White collar crimes carry serious consequences, especially when they are federal offenses. When a person is accused of scheming against the government, the case becomes even more serious. According to reports, a Grand Rapids podiatrist reached a plea deal with the government after being charged with health care fraud, a federal crime. The federal health care fraud case was filed on Oct. 30 in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.

The doctor will pay a restitution of $65,110, according to the plea agreement. The doctor allegedly engaged in Medicare fraud between January 2005 and July 2011. He allegedly would bill Medicare for practices he never carried out. He reportedly received close to $120,000 in fraudulent payments.

He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail and three years on supervised release. Upon conviction, he would also face mandatory exclusion from any federal health care program.

The doctor agreed to pay the restitution at the sentencing hearing and also faces a maximum fine of $250,000.

While the doctor in this case entered into a plea agreement, those facing serious charges face potential damage to their reputation as well as possible prison time. It's important to know your right and understand the law to the fullest to ensure you have the best possible case when facing white collar crime charges. Sometimes a plea bargain is the best option, and other times, fighting the charges may make more sense. Speaking with an experienced white collar crime defense attorney may be helpful.

Source: MLive.com, "Grand Rapids doctor to plead in Medicare-fraud case, court records show," John Agar, Oct. 30, 2012