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Crop Insurance-Related False Claims Act Action, and Criminal Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on August 26, 2010 9:52 AM

US v. Hawley, No. 08-2992, concerned a civil action by the U.S. against an insurance agent, and his insurance company, alleging that defendants violated the False Claims Act by committing fraud in connection with federal crop insurance.  The court reversed summary judgment for defendant on the grounds that 1) the government adequately preserved its argument that the insurer's reimbursement demands were the "claims" presented to the government; and 2) the evidence created a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether defendant caused his company to present claims for reimbursement to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.

In US v. Umanzor, No. 09-2723, the court affirmed defendant's sentence for conspiring to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine mixture or fifty grams of actual methamphetamine, holding that 1) there was adequate support in the record for the sentencing determination that a co-conspirator directed or controlled the actions of defendant; and 2) any claim that defendant's plea was constitutionally flawed would need to be addressed through 28 U.S.C. section 2255 proceedings.

In US v. Harrington, No. 10-1827, the court affirmed defendant's sentence for conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute heroin and at least 50 grams of cocaine base, resulting in death, where 1) Apprendi was inapplicable because defendant faced a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison regardless of his prior felony conviction; and 2) even assuming for the sake of argument that Shepard applied, defendant's contention would fail, for he acknowledged in his brief that the sentencing transcript from his prior conviction, which was admitted at the continued sentencing hearing, showed that he was convicted of a drug felony.

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