Publications

08.23.19 | Articles, Books & Journals

The Limits of Obtaining Discovery from U.S. Persons for Use in Foreign Proceedings

New York Law Journal

Parties to pending or contemplated foreign proceedings potentially can use 28 U.S.C. § 1782 to obtain broad discovery from U.S. persons for use in foreign proceedings. In this article, we discuss Judge Jed S. Rakoff’s recent decision involving Section 1782 in In re Petrobras Securities Litigation and the legal framework governing the statute.

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

08.15.19 | Articles, Books & Journals

Evaluating Whether to Cooperate in a Federal White Collar Criminal Investigation

Practical Law The Journal

In a cover article for the August/September 2019 issue of Practical Law The Journal, published by Thompson Reuters, Morvillo Abramowitz partner Brian A. Jacobs and associate Nicole L. Buseman discuss the cooperation process in federal white collar investigations, including strategic considerations for counsel and clients.

Related Lawyers: Brian A. Jacobs, Nicole L. Buseman

08.15.19 | Articles, Books & Journals

Epstein Saga Puts Spotlight on Crime Victim’s Rights Act

New York Law Journal

In leading to the ouster of a former United Sates attorney from his cabinet position, the Jeffrey Epstein case drew attention to the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, the federal statute intended to guarantee victims a role in federal criminal proceedings. In this article, we analyze the statute and its role in the Epstein case, and address his victims’ effort to use the statute to invalidate a non-prosecution agreement —which although likely mooted by Epstein’s death—is of particular significance to white-collar practitioners and their clients.  

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

08.14.19 | Blog Posts

All Defendants Are Created Equal Under The Bail Reform Act – or Are They?

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

On August 1, 2019, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals jumped into the fray of what has been a growing debate about the right under the federal Bail Reform Act for individuals facing indictment to create conditions for release that only the wealthiest of defendants can even contemplate, including paying for their own home detention service. In a highly unusual opinion, in the case of United States v. Boustani, the Circuit held that the Bail Reform Act “does not permit a two-tiered bail system in which defendants of lesser means are detained pending trial while wealthy defendants are released to self-funded private jails.” Although the Second Circuit’s “all created equal” pronouncement may be laudable, it is inconsistent with the plain meaning of the Act and unnecessary given the facts of Boustani. As I explain in my prior blog post, “Too Rich to Bail?,” the Bail Reform Act requires that, in each case, courts conduct an individualized assessment of the charges against the defendant as well as the weight of the evidence and the defendant’s underlying history and circumstances, to determine whether any conditions exist that would assure the defendant’s appearance in court. Thus, the Act is inequitable by its very terms. This blog discusses the Circuit’s Boustani opinion and whether the Circuit, in reaching the issue of equitable treatment, misconstrued the Act’s text. [...]

Related Lawyer: Catherine M. Foti

08.06.19 | Blog Posts

The Tax Man Taps the Brakes on Digital Currency Expansion

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

In June 2019, Facebook and a consortium of 28 founding members including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Uber Technologies, Inc., and eBay announced the launch in 2020 of a new digital currency called Libra, promoted as “a simple global currency and financial infrastructure that empowers billions of people.” In a White Paper introducing Libra, the consortium promises accessibility to the 1.7 billion adults globally who remain outside the financial system but who have access to mobile phones and the internet and pledges trustworthiness and support for “collaborating and innovating with the financial sector, including regulators.” Yet Libra’s global reach and potential for misuse has alarmed U.S. regulators and central bankers worldwide. At a July 11, 2019 Senate Banking Committee hearing, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell expressed concern that no single regulator currently has authority to oversee Libra, stating that “Libra raises a lot of serious concerns, . . . [including] privacy, money laundering, consumer protection, [and] financial stability.” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in a White House press briefing on July 15, 2019, acknowledged the great interest in Libra and other cryptocurrencies but voiced Treasury’s serious concern “regarding the growing misuse of virtual currencies by money launderers, terrorist financiers, and other bad players.” Concerns have also been articulated by private citizens. In an Opinion piece published by the Financial Times on June 21, 2019, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes warned that Libra will permit companies that will put their private interests ahead of public ones to exercise monetary control and will “disrupt and weaken nation states by enabling people to move out of unstable local currencies and into a currency denominated in dollars and euros and managed by corporations.” [...]

Related Lawyer: Jeremy H. Temkin

07.19.19 | Blog Posts

The Vanishing of Federal Sentencing Decisions

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

In civil cases, the most important decisions that federal district judges make typically are recorded in the form of written opinions that are collected in the Federal Supplement, widely available for free online, and available in searchable databases on Westlaw and LexisNexis, among other places. In criminal cases, by contrast, some of the most important decisions that federal district judges make—regarding what sentences to impose—are, in the vast majority of cases, lost in the ether of PACER, where they are available only to those who know precisely where to look. This state of affairs is far from ideal for prosecutors, defense attorneys, and district judges, and it is patently unfair for criminal defendants themselves. [...]

Related Lawyer: Brian A. Jacobs

07.18.19 | Articles, Books & Journals

Incriminating Expenses: Cannabis Legalization and the Fifth Amendment

New York Law Journal

More than half of the states and the District of Columbia have adopted legislation to either decriminalize or legalize cannabis, giving rise to numerous for-profit businesses. However, while growing and distributing cannabis is lawful in certain states, the Internal Revenue Code precludes individuals engaged in such conduct from deducting expenses associated with their operations. In this article, I discuss a series of cases exploring the Fifth Amendment implications of disallowing business deductions for state-sanctioned businesses, and address the limitations of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in litigation over disputed deductions.  

Related Lawyer: Jeremy H. Temkin

07.10.19 | Articles, Books & Journals

Judicial Review of Claims of Government Misconduct in Parallel Investigations

New York Law Journal

Parallel civil and criminal investigations are routine in white-collar matters, and courts have imposed limitations on how prosecutors may obtain the fruits of such civil investigations. In this article, we discuss a recent SDNY decision which required prosecutors to provide substantial additional information about interactions with civil investigators following a defense claim of possible prosecutorial misconduct. 

Related Lawyers: Elkan Abramowitz, Jonathan S. Sack

06.18.19 | Articles, Books & Journals

Avoiding Inadvertent Disclosures of Privileged Information

New York Law Journal

Difficult privilege issues often arise in litigation, including evaluating whether a party has impliedly waived privilege through its litigation conduct, and the extent to which a party can use a privileged document that has been inadvertently produced. In this article, we discuss two recent cases, Barbini v. First Niagara Bank and In re Keurig Green Mountain Single Serve Coffee Antitrust Litigation, in which Southern District Judge Nelson Roman and Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman tackled these issues.

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

06.12.19 | Articles, Books & Journals

The International Encryption Debate: Privacy Versus Big Brother

New York Law Journal

Governments worldwide are attempting to restrict the use of encryption services like WhatsApp and Snapchat to allow a greater opportunity for surveillance. This Big-Brother-is-watching approach has met with resistance from public rights and civil liberty activists. In this article, we discuss the spectrum of the global response – including here in the United States – to the increased use of encrypted technologies and highlight encryption laws and policies of a number of countries. This digital tug-of-war has enormous implications for privacy and for our criminal justice system.  

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

06.05.19 | Blog Posts

Insiders Report on the State of the IRS

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

On May 28, the Commissioner of the Small Business/Self-Employed (“SB/SE”) Division, the National Taxpayer Advocate (“NTA”) and the Chief of IRS Criminal Investigation (“CI”) provided their insider perspectives on the current state of the IRS at a town hall held at the New York City Bar Association. Each of these executives gave insights into the challenges facing the Service. [...]

Related Lawyer: Jeremy H. Temkin

05.22.19 | Blog Posts

How Many Company Employees Can Fit Into a White-Collar Lawyer's Pool?

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

State and federal prosecutors often are suspicious and critical of efforts by a company under criminal investigation to control costs and centralize knowledge by establishing “pool counsel” to represent employees who may be called upon to be witnesses. As a result, government attorneys frequently attempt to dissuade potential witnesses (current/former employees, officers, or agents of the subject organization) from agreeing to be represented by an attorney hired by their company to concurrently represent a group of similarly situated individuals. A recent ethics opinion issued by the Committee on Professional Ethics of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, chaired by renowned ethics expert Professor Bruce Green, makes clear that although pool counsel must evaluate a number of ethical considerations, such representation often is reasonable, practical, and desirable. Hopefully, at least in New York, the Committee’s thoughtful and insightful analysis will allay prosecutors’ undue concerns. [...]

Related Lawyer: Robert J. Anello

05.16.19 | Articles, Books & Journals

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

New York Law Journal

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.   

Related Lawyer: Jeremy H. Temkin

05.15.19 | Blog Posts

The Proper Treatment of Fraud Victims in Federal White Collar Prosecutions

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

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. [...]

Related Lawyer: Brian A. Jacobs

05.13.19 | Blog Posts

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

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

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. [...]

Related Lawyer: Catherine M. Foti

05.07.19 | Articles, Books & Journals

Hub, Spokes and Rim: Revisiting Kotteakos

New York Law Journal

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.”   

Related Lawyers: Elkan Abramowitz, Jonathan S. Sack

05.01.19 | Articles, Books & Journals

Should Trump’s Foreign Policy Affect Criminal Prosecutions?

Business Crimes Bulletin

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.

Related Lawyers: Robert J. Anello, Kostya Lantsman

04.23.19 | Blog Posts

Top 10 Crimes Mueller’s Report Considers

The Insider: White Collar Defense and Securities Enforcement

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. [...]

Related Lawyer: Robert J. Anello

04.16.19 | Articles, Books & Journals

When Misrepresentations During Settlement Conferences Become Sanctionable

New York Law Journal

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.

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

04.11.19 | Articles, Books & Journals

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

New York Law Journal

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.

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


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