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White Collar Watch

Defendants Like Shkreli Find Saying Sorry Is No Longer Enough

The British poet Alexander Pope once wrote that “to err is human; to forgive, divine.” Federal judges deciding the sentences of two white-collar defendants this month had to weigh whether requests for forgiveness and professions of remorse were enough to reduce the punishment.
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Should Congress Create a Crypto-Cop?

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ether have seeped into the public consciousness. Colleges including Duke and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are offering classes in the blockchain technology that undergirds these virtual currencies to crowds of eager students.
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Who Should Pay for Financial Transparency? Banks or Government?

We are all familiar with the maxim “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” but a sticking point is who will foot the bill when one side has to put up the money.
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RICO Lawsuits Are Tempting, but Tread Lightly

Charging defendants with racketeering conjures images of Mafia dons like Al Capone and John Gotti overseeing vast criminal enterprises.
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Taking a New Strategy to Court in N.C.A.A. Case

It was almost a quarter-century ago that the Justice Department couldn’t get charges to stick when it went after secret payments to college athletes. A novel strategy may give it a better shot this time around.
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S.E.C. Hacking Response Provides Road Map for Compromised Companies

Guess whose database was hacked, exposing sensitive information that could be used for illegal profit, but who failed to disclose that information to the public in a timely manner?
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Whether Corporate Spying or Just a Spoof, Imitation Is a Dangerous Game

It may be that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but pretending to be something you are not could land you under threat of legal action, whether you’re a digital prankster or a darling of the tech sector.
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Why the Supreme Court May Review the S.E.C.’s In-House Judges

The claim that the Securities and Exchange Commission gets a big boost from bringing enforcement actions before its own administrative law judges has become a matter of lore, at least among the members of the securities defense bar.
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In a Boon to Prosecutors, Insider Trading Ruling Is Reshaped

The decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan in United States v. Newman, which roiled the world of insider trading when it was announced in December 2014, seems to be relegated to little more than a footnote in the history of securities fraud with an opinion from the same court affirming the conviction of Mathew Martoma.
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Insider Trading Case to Be a Test of the Role of Friendship

Inside information is like a child’s allowance, burning a hole in the pocket of the recipient who just has to pass it along to others. But not everyone who gets a tip about an impending deal violates the law. There is a fuzzy line between innocent trades and securities violations.
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A Lie Might Not Always Be a Crime

All frauds start with deception, but it turns out that not every deception proves there was a fraud.

Two cases last week show how difficult it can be to discern where the line between deception and fraud lies. A jury convicted Martin Shkreli of defrauding investors who apparently did not lose any money, while a contractor and his company who helped build the new World Trade Center building had their fraud convictions overturned because any misstatements to obtain the contracts did not cause any harm.
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Libor and London Whale Cases Show Hurdles With Foreign Defendants

White-collar crime investigations involving large institutions start with an avalanche of records, but they require a cooperating witness to provide a road map to what happened and what the participants were thinking.
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Appeals Court Wrestles With When an Error Requires a New Trial

When the Supreme Court announces a decision in a white-collar case, its statements about the law are not necessarily pellucid descriptions of what is permissible.
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Digital Privacy to Come Under Supreme Court’s Scrutiny

In October 1986, the top-rated television program was “The Cosby Show,” Janet Jackson’s “When I Think of You” headed the pop music charts and “Crocodile Dundee” dominated the box office.
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What Constitutes Obstruction? A Tax Case May Narrow the Definition

Prosecutors have enormous discretion in the American criminal justice system, aided greatly by catchall provisions in statutes.

Congress often adopts broadly worded laws to catch a wide range of conduct, especially for white-collar crimes, and regularly tacks on a section to catch actions that might otherwise slip through the cracks.
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Mishandle a Fraud Search, and All That Fine Evidence Could Be for Nothing

A search conducted at a home or business can feel like a terrible violation of privacy. When a score of agents tramp through the premises taking just about everything that isn’t nailed down, the question is whether that comports with the Fourth Amendment’s protection “against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
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Supreme Court Cast Doubt on a Potent S.E.C. Weapon

The Securities and Exchange Commission routinely seeks an order in an enforcement action to require a defendant to repay any ill-gotten gains, a remedy called disgorgement.
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When ‘Political Intelligence’ Meets Insider Trading

A case involving insider trading charges based on government information dispensed by a “political intelligence” operative raises interesting questions about how some of the tricky rules for proving the offense will be applied when information is leaked from a federal agency rather than a corporation.
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Why People Persist in Risky Trading

After all the publicity about insider trading the last few years, with headline cases and substantial prison terms meted out to defendants, you might think that people would not try it — or at least do a better job hiding it.
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Prosecutors Explore Options With Uber

There was a time when privately held companies largely avoided scrutiny by the government because they were usually small-scale operations. The explosion of Silicon Valley unicorns worth billions of dollars has changed that dynamic by bringing much greater attention from prosecutors and regulators, as Uber and Theranos have learned.
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A Whack at Dodd-Frank Could Hamstring the S.E.C.

The draft of the Financial Choice Act 2.0, released last week by the House Financial Services Committee and aimed at overturning much of the Dodd-Frank Act, contains provisions that could change how the Securities and Exchange Commission polices the markets.
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When Money Gets in the Way of Corporate Ethics

Executives love to extol the virtues of their corporate culture, announcing to the world how the enterprise is more than just seeking the last dollar of profits.
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Conspiracy Anyone?

In my last post Takes Two To Tango, we introduced what I consider to be the most common criminal offense businesses commit daily without realizing it. “Again. . . what’s that criminal offense?” you ask. Let me remind you: It’s called Conspiracy and the many “layers” or “shades” of conspiracies.

Taking a short deviation from our usual Route 77 (my 77-count federal indictment), I’ve discovered something new I’d like to share with you in the interim.

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