January 11, 2009
Crime And Punishment: A Primer
Lately, several high-profile white collar capers have captured the national attention, reigniting the conversation about appropriate punishment for non-violent, but egregious offenses.
As News & Notes kicks off a month-long series on crime, Farai Chideya gets a primer on crime and punishment from Franklin Zimring, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
He's the author of The Great American Crime Decline. [Mark Godsey]
February 27, 2008
Insurance Executives Convicted Monday
From NPR.com: Five former insurance executives, including a top official from AIG and a former CEO of insurance giant General Re, were convicted on federal charges Monday. Prosecutors say they schemed to improperly inflate AIG's financial numbers. Listen. . . [Mark Godsey]
April 05, 2007
CrimProf David Paciocco Discusses the Paper Work Behind White Collar Cases
University of Ottawa CrimProf David Paciocco recently discussed the tedious tasks that coincide with White Collar investigations
CrimProf Paciocco said the nature of white-collar crimes requires investigators to sift through piles of documents and numbers, making it very difficult for them to put the case together.
He discussed this topic in light of a recent case in which a missing Canadian investment broker has been charged with fraud, five years after dozens of his clients lost the retirement savings they had invested with him.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Bruce Elmore, who has disappeared, but was charged on March 14 despite his absence, the RCMP told CBC Tuesday. Now the bankruptcy trustee who investigated the case and some of the victims are raising questions about the way the RCMP handled the case, asking why they were not informed about the charges. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
March 28, 2007
Prosecutor Screw Up Costs U.S. $100 Million
From MSNBC.com: WASHINGTON - Poorly written Justice Department documents cost the federal government more than $100 million in what was supposed to have been the crowning moment of the biggest tax prosecution ever. Walter Anderson, the telecommunications entrepreneur who admitted hiding hundreds of millions of dollars from the IRS and District of Columbia tax collectors, was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in prison and ordered to repay about $23 million to the city. But U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman said he couldn’t order Anderson to repay the federal government $100 million to $175 million because the Justice Department’s binding plea agreement with Anderson listed the wrong statute. Rest of story...
March 17, 2007
The Difficulty of Prosecuting Voter Fraud
From NPR.com: Allegations of voter fraud are not only difficult to prove, they're likely to prompt bipartisan debate.
And how voter fraud complaints were handled is one the issues emerging from the growing furor over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.
Some of the attorneys who were dismissed were accused of failing to aggressively pursue Republican complaints of voter fraud. The White House concedes it passed along such complaints to the Attorney General's office.
John McKay, the former U.S. attorney in Seattle, said he was accused of mishandling voter fraud when he interviewed at the White House for a federal judgeship. The specific question: why he had mishandled the investigations into voter fraud connected to Washington's very close 2004 gubernatorial election. That election was won by a Democrat. Listen. . . [Mark Godsey]
December 14, 2006
Feds Restrain White Collar Investigations
The Justice Department has placed new restraints on federal prosecutors conducting corporate investigations, easing tactics adopted in the wake of the Enron collapse, reports the New York Times. Under the changes, outlined in a memo from a deputy attorney general, federal prosecutors will no longer have blanket authority to ask routinely that a company under investigation waive the confidentiality of its legal communications or risk being indicted. Instead, they will need written approval for waivers from the deputy attorney general, and can make such requests only rarely.Another change prohibits prosecutors from considering, when weighing whether to seek the indictment of a company, whether it is paying the legal fees of an employee caught up in the inquiry. Experts says the changes make it easier for corporations to defend themselves. The revised guidelines follow criticism that the tactics used in recent years against companies like the drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb and the accounting firm KPMG were coercive and unconstitutional. they are being made at a time when companies are seeking — and receiving — greater protection from criminal and regulatory scrutiny. Story... [Mark Godsey]
September 27, 2006
White Collar Sentencing: Where's the Parity?
From Forbes.com: "It’s easy to become perplexed at the massively disparate consequences laid down on former Enron finance chief Andy Fastow versus that of Bernie Ebbers, former chief executive of WorldCom. Both committed massive frauds where countless shareholders and employees lost billions, yet one will be able to take his son to get his driver’s license, while the other will likely die an old man behind bars. Whether you are bullish or bearish on prison penalties, this doesn’t make sense, does it? Should there not be some semblance of parity?" Closer examination here discusses the method behind the two prison sentences. [Michele Berry]
September 15, 2006
The Upside of White Collar Prison....
...unlimited networking possibilities with other like-minded folk. [Mark Godsey]
September 12, 2006
McGruff Says, "Take a Byte out of Cybercrime"
McGruff, the beloved crime dog has a new mission: he's taking a 'byte' out of cybercrime. He still strongly urges children not to talk to strangers or eat unwrapped candy, but now, McGruff has expanded his mission. Yesterday, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), the organization behind the McGruff face, in conjunction with the Chief Marketing Officer Council, formally launched Take a Bite Out of Cyber Crime, a campaign to promote awareness of the risks of cybercrime for individuals and small businesses. According to the NCPC, only 20% of all computers have the protection needed against the many computer threats lurking out there. Partners in the campaign include Intel, McAfee, VeriSign, USA Today, CNET.com, and Comcast. Here is McGruff's site to read more about the campaign. [Michele Berry]
September 07, 2006
Fraudulent Conduct is Still the Trend in the Corporate World
From Taipeitimes.com: What do AT&T, Boeing, Com-verse Technology, Prudential Financial, Medtronic, Schering-Plough and Tenet Healthcare have in common?
In recent months, they have all been charged with fraudulent conduct by the US Justice Department's Corporate Fraud Task Force, or with serious misconduct by government prosecutors.
Among other charges, the companies were accused of deceptive stock trading, improper billing, falsification of drug prices, kickbacks to doctors and the creation of a "secret stock options slush fund."
The total cost of their misconduct in fines and effective penalties to shareholders? A cool US$2.6 billion. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]
September 06, 2006
Baseball Steroid Probe Reporters May Have to Testify Afterall
The grand jury leaks in the baseball doping probe, (the BALCO case), previously blogged on here, make news again. This time, two San Francisco Chronicle reporters are appealing a judge's order to tell a federal grand jury who leaked them secret testimony from Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, and other baseball players caught up in the steroid probe. The reporters quoted from Bonds' grand jury testimony in violation of Criminal Procedure Rule 6e, the rule forbidding improper disclosure of grand jury materials. So government officials, BALCO defendants, and their attorneys all could face perjury and obstruction of justice charges for violating Criminal Procedure Rule 6(e) which forbids improper disclosure of grand jury materials. [Michele Berry]
September 05, 2006
White Collar Crime: Publicity Up, Prosecutions Down
So interest in white collar crime may be up, but white collar prosecutions have decreased 27% since 9/11. The NYPost blames the decline on bureaucratic structure and budget priorities--the responsibility for developing white collar cases is "split between the SEC, which does the investigating, and the DOJ, which decides whether to prosecute." But this piece from Dealbreaker discusses the political climate behind the decline in white collar prosecutions and stabs at the Bush Administration for lack of interest in bringing criminal charges against corporate executives and Wall Street. Commentary from Dealbreaker... [Michele Berry]
May 21, 2006
Medical Identity Theft on the Rise
Stealing insurance information to get free medical treatment. More than 500,000 have been victimized so far. Story. [Mark Godsey]
April 12, 2006
Business/Civil Rights/Bar Coalition Wins Sentencing Victory
"An unusual coalition of business, civil rights and bar organizations scored a significant victory last week when the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to delete language in the sentencing guidelines that encouraged government prosecutors to require waivers of the attorney-client privilege and work-product protections in order for corporations to qualify for leniency in sentencing." More from the National Law Journal. . . [Mark Godsey]
March 21, 2006
2nd Cir: Overturns White Collar Conviction for Flawed Jury Instructions
On Monday, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the conviction of Frank P. Quattrone, a former technology investment banker at Credit Suisse First Boston. The court ruled that the judge presiding over the case gave the jury erroneous instructions and ordered a retrial of Quattrone under a different judge than the one who originally presided over the case.The jury had convicted Quattrone of obstruction of justice for encouraging the destruction of documents that were being sought by a grand jury and the Securities and Exchange Commission. In writing for the court, Judge Richard C. Wesley said the original judge, Judge Owen's, instructions regarding the requisite mens rea were flawed. The instructions did not require jurors to determine that Quattrone knew the documents he was asking associates to destroy were the same ones being sought by investigators. Instead of requiring Quattrone's specific knowledge, it "left a barebones strict liability case." More. . . [Mark Godsey]
March 20, 2006
Quattrone Gets New Trial
The Second Circuit reversed his conviction. ConglomerateBlog's take here. [Jack Chin]
March 13, 2006
St. Thomas U's Fraud Update Webpage
Here. News, cases, links, etc.
March 09, 2006
NACDL Hosts White Collar Crime Conference Call TODAY at Noon EST
Join NACDL for a FREE CLE White Collar Crime Conference Call Friday, March 10th at 12:00 p.m. eastern time to discuss attorney-client privilege waivers. Speakers include NACDL white collar crime committee co-chair Barry Pollack and committee vice chair Ross Garber.
NACDL will not apply for pre-approved CLE credit for this call, however, you may be eligible for up to one(1) hour of CLE credit in some states where self-filing is allowed. [Mark Godsey]
NACDL/Association of Corporate Counsel Joint Survey on Attorney Client Privilege
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Association of Corporate Counsel's recently joined forced to survey in-house counsel and NACDL members about the attorney-client privilege. Highlights of the survey include:
--Nearly 75 percent of both inside and outside counsel agree that a “culture of waiver” has evolved in which government agencies expect a company under investigation to waive legal privileges.
--In the past five years, approximately 30 percent of in-house counsel and 51 percent of outside counsel confirmed that the government expected waiver in order to engage in bargaining or be eligible for more lenient treatment.
--Nearly three-quarters of outside counsel said that the expectation of privilege waiver was communicated rather than implied. Of those, 26 percent said that waiver was requested as a direct and specific statement that waiver was a condition precedent for cooperation.
Here is the full article from NACDL. [Mark Godsey]
February 28, 2006
Insurance Fraud Claim Charged Under RICO
An unusual application of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) will go forward following a Manhattan judge's denial of an insurance company's motion to dismiss. The Tennessee-based insurance giant UnumProvident Corp., which has already paid $23 million in settlement agreements with individual states over the past year, has been accused of developing an elaborate network of conspirators to avoid paying claims. To establish a claim under RICO, which has both civil and criminal components, a plaintiff must show that a defendant violated at least two of 35 enumerated crimes within a 10-year period. The crimes--such as mail fraud, wire fraud, sports bribery and obstruction of justice--are generally associated with organized crime, and carry harsh penalties, including triple damages and prison sentences of up to 20 years. The case is Weisel v. Provident Life, 600759/05. More from the New York Law Journal. . . [Mark Godsey]