Justia White Collar Crime Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
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The First Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting the government's request to garnish Appellant's husband's 401(k) account and apply the proceeds to his nearly four million dollar criminal restitution obligations, holding that Appellant had no vested legal interest in her husband's account.Appellant's husband (Husband) pleaded guilty to eight counts of wire fraud, money laundering, and unlawful monetary transactions. The district court sentenced him to a term of incarceration and ordered him to pay $3,879,750 in restitution. The government later asked the district court for a writ of garnishment directed at Husband's 401(k) plan, which Husband held individually in his own name. The district court rejected Appellant's objections and issued a garnishment order. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) Massachusetts law did not give Appellant a vested legal interest in Husband's 401(k) account; and (2) it was not plain error for the district court to issue the writ of garnishment without compensating Appellant for her contingent death benefit under the policy. View "United States v. Abell" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied the petition for a writ of mandamus filed by Akebia Therapeutics, Inc. pursuant to the Crime Victim's Rights Act, 18 U.S.C. 3771(d)(3), requesting vacatur of the district court's restitution order, holding that the district court properly determined the award of restitution to Akebia, a corporate victim of a securities fraud conspiracy.A jury convicted Akebia's former director of biostatistics of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. During the sentencing phase, the government, on behalf of Akebia, sought reimbursement of $312,899 pursuant to the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act, 18 U.S.C. 3663A. The requested reimbursement was for fees Akebia paid to attorneys it hired for assistance while Akebia responded to requests for information during the government's investigation into suspected insider trading activities. The district court awarded Akebia approximately half of the attorneys' fees it requested. The First Circuit affirmed the restitution award, holding that the district court did not improperly exercise its discretion in applying the relevant law and did not abuse its discretion in its award of restitution to Akebia. View "In re Akebia Therapeutics, Inc." on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendants' convictions for securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, holding that Defendants' claims of trial and sentencing error were unavailing.Defendants were two biostaticians employed by two publicly traded biopharmaceutical companies. The jury found Defendants guilty of conspiracy of commit securities fraud and all counts of securities fraud with which they were charged. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not err in denying Defendants' motions for judgments of acquittal as to the conspiracy and securities fraud convictions; (2) did not abuse its discretion in denying Defendants' motion to compel production of a letter from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority; (3) imposed sentences that were without error; and (4) did not err in awarding restitution. View "United States v. Chan" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's conviction of violating federal laws by conspiring to receive, and of receiving, kickbacks from the pharmaceutical company Insys in exchange for prescribing its synthetic opioid, Subsys, holding that there was no merit to Defendant's arguments on appeal.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) the government introduced sufficient evidence to prove that Defendant participated in a conspiracy to receive kickbacks or to prove that he accepted those kickbacks in exchange for prescribing Subsys; (2) Defendant's conduct fell outside the Anti-Kickback Statute's safe harbor provision; and (3) the district court did not err in failing to instruct the jury about that same safe harbor provision. View "United States v. Clough" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's convictions of aiding and abetting the wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information and obstructing a criminal investigation of a health care offense, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) inferring from certain evidence that Defendant knew that protected information was being accessed was neither unreasonable, insupportable, nor overly speculative, and therefore, the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant's conviction of aiding and abetting the wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information; and (2) the evidence was sufficient to support Defendant's conviction for obstructing a criminal investigation of a health care offense. View "United States v. Luthra" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed both of Defendant's federal racketeering-related convictions but vacated and remanded the prison sentence, forfeiture order, and restitution order, holding that the district court erred in several respects.Defendant was convicted of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, federal mail fraud, and violating the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), 21 U.S.C. 331(a), 333(a). The district court sentenced Defendant to ninety-six months' imprisonment, issued a forfeiture order in the amount of $175,000, and ordered restitution. On appeal, Defendant challenged his convictions for racketeering and racketeering conspiracy and his sentence. The First Circuit remanded the case, holding (1) the convictions were supported by sufficient evidence; (2) the district court erred in its reasoning declining to apply certain enhancements; (3) neither of the two reasons the district court gave for limiting the forfeiture order was sustainable; and (4) the district court too narrowly construed who counts as a "victim" under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act. View "United States v. Chin" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's convictions of securities and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud, holding that there was no reversible error in the proceedings below.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) there was sufficient evidence to sustain Defendant's convictions and that, to the extent that the jury instructions may have been overbroad, any error was harmless; (2) this Court need not address whether the wire fraud statute, 18 U.S.C. 1343, applies extraterritorially because Defendant was convicted under a proper domestic application of the statute; and (3) the district court correctly determined that it lacked the authority to order the government to lodge Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties requests with the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland to seek evidence that may have been favorable to Defendant's defense. View "United States v. McLellan" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's convictions of three counts of securities fraud for insider trading, holding that Defendant was not entitled to relief on any of his claims.Specifically, the First Circuit held (1) the district court did not err in admitting into evidence a redacted recording and transcript of Defendant's Securities and Exchange Commission deposition; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in placing limits on Defendant's ability to cross-examine a witness; (3) Defendant waived his challenge to the district court's decision prohibiting Defendant from entering into evidence a certain email exchange; and (4) any prejudice resulting from the admission of the testimony of Defendant's ex-wife did not affect the outcome of the trial. View "United States v. Altvater" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court convicting Defendants of mail fraud and violations of section one of the Sherman Act, holding that Defendants were not entitled to reversal of their convictions or a reduction in the restitution amounts Defendant were ordered to pay.Defendants were school bus operators who contracted with the Caguas, Puerto Rico municipal school system. In 2013, Defendants banded together with four other school bus operators in a bid-rigging and market-allocation conspiracy, thereby protecting themselves from the price-reducing effects of fair competition. After they were convicted they appealed, claiming, among other things, an absence of intestate nexus and insufficiency of the evidence. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the bid rigging in this case was well within the reach of the Sherman Act; (2) there was no variance from or constructive amendment to the indictment; (3) the district court acted within its discretion in excluding evidence at trial about whether Defendants' conduct really cost Caguas money; (4) the district court did not err in setting the restitution amounts; and (5) Defendants were not entitled to relief on their remaining allegations of error. View "United States v. Vega-Martinez" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed Defendant's convictions for insider-trading securities fraud and related conspiracy offenses, holding that there was sufficient evidence to sustain the convictions and that the district court did not err in instructing the jury or in denying Defendant's motion for a new trial.Defendant was convicted of eleven counts of inside-trading securities fraud and related conspiracy offenses. The First Circuit affirmed the convictions, holding (1) the jury's verdicts rested on sufficient evidence showing that Defendant owed a corporate inside a duty of trust and confidence, and the evidence similarly sufficed to prove Defendant's willful breach of his duty to the corporate insider; (2) the district court's decisions to give or refuse to give certain jury instructions were without error; and (3) the district court did not manifestly abuse its discretion in denying Defendant's motion for a new trial. View "United States v. Kanodia" on Justia Law