Tag: White-collar crime

July 8, 2010

Federal Criminal Charges Dropped — But Reputations Damaged

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… Read More

July 2, 2010

Has the FBI Gone Too Far in Investigating White-Collar Crime and Fraud?

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

June 24, 2010

Supreme Court Hands DOJ a Big Loss, Limiting Use of “Honest Services” Statute

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

June 9, 2010

Will Holder Memo Reduce DOJ-Acknowledged Sentencing Disparities?

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

June 8, 2010

Judge Weighs In on DOJ ‘Side Agreement’ With Bank

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

June 2, 2010

Judges Have Sufficient Options Available to Punish White Collar Defendants

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

May 27, 2010

Should a Victim’s Public Figure Status Count in Sentencing?

On April 30, 2010, David Kernell, son of a Democratic Tennessee lawmaker, was found guilty by a federal jury of obstruction of justice and unauthorized access to a computer for hacking into then-Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s Yahoo! e-mail account. Kernell was acquitted on a charge of wire fraud, and the jury deadlocked on a… Read More

May 18, 2010

What Is Cyberwar?

At a blue-ribbon Worldwide Cybersecurity Conference in Dallas from May 3 to May 5, 2010, media reports noted that some discussion focused on the use of the term ”cyberwar,” which is often used to refer to the activities of hackers and others who steal online secrets, disrupt computer systems and other infrastructure, and engage in… Read More

May 13, 2010

Has Congress Eroded the Intent Requirement in Criminal Law?

Last week, bloggers Solomon Wisenberg (Letter of Apology blog) and Professor Douglas A. Berman (Sentencing Law and Policy blog) reported that the Heritage Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers released a joint report entitled “Without Intent: How Congress Is Eroding the Criminal Intent Requirement in Federal Law.” The study — based on… Read More