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Rulings in Criminal, Medicare Fraud, and Disability Benefits Cases

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By FindLaw Staff on February 26, 2010 11:58 AM

The Seventh Circuit decided two criminal matters and one case involving denial of disability benefits.

In US v. Phillips, No. 09-1262, the court faced a challenge to a conviction for Medicare fraud.  Defendant claimed that the district court erred by admitting a redacted recording of her conversation with undercover investigators after the government did not give her an unredacted version. She also claimed that the district court erred by admitting certain evidence that was produced close to trial, thereby not allowing her attorney to have a meaningful opportunity to examine them. 

In affirming the conviction, the court held that the district court was under no duty to review the recording defendant cannot show it would have likely changed the outcome of the trial.  Thus, the district court did not commit plain error in denying her motion to exclude.  Defendant's remaining contention is rejected as she explicitly instructed the court that one week would be enough time for her to review the late-produced evidence.

In US v. Sellers, No. 09-2037, the court faced a challenge to defendant's claim that the district court erred in denying him a two-level reduction in his sentence for acceptance of responsibility.

However, based on defendant's post-arrest phone call to his wife to warn his biggest buyer, plus a jail fight, the district court did not err in finding that these incidents were inconsistent with a sincere acceptance of responsibility for his crime.

Finally, in Denton v. Astrue, No. 09-3088, the court addressed an ALJ denial of claimant's application for disability benefits.  Although the claimant argued that the ALJ ignored the symptoms of her depression and other evidence in coming to the conclusion, the court affirmed the denial.  Based on the record, it showed that the ALJ assessed all relevant evidence, including her depression and related symptoms and finding of no disability was supported by substantial evidence.

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