If so, and a prosecutor decides not to prosecute a case because the surrounding business practices appear to be legitamite on the face (contractor has other civil suits, but no other criminal charges) does a contractor get immunity because of the surrounding circumstances that appear to be legit even if a crime took place?
A: Immunity: no. Not really a free pass, either.
The situation is typical of white collar crime. The local prosecutor must prove a criminal claim beyond all reasonable doubt. Frequently, the case is sufficiently complex such that the prosecutor doubts that 12 jurors will understand what took place sufficient to find guilt beyond all reasonable doubt, so the prosecutor will "nolle prosequi" (not prosecute). This doesn't mean that the prosecutor may not file charges in the future (he has 5 years from the date of the commission of the crime).
What it means is that the prosecutor hopes that a plaintiff will file a civil case and attempt to prove the fraud, which requires clear and convincing evidence. If that occurs, then the prosecutor can use the judgment and evidence discovered in the civil case to prosecute the defendant criminally, and suddenly, the cost of prosecution goes down, thanks to the free info obtained in the civil action, and the likelihoold of a conviction increases.
It's not fair -- in fact it's a disgusting practice. But, it happens every day in every county and federal jurisdiction, because the government simply doesn't have sufficient financial resources to prosecute everyone, and the bulk of resources are dedicated to prosecute violent crimes.
Hope this helps.
Terms and Conditions: By your continuing in this conversation with me, or by your clicking “Accept”, you are expressly agreeing to all of the following: (1) our communication is for entertainment purposes only; (2) you are not consulting me in my professional capacity as an attorney; (3) you do not seek to establish an attorney-client relationship with me, nor do I with you; (4) you will not rely on anything I say and you will obtain appropriate legal counsel via a traditional/office consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where your legal issue arises (and you may not use our communication to avoid taxpayer penalties imposed by the U.S. Dept. of Treasury); (5) by communicating with me in this public forum you are irrevocably waiving any right to privacy, confidentiality and attorney-client privilege concerning the matters discussed. You further separately declare that any payment made by you is not consideration for this contract, nor offered for any services rendered by me on your behalf, but rather is made in genuine admiration and respect for my desire to help others. If you do not agree with these terms and conditions, then you must advise me immediately.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).