Author Archives: Sara Kropf

Fourth Circuit Finally Concedes that the Government Cannot Take Your Stuff Before Trial

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post predicting that the Fourth Circuit would stop allowing federal prosecutors to seize untainted assets before conviction. (Buffing fingernails on shirt.) And now it has. Okay, my prognostication was not exactly out … Continue reading

Posted in Appeal, Continuing education | Leave a comment

Fight the Power, Part IV: The Government Backs Off Absurd Claims of “Witness Tampering”

A defendant has a constitutional right to prepare a defense to criminal charges. In a white-collar case, contacting potential witnesses is as important as reviewing the document trail. Why does the government feel threatened when we do our jobs? I … Continue reading

Posted in Discovery/Brady, Obstruction | Leave a comment

Can a Defendant Get Attorney’s Fees If He’s Acquitted and There’s Prosecutorial Misconduct?

In a civil case, a defendant cannot recover attorney’s fees from a plaintiff, even if the defendant wins. There are a few exceptions to the “American rule,” such as a when there’s a statute governing the case or the contract … Continue reading

Posted in DOJ policy and practice, Prosecutorial misconduct | 1 Comment

Speedy Trial Act Strategy in White-Collar Cases (Part I)

Being under criminal investigation is a stunningly powerless situation. You can’t control when the government starts an investigation, how long it lasts or when it will end. The Speedy Trial Act presents one of the few times when a criminal … Continue reading

Posted in Pre-Trial Motions Practice, Speedy Trial Act, Trial preparation | Leave a comment

Health Care Fraud 101

On July 13, 2017, the Department of Justice issued a press release touting “the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.” Most likely, none of these case will be particularly complex. DOJ loves to … Continue reading

Posted in False Claims Act, Health care fraud, Kickbacks | Leave a comment

The Torment of Being Under Criminal Investigation

Many of my white-collar clients are startled to learn how long a government investigation and criminal trial take. They think it will last a year, maybe 14 months. Instead, it can take years. Delay can work to my clients’ advantage, … Continue reading

Posted in Health care fraud, Plea Agreement, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SEC Charges Firm with Not Snitching Enough

Regular readers of this blog know that I resent when the government forces private industry to do the government’s job. Internal investigations are a good example. Companies spend millions conducting them into possible wrongdoing—hoping for leniency—and then turn over the … Continue reading

Posted in SEC Investigation, Securities fraud, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Venue Isn’t Boring (I Promise) – The Jeffrey Sterling Case

Venue seems like one of those boring topics we learned in law school that doesn’t have much practical application. But in a recent case out of the Fourth Circuit, a defendant won the dismissal of a charge based on lack … Continue reading

Posted in Appeal, Classifiied information, Venue | Leave a comment

Is the Government Throwing in the Towel on Pre-Trial Seizure of Untainted Assets? A Win in the Fourth Circuit Suggests Yes

Perhaps the most troubling type of criminal forfeiture is the pretrial restraint of untainted assets. The Department of Justice will seize assets, before proving a single allegation of wrongdoing, even where those assets are not linked to the wrongdoing. This … Continue reading

Posted in Appeal, Criminal Forfeiture, Health care fraud | Tagged | 1 Comment

Are You Criminally Liable if Your Business Partner Lies? Or, What the Heck is Misprision of a Felony?

Having a business partner can be a wonderful advantage. But it can also be dangerous if your business partner turns out to be unethical. Karen Olson, a former Alaska executive director of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service … Continue reading

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