Friday, December 29, 2006
In the finest end-of-the-year tradition of various media outlets, we have decided to honor individuals and organizations for their work this year in the white collar crime arena by bestowing "The Collar" on those who deserve our praise, scorn, acknowledgment, blessing, curse, or whatever else you can think of that would be appropriate. Comments are open if any readers would like to suggest additional categories or winners (or losers?), remembering to keep any offerings reasonably mature and somewhat well-meaning, at least to the extent ours meet those criteria (and do not open us up to a libel suit).
With the appropriate fanfare, we present The Collars for 2006:
The Collar for Best Naming -- Paul J. McNulty for finally getting Larry Thompson's name off of the revised Holder Memo.
The Collar for Best Parent -- second year in a row -- Bill Olis for all his work on behalf of his son Jamie. One more and we retire the award in Bill's name.
The Collar for the Best Government Move -- The DOJ for entering into a deferred prosecution agreement with Frank Quattrone that reads like an agreement in a juvenile case.
The Collar for the Best Cooperating Witness -- Jack Abramoff for causing politicos to fall as a result of this cooperation.
The Collar for the Best Avis -- Jeff Skilling for receiving a sentence below Bernie Ebbers.
The Collar for the Best Deal -- Andy Fastow for obtaining a sentence below the agreed amount in the plea agreement.
The Collar for Missed Opportunities -- Federal prosecutors who failed to object when Andy Fastow's counsel presented a below-plea agreement statement at sentencing.
The Collar for Shaking Up the Government -- Judge Lewis Kaplan for his decision in the Stein case.
The Collar for Worst E-Mail Response -- Former Hewlett-Packard chief ethics officer Kevin Hunsaker asked whether pretexting was legal, and after getting a response saying it was near the edge, replied, "I shouldn't have asked."
The Collar for Best Fugitive -- former Comverse Technology CEO Kobi Alexander, who has "settled" in Namibia with his family while facing a federal indictment for securities fraud for options backdating at the company.
The Collar for Best Practice Group Profit Machine -- Options-timing investigations, which trigger internal probes conducted by hordes of lawyers, separate counsel for various directors and officers, and new counsel for the board to sort out all those lawyers.
The Collar for Best Ignoring of a Federal Judge -- The U.S. Bureau of Prisons, which has not sent one of the high profile defendants from the Enron and WorldCom cases (Skilling, Ebbers, Fastow, etc.) to the federal correctional institution recommended by the sentencing judge.
The Collar for Best Defense Motion -- Attorney David Spears, who filed for bail pending appeal for his client, William Fuhs, one of the defendants in the Enron Nigerian Barge trial. The Fifth Circuit released Fuhs first because Spears had the presence of mind to file the motion immediately after oral argument, buying his client a little bit of extra freedom.
The Collar for Best Swag Auction -- Jody Nelson, former CFO of Patterson-UTI Energy, embezzled $77 million from the company, and saw his unfinished 19,000 square foot Lubbock mansion go on the auction bloc. That's a lot of house, even in Texas.