Laird Barron

Not Lord Baron

White-collar crime may seem like a victimless transgression compared to other illegal activity , but people still get hurt. Over the years, society has witnessed some incredibly brazen acts of white-collar crime, and even though these criminal acts were non-violent, innocent victims had their lives turned upside down by these callous criminals. Their acts usually involve stealing large amounts of money through embezzlement, fraud, and other nefarious schemes, and many of these criminals have borrowed similar strategies from one another. In the end, they always get caught. Here are some of history’s greatest white-collar criminals:

Charles Ponzi

Born and raised in Italy starting in the year 1882, the world had rarely seen the likes of this man. Although the way he performed his crime was performed years before by a Brooklyn bookkeeper to make nearly $1 million at the time, Charles will forever be remembered as the evil genius who mastered the Ponzi scheme and cost his investors over $20 million ($240 million today.) His scheme involved promises that he could not keep, but investors still trusted him to return a 50% profit in 45 days or a 100% profit in 90. The idea was to take cheaper postal reply coupons from other countries and sell them at face value in the United States for a profit. His plan worked for over a year before it finally caught up to him. He was later sentenced to life in prison.

Martin Frankel

“Marty” Frankel was born in 1954 to an American family, and used astrology to forecast important financial decisions. After being fired from his investment job, he used the alias “James Spencer,” among many others, to set up investment firms. From there, he continued to conduct himself in a manner that was increasingly scandalous. He continued to take money on false promises, and transferred investors’ money to his personal bank account. Finally, his crimes caught up to him and he fled to Germany where he was arrested for passport fraud and later extradited to the United States in 2001. He is currently serving a 16 year sentence in prison for stealing over $200 million.


Possibly the most criminal enterprise in recent years, Enron has become synonymous with white-collar crimes. At its peak, Enron was the seventh largest company in the United States, and its headquarters were located just south of Austin, Texas in Houston. The company’s executives used shell corporations to make the business appear more profitable than it actually was, and for a while their plan worked. It wasn’t until 2001 that investors started to realize what was really going on, and the price of Enron’s stock fell from $90 to nearly $0.70 a share. The truly despicable part of this tale is that the executives were able to steal millions of dollars before the company collapsed. Although many senior-level employees were sentenced to prison, the company’s founder and mastermind behind the plot died before he could serve is 45 years behind bars.

Read More

Crash in Iowa

Posted By on Oct 5, 2017

Accidents happen to anyone, and it can happen to you. I recently purchased a new motorcycle, including my helmet and other safety gear. I wear the safety helmet, eye protection, and gloves, but I know that other motorcyclists are more at risk if they are not wearing the proper riding gear. I’ve been a motorcyclist for many years, so I know the roads in our state. I like to drive across the different counties in our area and take in the sites and country roads. I follow the rules of the road, but some other motorists obviously don’t. I think this is the third time since I got the bike two weeks ago, that I am going through an intersection, and an automobile doesn’t yield to me and turns left in front of me. Luckily, I avoided an accident in these situations. However, I don’t think that everyone is so fortunate. I was reading stats on accidents in our state, and the website states that more than 50 percent of motorcycle-vehicle crashes occur because a driver did not see a motorcycle. I understand that bikes are smaller vehicles, but if you are watching out for bikes when you are driving, I think that you could see them. I also read that nine out of ten motorcycle fatality victims were not wearing a safety helmet. However, it doesn’t help that our state doesn’t have a helmet law, requiring that all motorcycle driver wear one. I don’t get it. Automobiles require air bags and other safety equipment in the event of a crash. So, if someone hits a motorcyclist (who is not protected from the elements like a passenger in an auto), that motorcyclist is going to either fall or get tossed in the air, bike and all. It makes sense to me to always wear a helmet, but maybe the law will change someday.

I also read that in the past six years, overall traffic fatalities in our state have declined, yet motorcycle fatalities have not. I also read that more than 50 percent of motorcycle-vehicle crashes occurred because a driver did not see the motorcycle. I just don’t get it. If the automobile or truck driver is alert and watching out for the motorcyclist, then they should be able to avoid any collision. The rules of the road need to apply to all drivers, including motorcyclists who have a greater chance of fatality if involved in a crash.

I can understand why there are more fatalities with bikers. I’ve had to dodge vehicles that were forcing me off the road just so that they can get in my lane. Or another vehicle is honking their horn to get me to pull over so that they can get in my lane when I am driving the required speed limit. Well, motorcycles are vehicles with the same privileges as any vehicle on the roadway. If other drivers don’t start respecting the other drivers, including motorcyclists, then accidents will continue to happen.

Read More

Property boundaries are some of the most overlooked issues in real estate. It is easy to ignore the legalities behind boundaries because people assume that boundaries are obvious enough to determine with the naked eye alone. But this is not always the case. There are instances where the boundaries are much more complicated than that. Disputes may arise and sour your relationship with your neighbors.

Know your boundaries

According to the website of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., almost every property has carefully delineated boundaries that determine precisely where the property owner’s rights to make altercations or otherwise exercise control over their property end. So, the boundary dispute may just have risen because of your lack of knowledge regarding your boundary.

Your boundary is documented, so you have to go through papers to determine the legal bounds of your property. This is usually found in your settlement papers, in the part where there is a property map drawn out and indicate your property’s boundary.

Talk to your neighbor

An essential part of any kind of dispute, not just real estate disputes, is communication. Go talk to your neighbor, tell him that he is already crossing into your boundary, and politely ask to do the appropriate actions to avoid encroachment.

It is a good idea to assume that your neighbor has crossed the boundary innocently, as this will create a less adversarial nature in your dispute. To make your claim stronger, bring your settlement papers with you, and give emphasis to the part where your property’s boundary has been clearly set.

Make the dispute official

If asking your neighbor politely doesn’t work, you can take the more aggressive approach – making the dispute official. You can write a letter to the land records office. This letter should be detailed, so you can make your case strong. Include settlement papers that prove your boundaries and documentations of your neighbor going over these boundaries. Making the dispute official gives your neighbor the impression that you mean serious business.

This may not seem like a “simple solution,” but that is arguable. It is likely that you will require a lawyer, and even complicated stuff like real estate disputes become simple if you have the help of someone who knows what he is doing.

Compromise with your neighbor

If making the dispute official is the more aggressive approach, compromising with your neighbor is the less aggressive approach. But this doesn’t mean that you will be submissive and go with the whims of your neighbor. In fact, your neighbor is the one who will submit to you.

You can make a document that lets your neighbor use the disputed part of your property, and indicate that the part still belongs to you and that it will not be subject to adverse possession. Also, there is the option of selling that part to your neighbor as well.

Read More

Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Posted By on Feb 9, 2017

Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable motorists on the road. They are not enclosed in metal, unlike car and truck drivers. They rely on protective gear to prevent injuries when accidents occur. Nobody can deny that there are a lot of motorcyclists out there, because motorcycles can be more economical and accessible. That also means that a lot of people are at risk of motorcycle accidents.

Many attorneys specialize in specific practice areas like motorcycle accidents accidents because they are such major issues. For motorcycle accidents specifically, serious and sometimes fatal injuries can occur, which is why many attorneys cater to this issue. But the medical bills and the legal fees are all preventable, if everybody would just be careful on the road.

Below are the most common injuries associated with motorcycle accidents, because knowledge is the first step to prevention.

Road Rash
The most common injury that can be sustained in a motorcycle accident is road rash. This can be sustained when a rider slides to the pavement, creating friction between the pavement and the skin. The injury does not just include bruises, cuts, and scrapes. It can include infections, surface nerve damages, and skin irritations.
Sometimes, road rash cannot be prevented, especially on highly traumatic instances. But it can be minimized by using the proper protective gear that will protect your skin against powerful scratching. Wear leather jackets, motorcycle jeans, gloves, and knee pads.

Arm Injuries
When a motorcyclist gets ejected because of a crash or a collision, his first instinct is to put his arms out to lessen the impact of his fall to a surface. This has the tendency to put most of the pressure on the biker’s arms, resulting into injury. At worst, it may even cause permanent nerve damage to the upper body. To prevent arm injuries, always wear sturdy jackets and elbow pads when riding.

Leg Injuries
Another body part that is very vulnerable during motorcycle accidents is the leg. The most common leg injuries are large cuts, scrapes and road rashes due to skidding, shattered knees, and fractures. At worst, the injuries sustained may cause permanent disability. To avoid leg injuries, always wear pants, knee pads, and motorcycle boots.

Head and Brain Injuries
There is a reason why motorcyclists always wear helmets. The head and the brain are very vulnerable to damage once a motorcycle accident occurs. The victim may sustain a traumatic head injury. This kind of injury not just injures your head or deforms your face, it can also damage your brain. Brain injuries can result into cognitive problems, such as difficulty in reading, writing, and even speaking. At worst, brain injuries can even affect the motor and sensory functions of your body because of the brain’s limited coordination with the spinal cord.

Read More

Nursing home personnel have a duty of care to its residents. When this duty is breached, the family of the neglected elderly has the right to sue the facility for not providing the appropriate standard of care. Differentiating it from nursing home abuse, negligence refers to the breach of duty or form of sub-standard care which results in harm to the patient. Given their age and state of strength, senior citizens are more prone to negligent care.

Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys will tell you that failure to provide adequate care needed to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness is tantamount to negligence or neglect. While they vary depending on the individual, negligence in nursing homes can be of four types:

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is much more difficult to detect than physical neglect. Humiliation, intimidation, terrorizing, or ridiculing the elderly is an example of emotional abuse. It is also known as psychological abuse and can be verbal or non-verbal. Signs of emotional abuse include low self-esteem, lack of eye contact, sudden mood swings, and change in sleeping patterns.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse refers to the use of violence or force resulting to bodily harm, pain, injury, or other forms of impairment to the victim. Symptoms of physical abuse may include unexplainable wounds, bite marks, cuts, scratches, burn marks, welts, sores, bruises or visible discolorations on any part of the body.

Personal Hygiene Neglect

When an elderly resident of the facility is denied adequate help with laundry, cleaning, bathing, brushing their teeth, or other hygienic practices, the nursing home is guilty of personal hygiene neglect.

Medical Neglect

Medical neglect takes place when the facility fails to provide adequate attention, prevention, or medication for concerns such as bed sores, infections, cuts, diabetes, or mobility problems.

Detecting the signs of nursing home negligence can be really challenging. It is important for an elderly to be constantly in contact with their families in order to open up about these abuses.

Read More

Damaging Side-effects and Legal Cases

Posted By on Sep 17, 2016

  • Having manufactured a dangerous drug;
  • Selling Taxotere without properly testing it;
  • Selling Taxotere without disclosing its damaging risks;
  • Failing to determine whether Taxotere was safe;
  • Failing to properly warn patients and health care providers about Taxotere’s damaging effects;
  • Misleading the public in advertising and marketing Taxotere;
  • Concealing information from the public; and,
  • Downplaying the dangers associated with Taxotere.

The list above itemizes the several legal actions claimed in lawsuits filed against Sanofi-Aventis, the manufacturers of the popular intravenous chemotherapy drug Taxotere.

Taxotere (Generic name: Docetaxel) is an intravenous chemotherapy drug that is acknowledged as capable of improving life expectancy and overall life quality. It is manufactured and marketed by Sanofi-Aventis and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1996 for breast cancer treatment. It has also been approved for the treatment of a variety of cancers including non-small cell lung cancer, prostate cancer, gastric cancer, and head and neck cancer.

The main difference Taxotere has with other chemotherapy drugs, including those in its own class (class of chemotherapy drugs called plant alkaloids), like Paclitaxel, which is said to be as effective as Taxotere, is its damaging effect: permanent alopecia or permanent hair loss (a significant number of women, though, complained of alopecia universalis or total hair loss on the scalp and body (this means loss of eyebrows and eyelashes, and hair growth under arms and around the genital area).

According to the law firm Williams Kherkher, Sanofi-Aventis knew about this side-effect as early as the 1990s through a study. In 2005, patients outside of the U.S. were warned about this side effect; however, patients in the U.S. were warned of this only in December of 2015, after the (FDA) mandated them to do so.

Permanent hair loss consistently appeared in various studies as one of the most stressful side effects of cancer treatment. It has profoundly impacted affected patients’ well-being and quality of life – a serious damaging condition Sanofi-Aventis will have to answer for.

Read More

Given the difficulty of applying for a visa in the United States, people will look for any channel that is available in order to successfully work and live in the country. One of the easiest and fastest ways they can become an American citizen is through an EB-5 visa.

In order to qualify for an EB-5 visa, you need to meet certain requirements which could include the following:

1. Investment Amount

An EB-5 visa applicant will usually be required to investment a minimum of $500,000 or $1 million. It can come in the form of cash, inventory, equipment, secured indebtedness, tangible property, or cash equivalents which is valued on the fair market value. $500,000 is invested if the business is located in a targeted employment area (TEA). To qualify as a TEA, the project must be done in a rural area or territory with high unemployment. Otherwise, the amount of investment will be $1 million.

2. Job Creation

For EB-5 , the required number of jobs that should be generated should be 10 full-time jobs for U.S. employees. The jobs should be created within two years after the investor has been granted their conditional permanent residency. In some cases, they must show that their investment resulted to job generation directly within the commercial entity that received the investment.

3. Business Entities

Applicants for an EB-5 visa must directly invest in a commercial enterprise or in a regional center. Older businesses can be qualifiesd as long as the investment can generate a 40-percent increase in the number of employees or net worth. Investing on a regional center-run project offers more benefits than investing in a new business since you do not have to set-up the project.

When applying for an EB-5 visa, you will need to file two petitions with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The I-526 petition should include the following:

  • Proof that the source of funds comes from a legitimate source
  • Evidence that the accumulated wealth is enough for an EB-5 investment
  • Proof of fund transfer to the Regional Center’s escrow or project account
  • Copies of passports for every family member on the petition
  • Documents related to the education and employment background of the petitioner
  • Birth and marriage certificates for all members of the family
  • Additional information required on a case-by-case basis

Next, the applicant will file a separate I-829 petition which should include the following:

  • Proof of investment amount
  • Evidence that the funds were invested in the project and “at-risk” at the time the I-829 was filed
  • The commercial entity created or is expected to generate at least 10 full-time jobs
  • Once the I-829 petition is approved, the investor and their family members will get their green cards.

An EB-5 visa allows an investor to easily apply and get approved for a US green card.

Read More

Common Causes of Brain Injuries

Posted By on Dec 3, 2015

As a result of its job of controlling the complete human body, the brain is, hence, regarded, as the human body’s most important part. Any force or blow, therefore that’ll influence the brain and harm it may affect how it functions which, consequently, may change the way the human body as a whole operates.

An explosion or a blast, an automobile wreck, or a diversion- related activity or injury, that could cause a strong blow to the head may make his/her brain bump against the skull’s internal walls. This can cause bruising of the brain, neural fibers getting ripped or hemorrhage which, consequently, can lead to an intracranial injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C., you will find times when the symptoms and indications of TBI are perhaps not instantly clear after a collision. Gradually these symptoms may show themselves, yet, through neck pains, constant headaches, changes in sleep routine, slowed thinking, discussing, acting or studying, moodiness and vertigo. When symptoms, however, will contain continued vomiting, tingling or convulsion of the limbs and slurred speech, then it best that the individual is delivered to the hospital for treatment and the mandatory evaluations.

A brain injury could be a serious form of injury, consequences varying depending on the region or the specific part of the brain that has been affected. While some harms could be light, resulting merely to lost or short term headaches states, a serious head injury can lead to death, impairment, amnesia or, worse, coma.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a brain injury (TBI) may also be caused by: a smashed part of skull infiltrating the brain’s cells; the brain hitting a solid object (including pavement) throughout a bicycle accident; a gunshot wound in the head; and, falls, which is extremely common in children and seniors.

Read More