by Joe Bird
We usually write to tell another tale of economic fraud, most often about lending or mortgage fraud. The amount of money involved and the seemingly endless supply of greed provide a fertile ground for the growth of nearly every species of fraud, so we are always able to find new and interesting material to write about. But fraud does not only live in the banking and mortgages industries. It is ubiquitous.
For example, our firm has a case involving a teacher who was injured when she was trampled by students celebrating a homecoming victory. The School District announced that it conducted a thorough investigation and that the event, the knocking down of the teacher and the subsequent attack while she was on the ground. The District then denied the teacher workers compensation benefits to save money. After months of work, a local TV station became interested in the case. A student came forward and disclosed he was interviewed by the principal of the school the day after the event and that he confirmed it occurred as the teacher claimed. Finally, the students began sending each other tweets about the event and the event was again confirmed including the beating of the teacher while prostrate on the ground by a football player. Instead of doing the right thing and admitting the event, the School District persisted in denying the event ever occurred, claiming the lawyers would just out to unfairly and unethically embarrass them. Such a rationalization is almost always a symptom of fraud.
From schools and school districts to the world of science, fraud permeates. Yes, science. In one research study, the researcher, anxious to prove the ability the transplant certain tissue, simply painted a while mouse black to make it appear the new tissue (black in color) was successfully transplanted. The fraud is now a common reference for scientific fraud where the phrase, “painting the mouse” is simply another name for fraud. In another study related to testing for a new drug, FDA officials inquired why both sets of test data were exactly the same. They were, in fact, duplicates, not the required two trials. Further investigation revealed that, in fact, the tests were never done-the data was simply made up.
As the song goes, the lure of easy money has a very strong appeal [from the song, “The Smuggler’s Blues”]. Ask as many questions as you can. Look at each mouse closely. It might be painted. So, while we don’t claim the sky is falling and that fraud is inherent in every transaction, we do counsel to be vigilant at all times.
Mahany & Ertl is a full service boutique law firm concentrating in fraud and asset recovery. From stockbroker fraud to legal malpractice to improper mortgage foreclosures and denials of loan modifications, our fraud lawyers may be able to help. For more information, contact the author, attorney Joe Bird at All inquiries are kept in complete confidence.
Mahany & Ertl – America’s Fraud Lawyers. Offices in Detroit, Milwaukee, Portland (ME) and Minneapolis. Legal services available in many jurisdictions.