Where Are They Now? An Update on Past Posts

Every few weeks, I review the press releases for the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country. In the blur of stories about drug busts and indictments for low-level health care fraud, sometimes a name sounds familiar.

No, not because it’s a friend. Or a relative. It’s because I’ve written about the person before.

Somewhere around 95% of all criminal cases end in a guilty plea. These cases are no exception. Of course, the government doesn’t issue press releases when it loses a case or when the result is a plea to a minor misdemeanor, so this isn’t a completely representative view of the outcome of all prosecutions.

Here are a few updates on popular past posts.

Continue reading

Posted in Conviction After Jury Trial, Sentencing, Insider Trading, FCPA, Government contracting fraud | Tagged | Leave a comment

White Collar Crime Resource Guide: Statute of Limitations

Some issues in white collar criminal defense arise over and over. I’ll periodically post Resource Guides to cover those issues. Feel free to suggest other Resource Guide topics in the comments.

Click here for a printable version of this statute of limitations Resource Guide.

Default Statute of Limitations

Generally, there is a 5-year statute of limitations for federal criminal matters. 18 U.S.C. § 3282.

Longer Statutes of Limitations

Although five years is the default statute of limitations, many federal crimes have a longer period.

Capital offenses, as an extreme example, have a limitation period that never expires. If a federal crime is punishable by death, the government can bring an indictment on that crime at any time after the crime has been committed. 18 U.S.C. 3281.

Congress has specifically extended the statute of limitations for a number of white-collar crimes. Continue reading

Posted in Resource Guide, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Nominate GrandJuryTarget for ABA Recognition

Greetings, readers

The ABA is gathering information for its yearly round-up of the best legal blogs. This is the first year that grandjurytarget.com is eligible, and I’d love to be included on the list. It may not be the road to great riches, but my kids would get a kick out of seeing my name in print.

If you are so inclined (and, perhaps, very bored at work today), please feel free to nominate my blog using this form.

It will only take a minute or two since you are limited to 500 words.

Thanks, everyone.

Sara

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Chief Justice Roberts Is On the Side of Criminal Defendants? His Best Quote Yet

The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to counsel. The Fifth Amendment establishes the grand jury. What happens when the right to counsel conflicts with the grand jury’s role?

The grand jury wins. So says the United States Supreme Court in the context of criminal forfeiture.

Justice Roberts dissented. Along the way, he makes a power case for the importance of protecting a defendant’s choice of counsel. Continue reading

Posted in Appeal, Criminal Forfeiture, Indictment | Leave a comment

These Defendants Are Asking For a Taint Team. Why?

When the government executes a search warrant in a white-collar case, it may seize documents that are protected by the attorney-client privilege. As I’ve posted before about this issue, the government will often assert that a “taint team” should review the documents for privilege and then turn over non-privileged documents to the trial team.

A “taint team” is a group of government attorneys who are not involved in the investigation of the underlying matter and are assigned only to review seized documents for privilege. The taint team will review the documents and then provide non-privileged documents to the trial team and return privileged documents to the party from whom they were seized. The prosecutors who are working on the underlying investigation and prosecution are usually referred to as the “trial team.”

This issue can also arise when the government receives documents pursuant to a subpoena or voluntarily, although it is less common.

In most cases, the defendant opposes the use of a taint team, because allowing the government to review any privileged documents undermines the privilege and runs the risk that documents will inadvertently, or deliberately, be shared between the taint team and the trial team.

But in a recent case in the Middle District of Georgia, the defendants are urging the court to order the government to use a taint team. What brought about this remarkable situation? Continue reading

Posted in Attorney client privilege, Search warrant | Leave a comment

The Government Cannot Keep Seized Evidence Forever: Second Circuit Decision on Electronic Data

On June 25, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Riley v. California, holding that the government generally cannot conduct a warrantless search of a suspect’s cellphone. The decision was front-page news.

Most precedent about warrants is not from the Supreme Court, and most cases do not garner front-page coverage. Most of the guidance we use to defend our clients comes from the lower federal courts. Even though Riley was an unqualified victory for defendants, the lower courts have made some key incremental changes to the law to limit the government.

For example, as I posted last year, the Second Circuit expressed concern with the expansion of the plain view doctrine when the government seized and searched a defendant’s computer. A few months ago, I wrote about a D.C. district court opinion that seriously questioned the breadth and proposed execution of a search warrant for a suspect’s cellphone.

A recent Second Circuit decision continues this quiet drumbeat to limit overbroad government searches and seizures in the context of electronic data. On June 17, 2014, the Second Circuit in United States v. Ganias reversed a tax fraud conviction that had relied on electronic data seized pursuant to a search warrant. Continue reading

Posted in Appeal, Fourth Amendment, Search warrant, Tax fraud | Leave a comment

Marge Would Not Be Happy: The Simpsons’ Former Executive Producer Indicted for Fraud

I’ve written about fraud in the entertainment industry before. Last time it was Broadway, this time it’s Hollywood.

The government recently indicted four employees of a California-based movie production company, Gigapix Studios Inc. (“Gigapix”), on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, and the sale of unregistered securities. One of the defendants was Gigapix President David Pritchard, a former executive producer of The Simpsons.

Before joining Gigapix, Mr. Pritchard had been very involved in the animated entertainment world. Over the course of his career he was the executive producer for a number of successful television programs, including The Simpsons, King of the Hill, and Family Guy.

So, what happened? Continue reading

Posted in Investor fraud, Mail Fraud, Securities fraud, Wire Fraud | Tagged | Leave a comment

DiscoCare Revisited: Why Was This Corporate Executive Detained Pending Sentencing?

Back in July 2013, I wrote a post about two executives at a medical device company in Austin who had been indicted for health care fraud.

On June 2, 2014, after a four-week trial, the two men were found guilty by a jury in the Western District of Texas. The government’s press release stated:

After a four-week trial, a jury in the Western District of Texas found the former CEO, Michael Baker, 55, guilty of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud and false statements.   Michael Gluk, 56, the former CFO, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud.   Baker and Gluk were charged in a superseding indictment returned on April 1, 2014.

According to the government, the two men had masterminded an accounting scheme to inflate revenues by tens of millions of dollars and also made false statements about their actions.

Sentencing will be on August 29, 2104. Why was Mr. Baker detained after trial? Continue reading

Posted in Conviction After Jury Trial, Dentention issues, False statements, Health care fraud, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Is This Trade Secrets Prosecution Crumbling? An Update on the Eli Lilly Case

A few months ago, I posted about a trade secrets prosecution involving Eli Lilly employees. There have been some interesting developments over the last few months.

In 2013, the government accused Guoqing Cao and Shuyu Li of stealing trade secrets from their former employer, Eli Lilly. The government indicted the two men on several counts of trade secrets theft, aiding and abetting and conspiracy. The case is in the Southern District of Indiana.

Mr. Cao and Mr. Li’s attorneys have been hard at work. They have attacked the government’s case at every step.

And—against all odds—it’s working. Continue reading

Posted in Mail Fraud, Trade Secrets, Wire Fraud | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Why Is It So Hard To Defend Against Insider Trading Charges? Qualcomm Employees Face SEC and Criminal Charges

In February 2014, Chinese antitrust regulators announced that they suspected wireless technology company Qualcomm Inc. of overcharging its customers and abusing its powerful market position. According to reports, Qualcomm could face fines of up to $1 billion (cue Austin Powers-like smirk here).

This information is public. It’s all over the news. Qualcomm investors can judge Qualcomm’s current value by taking this information into account. All’s fair in love and stock trading, right?

But some Qualcomm employees allegedly acquired inside information from the company related to a merger with a semiconductor developer called Atheros and traded stocks based on it. In early May 2014, the SEC sued three Qualcomm employees for insider trading based on these trades. The sanctions faced by those employees won’t approach $1 billion, but the lawsuit shows that the SEC’s focus on insider trading has not lessened in recent months. Continue reading

Posted in Indictment, Insider Trading, SEC Investigation, Securities fraud, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment