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Gordon Gekko Is Working For the FBI

This week, the FBI released a Public Service Announcement starring two-time Academy Award-winning actor Michael Douglas warning viewers of the risks of securities fraud and encouraging individuals who have information regarding insider trading to contact their local FBI Office or submit a tip on line. The PSA begins with Mr. Douglas’s iconic "greed-is-good" speech from the 1987 film "Wall Street," which earned him an Oscar for the role of greedy corporate executive Gordon Gekko, and is followed with a clip of the present day Mr. Douglas warning investors that "if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is," and providing information on how you can prevent securities fraud by contacting the Bureau. Released the same week that the FBI issued its latest Financial Crimes Report to the Public (discussed here), it seems a pretty clear sign that we have not heard the last of the insider trading cases. Stephanie Figueroa of PLI’s Securities Law Practice Center has a further look at the story here.…

FBI Releases Its Financial Fraud Report Highlighting Corporate Fraud Cases, As Well As An Increase In Securities And Commodities Fraud Cases

On Monday, February 27, 2012, the FBI released its latest Financial Crimes Report to the Public, which provides a snapshot of the issues on which it has focused. The Bureau stated that in fiscal year 2011, corporate fraud cases resulted in 242 indictments or informations and 241 convictions. During the same period, the FBI’s securities/commodities fraud cases resulted in 520 indictments or informations and 394 convictions.  According to the Bureau’s Blog entry (available on DOJ’s website here), the report covers the period from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2011. It discusses the various fraud schemes, outlines emerging trends, and describes what the FBI has accomplished in these cases.…

Judge Selna Provides More Guidance in the Carson FCPA Case Regarding the Definition of Foreign Official and Instrumentality

At an in Chambers hearing on February 16, 2012, Judge James Selna issued an Order in U.S. v. Carson, addressing the jury instructions regarding the terms "foreign official" and "instrumentality." In doing so, Judge Selna rejected a number of the proposed instructions submitted by the defendants, sticking closing to the list of non-exclusive factors he identified in his prior decision on this issue.…

Three Individuals Are Sentenced For Their Involvement in the Bonny Island / TSKJ Joint Venture FCPA Case

Another chapter ended in the series of FCPA criminal prosecutions arising out of the TSKJ Joint Venture this week, when Texas federal Judge Keith P. Ellison sentenced three men for their role in the portion of the case involving Kellogg Brown & Root. On Thursday, February 23, 2012, former KBR executive, Albert "Jack" Stanley was sentenced to 30 months in jail, while Jeffrey Tesler, who controlled an entity through which payments were funneled, was sentenced to 21 months in prison. On Wednesday, February 22, 2012, Wojciech Chodan, the former Vice President of M.W. Kellogg, Ltd., received a sentence of one year unsupervised probation.…

Another Expert Network Insider Trading Case: John Kinnucan Is Charged By Prosecutors and the SEC Nearly 15 Months After He Refused To Cooperate and Wear A Wire

On February 17, 2012, both the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the SEC announced that they had brought charges against John Kinnucan, the President of Broadband Research Corporation, for insider trading. The criminal charges allege that he tipped clients regarding three companies, while the SEC’s civil case, which also named Broadband as a defendant, alleged that that he provided clients with non-public, material inside information that he obtained from insiders at one of those companies. According to CNBC, Mr. Kinnucan had been approached in November 2010 by federal agents and asked to cooperate with their investigation by wearing a wire, but refused to do so.…

Government Dismisses All Charges in FCPA Sting Case

In a Motion filed this morning, the Government moved to dismiss with prejudice the Superseding Indictment against the remaining defendants in the FCPA Sting Case. In doing so, the Government cited the two mistrials, as well as the acquittal of three defendants, and other rulings in the case.…

Portfolio Manager at Whitman Capital, LLC Charged in Insider Trading Cases Related to the Galleon Management Cases

On Friday, February 10, 2012, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the SEC announced charges against Douglas F. Whitman, the head portfolio manager at Whitman Capital, LLC, related to alleged insider trading. It is claimed that Mr. Whitman’s friend and neighbor, Roomy Khan, provided Mr. Whitman with the same information that she provided Raj Rajaratnam of Galleon Management, who was convicted of insider trading in May 2011, sentenced to twelve years in prison and had a $92 million civil judgment imposed upon him.…

Government Dismisses Remaining Charges in O’Shea FCPA Case

On Thursday, February 9 2012, prosecutors filed a motion in federal court in Texas requesting that the remaining charges against John O’Shea be dismissed. On January 16, 2012, the Court dismissed the FCPA charges against Mr. O’Shea, leaving one count of conspiring to violate the FCPA, four counts of money laundering and one count of creating a false document to obstruct the Government’s investigation. Thursday’s motion stated:

In light of the Court’s prior statements and rulings, as well as the resulting collateral estoppels issues associated with the Court’s judgment of acquittal, the government hereby moves pursuant to Rule 48(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to dismiss the remaining counts of the criminal Indictment against Mr. O’Shea with prejudice.

The motion was filed two days after the Government revealed that it was considering dropping charges in another FCPA case – the FCPA Sting case in Washington, DC.…

Report: DOJ Is Considering Dropping Charges in the FCPA Sting Case

A story from the Blog of the Legal Times states that prosecutors "are considering whether to abandon" the charges in the FCPA Sting Case in federal court in Washington, DC. Mike Scarcella’s blog entry (available here) states that prosecutor Joey Lipton reported to Judge Richard Leon at a February 7, 2012 status conference that "Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer and U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr. are examining the continued viability of the case," and a decision on whether the cases will continue will be made by February 21, 2012.…

English Medical Device Company Smith & Nephew plc and U.S. Subsidiary Settles FCPA Investigations With the SEC and DOJ

On Monday, February 6, 2012, the SEC and DOJ resolved their respective investigations with a medical device company and its subsidiary by entering into settlements stemming from alleged bribes paid to doctors in Greece for more than a decade. The U.S. subsidiary, Smith & Nephew Inc., agreed to pay a $16.8 million fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ, while the English parent company, Smith & Nephew plc, agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by paying more than $5.4 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest.…

Jury Foreman in the FCPA Sting Case Speaks

For those readers of the blog who are litigators or follow litigation issues, today’s post from Professor Mike Koehler’s FCPA Professor Blog has a real treat: a guest post from the foreman of the recently concluded trial in the FCPA Sting Case. The foreman provides a detailed description of the issues considered by the jurors during their lengthy deliberations in which they (1) reached a partial verdict as to two defendants; and (2) remained deadlocked as to three defendants, resulting in a mistrial. The post provides a rare insight into the deliberations of a jury during a FCPA criminal trial.…

Hung Jury in Trial of Second Group in the FCPA Sting Cases Means Mistrial For Remaining Three Defendants

On January 31, 2012, Judge Richard Leon declared a mistrial in the trial of the second group of defendants in the FCPA Sting case when the jury was unable to reach a verdict as to John and Jeana Mushriqui and Mark Morales. The mistrial occurred the day after the jury returned a partial verdict, finding two of the defendants not guilty.  The result adds to the string of litigated FCPA cases where the Government has failed to secure (or maintain) a conviction in recent weeks.…

FCPA Sting Case – Reports Indicate Jury Has Found Two Defendants Not Guilty, But Remain Deadlocked on Remaining Three

Four separate websites have reported this afternoon that two of the defendants in the FCPA Sting or "Shot Show" case have been acquitted and Judge Richard Leon has stated that he would declare a mistrial if the jury is unable to reach a verdict as to the remaining three defendants. Specifically, C. M. Matthews and Joseph Palazzolo of the Wall Street Journal, Professor Mike Koehler of the FCPA Professor Blog, Mary Jacoby of Main Justice and Richard Cassin of the FCPA Blog all reported this afternoon that the jury found Patrick Caldwell and John Godsey not guilty, but remained hung as to John and Jeana Mushriqui and Mark Morales.…

Corporate Defendant in “Perfect Hedge” Case Settles Insider Trading Charges With SEC and Enters Into a Non-Prosecution Agreement With U.S. Attorney

On Monday, January 23, 2012, the SEC announced that Diamondback Capital Management LLC ("Diamondback"), the Stamford, Connecticut-based hedge fund named as a defendant in the SEC’s insider trading case last week (as discussed here), has agreed to settle charges with the Commission. Diamondback will pay more than $9 million as part of the settlement, which must be approved by Judge Paul G. Gardephe, a federal judge in New York. Diamondback has also entered a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.…

“Perfect Hedge” – Criminal and Civil Insider Trading Charges Brought Against Seven Investment Professionals

Today, federal prosecutors and the SEC named seven fund managers and analysts as defendants in an insider trading scheme based on nonpublic information about Dell’s quarterly earnings and similar inside information regarding Nvidia Corporation. The U.S. Attorney called the trading in Dell shares the "largest insider trading scheme involving single stock charged to date." Three of the individuals pled guilty and are cooperating with the Government. The SEC’s lawsuit also named two Connecticut-based hedge fund firms as defendants.…

Judge Dismisses FCPA Charges Against John O’Shea

On Monday, January 16, 2012, Judge Lynn Hughes granted defendant John O’Shea’s motion for acquittal in the FCPA case, dismissing the FCPA charges case against him. According to a Press Release from defense counsel, Judge Lynn Hughes "found that the Government’s chief witness, … could not tie Mr. O’Shea to the alleged crimes. The judge found that O’Shea’s conduct, including efforts to renew an ABB-Esimex contract, was reasonably explained by lawful motives." The decision by Judge Hughes marks the second loss in less than two months for the Government in cases related to the  Comisión Federal de Electricidad ("CFE") – Judge A, Howard Matz had previously vacated the guilty verdict in the Lindsey Manufacturing case, as discussed here.  UPDATED (on January 19, 2012): While Judge Hughes’ Order dismisses the 12 FCPA counts, the Judge has scheduled a status conference for the remaining counts (conspiracy, money laundering and creating a false document) for January 20, 2012.…

The FCPA Sting Case – Judge Leon Denies Motion For Mistrial, In Effect Ruling That Evidence Admitted Under the Now-Dismissed Conspiracy Count Did Not Cause Sufficient Prejudice to Merit a Mistrial

On Monday, January 9, 2012, Judge Richard Leon, who had already dismissed the central conspiracy count against six defendants in the FCPA Sting Case, was faced with an interesting question: if the conspiracy count was dismissed for insufficient evidence, should the trial continue when much of the evidence the Government has offered was based on the acts and statements of coconspirators who were not present at the trial? The Motion for a Mistrial filed by the defendants presently at trial argued that they were prejudiced by the evidence regarding the now-dismissed conspiracy count. Judge Leon denied the Motion, ruling that the trial will continue.…

SEC Changes Settlement Policy Impacting the “Neither-Admit-Nor-Deny” Standard in Cases With Parallel Criminal Proceedings

According to media reports, the SEC decided last week that it will no longer allow defendants who plead guilty in criminal proceedings to settle parallel civil charges with the Commission by neither admitting or denying the allegations. At the present, the policy shift applies only in those cases where there has been an admission of guilt, not in cases where there has been no plea or if there is only civil proceedings.…

Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss Based on Definition of Foreign Official in O’Shea FCPA Case

On January 3, 2012, Judge Lynn Hughes denied defendant John O’Shea’s Motion to Dismiss the Indictment against him. Mr. O’Shea’s Motion, which was filed in March 2011, argued that the Indictment failed to alleged that he bribed a "foreign official" because it only alleged that he bribed employees of a state-owned entity. Judge Hughes’ decision marked the fifth time the argument has been rejected. The case against Mr. O’Shea is now set to go to trial on January 11, 2012.…

The Top 10 Most Intriguing Federal Securities Litigation Stories in 2011 (Part 2 of 2)

Today, the Federal Securities Litigation Blog continues its with its larger-than-usual blog entry examining the Top 10 securities litigation stories that were the most intriguing in 2011. As mentioned yesterday, like any sort of Top 10 list, not everyone will agree. Other bloggers will have their own lists with different stories. But on a personal basis, these stories that fascinated me – like a good book, I look forward to the next "chapter" in these stories in 2012.

Here’s a quick headline look at the Top 5:

5. The SEC’s Inspector General Reports on the Conduct of the Commission Staff.

4. Insider Trading at Galleon Management: Record-Setting Results.

3. The New Whistleblower Rules: Do I Tell Management Before I Tell The SEC?

2. The Lindsey Manufacturing Saga: The Verdict DOJ was "Fiercely Committed" to Obtaining is Vacated.

1. The Citigroup Case: Judge Rakoff’s Decision and the Potential Impact on How SEC Cases Proceed.

These five stories are discussed in greater detail after the jump.…

The Top 10 Most Intriguing Federal Securities Litigation Stories in 2011 (Part 1 of 2)

Today and tomorrow, the Federal Securities Litigation Blog will take a break from discussing the most recent events and, with a larger-than-usual entry, examine the Top 10 securities litigation stories that were the most intriguing in 2011. Undoubtedly, others will be preparing similar lists and this is not intended to be a definitive or complete version. Instead, these are the stories that piqued my interest. Half of the list will be discussed today and the other half tomorrow.

Here’s a quick headline look at the bottom half of the Top 10:

10. The D.C. Circuit Vacates SEC Exchange Rule 14a-11 Regarding Shareholders’ Rights to Include Board Nominee on Proxy Materials.

9. The Jenkins Litigation: Settlement Negotiations in Clawback Case Collapse, But Are Ultimately Resolved.

8. The SEC’s Director of the Division of Enforcement Now Has Authority To Issue Witness Immunity Orders.

7. Where is That File? The SEC Addresses Issues Related to the Destruction of Documents and Discovery Issues Relating to their Notes.

6. The FCPA Sting Case: One Hung Jury, One On-Going Trial, A Conspiracy Count Dismissed and More to Come.

These five stories are discussed in greater detail after the jump.…

The FCPA Sting Case – Judge Leon Dismisses The Central Conspiracy Count As To Six Defendants in Trial Group No. 2

On Thursday, December 22, 2011, Judge Richard Leon ruled on the Rule 29 Motions for Judgment of Acquittal in the FCPA Sting Case by dismissing Count 1 (on the grounds that there was not sufficient evidence to that the six defendants participated in the overarching conspiracy to violate the FCPA) as to all six defendants in Trial Group No. 2. In addition, Judge Leon dismissed the Government’s case against defendant Stephen Giordanella in its entirety. The trial will resume on January 3, 2012 with the remaining five defendants having their opportunity to put on their defense. The rulings are considerable setback for the Government in what the Department of Justice called the first sting operation in an FCPA case.…

The Justice Department and the SEC Bring Charges Against Former Siemens Employees and Agents For FCPA Violations

On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, the Department of Justice and the SEC brought charges against a group of former employees and agents of Siemens AG for FCPA violations based on an alleged decade-long scheme to bribe senior Argentine government officials to secure, implement and enforce a $1 billion contract with the Argentine government to produce national identity cards. In the words of Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, "[t]his indictment reflects our commitment to holding individuals, as well as companies, accountable for violations of the FCPA." The authorities have been undoubtedly active in the FCPA area this year against individuals, securing a sentence of record length against a telecommunications executive in one case (as discussed here), but suffering setbacks in other cases, such as the hung jury in the first of several trials in the FCPA sting case against employees of companies in the military and law enforcement products industry (discussed here) and the recent decision by Judge Matz to vacate the convictions of executives of Lindsey Manufacturing (and the company itself) (as discussed here).…

Appellate Court Upholds SEC’s Assertion of Privilege Over Staff Members’ Interview Notes

In a December 9, 2011 Opinion, the D.C. Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision that the SEC was not required to produce the notes of its staff members taken during an investigation of two individuals who were subsequently Government witnesses in a criminal prosecution of another individual. The Court found that notes were privileged under the work product doctrine, but did not decide whether they were protected under the deliberative process privilege. The case in another example of matters where defendants in securities fraud cases have sought the production of the SEC’s taken during its investigations – as discussed here, in his insider trading case, Mark Cuban has also sought the production of, among other things, the notes of the SEC attorneys taken during the investigations.…

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