of Springfield, Missouri, pleaded guilty in November 2018 to her role in a conspiracy to embezzle and misapply the funds of a charitable organization that received federal funds.
  • Former Director of Operations and Executive Vice President Robin Raveendran, of Little Rock, Arkansas, pleaded guilty in June 2019 to conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.
  • Former executive and head of clinical operations Keith Fraser Noble, of Rogersville, Missouri, pleaded guilty in September 2019 to concealment of a known felony.
  • Former employee and head of operations and lobbying in Arkansas, Milton Russell Cranford, aka Rusty, of Rogers, Arkansas, was sentenced to seven years in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty to one count of federal program bribery.
  • Political consultant Donald Andrew Jones, aka D.A. Jones, of Willingboro, New Jersey, pleaded guilty in December 2017 to his role in a conspiracy from April 2011 to January 2017 to steal from an organization that receives federal funds.
  • Former Arkansas State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson, of Little Rock, Arkansas, pleaded guilty in June 2019 to conspiracy to commit federal program bribery.
  • Former Arkansas State Representative Eddie Wayne Cooper, of Melbourne, Arkansas, pleaded guilty in February 2018 to conspiracy to embezzle more than $4 million from Preferred Family Healthcare.
  • Former Arkansas State Senator and State Representative Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit federal program bribery and devising a scheme and artifice to defraud and deprive the citizens of the state of Arkansas of their right to honest services.

When facing the Federal Bureau of Prisons, retaining an experienced federal criminal defense attorney, and someone experienced in guiding you through the sentencing process, following the guilty verdict is critical to your future. Should you have any questions, contact us. 

Your Personal Narrative | PSI Investigation Report

Your Personal Narrative

and

The Presentence Interview Investigation Report

I want to start by saying that I only wish that my attorney had the insight to impart to me all of the knowledge that I have picked up before, during, and after my time in the BOP.

So, let’s get started;

Your Personal Narrative is your chance to speak directly to the Judge. We will start this exercise in written format.  I’d like to suggest that when I write, it usually takes 3-4 drafts until I feel that it’s ready, and then I ask those close to me to proofread it. If they too agree that it’s ready, off it goes. The length is up to you, but approximately 2000 words, more or less, should be sufficient.

As this is Your Life – please take this seriously…

Each of these category questions is meant to be thought-provoking, and possibly painful – which is all good. Be introspective, confer with those close to you, and of course your attorney.

Everything you say must be true and from the heart, for a few reasons: a) You need to believe it, or doing this has no value, b) If the Judge believes you, and then starts a conversation with you – then, coming to the conclusion that someone else wrote this, well you now have a BIGGER problem, and c) last, Probation will be the first to see this, and as their job is to make recommendations to the Judge, if they don’t believe you, well… you guessed it! Topic Categories:

1st.Express remorse, while still understanding the victim’s pain, suffering, and how it has impacted them. 

2. Agree with the court as to the seriousness of the crime, without minimizing it. Expand on this topic

3. What in your life brought you to this moment, what happened that caused you to do this?
3a. You can expand on this, with salient points from your childhood, while,

  • getting feedback from a consultant, attorney, a friend who is a writer,
  • If there was a “trigger,” what was that trigger, and how do you remove it from your life?
  • And don’t hand in your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or even 5th draft; really, 
  • it will be a slow start, but when complete, you will be a different person, with a unique Personal Narrative Story to tell directly to the Judge.
  • It is now First Class and Honest.

3b. The whole Narrative may be several thousand words when you are finished.

4. What has this experience taught you? Did it bring up moments from your past?

5. Explain to the Judge that you have a plan (ONLY IF YOU DO) to start making this right with those you have victimized – or if you have already started – what are they, no matter how small those efforts have been. 

6. What is your plan to never re-offend, and you will NEVER Be Back Again In Their Courtroom? 

7. Let the Judge know that you feel financially responsible and want to make amends. If you can, bring some money with you ($100 or $1000), and let the court know that:

  • I know this is not much, but here is $0.00 that I want to submit to the court.
  • I want the court to also know that I have a plan for a job when I get home, and then I will be able to start the Financial Responsibility Program
  • As I will have little to no income in prison, I understand that not participating in the Financial Responsibility Program (FRP) in prison, may keep me from participating in other programs – and could be held against me keeping me from returning home to begin to make amends to myself, family and to those, I have harmed.

Cases that judges find most challenging. If you fall into either of these two categories, the plan we have covered still applies, but with a caveat.
1. Predatory child sex offenders who have harmed children, If you fall into this category – You will be strictly monitored once released.

2. White-collar criminals who have harmed vulnerable people. If you fall into this category – once off supervised release, you are smart enough to know that, you do not want to go back.

 

 The Presentence Interview Investigation Report

can be aided by

Your Personal Narrative

While I previously mentioned that it could be started in written format, it could also be made available in

  • video MP4 format and placed in a flash drive so that the judge could easily see it the week before (optimal timing) sentencing.
  • This you could work out with your attorney, using either PowerPoint or simply using a smartphone.

This brings me to my last point, that being The Presentence Interview (PSI) – Investigation Report.

  • As early as possible after your conviction, your attorney should reach out to the Probation Officer assigned to your case. 
  • At this point they likely have not yet spoken with the prosecutor, therefore they still may have an open mind.
  • Without this call, the PO may have already spoken with the Prosecutor before they ever met/interviewed you – and they may have already been influenced, just not in your favor.
  • Once they are talking, the goal is to learn from her/him, the date that was most convenient for them to do the interview, and then learn when the “due date” was for the preliminary Presentence Report needed to be turned in.

With a personal meeting, your attorney can clearly make their case and position.

  • You can then use your personal narrative, making it available in writing, and/or video format for the PO and eventually the judge.

Generally speaking, when working with the probation officer, a little extra effort goes a long way.

  • Consider presenting your entire view of the case, clearly in a letter to the PO as soon as possible.
  • If you feel the PO is receptive to a variance, this may be key to convincing the court to consider a sentence below the guideline range.
  • Consider presenting your entire view of the case, clearly in a letter to the PO as soon as possible – getting your message “on the record”.
  • As Probation Officers are very busy, doing their best, and never have enough time, they may actually appreciate your efforts in easing a portion of their workload,
  • Remember, a little thoughtful effort does go a long way

 

Call Dr.Blatstein at: 240.888.7778, or by email for a No Obligation Free Consult, he answers and personally returns all of his calls.