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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

A recent Bloomberg News article points to a disturbing trend – a dramatic increase in ultimately unsupportable white-collar federal indictments. In recent years, a growing number of executives have been indicted for corporate crimes and then had the charges dropped. From 2006 to 2008, the most recent period available, U.S. prosecutors dismissed charges against 42 such defendants for which the most serious charge was securities fraud. That’s more than twice the 20 dismissals in the prior three years, according to the Federal Justice Statistics Resource Center. These statistics are more than numbers; they represent lives forever altered. It may take years and millions of dollars for individuals to pull themselves out from under the weight of a federal indictment, and even those who are successful are still plagued by the loss of their reputation and their career. For example, David Stockman, a former U.S. budget director under President Reagan, spent two years fighting a fraud indictment growing out of his work at Collins & Aikman Corp, a Michigan company of which... Read more

In her three-day Supreme Court confirmation hearing, nominee Elena Kagan expressed very few views on substantive issues that might give observers a clue as to how she would vote as a Justice. Criminal law and sentencing issues were no exception, as the nominee did not tip her hand much on these matters. One interesting tidbit… Read More

A recent Wall Street Journal article describing the FBI’s use against suspected financial criminals of techniques normally used to hunt terrorists shows how seriously white-collar crime is being viewed these days.  It also vindicates those who sounded warning bells after 9/11 when Americans were asked to trade civil liberties for the promise of national security. … Read More

On June 25, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its partially favorable decision in Skilling v. United States. Although the Court accepted former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling’s arguments on the reach of the “honest services” statute, it rejected Skilling’s contention that pretrial publicity and community prejudice prevented him from receiving a fair trial. Since his… Read More

Today the Supreme Court decided the key white-collar crime case of Skilling v. United States, rejecting the Justice Department’s efforts to use the well-known “honest services” statute against former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling. The court didn’t reverse Skilling’s conviction but sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to… Read More

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… 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