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Crime in the Suites An Analysis of Current Issues in White Collar Defense
In recent weeks, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has criticized the Department of Justice’s handling of executives that some argue are responsible for the financial crisis. Sen. Grassley, the ranking minority member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, held a hearing in February that looked at mortgage fraud, foreclosure abuse and lending discrimination practices. During his opening statement at that hearing, Sen. Grassley stated, “The department’s message is that crime does pay. They also invite crimes of this sort against similar future victims. How are the department’s enormous resources being used?” In his statement at the hearing, Sen. Grassley expressed anger that no criminal charges were brought by the DOJ Criminal Division against former Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo. Sen. Grassley stated, “The Justice Department has brought no criminal cases against any of the major Wall Street banks or executives who are responsible for the financial crisis.” He concluded his statement by saying, “All that matters is results – prosecutions and conviction. The American people are still waiting.” Grassley was also disappointed... Read more

Judge Jed Rakoff’s November 2011 ruling rejecting Citigroup’s settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission sent tremors through the securities compliance world by challenging the seemingly well-accepted practice of permitting corporations to settle civil claims with the agency without admitting wrongdoing. But in its order granting a stay of the Citigroup proceedings pending appeal, the… Read More

One of the hardest decisions on which a lawyer may be called upon to advise a client in civil litigation is the decision whether to assert the Fifth Amendment privilege. On the one hand, the overlap between pending civil and criminal matters may make it dangerous for the client to make statements that could incriminate… Read More

If there was ever an open question as to whether forensic handwriting identification is admissible under D.C.’s common law of evidence, the D.C. Court of Appeals has finally put that question to rest. On February 9, 2012, the Court of Appeals held that handwriting comparison and identification, as practiced by FBI examiners, passes the Frye… Read More

Successful criminal prosecutions of mortgage fraud seem to have one thing in common: a fraud figure well below $10 million. One of the recent cases that generated a fair amount of press involved the convictions of co-conspirators in a mortgage scheme carried out by an ex-NFL player. That scheme, which took place during the housing… Read More

A couple of years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice made an effort to systematize and improve its discovery obligations under Brady v. Maryland, the 1963 Supreme Court case that requires prosecutors to disclose information in their files that would tend to exculpate criminal defendants. A U.S. attorney, speaking at a conference of defense lawyers,… Read More

A dramatic, headline-grabbing white-collar crime sting in January 2010 involved the arrest of 22 executives and employees of companies in the military and law enforcement products industry – and ultimately led only to a series of acquittals and mistrials, causing many to wonder whether the case should have been brought at all. After two trials… Read More

After a nearly decade-long legal battle, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking to dismiss once and for all the privacy suit of Richard Convertino, a former federal prosecutor in Detroit who alleges that the DOJ illegally gave the press details of an internal investigation into his alleged misconduct. In February 2004, Convertino filed a… Read More

We previously wrote about the broad protests over two bills in Congress targeting online copyright infringement – the House’s Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). We were pleased that the protests and other activities were effective in ending efforts to pass those versions of the legislation. The protests… Read More

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