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Quorum-tine: How COVID-19 Affects the Validity of Federal Grand Jury Document Subpoenas - 05.31.2020

Since COVID-19 began to spread across the United States, federal grand juries in districts around the country have stopped meeting, but prosecutors have continued to issue grand jury subpoenas, including in high-profile investigations. Without sitting grand juries, however, do prosecutors still retain the subpoena power? The answer is unclear, and anyone who receives a subpoena these days should take a close look at its validity. [...]

Limiting Victims’ Rights: The Eleventh Circuit Reads the CVRA Narrowly - 05.28.2020

The life, and death, of Jeffrey Epstein has captured the attention of the legal community and broader public. The latest legal twist in the story is a decision by the Eleventh Circuit in In re Wild, 955 F.3d 1196 (11th Cir. 2020), which held that federal prosecutors did not have an obligation to inform, and consult with, Epstein’s victims regarding their decision not to prosecute Epstein for sex trafficking. In our latest article, we summarize the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act and discuss the majority, concurring and dissenting opinions of the divided Eleventh Circuit.

How Senators May Have Avoided Insider Trading Charges - 05.26.2020

Yesterday, reporters revealed the Department of Justice had discontinued the investigations into coronavirus-related trading by Senators Kelly Loeffler, James Inhofe, and Dianne Feinstein (whose holdings are in a blind trust). The three Senators each had sold—and in Senator Loeffler’s case, bought—large amounts of stock the same day or soon after a confidential senatorial briefing on January 24 by the CDC’s Director and Dr. Anthony Fauci. Prosecutors’ apparent direct communication of this result to the senators is somewhat unusual; ordinary defendants rarely get the security of knowing so promptly that the government has declined a case. The news also comes on the heels of reports that Department of Justice recently took control over these investigations from the Southern District of New York, raising the specter that this quick decision indicates further politicization of DOJ’s mission, or at minimum indicates continued erosion of Main Justice’s traditional deference to local U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. [...]

Financial Considerations for Sentencing in Federal Tax Prosecutions - 05.21.2020

In addition to time in prison, defendants convicted of financial crimes in federal court face fines and restitution. While the focus of most sentencing hearings is the length of any period of incarceration to be imposed, defense counsel must also consider and address the substantial monetary penalties that may be applicable. In our latest article, we review the recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in United States v. Adams, which addressed the availability and extent of restitution and fines in criminal tax cases, and conclude that while defense counsel frequently have to “pick their battles” at sentencing, they need to be mindful of their clients’ financial exposure. 

Partners Robert J. Anello and Brian A. Jacobs Publish Revised Insider Trading Chapter in Law Journal Press Treatise Entitled, White Collar Crime: Business and Regulatory Offenses - 05.20.2020

NEW YORK, May 20, 2020 - Morvillo Abramowitz partners Robert J. Anello and Brian A. Jacobs collaborated to update Chapter 12AInsider Trading, in Law Journal Press' treatise entitled, White Collar Crime: Business and Regulatory Offenses. The updates address the Second Circuit’s decision in United States v. Blaszczak considering whether to impose the “personal benefit” standard established by the Supreme Court in Dirks v. SEC on insider trading cases brought under 18 U.S.C. Sections 1343 and 1348, pending insider trading legislation, and insider trading “reforms” proposed by the Bharara Task Force on Insider Trading

To order a copy of White Collar Crime: Business and Regulatory Offenses, please click here.

Employment Agreements Under (Dis)stress - 05.14.2020

Many businesses are facing the need to reduce costs as a result of the coronavirus and its economic impact. For many businesses, that means cutting salaries sharply. For an individual with an employment contract, a substantial cut in pay could implicate a number of rights under that contract. In this article, we consider the circumstances under which a cut in pay might amount to a de facto or constructive termination which gives rise to a claim for severance and other benefits under an employment agreement. We hope you find the article of interest.

Fraud in the Covid Era - 05.08.2020

On Friday, May 8, 2020, Morvillo Abramowitz partner Christopher B. Harwood will take part in a webinar hosted by Gryphon Strategies. The panel entitled, “Fraud in the Covid Era,” will explore the legal issues and enforcement mechanisms surrounding fraud in this new pandemic era, and discuss how investigative due diligence and data can be leveraged to prevent and uncover False Claims Act violations and other fraudulent behavior.

For more information, please click here.

Morvillo Abramowitz Gets Top Ranking in White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations and More Than Half of Its Partners Recognized in Chambers USA 2020 - 04.23.2020

NEW YORK, April 23, 2020 – Since its inception, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business Guide has recognized Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC for excellence in Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations with its highest ranking, Band 1. Indeed, it has more partners who are ranked in White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations than any other firm. The firm also is recognized in Securities: Regulation: Enforcement. The firm is “widely acclaimed for its market-leading white-collar defense practice and offers an impressive breadth of expertise in regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings, and fields a deep bench of formidable litigators with experience with acting on some of the most high-profile criminal trials of recent times, as well as advising on internal investigations.” Clients praise the firm and note, “If you're looking for a firm to represent an individual in a trial or investigation, they're at the very top - they're one of the best, if not the best in New York.” More than half of the firm's partners were named leading lawyers by Chambers USA in the categories of Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: Elkan Abramowitz, Richard F. Albert, Robert J. Anello, Benjamin S. Fischer, Telemachus P. Kasulis, Jodi Misher Peikin, Jonathan S. Sack, Jeremy H. Temkin, and Richard D. Weinberg; Securities: Regulation: Enforcement: Lawrence Iason and Richard D. Weinberg.

Since 1990, Chambers and Partners has been researching the legal profession, identifying the leading lawyers and law firms through in-depth and client-focused interviews with thousands of lawyers and their clients. Known for its independence and the objectivity of its research, Chambers USA ranks the leading firms and lawyers in an extensive range of practice areas throughout the U.S. with their guides read by industry-leading companies, organizations, and law firms throughout the U.S. and worldwide.

To learn more, please click here.

Morvillo Abramowitz Gets Top Ranking in White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations and More Than Half of Its Partners Recognized in Chambers USA 2020 - 04.23.2020

Since its inception, Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business Guide has recognized Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC for excellence in Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations with its highest ranking, Band 1. Indeed, it has more partners who are ranked in White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations than any other firm. The firm also is recognized in Securities: Regulation: Enforcement. The firm is “widely acclaimed for its market-leading white-collar defense practice and offers an impressive breadth of expertise in regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings, and fields a deep bench of formidable litigators with experience with acting on some of the most high-profile criminal trials of recent times, as well as advising on internal investigations.” Clients praise the firm and note, “If you're looking for a firm to represent an individual in a trial or investigation, they're at the very top - they're one of the best, if not the best in New York.” More than half of the firm's partners were named leading lawyers by Chambers USA in the categories of Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: Elkan Abramowitz, Richard F. Albert, Robert J. Anello, Benjamin S. Fischer, Telemachus P. Kasulis, Jodi Misher Peikin, Jonathan S. Sack, Jeremy H. Temkin, and Richard D. Weinberg; Securities: Regulation: Enforcement: Lawrence Iason and Richard D. Weinberg.

Since 1990, Chambers and Partners has been researching the legal profession, identifying the leading lawyers and law firms through in-depth and client-focused interviews with thousands of lawyers and their clients. Known for its independence and the objectivity of its research, Chambers USA ranks the leading firms and lawyers in an extensive range of practice areas throughout the U.S. with their guides read by industry-leading companies, organizations, and law firms throughout the U.S. and worldwide.

To learn more, please click here.

Obtaining Discovery from a Foreign Corporation through Its Domestic Affiliate - 04.21.2020

Parties to civil litigation often seek to obtain records held by foreign companies by subpoenaing their U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates. In this article, we analyze Southern District Magistrate Judge Katherine H. Parker’s recent decision in Hake v. Citibank, N.A., 2020 WL 1467132 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 26, 2020), in which Judge Parker denied a motion to compel a domestic bank to produce documents held by its foreign parent on various grounds, including because the plaintiffs had failed to show that a sufficiently close relationship existed between the foreign parent and the domestic subsidiary.

Sentencing In Recent Insider Trading Cases: What Judges Have Said and Done - 04.15.2020

Amidst several years of doctrinal confusion about what does and does not constitute illegal insider trading, less attention has been paid to what actually happens at the conclusion of insider trading prosecutions when defendants appear in court for sentencing. It is notable that judges have used harsh language at sentencings to describe the seriousness of insider trading, but then have imposed sentences below the minimums provided in the Sentencing Guidelines. What accounts for this discrepancy? In this article, we assess recent insider trading sentencing proceedings and evaluate the factors that may be contributing to the outcomes.

A New Discovery Tool in Arbitration - 04.14.2020

Arbitration has advantages in many disputes. It is typically less formal, less expensive and less time-consuming than litigation in court. But arbitration also has limitations, including generally fewer opportunities for discovery from the opposing party and third-parties. A recent ruling of England’s highest court changes this landscape in a discrete, but noteworthy, way -- holding that judicial process may be invoked to order third-parties in England to give evidence in support of a New York arbitration. [...]

Paying Plea Agreements More Than Lip Service - 04.09.2020

Sometimes defense counsel sees hard-won plea agreement concessions have limited impact on the court at sentencing, and the issue arises whether the prosecutor’s sentencing arguments went so far as to deny the defendant the benefit of his or her plea bargain. In our latest article, we discuss United States v. Wright, an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit brought by a co-defendant in the fraud prosecution of former sports radio personality Craig Carton, which presented the question whether though purporting to accept the terms of a plea agreement, a prosecutor’s advocacy may cross the line into a breach of that agreement. Although Wright’s withdrawal of the appeal leaves further development of this important area of criminal law to another day, in analyzing Wright and other key Second Circuit decisions, we conclude that Wright should serve as a cautionary tale to prosecutors who prefer to avoid claims of violating their own plea agreements.

Doing Even More With Relatively Less - 04.02.2020

Over the past decade, the IRS suffered a series of deep budget cuts that, by 2018, left the agency with fewer agents conducting audits and criminal investigations than it had 20 years earlier. The budget cuts also resulted in fewer employees responding to taxpayer inquiries and fewer representatives in the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate helping taxpayers resolve issues with the IRS. Notwithstanding the severe budget cuts, Congress expected the IRS to maintain its civil and criminal enforcement programs, provide resources to the vast majority of taxpayers who strive to comply with their tax obligations and implement key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the Taxpayer First Act. [...]

State and Federal Law Enforcement Officials Act Quickly to Combat COVID-19-Related Fraud - 03.24.2020

In just a few weeks COVID-19 has stopped most businesses in the United States in their tracks. The business of fraud, however, respects no boundaries and thrives in times of crisis. Understanding this to be the case, both federal and state law enforcement already have stepped up their responses to such schemes. [...]