When Fraud Strikes
Far too often people and businesses of all types find themselves in situations where someone they trusted has defrauded them. Whether it be embezzlement by an employee, misrepresentations involving an investment or an unscrupulous business partner, trustee or other fiduciary, being the victim of fraud — especially when perpetrated by a someone in a position of trust — can be one of the most difficult experiences of one’s life. Fraud can be economically crippling, infuriating and hurtful all at the same time and is often only discovered after the damage is done.
What Can Be Done About Fraud?
Frohsin Barger & Walthall been successful in recovering stolen funds for our clients by filing and winning civil cases against those responsible for fraud. One of the primary tools we use to prosecute fraud against private companies or individuals is the RICO Act. While the RICO Act was initially passed to bring down organized crime operations, it also has civil provisions that often apply to fraud schemes. For RICO liability to apply it must be shown that there is 1) conduct (generally active decision making or management) 2) of an enterprise (two or more associated people or a legal entity) 3) through a pattern (two or more acts within a ten year period) 4) of racketeering activity (defined as any of a long list of crimes which includes wire fraud, mail fraud, financial institution fraud and retaliation against a protected whistleblower). Furthermore, the RICO Act is a powerful remedy which provides that a successful civil plaintiff is entitled to three times the damages they suffered and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred pursuing the action. Using the broad RICO statutory language and punitive recovery provisions, Frohsin Barger & Walthall have been successful in securing as much recovery as possible for victims of fraud.
However, not all fraud cases implicate a RICO claim and we understand that each case is different. With this in mind, we approach every client’s case with the goal of finding the most effective way to make this particular client as whole as possible. Through in-depth discussion and investigation of the case, including the events leading to the fraud, the client’s situation and the defendant’s recoverable assets, we tailor a litigation plan to suit that individual client. Often, a well litigated breach of contract or conversion (theft) action is the best method to bring closure and recovery to the client.
Parallel Civil and Criminal Cases
Fraud is generally a crime as well as actionable in civil court. Through our experience as former prosecutors and affirmative civil litigators, we have been involved in many cases that have dual civil and criminal litigation. We have found that pursuing civil remedies as well as facilitating the government’s criminal prosecution of fraud is often a synergistic strategy. When appropriate, we have worked in conjunction with federal and state law enforcement agencies, helping secure criminal convictions as well as successful civil recoveries.
We find it important to consider the roles of the government and affirmative civil litigators in these parallel criminal/civil fraud cases. Government prosecutors are serving the public at large. Their goal is to protect the public by punishing and deterring crime and they have wide discretion in how to best accomplish such goals. Whereas, a private attorney serves their client, the victim of fraud, with the goal of accomplishing the remedy that is in the client’s best interests. Typically, a victim of fraud seeks justice in the criminal system but also wants to recover as much of their stolen money as possible and having an attorney that is solely focused on their personal goals is often necessary for a significant recovery.
Our Attorneys are National Fraud Experts and Trial Lawyers.
“The Accomplishments of Frohsin Barger & Walthall warrant the wealth of accolades that it has received.” — Benchmark Plaintiff”
Jim Barger and Elliott Walthall are among the only private attorneys general in the country ever to be tapped as part of a Department of Justice trial team in a Medicare fraud jury trial. A noted expert on white collar crime and fraud, Jim Barger teaches upper level courses on the subject as an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama School of Law, which was ranked among the top 15 law schools in the nation by Business Insider in 2016. Barger has appeared on HuffPost Live, Fox 6 Atlanta, and NPR and his opinions regularly are sought by major newspaper outlets, including The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Both Jim Barger and Elliott Walthall have spoken on national panels about fraud for the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, and Taxpayers Against Fraud. In 2015, Barger was a featured symposium speaker on fraud enforcement at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, DC. and in 2016, Georgetown’s American Criminal Law Review published a new research article by Barger on the public-private partnership in fraud enforcement.
We Represent Defrauded Companies & Individuals
As nationally recognized whistleblower attorneys — with a stable of former prosecutors, federal agents, and accountants connected to our team — Frohsin Barger & Walthall is highly experienced in investigating, developing and prosecuting fraud cases and teaming with our skilled forensic accountant colleagues to analyze years of financial records to uncover evidence of fraud. We also realize that the goals of the attorney-client relationship in complex fraud investigations and private prosecutions are best accomplished when the incentives are aligned. Therefore, we have available to us much more than the industry-standard billable hour pay structure for these types of cases and can cater the engagement arrangement to meet the needs of our clients. Most often, we handle these private fraud investigation and enforcement cases with a hybrid pay structure involving a reasonable up-front retainer and then a sharing in the proceeds of whatever recovery is made. We have found that fee arrangements that seek to align the financial interests of the firm with the businesses and individuals who have suffered the fraud strengthens the attorney-client relationship and the overall likelihood of success.