Fraud and a Cell Phone Card

These days creativity in perpetrating a fraud seems to be on the rise. Who would have thought that there was a way to scam people with a cell phone card?

Those prepaid cell phone cards are a real boon to people who like to pay as they go, not thinking that full regular service is really necessary or worth the expense. Cell phone users just shell out the amount they want to pay and get on with their lives and making their calls. Depending on the cost of the card, it will provide a user with a variety of choices for time limits.

As the cell phone is used, the minutes are reduced until the card is done. So far, so good. This is a useful service for many people and the way to really save money with these cards is to compare the per-minute rate and also the other charges and fees. This is where things start to get a tad murky. The other charges and fees add up and may mean you’re paying for things you do not need to be paying for in the first place.

The deal is usually that the card company promotes the fact they have one of the lowest costs per call and are happy to help customers save money. This isn’t always the case, and these “less than honest” providers usually have many hidden charges and fees. When your cell phone is activated, a customer starts paying a large fee to keep that account active. Usually called monthly maintenance fees, these may cost anywhere from less than a dollar to up to five dollars.

While that does not add a substantial amount to the card, some of the other practices calling card providers charge, do add up. For instance, there are a plethora of different fees charged to a user for making international phone calls. Some providers will even charge for not only using the prepaid card on a cell phone, but also charge to use it on a pay phone.

For people who buy prepaid cards for their cell phones before they go on holidays, hoping to save a few bucks here and there, they are in for a surprise. Most people are not aware that every time they use their prepaid card on a cell phone, they are incurring extra charges.

If that isn’t bad enough, some prepaid calling card companies will charge a customer to start a call and to end a call. The size of that phone bill would be phenomenal when all those extra, hidden charges are added on. It’s no wonder prepaid calling cards don’t last as long as one thinks they should.

If faced with a suspected case of phone card fraud, approach the company first. If that does not work, then contact the International Prepaid Communications Association hotline and complain. If that fails, contact a local district attorney’s office and ask for the fraud unit. Before buying any prepaid phone card, carefully research all the terms, charges and fees.

To learn more about Dallas criminal defense lawyer, Houston criminal defense lawyer, Austin criminal defense lawyer, visit Wannamakerlaw.com.

White Collar Counterfeiters

White-collar crime is interesting, as it covers such a wide variety of crimes, for instance counterfeiting products.

The other term often used for counterfeit products is “pirated” and it refers to products that have been illegally made and are being sold. These knock-offs or bootlegged goods are often regarded as being a great way to save money and really, no one is hurt in the process.

While it is a great way to save money, rather than buy the original, it is definitely infringing on intellectual property rights. It’s not just selling goods in violation of a copyright either, it is selling goods that specifically imply they are original quality and are authentic when they are not.

Counterfeiting has an interesting history. It was once referred to as palming off under English common law, meaning the counterfeiter palmed off a fake as being genuine. In doing this, the fraudster was horning in on the established reputation and goodwill of the original creator.

Many people still refer to counterfeiting as trademark infringement, and while that may be a valid observation, it also refers to all intellectual property rights violations – trade secrets, copyright and patents, etc. Certainly it is regarded as being a devastating crime when perpetrated on a large scale that results in significant financial losses to the creator of the original work, etc.

It’s not just the loss of money that accrues to the original creator of a product that is at issue. The other serious problem that may arise from making and selling counterfeit products is their standard of quality. Consumers buying these sub-standard products may find they bought more than they bargained for if a certain item is defective and an accident is the result.

Having said that, this is a crime and is one where those charged must be accorded the right of a thorough criminal defense. Being charged with counterfeiting does not mean that the person charged was the person responsible for the scam or they were even aware of what they were doing. It’s all in the details of the case, and until all the details are known and the defense heard, judgment needs to be kept in abeyance.

To learn more about Dallas criminal defense lawyer, Houston criminal defense lawyer, Austin criminal defense lawyer, visit Wannamakerlaw.com.

Texas DWI Repeat Offender

If you’re on a roll and have more than one DWI offense in Texas, things aren’t looking so good for you legally. Make sure you contact a criminal defense lawyer to deal with this kind of a situation.

One of the first things you need to know is that Texas has one of the highest DWI rates in the country, which is not something lawmakers are wildly crazy about. This means the laws dealing with repeat offenders tend to be fairly tough and no nonsense in nature. In cases where you have been charged with a repeat offense, immediately call a lawyer with DWI experience.

If you do happen to be convicted, and this is one of the reasons you want a top-notch DWI attorney on your side – to mitigate penalties, be prepared to be assessed for dependency on drugs or alcohol. If you made the smart move when you were arrested and charged for the second time, your DWI attorney will have a good chance to make a difference in the outcome of your case.

Make sure you do not speak to anyone else but your attorney and keep all the details to yourself. It won’t help your case in the least if you choose to share these things with the police, nor would it help you later if you appear in court. In some instances, depending on the details of your case, you may find you will be required to complete a DWI education course.

If you are convicted of a second DWI, you must spend some time in jail. Once again however, if you hired a knowledgeable DWI attorney, you may find the outcome of your charges are entirely different.

Yes, you may also face license suspension, but you do have the opportunity to apply for an occupational license that lets you get to work or school. Of course, whether or not this happens also tends to depend on what kind of driving record and/or rate of convictions for DWI you may have.

If you are arrested for drunk driving for a second time, make your first call to a qualified DWI attorney and then wait for him or her to arrive. Only speak to them and let them handle the details. It’s entirely possible they may be able to have your charges dismissed or reduced.

Daniel Wannamaker is a board certified criminal law specialist and has 24 years of criminal trial experience with proven results as a Dallas criminal defense lawyer practicing in Austin criminal defense and Houston Texas. To learn more about Dallas criminal defense lawyer, Houston criminal defense lawyer, Austin criminal defense lawyer, visit Wannamakerlaw.com.

Health Fraud on the Rise

It’s interesting that people who commit health care fraud think they are doing nothing wrong and that those big companies have lots of money and won’t miss any.

While it’s an interesting attitude, to rip off a larger corporation for money that people don’t think they need, it is indeed hurting people. After all, it’s not just the companies that are getting ripped off; it’s the people who these large corporations ultimately serve that are also getting the short end of the stick.

Insurance scams in the US alone run a tab of roughly $80 billion a year. Eighty billion is not exactly chump change to anyone. Even if this figure is whittled down to what this costs per individual served by an insurance company, the figure is still relatively high, coming in at about $880 per person.

The funny thing is, those who are ripping off the system for extra money, are also scamming themselves as well. So, while they may think they are getting away with something smart and profitable, it often works out that isn’t the case. It certainly isn’t the case when they inevitably get caught either.

Unfortunately, due to rapid advancements in technology, insurance frauds are getting harder and harder to catch. This may be a boon to those who perpetrate this type of crime, but be forewarned that methods to track this type of fraud are also growing by leaps and bounds.

The most common type of insurance fraud is found in the health care system and that comes with a tab of about $30 billion a year. In this area there are provider fraud and member fraud. Let’s take a quick look at what member fraud may involve. This would be when you choose to deceive your insurance company by not declaring something in order to get treatment. Provider fraud is if a doctor or another health professional bills for a service they did not provide.

The bottom line here is that insurance fraud is illegal and the penalties tend to be stiff when someone is caught and convicted of this crime. However, having said that, everyone, no matter what they have been accused of, is entitled to a criminal defense. Just because they may have been charged with billing for services they didn’t render does not mean they were the responsible party for doing so, nor does it mean they were aware this was happening. Beware of judging a situation before you know all the details.

Daniel Wannamaker is a board certified criminal law specialist and has 24 years of criminal trial experience with proven results as a Dallas criminal defense lawyer practicing in Austin criminal defense and Houston Texas. To learn more about Dallas criminal defense lawyer, Houston criminal defense lawyer, Austin criminal defense lawyer, visit Wannamakerlaw.com.

Active Warrants Search

“In an interesting twist to the police being one step ahead of offenders with outstanding arrest warrants, people are now able to search online for their own active arrest warrants,” indicated Daniel H. Wannamaker of Wannamaker and Associates, of Austin, Texas, with offices in Dallas and Houston.

Being able to search online for an active arrest warrant certainly gives new meaning to the term “too much information.” Imagine finding out that the traffic ticket which was never paid way back when, went to a bench warrant. Now this could be a blessing or a curse, depending on your point of view, as the police have the same information.

This means that if a person thinks they have an outstanding ticket and wants to deal with it and get it off his or her driving record, they need to know the status of the ticket. “Finding this out online will avoid the inevitable arrest if courthouse records are searched instead,” said Wannamaker.

There doesn’t have to be a lot of money spent to find out if there are outstanding tickets either. Many of the online search sites happen to be free, so don’t be attracted to the expensive sites that charge for searching a police site; when for zero investment, another site will provide the same information.

Taking this kind of search one step further, it is not too difficult to imagine that in the future the general public will be able to search for even more information than just online warrants. In fact, even today there are some sites that will allow people to search for arrests and convictions.

“This kind of information floating around on the Internet is a major concern to attorneys who realize this is a direct violation of a person’s right to privacy,” indicated Wannamaker. The biggest concern is that the records may not be up-to-date, and there is no guarantee of accuracy either. “It doesn’t take too much of an imagination to see what might happen if an online site has an outstanding warrant for a particular offense (say for instance, unpaid traffic tickets) but not the updated fact that the offender paid the fine two weeks ago,” explained Wannamaker.

This whole area of criminal information, charges, dispositions, etc. on the Internet is highly controversial and many attorneys would rather this kind of information be kept away from the general public who has no experience in correctly interpreting the charges or the disposition of them.

“As with anything dealing with the legal system, everything is relative to the circumstances of the case and any criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in this area will tell you a case may change on the drop of a dime,” added Wannamaker.

Daniel Wannamaker is a board certified criminal law specialist and has 24 years of criminal trial experience with proven results as a Dallas criminal defense lawyer practicing in Austin criminal defense and Houston Texas. To learn more about Dallas criminal defense lawyer, Houston criminal defense lawyer, Austin criminal defense lawyer, visit Wannamakerlaw.com.

An Aggravating Crime

There is a “regular crime” then there is an “aggravated crime,” but what does this mean in the scheme of the American justice system?

It’s a slightly simplified explanation of the differences in how a crime is charged to say there is a crime, and then an aggravated version of the same crime. This term is bandied quite often on TV when the cops and attorneys get their heads together to figure out what to charge the perpetrator with and how “aggravating” the crime was in totality.

Aggravating is living with your ex spouse, but aggravating in reference to a crime is something different. There needs to be certain factors present in order to charge a crime as an aggravated one; say aggravated assault, for instance.

“The factors that need to be present may include whether or not there was a dangerous weapon involved, if there was a threat to use a dangerous weapon, and if bodily harm was caused as a result of the crime in question, etc,” explained Daniel H. Wannamaker, board certified criminal defense attorney of Wannamaker and Associates, an Austin law firm with offices in Dallas and Houston.

“The factors are what “converts” a regular crime to an aggravated crime, and while that may sound simple enough on the surface, it rarely is,” said Wannamaker, who would definitely know what he is talking about, since he deals with many cases such as this on a regular basis. There may be the crimes of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and even aggravated murder. “Although having said that, what makes a murder an aggravated one is slightly different,” added Wannamaker.

In cases of aggravated murder, not only do the factors mentioned earlier apply, but also the key to the charge being changed from murder to aggravated murder has to do mainly with the location and situation of the murder. “The best example I can think of in this instance is the murder of an inmate by another prison inmate, while in prison. The location makes the charge aggravated murder,” explained Wannamaker.

Generally speaking most aggravated crimes tend to have higher penalties attached to them; however, each case is different and involves different factors. “If you’re in a situation where you have been charged with an aggravated crime, call me, we need to talk about your options,” said Wannamaker.

Daniel Wannamaker is a board certified criminal law specialist and has 24 years of criminal trial experience with proven results as a Dallas criminal defense lawyer practicing in Austin criminal defense and Houston Texas. To learn more about Dallas criminal defense lawyer, Houston criminal defense lawyer, Austin criminal defense lawyer, visit Wannamakerlaw.com.

An Aggravated Crime Means Different Circumstances Apply

Aggravated in reference to a crime is something different. There needs to be certain factors present in order to charge a crime as an aggravated one; say aggravated assault, for instance.

“Aggravating factors that need to be present may include whether or not there was a dangerous weapon involved, if there was a threat to use a dangerous weapon, and if bodily harm was caused as a result of the crime in question, etc,” explained Daniel H. Wannamaker, board certified criminal defense attorney of Wannamaker and Associates, an Austin law firm with offices in Dallas and Houston.

“The factors are what “converts” a regular crime to an aggravated crime, and while that may sound simple enough on the surface, it rarely is,” said Wannamaker. So, there may be the crimes of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and even aggravated murder. “Although having said that, what makes a murder an aggravated one is slightly different,” added Wannamaker.

In cases of aggravated murder, the key to the charge being changed from murder to aggravated murder has to do with the location and situation of the murder. “For instance, the murder of an inmate by another inmate, while in prison. The location makes the charge aggravated murder,” explained Wannamaker.

Generally speaking, most aggravated crimes tend to have higher penalties attached to them; however, each case is different and involves different factors. “If you’re in a situation where you have been charged with an aggravated crime, call me, we need to talk about your options,” said Wannamaker.

To learn more about Dallas criminal defense lawyer, Houston criminal defense lawyer, Austin criminal defense lawyer, visit Wannamakerlaw.com.

Information on the Net that Shouldn’t Be

“In an interesting twist to the police being one step ahead of offenders with outstanding arrest warrants, people are now able to search online for their own active arrest warrants,” indicated Daniel H. Wannamaker of Wannamaker and Associates, of Austin, Texas, with offices in Dallas and Houston.

This means if a person thinks they have an outstanding ticket and wants to deal with it and get it off his or her driving record, they need to know the status of the ticket. “Finding this out online will avoid the inevitable arrest if courthouse records are searched instead,” said Wannamaker, “which is good; however, if the records are not up-to-date, that’s a problem.”

It is not too difficult to imagine that in the future the general public will be able to search for even more information than just online warrants. Even today there are some sites that will allow people to search for arrests and convictions and other information.

“Information like that floating around on the Internet is a major concern to attorneys who realize this is a direct violation of a person’s right to privacy, even if they have committed a crime and are doing or have done time for it,” indicated Wannamaker.

“It doesn’t take too much of an imagination to see what might happen if an online site has an outstanding warrant for a particular offense (say for instance, unpaid traffic tickets) but not the updated fact that the offender paid the fine two weeks ago,” said Wannamaker.

“As with anything dealing with the legal system, everything is relative to the circumstances of the case and any criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in this area will tell you a case may change on the drop of a dime,” added Wannamaker.

To learn more about Dallas criminal defense lawyer, Houston criminal defense lawyer, Austin criminal defense lawyer, visit Wannamakerlaw.com.

Texas Drug Trafficking

The broad definition of “illegal drug trade” is more than just drug trafficking. “It pertains to growing, selling and distributing any type of illegal drugs,” explained Daniel H. Wannamaker of Wannamaker and Associates, an Austin, Texas, law firm with offices in Houston and Dallas.

We should never forget people’s rights under the U.S. Constitution. “I’m a criminal defense attorney because I am passionate about people having their rights and freedoms protected.”

“Just because someone is charged with a drug offense doesn’t always mean they are guilty. I do not give up until my client has an equitable disposition for the their criminal charge,” said Wannamaker, of Wannamaker and Associates, an Austin, Texas, law firm.

Drug Use & Abuse Increasing

“I’m not sure if making more issues that are drug-related into criminal acts is the best way to solve the drug problem. Addict’s problems generally started before taking drugs, and then got worse after starting drugs,” opined Daniel H. Wannamaker of Wannamaker and Associates, an Austin, Texas, law firm.

In addition, making more laws means more police, more enforcement, more chances for the miscarriage of justice, and even greater opportunities for the abuse of human rights under the Constitution.

“Where will the money for more law enforcement come from when the nation’s deficit is staggering and we’re currently in a nasty recession?” questioned Wannamaker. The fact is the drug problem has been with us for years. “We’re only seeing more of it thanks to the drastic downturn in the economy,” Wannamaker pointed out.

“Things like marijuana, ecstasy and LSD are illegal, but so is taking prescription drugs without a prescription,” said Wannamaker. Yes, there’s a booming business through drug traffickers for prescription drugs, including some highly recognizable painkillers such as Oxycontin, Codeine and Dilaudid.

“There is also the offense of trafficking as well,” said Wannamaker. In all of this rush to codify having drugs, using drugs, selling drugs and importing drugs, an important factor usually gets overlooked. “That factor is the right of the person charged to be regarded as innocent until proven guilty,” insisted Wannamaker who knows this fact all too well since he is a board certified criminal defense lawyer.

“We cannot, as a nation, override people’s constitutional rights and assume they are automatically guilty of a crime if they had some “weed” or whatever in their possession. Things are not always what they appear to be, and that is why we have criminal defense attorneys – to defend people’s inalienable rights,” said Wannamaker.


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