“I was wrongly convicted of murder. I spent nearly 17 years in prison fighting my case. When I finally won a new trial, I chose Greg Robey to be a part of my defense team. He found an FBI agent who had worked on the case in the 1980s, along with critical pieces of evidence that we thought were long lost. After a long and very hard-fought trial, I was found Not Guilty of all charges. I owe my freedom to Greg Robey and my defense team.” -R.R., Ravenna, Ohio
A recent case in Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio illustrates the damage and danger of fraudulent activities involving the mail and large sums of money.
In July 2013, former information technology director for Cuyahoga Heights School District Joseph M. Palazzo pled guilty to wire fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Palazzo, age 31, diverted more than $3.4 million from the school district to himself and other parties involved in the scheme.
Charges of mail and wire fraud figure prominently in matters involving embezzlement. But what exactly do these charges mean? The difference between mail and wire fraud is the mode used to commit fraud, such as:
In either case, a defendant need not have personally mailed a letter or sent an email. The transfer of material via mail or wire need only have occurred as a likely consequence of the scheme.
In concert with others, Palazzo created false invoices, and in some cases forged signatures to approve payment. Payments were made to fictitious companies without a corresponding receipt for goods and services. In a related scheme, Palazzo ordered personal electronic devices and equipment for classrooms that was paid for by the school district and then sold them. He then pocketed the proceeds after the items were sold at discount prices.
Sentenced to 11 years in prison, Palazzo was also fined $3.4 million in restitution.
White collar crimes like mail and wire fraud often leave abundant evidence behind. If you are accused of any type of fraud, talk to our experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Gregory S. Robey.