Industries

Financial Services

Financial services professionals understand their industry is subject to ever-increasing
scrutiny. So do we. New initiatives like the Justice Department’s Financial Fraud
Enforcement Task Force and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau highlight this
reality.

Ifrah Law offers financial services professionals industry know-how and legal
exceptionalism. We have a track record for trying and winning cases across venues
and successfully concluding matters with, for instance, the Department of Justice, the
Securities Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission.
Our clients include individual brokers, hedge fund managers, financial advisers to
financial companies, community banks and national lenders.

Ifrah Lawyers welcome the challenge of complex matters, so often the mark of financial
services cases. Our team consists of a former special assistant U.S. Attorney, a
former assistant U.S. Attorney and Manhattan Assistant District Attorney, and highly
experienced veterans from some of the nation’s largest and most respected law firms.

As important as our legal prowess is our understanding of your business and your
concerns. We keep in mind the collateral consequences to your professional life and to
your company. We know how to balance aggressive legal tactics with practical concerns
in order to represent you most effectively, and recommend strategies that put you at the
least personal and professional risk. And we stay with you and your case throughout the
entire process, representing you from start to finish.

Clearing SEC Charges Against a Former Securities Broker

When the U.S. government pushed Frederick O’Meally, the former Prudential Securities Inc. broker pushed back – and won.

Ifrah Law partner David Deitch acted as co-lead counsel in obtaining a jury verdict, rejecting claims by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that O’Meally defrauded 60 mutual fund companies. The jury also rejected the SEC’s negligence claims with respect to 54 of the funds and found only that O’Meally was negligent in his conduct with respect to six of the funds.

Mr. O’Meally had fought the SEC for eight years, claiming his innocence and sticking up for his rights. The SEC asserted that the mutual fund companies had tried to prevent O’Meally from market timing on behalf of his clients, and that he had continued doing so through deception involving multiple account numbers and numerous financial advisor identifying numbers used in trades. But after a four-week trial, the jury found that the defendant did not commit any intentional fraud against the mutual fund companies. Evidence at trial showed that O’Meally had not misused these tools and that, in fact, all of his trading practices had been approved multiple times by his supervisors, by Prudential Securities lawyers and compliance personnel, and even by outside regulators.

The O’Meally case was one of the very small number of SEC compliance cases that go to trial each year, and one of an even smaller number of cases in which a jury has completely rejected SEC claims of fraud. While Prudential Securities and a number of other brokers targeted by the SEC negotiated settlements, Ifrah Law was part of the team that helped Frederick O’Meally vindicate his claims that he was innocent of the SEC’s fraud accusations.

(Securities and Exchange Commission v. O’Meally, No. 06-Civ-6483 (LTS) (S.D.N.Y.))

 

Obtaining a Reversal of Conviction and Sentence Reduction for Securities Fraud

Ifrah Law represented a former Homestore.com executive, Stuart Wolff, who was indicted for securities fraud. During a six-year battle with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, the trial and appellate teams worked together
to secure a reversal of the client’s conviction and a new trial.

In the months leading up to the second trial, the defense team, which included Jeff Ifrah of Ifrah Law, leveraged irregularities with discovery to obtain dismissal of all charges related to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Homestore’s former accounting firm. As a result, the sentence on remand was reduced by 70 percent relative to the sentence imposed after the first trial.

Jeff Ifrah was the only attorney Mr. Wolff retained from the beginning of the case to its conclusion. Mr. Ifrah began managing the legal team after the first trial, continued through the appellate process, and also in the team’s preparation for trial on remand.

Jeff Ifrah was responsible for formulating and executing the strategy that resulted in the 70 percent reduction of Mr. Wolff’s sentence.

(U.S. v. Wolff, Case No. 2:05-cr-00398 (U.S. District Court, Central District of California))

 

Obtaining a Winning Verdict After a Business Relationship Dissolves

Our client, Learning Annex, is a national leader in the post-secondary education industry. In three decades of business success, it has established many professional relationships. After Learning Annex created a unique strategy to promote the business of a financial self-help guru through free preview seminars and found a perfect partner for the execution of that strategy, those parties then cut Learning Annex out of the deal. Ifrah Law was part of the legal team that helped Learning Annex vindicate its rights.

David Deitch of Ifrah Law was co-counsel in a lengthy jury trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in which Learning Annex sought to recover the value of the services it had provided under theories of quantum meruit and unjust enrichment. The jury found in favor of Learning Annex and awarded damages of over $14 million, which together with pre-judgment interest totaled over $20 million. The court upheld the verdict on liability, but ordered a new trial on damages. After a retrial of damages in April 2012, a second jury awarded Learning Annex even more: $15.8 million plus interest.

(Learning Annex Holdings, LLC v. Whitney Education Group, Inc., No. 09- Civ-4432 (SAS) (S.D.N.Y.))

 

Are High Frequency Traders Playing Fast and Loose With the Rules?

When high frequency trading (HFT) first crept into the public consciousness, it related to primarily to the question of whether rapid, computer driven trading posed risks to the safety and stability of the trading markets.  Now it appears that HFT may have also been a means for some traders to gain a possible illegal advantage. […]

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Offshore Accounts? IRS is Watching

If you have unreported income from offshore accounts, now may be the best time to come forward and report those earnings; otherwise, you may be susceptible to criminal prosecution. The IRS initially began this open-ended Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) in 2009 and later renewed it in 2011. Due to strong interest from previous years, […]

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My, What Long Arms You Have, Uncle

Here’s a visual: Uncle Sam extending his arms around the world, reaching out for his citizens, wherever they may be. He may resemble a candy-striped Gumby, with disproportionately long rubbery arms spanning the globe. The visual is not an endearing one to many Americans abroad. They do not see Uncle Sam’s reach as an embrace, […]

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Herbalife Hit with Civil Investigative Demand – Is the FTC Finally Turning up the Heat on Multi-Level Marketers?

For many, the announcement two weeks ago that the Federal Trade Commission has commenced a formal investigation into Herbalife was not terribly interesting.  After all, nutritional supplement company Herbalife has been the focus of intermittent media attention since December 2012 when Wall Street hedge fund manager Bill Ackman claimed that it was  an illegal pyramid […]

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As the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act Takes Hold, U.S. Sees Expatriates at All-Time High

Are you living the American dream … abroad? If so, you may be considering joining forces with Superman[1] and changing your nationality. You face some unique burdens if you earn a cent while soaking up the sun in Saint Tropez or make a rupee while navigating the marketplace in Mumbai. The most obvious, from a […]

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