08.04.20 | Articles, Books & Journals

Lessons from the Insider Trading Prohibition Act After Its Likely Demise In the Senate

Business Crimes Bulletin

After a long and winding road, the House voted to pass insider trading reform on December 5, 2019 with 410 yeas against only 13 nays. But the bill quickly vanished in the Senate after it was referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. By all accounts, insider trading reform is likely a dead letter for the foreseeable future. In this article, we highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the ITPA and conclude that those involved in drafting the next insider trading bill would do well to keep the lessons of the failed ITPA in mind when a new chance for reform comes around.

Related Lawyer: Telemachus P. Kasulis

07.17.20 | Articles, Books & Journals

Public and Private Honest Services Fraud: Are They Diverging?

New York Law Journal

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in McDonnell v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2355 (2016), the “official act” has been a hotly contested issue in public corruption prosecutions. McDonnell has led defendants to argue that the “official act” requirement applies to other crimes – not simply honest services fraud and Hobbs Act violations – and to private, not just public, corruption. In this article, we discuss cases that have addressed this question, focusing on a recent decision from Chief Judge Colleen McMahon in the Southern District of New York.

Related Lawyers: Elkan Abramowitz, Jonathan S. Sack

07.16.20 | Articles, Books & Journals

Should a Client File an Amended Tax Return?

New York Law Journal

From time to time, tax professionals learn that a client previously filed a false return, either as a result of an innocent mistake or due to fraud. While a taxpayer is under is no legal obligation to correct a previously filed return, there are often good reasons to do so. In this article, we discuss factors to be considered in advising a client as to whether to amend a return, including the applicable standards of conduct and alternatives available when the initial return fraudulently underreported income or overstated deductions. We also highlight the care that must be taken in deciding whether the benefits of amending returns warrant the risk of making admissions that could color any subsequent criminal prosecution and conclude by noting that, because Form 1040-X requires a taxpayer to swear under penalties of perjury that the amended return is complete and accurate, a client cannot correct one error on the originally filed return without curing all such errors.

Related Lawyer: Jeremy H. Temkin

06.30.20 | Blog Posts

DOJ’s Updated Guidance for Evaluating Corporate Compliance Programs

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

In early June, the Department of Justice Criminal Division released without fanfare updated guidance to be used by federal prosecutors in the evaluation of corporate compliance programs. The new guidance, “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs” (“2020 Guidance”), which revised guidance issued in 2017 and 2019, retains much of the substance of the 2019 document, and according to Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski, “reflects additions based on our own experience and important feedback from the business and compliance communities.” [...]

Related Lawyer: Jonathan S. Sack

06.23.20 | Blog Posts

Have Friday Nights replaced Saturday for 'Massacres'? Trump's Stealthy Attempts to Undermine Justice

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Some still remember waking to the news following one fateful evening – October 20, 1973, when then-President Richard Nixon, embroiled in the Watergate scandal, ordered the U.S. Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the events. Richardson refused and resigned in protest. Nixon then went to the Deputy Attorney General, William Ruckelshaus, who also refused and resigned. Nixon, having lost both of his Attorneys General, ordered the Solicitor General of the United States, Robert Bork, to fire the special prosecutor. After being sworn in as acting Attorney General, Bork did just that. This historic news, which broke the next day, quickly was dubbed the “Saturday Night Massacre” – and President Nixon’s popularity would never recover. Within a year, he would resign. [...]

Related Lawyers: Robert J. Anello, Thaddeus R. Kleckley

06.16.20 | Articles, Books & Journals

The Limits of Withholding Expert-Generated Materials

New York Law Journal

In this article, we discuss Southern District Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein’s recent decision in Hernandez v. The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, in which he rejected plaintiff’s claim that a memorandum that his expert had prepared in advance of the expert’s deposition—on his own accord and absent any instruction from counsel—qualified for protection as a draft report or an expert-attorney communication. Although the 2010 amendments to Rule 26 have given counsel the ability to withhold many expert-generated materials, Judge Gorenstein’s decision demonstrates that courts will insist that the withheld materials in fact qualify as draft reports or expert-attorney communications.

Related Lawyers: Christopher B. Harwood, Edward M. Spiro

06.10.20 | Articles, Books & Journals

Bridgegate - Open Questions After Supreme Court Narrows Fraud Statutes

New York Law Journal

Federal prosecutors often cannot resist the attractions of broadly worded “catch-all” fraud statutes like the one prohibiting wire fraud. From time to time, however, the Supreme Court has rebuffed efforts to further expand the boundaries of these crimes. In our latest article, we discuss the Court’s reversal of the “Bridgegate”-related convictions of two senior New Jersey officials, and the decision’s impact on other high-profile pending fraud prosecutions such as the NCAA basketball case. We conclude that although the Bridgegate decision did not definitively resolve the controversial issue whether what has become known as the “right to control” constitutes "property" under the federal fraud statutes, the opinion takes its place among Supreme Court decisions reining in prosecutors’ expansive readings of these laws.

Related Lawyers: Robert J. Anello, Richard F. Albert

06.03.20 | Blog Posts

Can Tax Amnesty Programs Cure State Budget Woes?

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Beyond the horrific human toll, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on state finances and created massive budget gaps. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports that more than half of states are projecting revenue shortfalls as high as 30%. Because the vast majority of states have constitutionally or statutorily mandated balanced budget provisions, governors and state legislatures are searching for ways to fill their deficits, with the most likely source of additional revenues – increased tax rates – being especially unpalatable and unproductive during a severe economic downturn. [...]     

Related Lawyer: Jeremy H. Temkin

05.31.20 | Blog Posts

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

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

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. [...]

Related Lawyer: Brian A. Jacobs

05.28.20 | Articles, Books & Journals

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

New York Law Journal

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.

Related Lawyers: Elkan Abramowitz, Jonathan S. Sack

05.26.20 | Blog Posts

How Senators May Have Avoided Insider Trading Charges

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

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. [...]

Related Lawyers: Robert J. Anello, A. Dennis Dillon

05.21.20 | Articles, Books & Journals

Financial Considerations for Sentencing in Federal Tax Prosecutions

New York Law Journal

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. 

Related Lawyer: Jeremy H. Temkin

05.14.20 | Articles, Books & Journals

Employment Agreements Under (Dis)stress

New York Law Journal

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.

Related Lawyers: Jonathan S. Sack, A. Dennis Dillon

04.21.20 | Articles, Books & Journals

Obtaining Discovery from a Foreign Corporation through Its Domestic Affiliate

New York Law Journal

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.

Related Lawyers: Edward M. Spiro, Christopher B. Harwood

04.15.20 | Articles, Books & Journals

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

The Review of Securities & Commodities Regulation

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.

Related Lawyer: Brian A. Jacobs

04.14.20 | Blog Posts

A New Discovery Tool in Arbitration

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

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. [...]

Related Lawyer: Jonathan S. Sack

04.09.20 | Articles, Books & Journals

Paying Plea Agreements More Than Lip Service

New York Law Journal

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.

Related Lawyers: Richard F. Albert, Robert J. Anello

04.02.20 | Blog Posts

Doing Even More With Relatively Less

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

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. [...]

Related Lawyer: Jeremy H. Temkin

03.24.20 | Blog Posts

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

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

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. [...]

Related Lawyer: Catherine M. Foti

03.22.20 | Blog Posts

COVID-19, Criminal Enforcement, and the Imperiled Fate of the Statute of Limitations

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated public and private life with alarming speed – with forced social distancing, widespread layoffs, stock market turmoil, and the nightmare scenario of hospitals being overrun – so too has it had a massive and tumultuous effect on the criminal justice system. Indeed, just as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and its effects, so are those who have the extreme misfortune (whether through their own actions or otherwise) of finding themselves in the criminal justice system as the virus races through all corners of America, including its jails, prisons, and potentially its courthouses as well. [...]

Related Lawyer: Robert M. Radick

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