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“Spoofing” Almost Crashed the Stock Market, But Is It Fraud?

May 6, 2010 was a bad day on Wall Street.  Concern over the European debt crisis — fueled by news of violent anti-austerity protests in Greece the day before  — pushed the S&P down 4% soon after opening. But things soon got even worse, turning May 6, 2010 into “one of the scariest days in […]

There is some truth behind every lie, and that truth can haunt you at sentencing

Scottish author William McIlvanney wrote that “good lies need a leavening of truth.”   But under a recent Second Circuit decision, a testifying defendant can hurt himself with both the lies he tells and the truth he leavens them with. In 2001 or 2002, David Norman received an email from “Desmond,” who said that his family […]

Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms DOJ’s Expansive Interpretation of “Foreign Official” under the FCPA

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals last Friday issued a ruling on a challenge to DOJ’s interpretation of “foreign official” under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, affirming a sentence imposed upon two defendants for bribing employees of Haiti’s state-owned telecommunications company. The ruling represents the first time an appellate court has ruled on whether state-owned […]

When Health and Safety Standards Go Nuts

Between late 2008 and early 2009, more than 700 people became ill and at least nine died from consuming a lunchbox staple—peanut butter.  This tragedy, at first, provoked bewilderment.  It did not seem possible that an ingredient that showed up on countless food labels—granola bars, cookies, cereal, TV dinners, and even pet food—could slip past […]

The Limits of Wire Fraud: When Lying Isn’t Enough

Nancy Sadler and her husband Lester ran a pain management clinic in Kentucky.  The clinic was extraordinarily successful, treating more than 100 patients per day (not including the clinic’s “phantom” patients).  Patients came from hundreds of miles away, gathering in the clinic’s parking lot (where they traded drugs and prescription forms) before it opened.  After paying […]