Thursday, December 24, 2009
Federal prosecutions of white collar crime have been the norm for many years. And the New York Attorney General's Office under Spitzer and now Cuomo made it a part of their workload (see here). But recently we see more and more states are making white collar investigations a priority. We have seen it in Florida (see here) and Ohio (see here). Indiana, now. appears to also be stepping up its white collar prosecutions. Jon Murray, Indystar.com reports on how the "4-person unit in state Securities Division has helped with 44 cases since '07." (see here) (w/ a hat tip to Ted Gest)
With a decreased media bringing to light public corruption and state white collar crimes, it is important that individual states step to the plate and provide increased prosecutions of state and local white collar crimes.
Ninth Circuit - United States v. Berger - Court stated:
"While we decline to extend the Dura Pharmaceuticalsprinciple to criminal securities fraud, we conclude that the district court's loss calculation approach was nevertheless flawed. Thus, although we conclude that the district court used the correct standard of proof in determining the total loss, we vacate Berger's sentence and remand to the district court for resentencing."
(Check out this super article on this case in the Criminal Law Reporter, authored by Hugh B. Kaplan - reprinted with permission here - Download Berger). The case offers an interpretation on the applicable standard that should be used in finding sentencing facts. It also sets the stage for a jurisdiction split on Dura's applicability. (hat tip also to Evan Jenness).
Fifth Circuit - United States v. Whitfield (Minor & Teel) -
The "government claimed that by virtue of their judicial offices, Whitfield and Teel were agents of the Mississippi Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC)" and that the AOC received $10,000. in federal funds for a Section 666 prosecution. The court, however, held -
"Whitfield’s and Teel’s role as presiding judges in Marks and Peoples Bank had no "connection with any business, transaction, or series of transactions" of the AOC. See 18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(1)(B), (2). Therefore, by its own plain language, section 666 applies neither to Whitfield’s and Teel’s acceptance of bribes nor to Minor’s offering of bribes in connection with those cases. The Government has cited no authority supporting a contrary conclusion. As such, we hold that the district court committed plain error when it denied appellants’ Rule 29 motions for judgment of acquittal on the section 666 counts of the indictment."
Other convictions were upheld, but the case was remanded for resentencing.
Third Circuit - United States v. McGeehan
This blog previously noted this decision and said commentary would follow. That commentary did not follow because it seems that this case, like others will await the Supreme Court decision in the three honest services cases under review (see here). So stay tuned.
Second Circuit - United States v. John Doe (Download 08-4064-cr_so)
The Second Circuit appointed amici counsel - Lee G. Dunst (Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP) - to argue the case as amici as the government joined the defense in arguing for permanent sealing of the sentencing transcript. The court affirmed the "district court's denial of the application for a total and permanent sealing of the sentencing transcript, but" the court did "remand the case to the district court to afford the parties an opportunity to apply for a sealing of the sentencing transcript that is partial, non-permanent, or both."
Albert Alschuler, Two Ways to Think About the Punishment of Corporations - here
Larry Ribstein, How Movies Created the Financial Crisis
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Ben Hallman, American Lawyer, law.com, Comverse to Pay $225 Million in Backdating Settlement
Michael Pollick, Herald Tribune.com, Ponzi convictions are weightier now - FRAUD CHARGES: Sarasotans will face more than a slap on the wrist if found guilty
DOJ Press Release, Three Detroit-Area Residents Plead Guilty to Health Care Fraud
Jenny Anderson & Zachery Kouwe, NYTimes, Claims of Insider Trading From Trader’s Ex-Wife
R. Robin McDonald, Fulton County Daily Report, law.com,Acquitted of Money Laundering, Defense Attorney Sets Sights on Legal Fees - Attorney must demonstrate that the government's prosecution was frivolous, carried out in bad faith or constituted a form of harassment
Hilary Potkewitz, Crain's New York Business, After lull, financial-crime prosecutions seen set to rise
DOJ Press Release, Attorney General Appoints Gary Grindler Acting Deputy Attorney General
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Joel Stashenko, NYLJ, law.com, Former N.Y. Judge Sentenced to 27 Months in Jail for Attempted Bribery
Bill Mateja, Op-ed, Dallas Morning News, Supreme Court should void 'honest services'
Mike Scarella, The National Law Journal, DOJ Urges Closed Hearing in Blackwater Criminal Case
James Barron, NYTimes, Brooke Astor’s Son Is Sentenced to Prison
Lawrence Delevingne, Business Insider, The Decade's 10 Biggest Financial Crimes