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Crime in the Suites An Analysis of Current Issues in White Collar Defense

A Blog About Current Issues in White Collar Defense

Today, U.S. District  Judge Linda Reade in Iowa sentenced former kosher meatpacking executive Sholom Rubashkin to 27 years in a federal prison for his conviction on 86 counts of federal financial fraud charges. The prison term will be followed by five years of parole. Mr. Rubashkin will also be required to make restitution of nearly $27 million to several financial institutions. The sentence comes down almost a month later than expected, perhaps, as predicted in a previous post, to allow time for the heat die down in this case. Furthermore, the 27-year sentence is greater than the 25-year sentence recommended by prosecutors. The sentence is unprecedented for the crimes at issue. It eclipses the sentences imposed upon Bernard Ebbers, the former chief executive of WorldCom, and Jeffrey Skilling, the former president of Enron Corporation, even though Rubashkin's fraud did not come close to the level of fraud committed by those two individuals and their companies. The longer sentence also indicates that Judge Reade did not take into consideration Mr. Rubashkin’s recent... Read more

On June 17, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an 8-1 ruling in Dillon v. United States (with only Justice Stevens dissenting) that the Court’s 2005 ruling in United States v. Booker that made the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines advisory rather than mandatory does not apply to proceedings to reduce a sentence under section 3582(c)(2) of… Read More

Civil forfeiture is a legal fiction premised on two notions: that (i) property bears guilt when put to unlawful use; and (ii) monarchs are the creator’s appointed representatives on the earth. In such a world, it would make sense for guilty property to be seized and returned to the monarch. In the monarch’s hands, stained… Read More

Former Agriprocessors, Inc. executive Sholom Rubashkin was acquitted in Iowa state court on Monday, June 7, 2010, on all 67 counts of child labor violations relating to 26 teenagers from Latin America who worked at Rubashkin’s kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa. The jury reached its verdict during the second day of deliberations. During the… Read More

Time will tell whether Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent policy memo to federal prosecutors will actually reduce white-collar sentencing disparities that Justice Department officials have admitted are widespread and significant. “We are especially concerned about increased disparity in white-collar sentencing,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Criminal Division told American Bar Association conference attendees… Read More

In a rare occurrence, a so-called deferred prosecution agreement entered into by the U.S. Department of Justice with a target of a criminal investigation has been subject to scrutiny by a federal judge, and the result wasn’t favorable to the government. In fact, a judicial ruling in the case of a fired Miami bank executive… Read More

Is the government reading your e-mail messages? A routine law enforcement technique of using subpoenas instead of search warrants to obtain e-mail from internet service providers (ISPs) means that literally anyone who uses the Internet risks intrusion from unlawful government surveillance practices. Subpoenas can be issued under a much lower standard than the probable cause… Read More

An unusual coalition of the conservative Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) recently issued a study entitled “Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law.” See this blog’s discussion at Crime in the Suites: Has Congress Eroded the Intent Requirement in Criminal Law?  and the… Read More

New data just out from the U.S. Sentencing Commission seems to show a small but steady trend in federal criminal sentences away from the automatic imposition of the sentence recommended by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The Commission provides preliminary data on a quarterly basis. In the second quarter of fiscal year 2010 (which ended March… Read More

On May 4, 2010, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said the following in a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on financial crime: Despite the enormous losses in many securities fraud cases, a preliminary analysis by the United States Sentencing Commission suggests that securities fraud offenders may often receive shorter sentences than other white collar offenders who cause… Read More

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