July 26, 2010
Mail Fraud Prosecutions Continue Despite Skilling Decision - Univision Services, Inc. to Pay One Million
Many believed that there would be difficulty in bringing mail fraud cases if the Supreme Court removed honest services from the statute. The Supreme Court did not provide that relief by its decision in Skilling, but did limit honest services to bribery or kickbacks. But what often goes unnoticed, is that most mail fraud cases are not prosecuted under section 1346, the honest services statute. Most involve a deprivation of money or property, and these cases continue to be allowed.
An example is seen in today's plea with Univision Services Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Univision Communications Inc. The company agree to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and to pay a fine or $500,000 and also $500,000 in a settlement that comes from a parallel investigation by the FCC. Implementation of a compliance plan was also required. A DOJ Press Release states:
"Univision Services admitted that executives, employees and agents of Univision Music Group conspired to commit and did commit mail fraud from approximately 2002 to September 2006. According to court documents, the mail fraud was related to a nationwide scheme in which Univision Music Group executives, employees and agents made illegal cash payments to radio station programmers and managers in exchange for increased radio broadcast time for Univision Music Group recordings. The cash payments were made without on-air acknowledgments or payment of broadcast fees to the radio stations, as required by law."
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Did "many" really believe this? Does it really "often go unnoticed" that most mail fraud prosecutions are not prosecuted under 1346? Mail fraud is a bread-and-butter charge, not something exotic. This is truly basic stuff -- something any half-way decent attorney should know if he or she practices white collar criminal law.
Posted by: Anony Prosecutor | Jul 27, 2010 10:16:23 PM
I highly doubt that anyone thought this decision was going to effect the number of mail or wire fraud prosecutions. The honest services provision was not widely used, is not widely used, whereas the regular ole' mail and wire are likely two of the most charged federal white collar crimes if not the meat and gravy of Federal prosecutions in this area. I'd like to see one instance of anyone who thought the Skilling decision would have any effect on regular mail fraud. It was widely anticipated that the honest services prosecutions were going to have big problems with vagueness. It was widely anticipated that this Court would find more wrong with recent prosecutions under honest services than right. This is a non-story, non-issue, and kind of made me sit dumb-struck as I read it.
Posted by: Really? | Aug 4, 2010 12:54:33 PM
Most involve a deprivation of money or property, and these cases continue to be allowed. It was widely anticipated that this Court would find more wrong with recent prosecutions under honest services than right. This is a non-story, non-issue, and kind of made me sit dumb-struck as I read it.
Posted by: Guild Wars 2 gold | Aug 26, 2010 11:37:37 PM