Publications

03.15.17 | Blog Posts

Trump Not Only Victim of Leaks: Courts Are Handcuffed in Responding to FBI Leaks

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

The Trump White House feels besieged by near-constant leaks. The divulged inside stories have ranged from the trivial, such as rumors that President Trump enjoys watching the news in his bathrobe, to the more consequential, such as revelations connecting Trump advisers to Russian intelligence. The resulting atmosphere of suspicion culminated in Trump’s tweets earlier this month alleging that former President Obama ordered the “tapping” of then-candidate Trump’s “wires” at Trump Tower during the Presidential election. [...]

Related Lawyers: Robert J. Anello

03.13.17 | Blog Posts

DOJ Announces It Will Extend FCPA “Pilot Program”

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

The Department of Justice (“DOJ”), Fraud Section’s guidance for Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) investigations and prosecutions, commonly referred to as the “Pilot Program,” will remain in place when the one-year pilot period ends on April 5. The extension was announced on March 10, 2017 by Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco in a speech at the American Bar Association’s National Institute on White Collar Crime. Blanco explained that when the Pilot Program expires, the DOJ will evaluate its “utility and efficacy” to determine “whether to extend it, and what revisions, if any, we should make to it” and stated that “[t]he program will continue in full force until we reach a final decision on those issues.” [...]

Related Lawyers: Jonathan S. Sack

03.08.17 | Blog Posts

When is a Tweet an Official Act?

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Twitter has come to play a central role in political discourse. Just last week, during a Supreme Court argument in a First Amendment case, Justice Kagan observed that “everybody uses Twitter”:  In addition to “the President,” Justice Kagan explained, “[a]ll 50 governors, all 100 senators, [and] every member of the House has a Twitter account,” which has made Twitter a “crucially important channel of political communication.” [...]

Related Lawyers: Brian A. Jacobs

02.13.17 | Blog Posts

Recent Case Law on the Appointment of SEC Administrative Law Judges

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) brings enforcement actions in two ways: by filing a complaint in federal district court, or by filing an administrative action before an SEC administrative court headed by an SEC administrative law judge (“ALJ”). The SEC has discretion over the jurisdiction in which they will bring the action. [...]

Related Lawyers: Lawrence S. Bader

02.03.17 | Blog Posts

Was President Trump’s Decision to Tell Sally Yates “You're Fired” a Retaliatory Employment Action?

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Pursuant to the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), signed by President Barack Obama in 2012, U.S. government employees have a statutory right to "blow the whistle" without suffering retaliation. The WPEA protects federal employees who disclose violations of laws, rules, or regulations and mismanagement, except when such disclosures are specifically prohibited by law or required by Executive order to "be kept secret in the interest of national defense or the conduct of foreign affairs." An independent federal agency, the Office of Special Counsel, has the authority to investigate the "prohibited personnel practices" enumerated in the WPEA and also serves as a conduit for evaluating whistleblower disclosures. [...]

Related Lawyers: Catherine M. Foti

01.19.17 | Blog Posts

How Will the New Administration Prosecute Businesses?

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

A pervasive sense of uncertainty about America under the President set to be sworn in tomorrow has extended into almost every aspect of life. Perhaps due to his own past and lack of transparency, speculation abounds about potential changes to white-collar prosecution priorities and securities enforcement under a Trump administration. Anticipating what kind of impact a Trump presidency will have on white-collar criminal practice is largely guesswork given the new leader’s tendency towards imprecision. A look at Trump’s statements and actions to date, as well as his appointees, however, may provide some limited insight. [...]

Related Lawyers: Robert J. Anello

12.21.16 | Blog Posts

How the Clinton Email Warrant May Have Violated DOJ Policy

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Yesterday at noon, a warrant was unsealed in which a United States Magistrate Judge approved the FBI’s application to search a laptop apparently belonging to Anthony Weiner for any potentially classified emails from Hillary Clinton. Commentators have since raised multiple questions about the warrant, including whether it adequately demonstrated probable cause that Mr. Weiner’s laptop contained evidence of a crime. One question that has not received any attention, however, is whether the DOJ violated its own strict and detailed policy that covers, among other things, search warrants on property belonging to "members of the news media"—a category that surely includes Anthony Weiner, who has worked over the years for multiple news outlets. Had the DOJ followed its own policy, the warrant may never have been approved, or at least may have been delayed until after the election. To the extent the DOJ did not follow its policy, this failure could add substantial fuel to the argument by those who claim that the warrant was a “meritless” attempt by the FBI to influence the 2016 presidential election. [...]

Related Lawyers: Brian A. Jacobs

11.09.16 | Blog Posts

Can A President (Trump) Be Prosecuted Based Upon Allegations Of Past Misconduct?

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

At long last, it’s November 9, and the nation has an answer to the question of who will serve as its next President. Although this should bring a measure of relief, a feeling of uncertainty remains. What lies ahead for our nation under the leadership of Donald Trump, billionaire reality television star who invented the chant “Lock Her Up”? What happens to unresolved allegations of federal tax liability and sexual assault? Does the theoretical specter of possible indictment and criminal trial or impeachment loom for President-elect Trump? [...]

Related Lawyers: Robert J. Anello

11.01.16 | Blog Posts

A Circuit Split Over 1,000 Words

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Two weeks ago, as reported by Howard Bashman at How Appealing, the Second Circuit joined the Seventh, Ninth, and Federal Circuits on an issue that is dividing the Courts of Appeals:  Whether to reduce the word limits for federal appellate briefs by 1,000 words.  In particular, these circuits have all indicated their intention to opt out of a change to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, which otherwise goes into effect on December 1 this year, reducing the word limit for principal briefs on appeal from 14,000 to 13,000 words.  As mundane as this dispute may sound, the fact that these particular circuits—some of the country’s busiest—have gone to the trouble to deviate from the impending rule change in order to continue to allow for longer briefs deserves careful attention for what it may signal. [...]

Related Lawyers: Brian A. Jacobs

10.03.16 | Blog Posts

Ethics Advice from Law Firms’ In-House General Counsels Need Not Be Disclosed to Clients

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

During the course of representing clients, lawyers often encounter ethical conundrums not easily solved without analyzing the rules governing the practice of law in their jurisdiction. There is a continuum of the means by which lawyers seek such advice. On one end, they confer informally with their partners or co-counsel. On the other end, lawyers retain ethics specialists from outside their firms. In the middle, firms formally designate an “in-house” counsel responsible for advising the firm’s lawyers on ethics and other issues that may create liability for the firm. From the perspective of maintaining privilege over these types of communications, casual conversations are extremely risky. Consulting outside counsel is the safest route, but for financial reasons and for convenience, many lawyers may believe that the best course of action is consulting their firm’s formally designated “in-house” counsel. However, the dangers of this approach were highlighted with the decision by a New York trial judge in December 2014 ordering the disclosure of ethics advice given to three attorneys by their firm’s in-house general counsel. Although that decision has been reversed by the Appellate Division, First Department, a review of both decisions is instructive for attorneys deciding when and how to seek advice on the course of action to take to comply with their ethical obligations. [...]

Related Lawyers: Catherine M. Foti

09.28.16 | Blog Posts

Prosecutions from the Financial Crisis: When Is It Safe to Come Out of the Woods?

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Florian Homm, a German hedge fund manager prosecuted by the United States for wrongdoing in connection with the financial crisis, fled Europe in 2008 under cover of darkness on a private plane with cash stuffed in his underwear. He hid out in South America for five years – the length of the statute of limitations generally applicable to most United States federal criminal cases. When he emerged and trumpeted his return to high society in 2013, believing that the statute of limitations on any possible United States criminal claims against him had run, he was arrested in Italy on U.S. federal fraud charges. [...]

Related Lawyers: Robert J. Anello

08.03.16 | Blog Posts

The Microsoft Warrant Case: Unintended Consequences of the Second Circuit's Ruling

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

In a long-awaited ruling in a case in which the government had served a warrant on Microsoft demanding the production of customer emails, the Second Circuit held in July that Microsoft had no obligation to produce customer emails because they were stored on a server located in Ireland. Some privacy groups cheered the decision, while others cautioned that the opinion’s focus on the location where data is stored could have negative consequences for privacy rights and the internet generally, as it could make user data more easily obtainable when the relevant servers are located in countries that may impose less stringent safeguards than exist in the U.S. Aside from privacy concerns, others warned the opinion could make it harder for law enforcement to investigate criminal activity. For example, Law Professor Orin Kerr wrote in a tweet: “Want to stymie U.S. law enforcement? Store your data in the cloud fragmented over many locations outside U.S.” And, in a concurring opinion, Judge Lynch urged Congress to take action to modernize the law, a call echoed by commentary following the decision. [...]

Related Lawyers: Brian A. Jacobs

07.14.16 | Blog Posts

SCOTUS Quid Pro Quo Analysis in McDonnell May Broadly Affect Bribery and Insider Trading Prosecutions

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Last month’s decision from the Supreme Court in McDonnell v. United States takes federal prosecutors to task for applying federal criminal corruption laws in too broad a manner. The Court’s decision makes clear that distasteful or offensive conduct does not necessarily rise to the level of criminality. The Court’s insistence on a “specific and focused” benefit suggests that the government may have to rethink prosecutions ranging from all forms of bribery as well as insider trading. [...]

Related Lawyers: Robert J. Anello

07.12.16 | Blog Posts

Recent Trials Highlight DOJ's Challenges in Prosecuting Individuals for Corporate Misconduct

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the Department of Justice has faced criticism for not aggressively prosecuting individuals and companies for alleged wrongdoing. The Department has acknowledged and addressed this criticism in speeches and policy statements, notably the September 2015 Yates Memorandum, which declared a heightened commitment to prosecuting individuals for white-collar crimes and, as I have written elsewhere, a heightened expectation of corporate cooperation in the investigation of employee conduct. [...]

Related Lawyers: Jonathan S. Sack

06.01.16 | Blog Posts

Insider Trading, Official Corruption, and Their Common Roots in Fraud

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Insider trading and official corruption prosecutions—two of the cornerstones of recent white-collar enforcement efforts by the Department of Justice—have both generated sufficient doctrinal confusion to land them on the Supreme Court’s docket this year and next. This past April, the Court heard the appeal of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell from his corruption conviction, and next term, the Court is set to hear Bassam Salman’s appeal from his insider trading conviction. On the surface, these cases have little in common: McDonnell concerns what constitutes a sufficient “official action” to trigger criminal liability under anti-corruption laws, and Salman concerns what constitutes a sufficient “personal benefit” to trigger criminal liability under insider trading precedent. But beneath the surface, the legal doctrines at issue are related, in that both official corruption and insider trading cases are rooted in theories of fraud. Further, one of the fundamental principles of fraud—that a material misrepresentation is an element of the crime—could provide important guidance as to how these cases and others might be resolved. [...]

Related Lawyers: Brian A. Jacobs

05.06.16 | Blog Posts

FCPA Pilot Program: Missing the Big Picture

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

For decades, the government has been trying to incentivize companies to self-report illegal activity by dangling the carrot of reduced punishment. The Justice Department’s one-year Foreign Corrupt Practices Act “pilot program,” announced on April 5, 2016, is the latest iteration of this enforcement technique. Although a valiant effort to formalize a practice known to white collar practitioners, the program does not address some of the more significant variables that are of importance to corporate decision makers. [...]

Related Lawyers: Robert J. Anello

04.14.16 | Blog Posts

Ransomware, Cyberattacks, and Hacking in the Health Care Industry: Lessons from a Letter to the FBI

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

The last several weeks have brought a host of alarming revelations regarding the vulnerability of some of the most confidential data that corporations and legal entities maintain on their servers. Most notably, the story of the so-called “Panama Papers” continues to attract substantial media attention, as the theft of approximately 2.6 terabytes of data from the Panamaian law firm Mossack Fonseca, and its disclosure to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, has already caused the resignation of one international leader and threaten the fates of several more. Perhaps less provocative, but no less significant, is a recent Wall Street Journal article reporting that hackers illegally accessed the computer networks at some of the most respected and prestigious law firms in the United States, apparently for the purpose of stealing confidential information that in turn can facilitate insider trading. [...]

Related Lawyers: Robert M. Radick

04.05.16 | Blog Posts

Why Do Federal Agents Still Take Interview Notes by Hand?

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Anyone who has attended a law school lecture in the last decade knows this sight: row after row of students typing on laptops, each taking down a nearly verbatim transcript. At the same time, anyone who has attended a witness interview—a proffer—in a federal criminal investigation in the last decade knows this sight: a group of Assistant U.S. Attorneys and law enforcement agents, all asking questions, while a single agent takes down occasional notes by hand on a yellow pad. Student notes can impact grades; agent notes can put people in jail. Yet the typed student notes will almost invariably be more complete than the handwritten agent notes. Why are law students taking better notes than federal agents? [...]

Related Lawyers: Brian A. Jacobs

03.28.16 | Blog Posts

Charging Too Many Counts Hurts Prosecutions

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

In a recent criminal case in New York County in which I was involved, the District Attorney’s Office charged one of the defendants with 106 counts – 105 felonies and one misdemeanor (two other defendants were charged with over 100 counts each). The case was a complex fraud case and the prosecution charged violations of five different statutes: (1) scheme to defraud in the first degree (one count), (2) grand larceny in the first degree (15 counts), (3) falsifying business records in the first degree (88 counts), (4) the Martin Act (the New York securities fraud statute) (one count), and (5) conspiracy in the fifth degree (one count – a misdemeanor). [...]

Related Lawyers: Lawrence S. Bader

02.17.16 | Blog Posts

GSK and the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority: A New Agency Arrives in Health Care Enforcement

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

It does not take much these days to notice that law enforcement has gone global. The transnational nature of prosecutions, enforcement actions, and regulatory proceedings can be seen in a host of recent cases. The prosecution of the FIFA scandal, for example, involves not just the U.S. Department of Justice but also the active participation of the Swiss authorities, and the governments of Costa Rica and Colombia have recently announced their own independent investigations. Similarly, the alleged manipulation of interbank lending rates has led to prosecutions by the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as actions by a less well-known enforcement agency, Japan’s Financial Services Agency. And as this blog noted over two years ago, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security led an investigation into Glaxo Smith Kline’s alleged bribing of officials and doctors to utilize the company’s drugs, which ultimately resulted in a $500 million corporate fine and a suspended sentence for a Glaxo executive who otherwise would have been relegated to a Chinese prison. [...]

Related Lawyers: Robert M. Radick


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