White-Collar Crime

Give me a break. I 'raised' 23 foster kids.

* Members of the Occupy Wall Street brigade were allowed to continue to be dirty hippies living in a park without toilets this morning. So fresh and so clean! OMG, yippee! [Wall Street Journal]

* French prosecutors have dropped another yet another rape charge lodged against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Seriously? It looks like nothing sticks to this man except money. [CNN]

* Recognizing that it’s really hard to get someone to pick up a partner from the drunk tank when there’s a Blackberry outage, DLA Piper is thinking about switching to iPhones. [Reuters]

* RajRaj was literally the biggest target in the Galleon case, but one of his buddies was sentenced, too. On Wednesday, Michael Kimelman got 2.5 years at the luxurious Club Fed. [Daily Record]

* It took Michele Bachmann seven years to graduate from law school (whereas most graduate in three). She can get things done, but apparently only on her own time. [New York Times]

* Food fight! Things are getting really dirty in this Food Network lawsuit. Guy Fieri not only likes to cook with alcohol, but he allegedly speaks like an angry drunk behind the scenes. [City Pages]

Find out how much he got over at our sister site, Dealbreaker.

Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Raj Rajaratnam

Ed. note: This post was written by Matt Levine, the new editor on our sister site, Dealbreaker, and Elie Mystal.

Matt here. You might think that Dealbreaker HQ exists only metaphorically in virtual space, or maybe in the fan fiction you’re hiding in your desk, but in fact Bess and I share a real physical garrett both with our sibling sites Fashionista and Above the Law. Occasionally we even talk to each other. “Talk,” in this context, normally means that Above the Law editor Elie Mystal shouts at us about some outrageous political position. In order to quiet him down a bit, we’ve decided to take it to the internet, thus spawning the first – and maybe last! – Above the Law / Dealbreaker Debate Society.

I have been set the task of defending a proposition like “white-collar criminals should not get anything near the jail time they get.” (We are pretty casual with our resolutions here at the Breaking Media Debate Society.)

Fortunately I believe that, so here goes…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Above the Law / Dealbreaker Debate: Insider-Trading Sentencing”

We are just finishing up our first day at the Legal Technology Leadership Summit, our tech conference aimed at in-house counsel. So far it has been a great success. We’ve had no earthquakes or hurricanes — just a passing swarm of lovebugs (seriously), which are now lying dead on my balcony.

This morning, we kicked off with a keynote session from Alan Lange and Tom Dawson, the authors of Kings of Tort (affiliate link), a chronicle of one of the legal profession’s more infamous criminals. It’s actually not that specific to technology, although it does relate to the world of in-house counsel.

Keep reading for an inside look at the politically connected Southern gentleman who transformed from David to Goliath, conspired to bribe a judge, and made many an in-house lawyer’s life miserable…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Dispatch from Amelia Island: Inside the Dickie Scruggs Scandal”

John J. O'Brien

Remember John J. O’Brien? Back in April 2009, we wrote about the mysterious departure of John O’Brien from Sullivan & Cromwell, where he was a well-regarded and well-liked partner in the M&A department. In a follow-up post in December 2009, we noted : “When partners leave a place like Sullivan & Cromwell, there’s often a story behind the departure.”

In our December 2009 post, we reported that John O’Brien “left Sullivan & Cromwell due to an issue relating to his taxes.” We added that the problem was personal, i.e., that it did not implicate S&C or any of its clients (unlike the fraud of another former SullCrom partner, Carlos Spinelli-Noseda, who defrauded the firm and its clients of more than $500K).

Some readers pushed back on this reporting. They claimed that John O’Brien left voluntarily and for perfectly innocent reasons. They told us to leave O’Brien alone. They accused us of harboring ill-will towards Sullivan & Cromwell (even though, to be honest, large law firms are somewhat interchangeable for us here at ATL; they’re all just potential sources of news to write about).

In light of all the flak we took for our John O’Brien coverage — similar to the criticism we received for covering Theodore Freedman’s departure from Kirkland & Ellis, a few months before Freedman got indicted by the feds — please forgive us for gloating a little. (This gloating is directed at our critics, not at John O’Brien; we have nothing against O’Brien and wish him the best of luck in moving on with his life.)

Today brings news that John J. O’Brien has been hit with federal criminal charges. Like Ted Freedman, John O’Brien has been hit with tax-related charges. But the numbers involved are larger — a lot larger….

UPDATE (7 PM): O’Brien pleaded guilty. See the update appended to the end of this post.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Ex-Sullivan & Cromwell Partner Failed To Pay Taxes on Millions”

* A federal judge in Kansas has given Planned Parenthood’s Abortionplex a new lease on life. [WSJ Law Blog]

* What? A former Supreme Court clerk who got passed over for a job at a law school? Nicholas Spaeth, who’s also the former state attorney general for North Dakota, is suing the Michigan State University College of Law, for age discrimination. [The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times via SBM Blog]

* Interesting thoughts from Scott Greenfield on making executions public. I certainly don’t oppose more-comprehensive coverage of the criminal justice system in general. [Simple Justice]

* Elsewhere in criminal justice news, should prisons be run on a voucher system? Dan Markel offers some thoughts on Sasha Volokh’s interesting proposal. [PrawfsBlawg]

* An interesting profile of Alan Gura, the celebrated Second Amendment litigator, by a fellow small-firm lawyer, Nicole Black. [The Xemplar]

* Hopefully this will all become moot after a deal gets done, but remember the Fourteenth Amendment argument for Obama unilaterally raising the debt ceiling? Jeffrey Rosen thinks a lawsuit against Obama would get kicked for lack of standing — or might even prevail. [New Republic]

* But Orin Kerr believes that a recent SCOTUS case might change the analysis. [Volokh Conspiracy]

* Howrey going to pay all the creditors? A lot turns on how some contingency-fee cases turn out, according to Larry Ribstein. [Truth on the Market]

* From in-house to the big house: former general counsel Russell Mackert just got sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for his role in a fraud scheme. [Corporate Counsel]

* Keep It Simple: a commendable theme for Blawg Review #313. [Patent Baristas via Blawg Review]

Ted Freedman

Last October, we wrote about the mysterious departure from Kirkland & Ellis of Theodore Freedman. Freedman was a prominent bankruptcy and restructuring partner at the firm, based out of the New York office.

As we mentioned in the story, our coverage of Freedman’s departure was prompted by “interesting rumors.” We hoped that our post would result in additional corroboration of what we were hearing. Alas, our write-up just prompted the usual attacks from Kirkland Kool-Aid drinkers, who accused us in the comments of harboring ill-will toward K&E and engaging in shoddy journalism.

Well, this time we’ll enjoy the last laugh (not because we have anything against K&E — we don’t — but because we like being proven correct). We can share what we know about Ted Freedman, because the rumors are now embodied in a federal criminal indictment….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mystery Departure Solved: Ex-Kirkland Partner Hit With Federal Criminal Charges”

Last week I attended an interesting talk by Preet Bharara, currently serving as the U.S. Attorney for the (extremely powerful and prestigious) Southern District of New York. I had heard great things about Bharara from many people, including current and former colleagues in the U.S. Attorney’s office and people who previously worked with him on Capitol Hill, where he served as chief counsel to Senator Chuck Schumer. So I was eager to hear his remarks, which he delivered to the New York Financial Writers Association, a group of business and finance journalists here in New York.

Here’s my report on what he had to say — including, for those of you who aspire to be assistant U.S. attorneys, what he expects from the prosecutors who work for him….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “An Evening With Preet Bharara”

We all wanted to give Raj the benefit of the doubt. I wanted to believe he was an honest man. How could someone so smart and rich already be involved in something so horrendous?

Leila Gonzalez Gorman, a 44-year-old teacher from Westchester County, who served on the jury that found Raj Rajaratnam guilty of insider trading and conspiracy.

(According to the Wall Street Journal, Rajaratnam “is estimated to have paid as much as $40 million for his defense… about two-thirds of the amount prosecutors said [his Galleon Group hedge fund] made from the insider trading addressed in the charges.”)

Raj Rajaratnam

Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire leader of the Galleon Group, has been found guilty.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty on all 14 counts Rajaratnam was facing — nine counts of insider trading and five of conspiracy. Rajaratnam could get a sentence of up to 19 and a half years under the federal sentencing guidelines, according to prosecutors.

Rajaratnam’s defense lawyer, John Dowd of Akin Gump, is a renowned advocate — but he’s not a miracle worker. Raj was just too big a target.

Check out our sister site Dealbreaker for continuing coverage.

Raj Rajaratnam Found Guilty [Dealbreaker]
Galleon’s Rajaratnam Found Guilty [Dealbook]

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