Monday, February 25, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Paul Caron, over at TaxProf Blog, ranks the law professors blogs (see here) with the White Collar Crime Prof Blog coming in at # 15 on traffic ranking. He also ranks page views. So thanks to all who are reading this blog.
Law Prof Blog Traffic Ranking -- Visitors (Feb. 2007 - Jan. 2008)
|2. Hugh Hewitt||13,392,343|
|3. Volokh Conspiracy||8,647,368|
|5. Leiter Reports: Philosophy Blog||1,629,699|
|6. TaxProf Blog||1,358,016|
|8. Concurring Opinions||1,125,512|
|9. Sentencing Law & Policy||907,141|
|10. Professor Bainbridge.com||856,240|
|11. Jack Bog's Blog||776,272|
|12. Leiter's Law School Reports||726,005|
|15. White Collar Crime Prof Blog||383,443|
|17. Opinio Juris||323,519|
|18. Workplace Prof Blog||298,525|
|19. Is That Legal?||242,119|
|20. Chicago Faculty Blog||235,028|
|21. CrimProf Blog||211,119|
|22. Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog||202,324|
|24. ImmigrationProf Blog||181,055|
|25. ContractsProf Blog||167,861|
|26. Empirical Legal Studies||148,157|
|27. Election Law Blog||127,488|
|28. Religion Clause||122,352|
|29. Family Law Prof Blog||108,608|
Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
The New Year will deliver a variety of interesting cases and issues in the white collar crime field, and here are a few developments (and predictions) that may be of interest in 2008 (in no particular order):
- Supreme Court decisions on whether to grant certiorari in the appeals of John and Timothy Rigas (Adelphia Communications) on fraud charges and former Illinois Governor Ryan on RICO/corruption charges.
- Appellate court rulings on the convictions of former CEOs Jeffrey Skilling (Enron) and Joseph Nacchio (Qwest). Skilling is likely to have at least some of the counts of conviction reversed due to problems with the honest services fraud theory, while Nacchio could well be looking at a new trial on a variety of grounds.
- The CEO trials just keep on coming, with former Reagan Administration budget whiz David Stockman facing charges related to his tenure at auto parts manufacturer Collins & Aikman and Phillip Bennett charged for his role in the collapse of futures broker Refco, perhaps the quickest demise of a public company -- only two months after the IPO.
- More defense procurement cases -- oops, we said that last year. This time around, the focus will be not only on contractors, especially Blackwater Worldwide, but also government officials charged with investigating corruption, such as former State Department IG Cookie Krongard.
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases will continue to be the hot trend, with Siemens probably setting the record for largest fine assessed in an FCPA case -- perhaps as much as $500 million -- if it is able to settle wide-ranging criminal and civil probes of overseas payments currently estimated at $2 billion.
- Whether the Supreme Court's recent decisions in Gall and Kimbrough bring about changes in white collar sentencing, the most likely source of defendants who can make the case for individualized sentences and take advantage of the newly-restored discretion given to federal district court judges.
- The Barry Bonds perjury/obstruction prosecution will garner significant headlines whenever the home run king appears in court, and his trial will be the hottest ticket since the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby case, with a different set of political overtones. It could even be a welcome distraction from the Presidential campaign if it occurs in the fall.
- The Second Circuit will decide whether to uphold U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan's ruling dismissing charges against thirteen former KPMG partners and employees due to interference with the payment of their attorney's fees by prosecutors. If the appellate court reinstates the indictment, then look for a prediction on when the trial will start in "What's Coming in 2009," unless it's headed to the Supreme Court, of course.
- The District of Columbia's decision on the search of Representative William Jefferson's office has caused the Department of Justice much consternation, so don't be surprised to see the Supreme Court grant the government's certiorari petition filed on December 19 (available here).
- The issue of parallel civil and criminal investigations is the subject of an important case before the Ninth Circuit in United States v. Stringer, argued on September 26, 2007. The opinion should be announced soon, and this is another case that may be headed to the Supreme Court.
- Mortgage fraud moves front and center as the hot focus of the Department of Justice. A sure sign that there is pressure to bring cases will be the formation of a Mortgage Fraud Task Force -- when in doubt, form a committee.
- As options backdating cases wind down, look for the SEC to begin pursuing disclosure investigations involving banks, brokerage firms, and other financial institutions regarding their exposure to subprime mortgages and the valuation of securities, such as CDOs. tied to that collapsing market. Not that any of it will ease the pain of collapsing house prices.
- Look for Kobi Alexander to be in Namibia fighting extradition back to Brooklyn to face securities fraud and obstruction of justice charges a year from now. Indeed, it's an open question whether there will even be a hearing related to the extradition as his attorneys have skillfully thrown up roadblocks to delay even the initial stages of the extradition process. The 2012 version of this list may well be saying the same thing.
- Look for more election fraud cases with the political season heating up, and the Attorney General might find this to be a good place to make an impression as a non-partisan leader of the Department of Justice.
Have a safe and happy New Year!
(esp & ph)
Friday, December 28, 2007
In the finest end-of-the-year tradition of various media outlets, we again 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, and without further ado, we present The Collars for 2007:
The Collar for Best Exposure of the Deficiencies in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines -- To President George Bush for finding I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's guidelines sentence to be excessive.
The Collar for Best Parent -- For the third year in a row, to Bill Olis for all his work on behalf of his son Jamie. Last year we said one more year and we retire the award in Bill's name, and so this award now is retired and permanently bears the name of The Bill Olis Best Parent Award.
The Collar for Nice Work If You Can Get It -- to former AG John Ashcroft, appointed by a former subordinate as a monitor under a deferred prosecution agreement that will require the monitored company to pay him between $29,000,000 and $52,000,000.
The Collar for Biggest Bang From a Deferred Prosecution Agreement-- to U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie (the subordinate mentioned in the preceding Collar) for also getting three former colleagues appointed as monitors in the same case, and this comes after his law school alma mater happened to receive a chaired professorship in 2005 pursuant to a deferred prosecution agreement (surprise!!). Three guesses who may run for Governor of New Jersey in 2009?
The Collar for the Best Skating Not on an Ice Rink -- to Andy Fastow and Jack Abramoff (no explanations needed).
The Collar for Worst Award -- To the ABA Journal, which originally selected -- with no apparent irony -- the gone-but-surely-not-forgotten AG Alberto Gonzales as its "Lawyer of the Year," initially defending the selection by claiming that he made the most news, even if almost all of it was bad.
The Collar for Hottest 30-Year Old . . . Statute -- To the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which has come into its own as a "mature" criminal statute, even being noticed by the New York Times. And get your minds out of the gutter, this is a family-friendly blog!
The Collar for Best Able to Move Past a Conviction -- hands down this one goes to Martha Stewart, who has moved on with her life with hardly a misplaced dinner fork.
The Collar for Least Qualified to Hire an Assistant U.S. Attorney -- To Monica Goodling, former White House Liaison to AG Alberto Gonzales (briefly a "Lawyer of the Year" -- see above), who admitted she allowed political considerations to enter into the hiring of career AUSAs.
The Collar for What Started With a Bang Sure Ended With a Whimper -- To former investment banking star Frank Quattrone, who went through two trials (first jury hung), a conviction later overturned by the Second Circuit, and then received the only deferred prosecution agreement given to an individual in a white collar crime case to this point, with the condition being that he remain a good boy for twelve months. He did, and is now free from his prior entanglements.
The Collar for the Law Firm With the Most Named Partners Charged With a Crime -- To what was known as Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, whose three living partners (Milberg died long before the firm's troubles arose) were all charged in federal indictments, with Bershad and Schulman pleading guilty. As a cherry on top, the firm's predecessor included another name partner who entered a guilty plea, William Lerach.
The Collar for Wildest Bribery Case in Mississippi -- To Dickie Scruggs, made famous in the movie "The Insider" about the tobacco litigation that made him rich, who now faces charges of trying to bribe a state court judge in Mississippi, along with his son and another attorney at the firm. This one has it all: money, local politics, undercover tapes, wiretaps. Who's writing the screenplay for this one?
The Collar for the Biggest Perjury Case Since, Well, the Last Biggest One -- Now that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby dodged prison and dropped his appeal, it's on to the next "biggest" perjury case: the prosecution of one Barry Lamar Bonds for lying to a grand jury investigating the steroids factory Balco.
The Collar for the Next Next Biggest Perjury Case Since . . . -- To Roger Clemens, who has loudly proclaimed his innocence regarding steroid use after being named in the Mitchell Report on the invasion of performance enhancing drugs in baseball, will be pressured to testify under oath before Congress when it holds hearings on the Report. With a scheduled interview on Sixty Minutes, perhaps Congress will make lying to Mike Wallace a federal offense, because Clemens would be a fool to walk into a perjury trap on Capitol Hill.
The Collar for Hardest "What Do These Two Have In Common" Trivia Question -- To Michael Dwayne Short, formerly of Hyattsville, Maryland, who will be forever linked with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Care to guess why? [Answer will be posted in the Comments on January 1 in case you care.]
The Collar for the White Collar Defendant Most Needing Relief -- To Chalana McFarland, a first-time offender who received 30 years for a mortgage fraud.
The Collar for the State With the Most High-Profile Federal Corruption Investigations -- A tie this year between Louisiana and Alabama, with Alaska starting early to secure next year's award.
The Collar for Blogs That Should Be Nominated for Some Award -- To The D & O Diary (written by Kevin LaCroix) and The FCPA Blog (written by Dick Cassin), both outstanding for their thorough, balanced posts that are uniformly informative -- they deserve recognition for the service they provide to readers but probably won't in various popularity contests.
(esp & ph)
Monday, December 24, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Professor Stuart Green is joining us this week as a guest blogger. He is Louis B. Porterie Professor of Law at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University, where he has taught since 1995. His current project is a monograph entitled Property, Crime, and Morals: Theft Law in the Information Age, which will be published by Harvard University Press. Stuart has written extensively on white collar crime issues, and his post is about a subject near and dear to our hearts here are the White Collar Crime Prof Blog: corruption. Welcome, Stuart, and thanks for joining us.
My thanks to Peter Henning and Ellen Podgor for inviting me to serve as a guest blogger this week at White Collar Crime Prof Blog. I am a professor of law at Louisiana State University and author of Lying, Cheating, and Stealing: A Moral Theory of White Collar Crime (OUP, 2006), now available in paperback.
I plan to spend at least some of the week talking about bribery. The last several weeks have brought a steady stream of such cases in the news: That of Dickie Scruggs, the big time Mississippi torts lawyer who has been indicted on charges that he offered $50,000 to sway a local judge in a relatively small fee dispute, has already received some excellent discussion on this site. Reports out of Iraq indicate that widespread theft and bribery are hindering the country’s ability to achieve political and social stability. And Pete Kott, former Speaker of the Alaska House, was sentenced to six years in a federal prison for accepting $9,000 in bribes from the founder of an oil field services company, in a case that may well end up implicating Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.
Bribery is an elusive crime. Particularly in the United States, where the political process is so thoroughly permeated by private contributions and log-rolling, it can be hard to distinguish between what’s truly corrupt and what’s not. The British, though less encumbered with the problem of political contributions, have nevertheless struggled to make sense of bribery, and the Law Commission of England and Wales has just issued a major new consultation paper calling for reform in this area. (Full disclosure: I served as a consultant on the report, writing an Appendix on the law of bribery in the U.S.) The study recommends a complete overhaul of the law of bribery.
Among its most striking recommendation is that bribery in the private sector be treated on the same terms as bribery in the public sector. The study offers both moral and instrumental reasons for abrogating the traditional distinction. It views the moral wrong of bribery as involving the "breach of a legal or equitable duty that involves a betrayal of a relation of trust or a breach of a duty to act impartially or in the best interests of another." It says that "[w]here a person breaches such a duty in return for the conferral or promise of an advantage from another, both should be guilty of bribery irrespective of whether the recipient is a public official." ¶1.16. As for practical reasons, according to the report, "the main objection to having separate offences is that it is very difficult to define with sufficient clarity the distinction between public sector and private sector functions. Increasingly, what were formerly public sector functions are sub-contracted out to the private companies while public bodies now frequently form joint ventures with private companies." ¶1.14.
Both propositions seem to me problematic. First, it could be argued that government officials who accept bribes breach a duty to the public good that is more significant than the duty breached by employees of a private firm. Second, while it is true that the lines between public and private functions has become increasingly blurred in recent years, it may make more sense simply to err on the side of treating some quasi-private functions as public (as in the case of U.S. federal program bribery) without going so far as to treat all private functions as public. Those, at least are a couple of my initial reactions to the report. I’ll have more to say about it tomorrow.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Paul Caron, King of the LawProf Blogsphere tagged me here. It seems that a dean and some professors are playing tag and if tagged you have to name your "bad movie". (See Dean Jim Chen here, Professor Nancy Rapoport here, Professor Ann Bartow here) It's all part of the "truly bad movie meme" Well that's all well and good, but I do need to add some comments here before I drop the name.
- First I have to point out that my initial reaction was - gee this looks like it might be the start of a pyramid scheme - did they come to the correct blog on this one, a white collar crime blog? But, I think that can be ruled out. The money isn't there.
- My second thought - Why always the bad - I hate negativity - couldn't they do the "good" movies. That would be easy as Being There would be my choice. It's a true classic.
- My final thought (with the help of dinner colleagues from Stetson - Janice McClendon and Candace Zierdt) - my choice - Paper Chase.
The Paper Chase is "bad" because it has stigmatized us as a profession. We have the viewing public seeing the law prof as someone without the "caring" we so need in our profession. To some extent this movie exposed the Kingsfield professor, but to another extent it reinforced a Socratic methodology that is cold and unfeeling. For that it rates my choice as the "bad movie."
My tag goes to Paul Butler at Blackprof.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
You must be a genius if you are reading and understanding this blog.
Dan Solove over at Concurring Opinions has a site to a Blog Readibility Level (see here). So if you plug in the white collar crime blog site - it comes up as Genius Level. Now Professor Solove doesn't point out this white collar crime blog as one of the law school blogs that has been designated at the Genius Level, but he does show that Brian Leiter's Law School Reports rates a - COLLEGE (POSTGRAD), to which Professor Leiter suggests that we check out some of his other blogs. (see here). He might also have considered that if you plug in the entire law professors blog network ( lawprofessors.typepad.com/) it comes up as genius.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Today the White Collar Crime Prof Blog recognizes that there have been one million viewers to the blog since it started in November of 2004. We'd like to take a moment from our white collar crime entries to say thank you to all our viewers. We appreciate all the material you send our way, all the comments you make to our entries, and most of all - your clicks returning to what we write.
(ph & esp)
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Today marks the three-year anniversary of TaxProf Blog - the blog of Professor Paul Caron (Cincinnati). On his blog you will find incredible statistics demonstrating the growth of his blog and the many blogs that have come from the Law Professor Blogs Network he created. Congratulations, Paul.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
The New Year will deliver a variety of interesting cases and issues in the white collar crime field, and here are a few developments (and predictions) that may be of importance in 2007 (in no particular order):
- The options-timing cases will come in waves, mostly civil SEC actions with the usual settlements, civil monetary penalties, and perhaps D&O bars, and a few will involve criminal charges against individual executives, especially general counsels who were responsible for the paperwork.
- The Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act, first previewed by Senator Arlen Specter in December 2006, will be an important legislative development.
- Along the same lines, the Department of Justice's newly-christened McNulty Memo will be the subject of close Congressional scrutiny.
- The trial of I. Lewis Libby on perjury, false statement, and obstruction of justice charges should begin, unless it is derailed by problems under the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA).
- Trials of former corporate chieftains will take place, although they won't involve the accounting and financial issues that arose in the Enron-WorldCom round of prosecutions. Instead, they will involve discrete issues like conflicts of interest (Lord Black of Hollinger International), pretexting (Patricia Dunn of Hewlett-Packard), and options-timing issues (Gregory Reyes of Brocade Communications). Don't expect former Comverse Technology CEO Kobi Alexander to alight on these shores from Namibia during the year (or even the next couple).
- The judicial application of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines will come in for further refinement when the Supreme Court decides two cases applying the "reasonableness" standard, U.S. v.Claiborne and U.S. v. Rita.
- The Capitol Hill corruption investigations, spurred on in part by former lobbyist and current federal inmate Jack Abramoff, may bring down more elected officials and staffers. The investigation of Louisiana Representative William Jefferson, stalled as the D.C. Circuit reviews the FBI's search of his congressional office, should come to a head.
- Increased prosecutions related to defense procurement.
- Re-examination of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to soften its effect on businesses.
We appreciate the number of readers who contact us with suggestions and comments, and hope we provide you with helpful information and commentary (even if you don't always agree with one or both of us). We wish everyone a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.
(ph & esp)
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.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Reflecting on who in the white collar crime world is giving thanks on this Thanksgiving Day --
1. Jamie Olis can be thankful to the Fifth Circuit panel that reversed his initial sentence of 24 years, with a special thank you to the Hon. Edith Jones who authored the opinion, an opinion that allowed him to be resentenced to six years.
2. Andy Fastow can be thankful to the prosecutors who did not object when his defense counsel presented reasons for a lower sentence than the ten years specified in his plea agreement.
3. The KPMG 16 can be thankful that U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote an incredible decision that calls into question some of the government's actions with respect to the Thompson Memo.
4. Eric Holder can be thankful that Larry Thompson decided to redraft his memo so that when everyone criticizes the memo they call it the Thompson Memo.
5. Kobi Alexander can be thankful that he ended up in Namibia as opposed to country that would move quickly to extradite him back to the United States.
6. Jack Abramoff can be thankful that he had a lot of friends in high places to talk about when the government came calling.
7. U.S. District Judge Sim Lake can be thankful the Enron trial is now behind him, although the possibility of a retrial should Skilling's appeal be successful may give him a bit of dyspepsia, along with the cranberry log.
8. The Enron Nigerian Barge Defendants can be thankful the Fifth Circuit's view of "right of honest services" fraud went their way.
9. Law Firms with white collar practice groups can be especially thankful for the extra servings provided by the options back-dating turkey.
If readers have any thanks they would like to add, please do so in the comment section.
Happy Thanksgiving!!! (esp & ph)
Wednesday, November 1, 2006
We started way back on November 1, 2004, and now are heading into the "Terrible Twos." We'll try not to throw too many tantrums. Thanks for stopping by to visit, we certainly appreciate the many comments and suggestions received from readers. (ph & esp)
Friday, October 13, 2006
White Collar Crime Prof Blog has a 6.1 "Blog Juice Rating," determined by:
- Number of Bloglines subscribers (40%)
- Alexa rank (15%)
- Technorati ranking (30%)
- Number of inbound links via Technorati (15%)
Here are the Blog Juice Ratings for various law professor blogs:
(esp) (chart supplied by Professor Paul Caron - Tax Prof Blog - here)
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Stealing a page from the Leiter's Law School Report blog on the Law Professor Blog Network, co-editor Ellen Podgor will be making the move from Georgia State University to Stetson University permanently when she becomes the Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Distance Education on June 1, 2006. She will also continue her teaching and research in white collar crime and international criminal law. Congratulations! (ph)
Saturday, December 31, 2005
What Can We Expect in 2006 :
- A decision in the Martha Stewart Case pending in the 2nd Circuit
- A decision in the Frank Quattrone case pending in the 2nd Circuit
- Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling's trial
- Trial of former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell
- A verdict in the trial of former Governor Ryan in Illinois
- A trial on Scrushy's new indictment along with co-accused former Gov. Don Siegelman
- A plea for Abramoff (maybe) followed by perhaps other indictments
- The re-sentencing of Jamie Olis
- Trial of "Scooter" Libby and/or more indictments?
- More investigations of leaks
- Appeals in the many convictions obtained this past year by DOJ
We wish everyone a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.
(ph & esp)