Florida Court Discusses the Elements of Conspiracy

There are strict laws regulating the healthcare professions to ensure that people working in medical fields make ethical decisions regarding patient care. For example, federal law prohibits parties from offering or accepting healthcare kickbacks, and professionals that engage in schemes to do so may be convicted of conspiracy. Recently, a Florida court explained what evidence is needed to support a conspiracy conviction in a case in which numerous healthcare providers appealed their convictions. If you are charged with conspiracy or another white-collar offense, it is in your best interest to meet with a Tampa white-collar crime defense attorney to assess your possible defenses.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendants, a doctor, pharmacist, and recruiter, were indicted for numerous crimes related to conspiring to receive healthcare kickbacks and paying and receiving such kickbacks. The matter proceeded to trial, and they were each convicted as charged. Following sentencing, they each appealed, arguing in part that there was insufficient evidence to convict them of the conspiracy charges against them.

Establishing Conspiracy Under Federal Law

On appeal, the appellate court explained that a guilty verdict will not be overturned if any reasonable interpretation of the evidence could have led to the jury finding the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The appellate court elaborated that it is not necessary that the evidence offered exclude every possibility of innocence or be entirely inconsistent with any conclusion other than the defendant’s guilt, as the jury is free to choose from reasonable constructions of the evidence.

For the defendant’s conspiracy convictions to be upheld, the government must have offered evidence that would allow the jury to reasonably find beyond a reasonable doubt that a conspiracy existed and that the defendant knew about it and voluntarily joined it. The appellate court explained that a defendant can be convicted of conspiracy even if they did not play a significant role in the scheme, know all of the details, interact with other conspirators directly, or take part in every part of the conspiracy.

Conspiracy convictions do, however, require proof that the defendant had knowledge of the essential illegal goal of the conspiracy and agreed to take part. Proof of such knowledge may be circumstantial, though, as conspiracy is essentially a crime that is mental in composition. In the subject case, the appellate court found that the evidence the government produced at trial more than adequately supported the defendant’s convictions. Thus, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak to a Seasoned Criminal Defense Lawyer in Tampa

White-collar crimes typically do not involve violent acts, but they nonetheless can result in substantial penalties, including lengthy prison sentences. If you are charged with a white-collar offense, it is crucial to hire an attorney who will set forth a compelling defense on your behalf. The seasoned Tampa criminal defense attorneys of Hanlon Law are adept at navigating the complexities of white-collar crime cases, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. You can contact Hanlon Law through the form online or at 813-228-7095 to set up a meeting.