There’s been a slew of white collar enforcement actions in the Pacific Northwest and around the country in the last six weeks:

  • Don’t lie to federal agents. Some false statement charges in Oregon and Alaska. The Oregon case involves $6.4 million in fraudulent billings for work that wasn’t performed  for the Oregon National Guard, as well as false statements in related documents. Also a sad case from Alaska with false statements charges against a suspect in the kidnapping and murder of a child.
  • Seriously, don’t lie to federal agents. Charges in Washington for a conspiracy to sell fraudulent cell phone unlocking services to allow customers to unlock AT&T cell phones without paying AT&T. One employee allegedly took bribes to participate. That’s bad. Also bad to not report the illegal income on tax returns, which can support a false statements charge.
  • Once more for anyone who didn’t hear, don’t lie to federal agents!  A Hawaii litigator indicted in Oregon for tax evasion and false statements. Interestingly, the false statements charge is for lying about renter’s income in a filing in a civil case. It’s pretty rare for the government to prosecute false statements made in the course of civil litigation. Maybe because of the other criminal conduct the defendant is accused of, or maybe because the alleged false statements were in a lawsuit he brought against a federal agency.
  • Charges in Oregon for evading importing taxes and fraudulently inducing the government to purchase firefighter boots through falsely certifying to qualify for disadvantaged business programs.
  • Don’t sell your company’s Superbowl tickets and pocket the proceeds.
  • Here’s something you don’t see every day: conspiracy charges, theft of U.S. property, witness tampering, and removal of a paleontological resource in Alaska . The conspiracy was to steal a fossilized woolly mammoth tusk. But Alaska delivers again, with charges against someone else related to smuggling walrus tusks.
  • In more national news, we couldn’t resist flagging this one. Jersey Shore‘s The Situation sentenced in New Jersey for tax crimes.
  • Farewell, United States Attorneys’ Manual. Hello, Justice Manual. At the end of September, DOJ unveiled its first major overhaul of the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual in 20 years, complete with a fancy new name.
  • No matter how hard you squint at it, it’s hard to frame a private suit under the Alien Tort Statute as a white collar matter. But I can’t help talking about this Ninth Circuit decision from last week that again breathed life into a suit against U.S. chocolate companies for allegedly aiding and abetting child slavery in the Ivory Coast for the sake of cheaper cocoa. Perhaps the most interesting part is the separate concurrence by Eastern District of Washington Judge Shea, sitting by designation. His opinion reads in its entirety “I concur in the result.” I suppose if the decision were non-precedential, I could see why you wouldn’t feel the need to share your reasons for reaching the same result as your colleagues. Same thing if you were affirming the district court—a reader might assume you simply agreed with the reasoning below. But this is a published opinion reversing the district court, and Judge Shea agrees with the rest of the panel that the district court got it wrong, but won’t sign on to their reasons. He just doesn’t say why. Nothing wrong with that. I’d just be interested to know his thinking about the case.

 

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Photo of Aaron P. Brecher Aaron P. Brecher

Aaron Brecher is a litigator at Lane Powell in Seattle. He focuses his practice on investigations, compliance and white collar defense as well as privacy and data security. He’s passionate about helping individuals and companies through some of their most difficult and sensitive challenges: investigations that could lead to government enforcement actions and resulting litigation. In addition to his compliance and enforcement work, he represents clients in antitrust, intellectual property, and securities litigation as well as qui tam litigation under the False Claims Act.