Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009 White Collar Crime Awards

2009 White Collar Crime Awards

Each year this blog has honored individuals and organizations for their work in the white collar crime arena by bestowing "The Collar" on those who deserve praise, scorn, acknowledgment, blessing, curse, or whatever else might be appropriate. I welcome comments from readers who would like to suggest additional categories or winners (or losers?).

With the appropriate fanfare, and without further ado,

The Collars for 2009:

The Collar for Causing the Most Dominoes to Fall - To Bernie Madoff for causing more Ponzi schemes to come to light

The Collar for Missing the Boat -To the past SEC that failed to notice Madoff and other schemes

The Collar for Best U-Turn - To the new DOJ for dismissing Ben Kuehne's case and exposing discovery violations, like seen in the Stevens case

The Collar for the Most Needing a Hearing Aid - For whoever decided to use a wiretap for alleged securities violations in the Rajaratnam case

The Collar for the Latest Fashion - To the DOJ for changing the name of the corporate crime task force to, what else - the financial fraud task force

The Collar for the Hottest Freezer - To William Jefferson, convicted after a search found cash in his freezer

The Collar for Adhering to Terry MacCarthy's Rule of Threes - To the Supreme Court for accepting three mail fraud cases, all pertaining to the honest services statute's 28 words

The Collar for Least Likely to Survive -  A backdating prosecution 

The Collar for Most in Need of a Geography Lesson- Tied - 1) To the prosecutors who brought the eventually dismissed Lori Drew case in California when all the alleged cyberbullying had occurred in "nearby" Missouri; 2) And the prosecutors who brought Wesley Snipes case in Florida where he went to high school

The Collar for the Most Likely to Have its Theme Song "I Won't Back Down" - W.R. Grace

The Collar for the Best Avis - To Rod Blagojevich, for trying to be the most recognized name with a white collar charge - he'll have to try harder to beat Bernie Madoff

The Collar for US News WannaBe- To the ABA for its method of selecting best blogs

The Collar for Least Likely to be Teaching Professional Responsibility at a Law School- Marc Dreier

The Collar for Least Likely to Appear Together in "Dancing With the Stars" - AG Eric Holder and former AG Alberto Gonzalez

The Collar for Least Likely to Appear on the T.V. Show "I've Got a Secret" - UBS

The Collar for the Best Parent - retired years ago and renamed the Bill Olis Best Parent Award - unawarded this year since no one comes even close to Bill Olis.


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"And the prosecutors who brought Wesley Snipes case in Florida where he went to high school"

Snipes has a home in central Florida that he used for his IRS filings, his Driver's License is from Florida, his gun permit is from Florida, he swore under oath in his civil case against a studio that his legal residence was in Florida, his movie contracts included all costs for travel from his Florida home, he applied for the Florida homestead exemption, and aerial photos of his home have been plastered all over the news for the last month since he's Tiger Woods next door neighbor. Venue was even one of the factors that the jury was given to decide.

Posted by: Geography Lesson? | Dec 28, 2009 5:48:30 AM

Response to comment on Wesley Snipes having Florida residency. See AP Story here -

Posted by: ellen p. | Dec 28, 2009 12:49:29 PM

First of all, Prof. Podgor’s post was clearly satirical, and not intended as a full legal analysis. But since the commenter posting as “Geography Lesson?” claims to be knowledgeable, let me respond. As lead counsel for Mr. Snipes on appeal, I have read the record of the trial in detail, I wrote his appeal briefs, and I argued for him before the Eleventh Circuit. The trial evidence shows that Mr. Snipes attended high school in Florida and obtained his driver license then. He has renewed it there since. Perhaps a technical violation, but not unusual for a well-known movie actor who values his family’s privacy and needs to be wary of stalkers and harassing celebrity-hounds. The evidence also shows that he bought a house in central Florida for his mother, and that Mr. Snipes himself *never* lived there. (That’s the house near where Tiger Woods lives.) There was no evidence at trial about
any gun permit, nor that Mr. Snipes ever applied for or benefited from Florida's “homestead exemption.”The other items GL refers to do not date to the pertinent time period. And the affirmative evidence all showed that Mr. Snipes in fact lived in the New York area with his family, and also owns a home near LA … just what you would expect for a successful movie actor. We argued on appeal that the evidence presented at trial was insufficient to prove, either beyond a reasonable doubt or by a preponderance, that venue based on permanent residency was properly laid in the Middle District of Florida. The Eleventh Circuit granted us oral argument, and the judges engaged counsel on 11/20/09 for nearly an hour on that and related issues. A decision is pending.

Posted by: Peter G | Dec 28, 2009 2:04:03 PM


Posted by: Brian Macker | Dec 28, 2009 2:58:10 PM

Wesley Snipes actually WENT to high school?

Posted by: Los Angeles Paralegal | Dec 28, 2009 3:28:33 PM

Peter G.

From the New York Times' coverage of the trial:

"But prosecutors presented the Florida driver’s license of Mr. Snipes and a sworn statement, filed to get a homestead property tax break, in which Mr. Snipes declared his house in nearby Windermere, Fla., was his permanent residence."

Snipes also filed a statement under oath in his federal civil case against a studio that his legal residence was Florida, no?

Posted by: Geography Lesson? | Dec 29, 2009 7:53:50 AM

Sure he went to high school. In Florida...

Posted by: Debt Settlement Florida | Dec 29, 2009 5:53:48 PM

The Collar for Worst Gaff -

How about the SEC charging, then re-charging, Mark Cuban for alleged insider trading, while watching Rome burn all around them?

Posted by: Guzzo | Dec 30, 2009 2:21:58 PM

GeogLess: I detailed the evidence with respect to venue for nine pages, with meticulous citations to the record, in our appellate brief for Mr. Snipes. The government brief did not point to a single error in my recitations. There is neither space nor time to go over every detail of it here. Yes, there was some evidence, consisting of documents and forms, that seemed to support the government's accusation. I never said there was no evidence at all. (The New York Times story is pretty accurate, but not 100%. On the "homestead exemption" issue, it's not.) As I said in my comment above, and proved in our appeal briefs -- and defended at oral argument -- the government did not meet its burden at trial to prove the venue allegation.

Posted by: Peter G | Jan 1, 2010 6:19:51 PM

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