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Life After 'Booker': Insights From Federal Sentencing Data - 8/16/2018

Following the Supreme Court’s landmark 2005 decision in United States v. Booker, which transformed the United States Sentencing Guidelines from mandatory to advisory, the question of how sentencing judges would exercise their restored discretion has been a matter of great interest. In this article, we highlight insights from recent sentencing statistics and conclude that the data support the continuation of welcome trends: district courts exercising their restored discretion to tailor sentences individually, with increased regional differences and courts in the Second Circuit taking a leading role in mitigating the excessive harshness of the fraud guidelines.

Morvillo Abramowitz Partners Recognized in Best Lawyers 2019 - 08.15.2018

Several Morvillo Abramowitz partners have been recognized in the 2019 edition of Best Lawyers, including Elkan Abramowitz, Catherine M. Foti, Paul R. Grand, Lawrence Iason, and Richard D. Weinberg, and featured in the following categories: Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Compliance Law, Corporate Governance Law, and Criminal Defense: White-Collar.

Published in almost 70 countries around the world, the Best Lawyers publication is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. The selection process for Best Lawyers is designed to fully “capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.”

Please click here to read more.

Morvillo Abramowitz Partners Recognized in Best Lawyers 2019 - 08.15.2018

NEW YORK, August 15, 2018 – Several Morvillo Abramowitz partners have been recognized in the 2019 edition of Best Lawyers, including Elkan Abramowitz, Catherine M. Foti, Paul R. Grand, Lawrence Iason, and Richard D. Weinberg, and featured in the following categories: Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Corporate Compliance Law, Corporate Governance Law, and Criminal Defense: White-Collar.

Published in almost 70 countries around the world, the Best Lawyers publication is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. The selection process for Best Lawyers is designed to fully “capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.”

Please click here to read more.

The Full-Payment Rule Strikes Hard: A Look at a Recent Decision - 7/19/2018

It has long been settled law that a taxpayer challenging a tax deficiency assessed by the Internal Revenue Service in federal district court is required to “pay first and litigate later.” While taxpayers can obtain pre-payment review of such deficiencies in Tax Court, a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Larson v. United States applied the so-called “full-payment rule” to preclude any judicial review of a civil penalty in excess of $60 million. In this article, we discuss this decision, its application of the full-payment rule, and potential impact on taxpayers.  

Morvillo Abramowitz Partner Jeremy H. Temkin Quoted in Bloomberg - 07.19.2018

On July 19, 2018, Morvillo Abramowitz partner Jeremy H. Temkin was quoted in a Bloomberg article entitled, “Manafort's Mansion, Benz on Tap as Mueller Readies Tax Case.” The article discusses the high-profile trial of Paul Manafort, who will be the first to stand trial of the 32 people who Mueller has charged. To read more on this topic and review Jeremy’s comments, please click here

Morvillo Abramowitz Represents Imagina Group in Resolving DOJ’s FIFA-Related Investigation - 07.10.2018

NEW YORK, July 10, 2018 - Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC represented Spanish media company Imagina Group, a leading global content, production, and sports media provider, in connection with the Company’s resolution of a multi-year investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York into improper payments made by one-time managers of the Company to obtain media and marketing rights to certain World Cup soccer qualifying matches in the Central American and Caribbean regions. In representing the Company, Morvillo Abramowitz conducted an extensive internal investigation and oversaw the implementation and improvement of the Company’s controls and compliance functions. As part of the resolution, no charges will be brought against Spain-based Imagina Media Audiovisual SL, which entered into a non-prosecution agreement. The Company received credit for its substantial cooperation with the government’s investigation and for its extensive company-wide compliance and control improvements. The representation was led by partner Benjamin S. Fischer and counsel Daniel F. Wachtell. 

The agreement resolves allegations against the company that have been a matter of public record since a Superseding Indictment was unsealed in December 2015 in connection with the government’s investigation relating to FIFA. Based on the conduct set forth in the Superseding Indictment, a U.S.-based affiliate of the company, US Imagina, LLC, which is not an active contracting entity, pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. As part of the resolution, the Company agreed to pay a criminal fine of $12.883 million, and in addition returned $6.65 million to the affected soccer federations and forfeited $5.279 million in profits associated with the conduct related to the soccer contracts at issue. Morvillo Abramowitz partner Brian Jacobs and associates Audrey Feldman and Peter Dubrowski were also part of the team that represented Imagina in connection with this matter.

Back to the Future: Criminal Insider Trading Under Title 18 - 07.09.2018

In recent decades, the government has brought charges for illegal insider trading primarily under the securities laws, chiefly Section 10 of the Securities Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5. In this article, we discuss the recent SDNY prosecution in United States v. Blaszczak et al., in which the government charged insider trading schemes in violation of not only Rule 10b-5 but also Section 1348 of Title 18. We discuss the implications of the outcome at trial: acquittals on the Rule 10b-5 charges but convictions on the Section 1348 charges – even though the charges related to the same securities trading. 

Justices Call Foul on SEC’s Home Court Advantage - 06.26.2018

After the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission increasingly began to rely on internal administrative proceedings in lieu of filing federal court cases for securities fraud violations. This allowed the agency to avoid a sometimes rigorous federal court system and retain what some believed was an unnecessary “home court” advantage by trying cases before an administrative law judge appointed by SEC staff that litigated before it. The Supreme Court’s opinion issued last week in Lucia v. SEC – a case in which the government’s position flipped with the change of administrations – calls into question the validity of reliance by the SEC, and perhaps other federal agencies, on ALJs. [...]

10th Annual Tax Controversy Forum - 06.21.2018

On Thursday, June 21, 2018, partner Jeremy H. Temkin will moderate a panel entitled, “Penalties for Failure to Report Foreign Assets: The Difference Between a Huge Problem and an Innocent Oversight” at the NYU School of Professional Studies 10th Annual Tax Controversy Forum. Bringing together representatives from the government and expert private practitioners, the forum will cover a broad range of issues regarding tax audits and tax litigation at all levels. The event will take place in Manhattan at the Crowne Plaza Times Square.

For more information about this program, please click here.

Getting to Zero: A Hidden Variable Behind Cooperation Rates? - 06.21.2018

The United States Sentencing Commission publishes massive sourcebooks of federal sentencing statistics each year, which are available online going back to 1996. The sourcebooks contain numerous charts showing aggregate sentencing trends in federal cases throughout the United States, as well as charts showing a more limited number of sentencing trends on a district-by-district basis. The recently-published 2017 sourcebook contains a surprising number: 223. That’s the number of defendants who were sentenced as cooperators (with a 5K1.1 letter) in the Southern District of New York in 2017. The number is surprising because over the past 15 years, sentencing laws and practices have changed in ways that, to some degree, have reduced defendants’ incentives to cooperate, and the national cooperation rate has steadily fallen (from about 10,000 defendants a year in 2002 (or 17.4% of defendants) to about 7,000 defendants a year in 2017 (or about 10.8% of defendants)). And yet, the number of cooperators in the S.D.N.Y. last year—223—is exactly the same as the number of cooperators sentenced in the S.D.N.Y. fifteen years earlier in 2002: 223. (The percentage of defendants cooperating in the S.D.N.Y. in 2002 and 2017 is also about the same – between 15-16% of all defendants.) Why has the S.D.N.Y. cooperation rate remained at this level when the national data shows a decrease in the frequency of cooperation? A closer look at this question highlights an important factor for courts and counsel to consider in connection with cooperator sentencings. [...]

The Standard for Extending Discovery Deadlines - 06.19.2018

Last month Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker issued an interesting decision in City of Almaty, Kazakhstan v. Ablyazov. In this article, we highlight Judge Parker’s decision, which discusses the impact of the proportionality requirements in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on extension of discovery deadlines and articulates a five-factor balancing test to apply when considering requests to extend discovery.