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Matthew J. Sullivan

Matthew Sullivan’s Answers

2 total

  • Should I have an attorney to file a whistleblower action against a company owner who is committing bankruptcy & tax fraud?

    Can I expect anonymity in this process? How likely will an attorney be willing to represent me on a contingency basis?

    Matthew’s Answer

    I agree with the previous answers that you should talk to an attorney who specializes in this type of law. Whether you have a claim is likely to depend what type of fraud is at issue and you will need to describe the specifics of the fraud to the attorney. Tax fraud is carved out of the federal false claims act, so I think it is unlikely that that could be a basis for a claim. See 18 U.S.C. 3729(d). That may or may not be the case for the various state false claims statutes. I also tend to doubt that bankruptcy fraud is compensible either since under the federal false claims act the defrauded party needs to be the federal government. It may be different if the federal government is a major creditor of the bankruptcy estate. Anyway, consistent with what others of said, you should meet with an attorney who does false claims act work and give them the specifics of what your employer is doing. Best of luck.

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  • Claims for ineffective assistance of counsel norms?

    If a defense attorney has had 3 of his former client's convictions overturned on claims of ineffective counsel against him over a span of 5 years would that be considered higher than norm? Is there a norm or average or would even just one case be ...

    Matthew’s Answer

    It is pretty hard to get a conviction overturned on appeal or in a post-convictin proceeding for ineffectiveness of counsel. Not only must the conduct of the lawyer be shown to be objectively unreasonable but the mistake must have probably affected the result of the trial. This is an argument that is made constantly in criminal appeals but it is only successful in exceptional circumstances. Significantly, it is often the latter part of the standard that prevents reversal. That means if three convictions were reversed, the lawyer's work may well have fallen below an objective standard of reasonableness many other times, but the client was simply unable to prove on appeal that the lawyer's mistakes affected the result of the trial. That's a long way of saying that I agree with the others three in five years is a lot and a big red flag.

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