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Crime in the Suites An Analysis of Current Issues in White Collar Defense
A November 2013 ruling from the United States District Court in a bankruptcy case may create an obstacle for a tactic increasingly popular among federal prosecutors – the seizure of a defendant company’s domain name. The statutes permitting civil and criminal forfeiture in U.S. District Courts – Title 18, United States Code Sections 981 and 983, respectively – both authorize seizure of “property.”  In a number of prominent (and not so prominent) cases, federal prosecutors have seized a defendant company’s domain name, which may shut down the company’s operations during the pendency of the case.  But it does not appear that any Court has squarely considered, in a forfeiture context, whether a domain name constitutes “property” that may be seized and forfeited. Alexandria Surveys, LLC v. Alexandria Consulting Group, LLC, Civil Action 1:13—CV-00891, Bankr. Case No. 10-11559-BFK, was not a forfeiture case, but it may have set the table for a forfeiture defendant to argue successfully that a domain name may not be seized.  In Alexandria Surveys, the District Court... Read more

LinkedIn has filed a suit against John Does in response to a spate of “data scraping” perpetrated by unknown individuals, in violation of the website’s terms and conditions.This is the latest federal case in the Northern District of California in which a tech company seeks to enforce its contractual provisions through the criminal statute Computer… Read More

Fiscal year 2013 marked the fourth consecutive year in which the Department of Justice has recovered at least $2 billion from cases involving charges of healthcare fraud.  Make no mistake: these record-setting yields were no accident.  The Obama Administration has prioritized busting healthcare fraudsters since it took office, and for good reason.  A 2009 analysis… Read More

The media coverage of this week’s announcement that federal prosecutors have charged former Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, with illegally accepting gifts from a wealthy Richmond area businessman have largely focused on what the Commonwealth’s first family may have given in return.  To be sure, the question of whether and how… Read More

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January 17, 2014

Bitcoin Goes Mainstream

By: Ifrah Law

As followers of trends in e-commerce, our firm takes a keen interest in new e-payment methods. Last year, we predicted the Bitcoin would emerge as an innovative mode of currency for online transactions.  When Bitcoin – an alternative virtual currency – first appeared in the mainstream media, it was largely portrayed as a wonky, nerdy… Read More

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January 15, 2014

Don’t Let Google+ Get You Arrested

By: Ifrah Law

A Massachusetts man, whose ex-girlfriend had a restraining order out against him, was recently arrested for sending her an invitation to join Google+. This unfortunate drama sheds light on the disparate impact of ordinary things. According to the Salem News, after receiving a Google+ invitation, Tom Gagnon’s ex-girlfriend went to the police station with a… Read More

Last month, the Missouri Court of Appeals published its opinion holding that criminal defendant David Polk is not entitled to a new trial.  Although the prosecutor may have acted improperly by posting trial updates via Twitter, there was no evidence that her updates swayed the jury to convict Polk.  The court’s decision resolves a once-cold… Read More

The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes have filed suit against Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell after the Department Interior blocked their effort to offer real-money online gaming to international customers. The Tribes were prepared to launch Pokertribes.com after coming to a revenue-sharing agreement with the state of Oklahoma.  Pursuant to the terms of the agreement,… Read More

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December 24, 2013

Ifrah Law’s Three iGaming Predictions for 2014

By: Jeff Ifrah and Ifrah Law

As long-time observers of and participants in the internet gaming industry, we at Ifrah Law looked forward to 2013 as a year full of promise for internet gaming, particularly in the United States.  In the end, industry progress in 2013 was mixed: The year saw the enactment of online gaming in New Jersey and online… Read More

Appellate courts do not often reverse a trial judge’s decision to grant a new trial, so we took notice when the First Circuit did so in United States v. Carpenter.  Given the case history, the First Circuit decision should help to answer an important question:  How much leeway do prosecutors have when summarizing evidence in… Read More

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