Last week, I teased the continuation of a series of posts about the Fifth Amendment. That’s still coming, but I had to return to another common theme first. My preview came at the end of a post about both the Fifth Amendment and parallel proceedings, which I’d also written about before. The Inception-ing of the blog continues with yet another brief comment on parallel proceedings, this time inspired by a news item that Justin flagged in last week’s roundup: Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein gave a speech before the New York City Bar Association’s annual white collar crime conference. The whole speech is worth watching or reading, but the highlight of the address was DAG Rosenstein’s announcement of “a new Department policy that encourages coordination among Department components and other enforcement agencies when imposing multiple penalties for the same conduct.”
- Local, artisanal, illegal
- Someone’s looking for a new job — the DAG continued his speaking tour this week, with remarks at an FCPA conference and keynote speech at the 7th Annual White Collar Crime Institute
- Follow Paul Manafort’s example and register as a foreign agent, especially if your client is the Pakistani government
- Volunteering doesn’t pay — the treasurer for a youth hockey league in Alaska pled guilty to writing checks to herself
- The good part of the end of the Iran deal — more work for lawyers as foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies have six months to leave Iran
News of the last few weeks has prompted me to return to two issues I’ve discussed here before: parallel proceedings and the Fifth Amendment. This time around, the Fifth Amendment issue is not double jeopardy, but instead the constitutional protection against compulsory self-incrimination.
Remember parallel proceedings? By that I mean the government conducting criminal and civil investigations of the same or similar conduct, and bringing related criminal, civil, or administrative enforcement proceedings around the same time. This creates all kinds of problems for defendants, including the difficulty and expense of fending off legal challenges on several fronts and the care needed to ensure that steps taken responding to one enforcement action don’t bite you in the other.
Among the most important dangers are those stemming from offering testimony in a civil or administrative proceeding. You see, “pleading the Fifth” and refusing to answer questions that might incriminate you doesn’t work the same way in civil and administrative settings that it does in the criminal context.
- Disgusting — Seattle man charged with selling food that was supposed to be destroyed or recycled into agricultural feed to discount grocery stores
- The Ninth Circuit said you don’t have to know you’re transporting ammo to be convicted of smuggling ammo
- Panasonic Avionics Corporation agreed to pay a $137.4 million penalty for falsifying its books and concealing payments to third-party sales agents
- VW’s board is thinking of going after its former CEO
- The UK’s data protection watchdog has ordered Cambridge Analytica to release information on US professor David Carroll
- Interesting interview from a a compliance chief regarding a “speak up culture”
- Last Monday, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control authorized certain transactions winding down or maintaining business with Russian aluminum giant RUSAL through October, after sanctions against the company announced earlier this month hurt industry
- Charges against two men alleged to have been conspiring to commit economic espionage on behalf of a Chinese company
- New stats this week from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on the 2017 activities of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
- In Portland, a man is charged with conspiring to launder money in furtherance of his drug business
- Charges in Anchorage for killing Steller sea lions in violation of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, false statements, and obstructing the investigation
- In Tacoma, Washington, a woman is charged with wire fraud and identity theft—after being convicted in 2014 of stealing almost $100,000 in an earlier identity theft scheme
- In Chicago on Thursday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein provided appropriate context for Shakespeare’s joke about “kill[ing] all the lawyers” in a speech to the International Association of Defense Counsel’s “Corporate Counsel College”
- Lance Armstrong settled a False Claims Act case for $5 million. His cycling team was sponsored at one point by the U.S. Postal Service. Apparently doping violates the terms of federal government sponsorship agreements. Who knew?
- In Texas, the GM of a Venezuelan energy company entered a guilty plea for his role in an international money laundering and bribery scheme
- Closer to home, former FBI Director James Comey will be in Portland tomorrow to plug his new book. He’ll be in Seattle on Sunday. I’ll be attending the Seattle talk.
- It’s not just famously fired government officials who are active in the Pacific Northwest. Current prosecutors are busy as well. In Portland, a CPA’s 4/20 plans went up in smoke when the U.S. Attorney’s Office accused him of hiding income and diverting investor money from his accounting business to his marijuana business.
- In Seattle, the former president and former vault-manager of a King County precious metals business were arraigned this week on charges that they fraudulently obtained millions of dollars from thousands of customers by misrepresenting shipping times for bullion and using bullion and money belonging to customers to fulfill other bullion orders. I can still think of at least one far more ambitious bullion-based criminal scheme:
I was thinking about double jeopardy yesterday. Not the Trebek kind, though that is my favorite tv show. Instead, I was thinking about the somewhat enigmatic statement in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that no person “be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” My musings were prompted by yesterday’s news that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has asked New York’s legislature to amend the state’s double jeopardy law to ensure that state prosecutors can go after persons whose conduct violates both federal and state law but who may be pardoned by the President after being prosecuted for federal crimes. I’ll provide some context below, but I don’t want to leave you in suspense about my view: I’m troubled by this.
- The ex-CEO of Alaska-based telecom company Quintillion Networks was accused of forging contracts to secure $250 million in investment
- The chief of Backpage.com has pled guilty to conspiracy and money laundering
- Three men were indicted as part of a bribery scheme to buy alcohol at deep discounts from Navy exchanges — good initiative, bad judgment
- Can’t ignore the obvious part 1: Michael Cohen
- Can’t ignore the obvious part 2: James Comey
- Can’t ignore the obvious part 3: Hungary
Chaplin later regretted this satirization
- A little federal grant fraud and money laundering up in Alaska
- Every employer really, really has to pay payroll and employment taxes, even in Washington
- Being a whistleblower can pay handsomely — $2.2 million from the SEC for this lucky winner
- The Treasury Department issued FAQs regarding implementation of the rule requiring financial institutions to identify the true owners of corporate bank accounts taking effect on May 11th
- Treasury also sanctioned several Russian oligarchs this week as well as a music promoter and prostitution ring leader
- And, lastly, the interesting tale of a lawyer, the judge he bribed, and $550 million in “the biggest Social Security fraud ever“
Did you know that, as of 2008, there’s a good chance the federal government can prosecute you for fraud against the U.S. whenever it wants to, regardless of the statute of limitations? Does that seem alarming to you?
The government can do this because of a federal statute called the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act. The Act says that when the U.S. is at war or “Congress has enacted a specific authorization for the use of the Armed Forces,” the statute of limitations for any offense involving fraud or attempted fraud against the U.S. or one of its agencies is suspended until five years after the termination of hostilities.