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Closed for Business: Shutting Down the U.S. as an Offshore Tax Haven - 05.16.2019

The United States is not the only country whose citizens use offshore vehicles to cheat on their taxes, and while U.S. taxpayers think of Switzerland and Caribbean islands as tax havens, many foreign nationals use U.S.-based vehicles to evade their own tax obligations. In this article, we discuss recent legislative and regulatory steps to increase transparency as well as the IRS’s use of John Doe summonses to help foreign countries investigate offshore tax evasion by their citizens.   

The Proper Treatment of Fraud Victims in Federal White Collar Prosecutions - 05.15.2019

In white collar cases, federal prosecutors around the country reflexively file—and district courts routinely grant—motions seeking to bar defense counsel from making arguments, introducing evidence, or pursuing cross-examination regarding a fraud victim’s carelessness in dealing with the defendant. Any such argument or evidence, prosecutors generally argue, should be precluded as irrelevant, under Rule 401 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, on the ground that a victim’s lack of caution and diligence is no defense to fraud. Although these motions find support in well-established precedent, there are several reasons why courts should view them with a bit of skepticism, and should give defense counsel more latitude in exploring, particularly through cross-examination, the behavior of fraud victims. [...]

Morvillo Abramowitz Praised by Former Biglaw Client for Being Responsive, Compassionate, and Skilled in Law360 - 05.15.2019

On May 16, 2019, Morvillo Abramowitz was praised in a Law360 article entitled, “Ex-Dewey Chair Says Charges Brought 'Waves Of Despair.'” The article highlights public comments made by former client Steven Davis at the New York City Bar Association’s annual White Collar Crime Institute. Mr. Davis, the former chairman of Dewey & LeBoeuf, recounted the experience of being a defendant and said, “having responsive lawyers made a big difference.” Indeed, “’The fact they were willing to more or less drop everything and come to my help on no notice was an immediate sign for me of the kind of relationship I wanted to have with the people who would be defending me,’" said Mr. Davis.

The case against Mr. Davis was brought to a successful resolution on January 8, 2016.

To read more, please click here.

Will the Rise of Originalism Spell the End of Gay Rights Under Title VII? - 05.13.2019

With the arrival of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, almost half of the justices now subscribe to originalism—the view that vague constitutional provisions mean what they were originally understood to mean when they were enacted. While originalism figures prominently in debates about constitutional interpretation (for example, originalists claim that Roe v. Wade must be wrong because nobody alive in 1791 believed the Bill of Rights protected the right to have an abortion), originalism is seldom discussed in the context of statutory interpretation. That will likely change in the upcoming Supreme Court term, as the Court agreed on April 22 to review the Second Circuit’s en banc decision in Zarda v. Altitude Express—a decidedly non-originalist decision. In Zarda, notwithstanding that no one thought Title VII prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation when the law passed in 1964, the Second Circuit held that Title VII prohibits just such discrimination. [...]

Hub, Spokes and Rim: Revisiting Kotteakos - 05.07.2019

In Kotteakos v. United States, the Supreme Court imposed important limits on the scope of conspiracy under federal criminal law. Kotteakos held that in a single conspiracy, co-conspirators linked with a common individual must also be linked with one another. In the Supreme Court’s formulation, the “spokes” must be connected by a “rim,” and not merely with a common “hub.” In this article, we discuss the issue of single versus multiple conspiracies – an issue which recently surfaced in the indictment of 19 parents as part of an alleged “nationwide college admissions scam.”   

White Collar & Securities Enforcement Lunch & Learn Briefing with Mimi Rocah - 05.07.2019

On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, partner Jodi Misher Peikin will host the UJA-Federation of New York’s White Collar & Securities Enforcement Group for a briefing with legal analyst and criminal justice expert Mimi Rocah. Mimi is a Legal Analyst for MSNBC and NBC News as well as a current Distinguished Fellow in Criminal Justice at Pace Law School. From February 2001 until October 2017, Mimi was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. As a prosecutor, she received numerous Department of Justice awards, including, most recently, the 2016 Women In Federal Law Enforcement Leadership Award.

The event will take place at Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello PC located at 565 5th Avenue in Manhattan. 

Should Trump’s Foreign Policy Affect Criminal Prosecutions? - 05.01.2019

In connection with several recent high-profile international cases, the Trump administration has implied that it sees law enforcement — or the lack of it — as a tool in its foreign policy arsenal. In this article, we discuss why maneuvering criminal prosecutions of individuals to influence foreign relations raises due process concerns. On the other hand, with respect to corporate prosecutions, which at their core are regulatory in nature, different considerations apply.

Morvillo Abramowitz Gets Top Ranking in White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations and More Than Half of Its Partners Recognized in Chambers USA 2019 - 04.25.2019

NEW YORK, April 25, 2019 – 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, the firm 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 “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, “They're excellent. They're top-notch criminal defense lawyers and the gold standard of white-collar criminal boutiques.” 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, Judith L. Mogul, Jodi Misher Peikin, Jonathan S. Sack, Jeremy H. Temkin, and Richard D. Weinberg; Securities: Regulation: Enforcement: Lawrence Iason and Richard D. Weinberg; FCPA: Robert J. Anello; and Litigation: General Commercial: Judith L. Mogul.

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.

Top 10 Crimes Mueller’s Report Considers - 04.23.2019

The long-awaited Mueller Report provides a detailed picture of the wide variety of crimes investigated by the Special Counsel’s Office, many of which resulted in indictments or guilty pleas, and, in the case of President Trump, a suggestion that Congress may review the legality of obstructive acts. Although Mueller declined to make a final determination regarding President Trump’s criminal liability, contrary to assertions from the administration, the investigation did not exonerate Trump. Instead, the report identified multiple instances of what may be considered obstructive conduct by the President. Citing limitations on its role as an arm of the Justice Department, the Special Counsel’s Office referred determination of the question of whether Trump obstructed justice to Congress. [...]

When Misrepresentations During Settlement Conferences Become Sanctionable - 04.16.2019

In this article, we discuss Southern District Magistrate Judge James L. Cott’s recent decision in Otto v. Hearst Communications, addressing the potential for imposition of sanctions based upon misrepresentations during settlement conferences.

Are DOJ’s F/X Prosecutions Ahead of the Law on “Trading Ahead”? - 04.11.2019

Two recent prosecutions in the foreign exchange (F/X) market raise questions about the use of general criminal statutes to regulate a trading practice that Congress, specialized regulators, and market rules have declined to prohibit. Both cases deal with a practice that bankers refer to as pre-positioning, which the government pejoratively labels “trading ahead” or “front running,” in the context of complex, multi-billion dollar F/X trades between sophisticated parties. In this article, we discuss the appeal of the conviction in one such case and the court’s dismissal of the charges in the other.

“Spoofing” as Fraud: A Novel and Untested Theory of Prosecution - 04.02.2019

In the past few years, the government has brought several prosecutions targeting “spoofing” activity in the commodity futures markets, with mixed results at trial. In this article, we survey recent prosecutions in which the government has attempted to prosecute spoofing activity under traditional fraud statutes, including commodities fraud and wire fraud, which requires the government to prove that a defendant made a false statement or a material misrepresentation. To make that showing, the government has argued that spoofing—bidding or offering with the intent to cancel the bid or offer before execution—involves an implied misstatement to the market regarding supply and demand and a defendant’s willingness to trade. In response, defendants (joined by financial industry associations) have forcefully criticized the government’s novel theory as an overly expansive application of the wire-fraud statute. How the federal courts address the applicability of traditional fraud statutes to spoofing-related activity will have significant implications for market participants.

Does the Sixth Amendment Apply to Restitution? Two Justices Say the Answer May Be Yes - 03.15.2019

Beginning with Apprendi v. New Jersey in 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court has extended the Sixth Amendment to the imposition of terms of imprisonment and fines. In recent years, defendants have argued that the reasoning of Apprendi also applies to restitution – a mandatory and increasingly significant aspect of white-collar sentencing. While this argument has failed in the circuit courts, two justices of the Supreme Court, dissenting from a denial of certiorari, recently suggested that the high court should look closely at the issue. In this article, we discuss the brief dissent of Justice Gorsuch, joined by Justice Sotomayor, indicating that the Apprendi doctrine might appropriately be applied to restitution in criminal cases. 

Is the IRS Whistleblower Program Finally Reaching Its Potential? - 03.14.2019

Whistleblowing has become big business, resulting in thousands of submissions each year and generating billions of dollars in recoveries by the IRS. Over the years, however, whistleblowers and their lawyers have lodged several complaints regarding the IRS’s management of the Whistleblower Program. In this article, we discuss the Whistleblower Program, highlight a recent statutory change, which has led to a banner year for awards, and conclude that, in order for the Whistleblower Program to reach its full potential, the IRS could benefit from additional resources to allow it to investigate worthwhile leads on a more timely basis.

Morvillo Abramowitz Partner Brian A. Jacobs Quoted in The Daily Beast - 03.07.2019

On March 7, 2019, Morvillo Abramowitz partner Brian A. Jacobs was quoted in The Daily Beast in an article entitled, “How Sloppy Prosecutors Helped Aaron Schock Walk Free.” The article discusses the public corruption case against former congressman Aaron Schock and the difficulties of prosecuting corruption cases.

To read more on this topic and review Brian’s comments, please click here.